Pakistan’s lonely elephant serenaded one last time at farewell party 

Kaavan, an elephant waiting to be transported to a sanctuary in Cambodia, is seen during a farewell ceremony at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan November 23, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 24 November 2020

Pakistan’s lonely elephant serenaded one last time at farewell party 

  • Kaavan is finally set to be airlifted to an elephant sanctuary in Cambodia on Sunday
  • Singer Cher due to arrive in Islamabad to meet the elephant she had worked for years to rescue and see him off

ISLAMABAD: Officials and well-wishers gathered at Islamabad Zoo on Monday for a farewell party for Pakistan’s lonely elephant Kaavan before he sets off for a new life in Cambodia this week.
After years of campaigning by animal rights advocates and pop star Cher to rescue him from grim conditions with no companion, Kaavan was finally set to be airlifted to an elephant sanctuary on Sunday.
To mark the occasion, officials, including lawmakers and Pakistan’s climate change minister, gathered among balloons and signs saying “Farewell Kaavan, we will miss you.”
Children posed for photos and musicians performed in front of the enclosure, with Kaavan at one point serenaded while he snacked on some grass.
Kaavan is known to be a fan of music and Amir Khalil, a vet from animal rescue organization Four Paws, bonded with the elephant, who has been aggressive to humans in the past, by singing him Frank Sinatra songs.
Four Paws spokeswoman Marion Lombard said that though it was never easy to move a wild animal weighing 4.8 tons, Kaavan was responding well to training and was ready to leave.
“We decided to organize an event to give the opportunity to the people of Pakistan and the government to say goodbye to Kaavan, before his new life in Cambodia. So we want to wish him a happy retirement,” she said.
Kaavan will be airlifted to Cambodia after training for weeks with international specialists armed with treats such as bananas to get him used to the small enclosure and loud noises of the 10-hour flight.
Cher was due to arrive in Islamabad later in the week to finally meet the elephant she had worked for years to rescue and see him off.


Pakistan’s national flag carrier to bring back impounded plane by approaching Malaysian court

Updated 46 min 23 sec ago

Pakistan’s national flag carrier to bring back impounded plane by approaching Malaysian court

  • A Pakistan International Airlines plane was ‘held back’ by Malaysian authorities after a local court issued a verdict against the airlines in a payment dispute
  • The national flag career called the situation ‘unacceptable,’ announced to send its legal team to the court to present its case

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines announced on Friday its legal team would approach a court in Malaysia that ordered to impound one of its planes that was scheduled to fly out of Kuala Lumpur earlier in the day and bring back passengers to Pakistan. 

“PIA was facing a payment dispute with another company and the matter was being heard by a court in the United Kingdom for the last six months,” said the airlines spokesman, Abdullah Khan, in a video message. “The same company also took a stay order against us in another country [Malaysia] and a local court issued an ex-party decision against the airlines without serving it a notice or hearing its stance.” 

Khan added that the PIA legal team would pursue the matter with Pakistan's official and diplomatic assistance. 

“It is important to mention here that this incident was timed to somewhat mitigate our response since it happened ahead of the weekend,” he maintained. “However, our legal team will take up the matter in the Malaysian court immediately after the weekend and we are hopeful to resolve this issue as soon as possible.” 

Pakistan’s foreign office also issued a statement on Friday, saying its diplomatic mission in Malaysia was in close contact with relevant authorities over the detained plane and its stranded passengers. 

“The passengers are being properly looked after and alternate arrangements for their travel have also been finalized,” the foreign office spokesperson, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, said while responding to a media query. 

“They will be departing Kuala Lumpur by EK 343 later tonight,” he added. 

The PIA plane was held back by Malaysian authorities over a British court case, PIA said in an earlier statement, adding it would pursue the matter through diplomatic channels. 

“A PIA aircraft has been held back by a local court in Malaysia taking a one-sided decision pertaining to a legal dispute between PIA and another party pending in a UK court,” a PIA spokesman said in a statement. 

The national carrier’s statement said the situation was “unacceptable” and that it had asked for support from Pakistan’s government to raise the matter diplomatically. Malaysian authorities did not immediately respond to request for comment.