Along with the citizens of the country, it seems that the wildlife is also feeling the impact of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The dolphins will no longer be able to perform at the museum, it was disclosed by the management of the Pakistan Maritime Museum (PMM) in the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday.
This was revealed during the hearing of a lawsuit against the withdrawal of the contract of the dolphins dancing shows in Karachi. The lawsuit, currently being heard, is valued at Rs100 million for alleged violation of the terms and conditions of the contract.
M/s Dolphin Show International (Pvt) Ltd had approached the court against the alleged dispossession of the dolphins and their trainers from the Maritime Museum, where the event is being organised.
It had claimed damages worth Rs100 million jointly or separately from the Pakistan Maritime Museum Director General, the Pakistan Navy Commander Karachi (COMKAR) and the Coordinator of Dolphin Show PMM.
The Dolphin Show International (Pvt) Ltd says it had been arranging a dolphin show in the city with the mammals, including one Beluga whale, one dolphin and one sea lion.
The company had signed an agreement with the PMM management and invested in a Dolphinarium to bring it up to international standards. The plaintiff said it had signed an agreement with the museum management in June 2013 to hold the shows for 406 days. The plaintiff had asked for an extension on June 18, but the PMM management had asked them to vacate the premises. The organiser was instructed to remove the dolphins and their trainers.
Earlier, the SHC had ordered the PMM and other defendants not to take any coercive action against the plaintiff. It had further ordered that the defendants to seek prior permission from the court before initiating any action against the plaintiff.
During the last hearing, the court had issued a contempt notice to the PMM director general Capt (retd) Muhammad Riaz to personally appear and explain why contempt proceedings may not be initiated against him for violation of a stay order.
During Friday's hearing, Advocate Umer Hayat Sindhu, counsel for the PMM director-general, informed the court that the dolphins shows could not be held on the premises of the museum due to security concerns.
Sindhu said that around 3,000 to 4,000 people visit the museum during the shows and the museum's management cannot risk putting their lives in danger.
Syed Azfar Abbas, the show organiser, refuted such arguments. He contended that the museum's reasons for disallowing the shows during Eidul Fitr were malafide. The entire museum premises are open to visitors, but only the dolphin show is being disallowed.
The single bench, headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, directed the PMM management to let the show continue till August 8.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2014.
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