Tiger row embarrasses Pakistan politician | world | Hindustan Times
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Tiger row embarrasses Pakistan politician

world Updated: Aug 03, 2009 21:55 IST

The family of Pakistan's main opposition leader has come under fire for importing a Siberian tiger and housing the animal expensively at a private zoo in the middle of a sizzling summer.

A nephew of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and son of the popular chief minister of Punjab province Shahbaz Sharif imported the tiger last month after obtaining a special permit.

The tiger was housed in a special enclosure on the Sharif family farm in Punjab. The cost of the air-conditioning triggered a media uproar because few Pakistanis can afford such luxuries.

Sulieman Sharif shipped the animal from Canada after getting the necessary permits despite a ban on the private import of large cats, officials said.

The media criticised the move, saying that the compound would use the local electricity supply at a time of power shortages, and the family made arrangements for its relocation.

"Shahbaz was rightly displeased with his son for his disregard of international laws and... for purchasing and importing (a) highly priced and endangered wild animal," the influential Dawn newspaper said.

Sulieman's private secretary Sikandar Pasha said the family decided to give the animal to the government of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), where temperatures in the mountains are significantly cooler.