KARACHI: Animal cruelty remains a big issue in Pakistan. While dog culling has been largely practised in different parts of the country, animals have often been used as props and for entertainment purposes. Only a few days ago, a couple made headlines for displaying a lion cub at their wedding. More recently, the talk show Time Out with Ahsan Khan has been criticised for animal cruelty. A complaint has been registered under Section 26 of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 for ‘televised broadcast of animal cruelty and negligence’ on the show.
“The captioned TV show has broadcasted insensitive and reckless content committing negligence and cruelty towards animals by subjecting them to unnecessary suffering and thereby, also mentally disturbing the general public at large,” reads the complaint by Santia Gulzar.
For one of its segments, Time Out with Ahsan Khan uses rabbits as props. The segment features a series of multiple-choice questions and if the celebrity answers a question incorrectly, a rabbit is placed on their lap. While some may see this as a harmless act, celebrities like Maya Ali could be seen screaming out of fear of the animal. More importantly, the rabbits stay surprisingly calm throughout the episode, making viewers wonder if they had been sedated.
The complaint filed on 18th March, 2021, states that the use of animals as props by the show’s team is not only ‘an offence under the law but a breach of constitutionally guaranteed right to life under Art. 9 of the Constitution as laid down by Islamabad High Court’. The statement further reads that the act is also an offence under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1890.
The Chairman of the Council of Complaints has been requested to take appropriate action based on the complaint.
Meanwhile, viewers have also been expressing their concerns regarding the matter on Twitter.