Taking things into their own paws

Published: May 3, 2010
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An animal welfare organisation tries to make a difference.

An animal welfare organisation tries to make a difference.

KARACHI: In a city rife with political violence and terrorism, animal welfare often takes a backseat. But six years ago, Mahera Omar and Maheen Zia decided to take things into their own hands, or rather, their own PAWS.

The Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to animal welfare in the country. The organisation defines its aim and mission as ‘creating a more just and equitable relationship between humans and animals in Pakistan.’

Animal rights in the country exist vaguely in old acts of Parliaments, such as the Pakistan Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1890 or the West Pakistan Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Rules 1961, but they are never put into effect.

Government inaction has pushed some people to take charge but these people are beset by obstacles.

Donations are essential but people can also help by fostering an injured animal, adopting a rescued animal, helping in finding homes for rescued animals and by creating more awareness about the establishment and what it does.

Dr Zulfiqar Otho is also part of the PAWS team. He can be contacted at any time if one comes across animals in need. Dr Otho can be found at the Karachi Animal Hospital in Defence Phase VI, where he serves as the director of the hospital. While speaking to The Express Tribune, Dr Otho said that the biggest threat to animals comes from humans. “People beat animals like stray dogs and cats or hit them and throw things at them,” he said.

Dr Otho said the organisation usually rescues three to four animals a week.

When asked what PAWS would do if it was given a blank cheque, with a large amount as a donation, he said, “We would make an animal shelter, as we do not have one and that is something we need,” Dr Otho said. “We would also use the funds for an ambulance for animals, one which is equipped with oxygen and life saving medicines.” For people interested in getting involved with animal rights in Pakistan, it is suggested they visit www. pawspakistan.org or send an email to [email protected] Facebook users can join the interactive PAWS group, which has details the animals that are in need of help. More significantly, one can find out how they can help.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • May 3, 2010 - 4:23PM

    Thanks for covering animal welfare and our organization in your paper. We really appreciate it!

    Just wanted to point out our email address is [email protected] and not [email protected]. Recommend

  • Syed Rizvi
    May 3, 2010 - 8:28PM

    Thank you for giving coverage to PAWS
    I am very familiar with the group. I have very high regrds for its founders Mahera Omar and Maheen Zia for launching a program to help the helpless in society and culture that is not only indifferent but hostile the animal cause. They are facing great challenges, I wish them all the success and urge peoepl to help them any way they can monetarily or otherwise.Recommend

  • Aima Yusaf
    May 3, 2010 - 11:45PM

    Great job! All those furry little things are grateful to PAWS I’m sure!Recommend

  • Noshi Asif
    May 4, 2010 - 12:25AM

    Please keep printing articles about animal welfare. Let people know that animals MATTER. And also that stupid politicians aren’t the only ones who can make headlines.
    Wonderful work PAWS!!!!Recommend

  • May 4, 2010 - 1:01PM

    This is incredible! Animals are sadly overlooked in our society, and more often than not treated with cruelty and contempt. Here’s to hoping that this spreads all over Pakistan. The animals need our help. Peshawar has it’s fair share of mistreated and malnourished strays roaming the streets aimlessly, and I’d be nice to help them as well.Recommend

  • Ayesha
    May 4, 2010 - 1:04PM

    after reading this i feel that finally there are people in Pakistan who are concerned about their surroundings……..Recommend

  • Soha Tanwir Khan
    May 4, 2010 - 1:09PM

    Great to see something about animal welfare! PAWS is doing a great job and thank you Tribune for covering this. :)Recommend

  • naheed tofiq mooraj
    May 4, 2010 - 1:59PM

    Wonderful work is being done by Paws. It is truly wonderful to see such an organization existing in our Country. Each time u post something on fb I actually take time out to read it as it always so very informative or just plain helpful, even if it means helping those stray cats and dogs. Three cheers for PAWS…Hip Hip Hooray !!!!!!!Recommend

  • Aisha
    May 4, 2010 - 2:18PM

    Great job guys!! keep it up!Recommend

  • Maria
    May 4, 2010 - 2:45PM

    In Pakistan there is high need for an animal shelter with well equipped facilities.Recommend

  • Sanaa Zubairi
    May 4, 2010 - 5:12PM

    PAWS is amazing!!! Even though a proper shelter does not exist, they along with volunteers open their homes to our furry, four-legged friends and don’t look back. Truly amazing. I hope all their hard work and efforts are recognized by our society. Good going guys!!! thumbs upRecommend

  • Abbas
    May 5, 2010 - 3:20AM

    More articles about animals & animal welfare please!Recommend

  • May 5, 2010 - 5:17AM

    It is good to see that the hard work of PAWS is being covered in print. Hopefully, this will help spread the word about this wonderful organization and get more people involved and aware of the need for care and understanding for the plight of the animals in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Muzaffar Manghi
    May 5, 2010 - 9:53AM

    Dear PAWS team.

    We are all very, very proud of you.

    An act of kindness such as helping an animals who cannot speak for themselves, is possibly the last thing one would expect in our rapidly decaying society, rife with apathy, pessimism, cynicism, corruption and cold hearts. What PAWS is doing, extends beyond helping animals.

    It is good to see your group getting due attention. it is good to know that we are not alone. God bless you all. Recommend

  • May 5, 2010 - 2:44PM

    We should also appeal to the government to provide police for animals Security.How can we do that?Recommend

  • Dr Salim Hosein
    May 5, 2010 - 2:55PM

    Coverage like this is essential and shouldn’t be a one-off thing!
    PAWS is doing a fantastic job in a field so neglected by our policy makers. We need to contribute to their efforts and media campaigns have a huge role to play in creating awareness. Even if the government doesn’t act (don’t hold your breath), perhaps at least one less child will throw a rock at a dog because he just didn’t know any better!Recommend

  • Ali
    May 7, 2010 - 12:06AM

    Animals rights are seriously neglected in Pakistan…Recommend

  • Sheru
    May 7, 2010 - 12:16AM

    good jobRecommend

  • Batul Tunio
    May 7, 2010 - 12:40AM

    It is heartening to read about people who help some of the multitudes of speechless beings in our society.

    As Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by how they treat their animals.”

    PAWS is a ray of light. Their mission is important and deserves the recognition and applause due to them for taking the steps to healing this country.Recommend

  • Tabrez
    May 13, 2010 - 2:48PM

    Great work Mahera! :)Recommend

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