Islamabad: Prominent Pakistani pop singer Rabi Pirzada is facing action by the Punjab Wildlife Department for allegedly violating the law by keeping prohibited exotic animals as pets.
The animals — which were being kept at the musician’s beauty salon in Lahore’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) — include some rare cobras, snakes, a lion and a crocodile.
Under the Punjab Wildlife (Protection, Conservation and Management) Act of 1974 (amended 2007), possession of such animals is illegal and can lead to imprisonment of two to three years or a fine of up to Rs20,000 (Dh468).
Director-General of the Punjab Wildlife & Parks, Retd. Lt Sohail Ashraf has constituted a team under the supervision of Abdul Shakoor Manj, deputy director for wildlife, to initiate legal action against the singer.
The singer landed herself in trouble after uploading a video and some pictures posing with snakes and cobras on social media a day earlier.
In her video Pirzada threatened Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of dire consequences if he continued with “atrocities in [Indian-administered] Kashmir”.
The wildlife department, taking prompt notice of her posts, constituted a team and submitted a summons in a local court against her for taking pictures and videos with the reptiles and keeping them at her salon in Lahore. The court may decide further action against this alleged violation of wildlife rules.
Online, Pirzada came under criticism for keeping the reptiles at her salon as pets as animal rights activists and social media users condemned this violation of the wildlife rules by a singer with a sound educated background.
Pirzada is daughter of an army officer and her husband is also an ex-army officer.
Speaking to local media, Pirzada confessed she loved snakes ever since she was young.
“I love snakes and reptiles, right from childhood even though my parents are not in favour of this. They used to try and stop me but I patiently waited until a time I could afford the hobby myself.”
However, she dismissed Wildlife Department’s action against her on the basis of her videos and pictures with snakes.
“I have been uploading such videos with snakes and crocodiles and other reptiles for last five years but the moment I uploaded a video with a message to Indian Prime Minister, the wildlife department jumped into action against me,” complained Pirzada in her reaction.
This shows Modi’s friends are not only present in India they are also present in Pakistan, said the visibly irritated singer.