Pakistan’s ‘Lion King’ rears 11 big cats at Peshawar home

Pictured here is Gul's African lion, Maily. (AN Photo by Saba Rehman)
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Updated 10 December 2019

Pakistan’s ‘Lion King’ rears 11 big cats at Peshawar home

  • Arab Gul says there is a separate place to house each one of his cherished pets
  • They include two white lions which are a rare breed in the world

Peshawar: There’s a Mufasa and a Simba, but it’s 50-year-old Arab Gul who is the undisputed ‘lion king’ of the Muslim Town in Peshawar, capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Both Mufasa and Simba are unique because they are a rare breed of white lions. Only a few are found in Lahore, Pakistan, but except for Gul, there's no one else who keeps them at home. (AN Photo by Saba Rehman)

With three lions currently in Islamabad for training, Gul has a total of 11 big cats under his care.

Arab Gul, who said he grew fond of lions from a very early age, is seen here interacting with his pets during a routine morning visit at his home in Peshawar on Monday. (AN Photo by Saba Rehman)

It’s a love, he says, which he’s nurtured from childhood.

“I started rearing them four years ago with two white lions who were imported from Sri Lanka. White lions are a rare breed in the world. In Pakistan, two of them – Mufasa (male) and Simba (female) – are with me. A dealer imported them from Sri Lanka. Later, I bought them from him,” he said.

The two white lions seen here, Mufasa and Simba, were imported from Sri Lanka, and have three cubs. (AN Photo by Saba Rehman)

White lions are a rare breed in Pakistan, too, with only a few in Lahore. However, unlike Gul, no one keeps them at home.

That, however, doesn’t seem to bother residents of his locality who treat Gul like a celebrity for keeping unique pets at home.

Located along Dilazak road on the outskirts of Peshawar, his residence in Muslim Town is spread over an area of 0.375 acres and houses a separate place for each of the lions.

Feeding his “family members,” however, is no piece of cake, Gul says.

Enhaj Khan is one of the caretakers of the lions. (AN Photo by Saba Rehman)

“In one week, we give them beef for four days and chicken for two, with a one day break. Each lion consumes about six kgs of beef and 10 kgs of chicken, in addition to one liter of milk on a daily basis,” he said.

After their scheduled meals, the lions are unchained for two hours every day for a walk in the residential lawns.

EnHajj Khan, one of Gul’s employees, is responsible for the lions’ care and said he’s never been afraid of taking care of the “king of the jungle.”

At Arab Gul’s home in Peshawar, there is a separate place for every lion which is secured from outside. (AN Photo by Saba Rehman)

“I am working here from the past four years. I haven’t received any training but take care of them on my own,” Khan, 60, said, adding that’s it wonderful to see people visiting the house to see the lions for free.

Gul says he’s unperturbed by the flow of visitors who usually visit at noon.

“CCTV cameras ensure the animals’ security and I keep watch on my phones,” he said.

Interpol-wanted Pakistani arrested in Indonesia 

Updated 22 January 2020

Interpol-wanted Pakistani arrested in Indonesia 

  • Butt has confessed to killing a family of four in Pakistan
  • He was living under a fake identity in North Sumatra

JAKARTA: A Pakistani national who was on Interpol’s wanted list for nine years has been arrested by Indonesian police in North Sumatra.

According to a press release by the police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob), the 34-year-old man, identified as Muhammad Luqman Butt, alias Husein Shah or M. Firman, was arrested at his rented house in Asahan district on Tuesday.

His Indonesian wife, 33-year-old Evi Lili Midati, has also been detained.

The police said Butt confessed he had murdered four people in Pakistan and has been in Indonesia for the past two years. Some five months ago, he moved to Asahan, not far from the province’s capital of Medan to work as a driver.

The police chief investigator in the province, Andi Rian, said the fugitive was arrested at the request of Pakistan, in coordination with Interpol, local media reported.

“After we identified that the fugitive is in Indonesia, the Interpol national central bureau in Indonesia coordinated with the North Sumatra police to arrest him,” Rian was quoted as saying.

Rian added that Butt will be deported to Pakistan where he would face prosecution.

The police seized from Butt’s house his Indonesian identity card bearing the name M. Firman with his photo, and citing Asahan as his place of birth.

Butt confessed he had murdered a family of four when he was 25 years old. He committed the murder in retaliation for the killing of his brother by one of the victims and had been on the run ever since. Two years ago, he entered Indonesia by sea, on a wooden boat from Malaysia.