Dubai: Social media users from around the world are furious with Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi, popularly known as ‘Boom Boom’, after a picture of his daughter posing with a lion in the background went viral.
The image, along with another of Afridi bottle feeding a fawn, was initially posted by the cricketer on his official Twitter and Facebook accounts, in an attempt to highlight the importance of animal rights.
He wrote: “Great to spend time with loved ones. Best feeling in the world to have my daughter copy my wicket taking celebrations. And yes don’t forget to take care of animals, they too deserve our love and care :)”
Great to spend time with loved ones. Best feeling in the world to have my daughter copy my wicket taking celebrations. And yes don't forget to take care of animals, they too deserve our love and care :) pic.twitter.com/CKPhZd0BGD— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) June 9, 2018
However, it did not go as expected.
Tweeps and Facebook users were not happy after they spotted the wild animal chained in Afridi’s home. Many were outraged at his violation of animal rights and also his lack of safety precautions.
@furreekatt_ tweeted: “Shahid bhai???? There’s a literal lion behind your daughter????”
Shahid bhai???? There's a literal lion behind your daughter????— F (@furreekatt_) June 9, 2018
Tweep @shakeeel88 posted: “Lion is a wild habitant and it can never be friendly to humans. He will go by his basic instinct. And can give lethal and life threatening injuries, to its masters even. Hope Khan Lala realised this soon and let it go to its own world.”
Exactly that's what i thought— 🆂♓🅰🅺🅴🅴🅻 🇵🇰 (@shakeeel88) June 10, 2018
Lion is a wild habitant and it can never be friendly to humans
He will go by his basic instinct
And can give lethal and life threating injuries ... To its masters even
Hope khan lala realised this soon and let it go to its own. World
@naveednadeem91 tweeted: “Can people please stop sharing Shahid Afridi’s picture with that poor lion? I find it disturbing, considering the visible poor health of that lion.”
Twitter user @mahwashajaz_ posted: “A lion isn’t a pet. It’s a wild animal that belongs in the wild. Why would @SAfridiOfficial do this. Why?”
@MarrySubhi added: “Yes, the lion seems really sad to me. it’s home is not Shahid Afridi’s mansion it belongs in the wild.”
Yes, the lion seems really sad to me. it's home is not shahid afridi's mansion it belongs in the wild.— Bee's Knees. (@MarrySubhi) June 10, 2018
Najda Khawaja posted on Facebook: “Shame on your for this! Wild animals aren’t meant to be kept in the house as pets! They belong in the wild [in] their own natural habitat! Adopt a dog or a cat instead. You’re a celebrity and you have a responsibility to lead by your example and this is what you chose to do? Shame!”
Ishrat Jahan commented: “These animals should be living in a jungle, in their home, not anyone’s home. Didn’t feel good seeing these pictures.”
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Oscar-winning filmmaker and activist, also joined in to express her concern on Facebook: “Does anyone know Shahid Afridi? Can we just please tell him that these animals are meant to be in the wild and not chained at home? I do not think he means any harm and genuinely thinks he is taking care of them. That stems from his ignorance.”
However, Mustafa Chaudhary, a journalist based in Pakistan and Afridi’s friend, tried to clarify the scenario on his official twitter account.
@Mustafa_Chdry tweeted: “I know him and you’re right, these animals belong in the wild. But these are not Shahid Afridi’s, they belong to someone else.”
Yeah baaji...I know him and You're right, these animals belong in the wild. But these are not Shahid Afridi's, they belong to someone else. Shocking na ! pic.twitter.com/AoSZrxG4y2— Mustafa Chaudhary (@Mustafa_Chdry) June 10, 2018
Since then, several fan-created groups on Facebook for the Pakistani star have shared information about the animal, too. They state that the lion was brought to his home by its licenced owner, who has tamed the animal. However, no official statement was posted on Afridi’s own social media accounts.