‘Baby don’t go’: American singer Cher in Pakistan to bid farewell to Kaavan the elephant 

US music icon Cher in Pakistan to bid farewell to Kaavan the elephant on Nov 27,2020. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Short Url
Updated 27 November 2020

‘Baby don’t go’: American singer Cher in Pakistan to bid farewell to Kaavan the elephant 

  • The 'world's loneliest elephant' has languished in the Islamabad zoo for 35 years and lost his partner in 2012
  • Cher and animal rights groups have campaigned for years for the elephant’s better treatment and freedom 

ISLAMABAD: American singing sensation Cher called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday during a visit to Pakistan to celebrate the departure of Kaavan, dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant,” who is all set to leave an Islamabad zoo for a sanctuary in Cambodia.

Cher and other rights groups have for years lobbied for the better treatment and release of Kaavan, who has languished in the Islamabad zoo for 35 years. He was diagnosed by veterinarians as both overweight and malnourished earlier this year, and also suffers behavioral issues. He will leave for Cambodia on Sunday.

“Appreciating her efforts in retiring Kavan to an elephant sanctuary, the Prime Minister thanked Cher for her campaign and role in this regard,” a government handout said. “The Prime Minister observed that it was indeed a happy moment for all of us that after giving joy and happiness to the people of Islamabad and Pakistan for about 35 years, Kavan will now be able to retire with other elephants in a specialized sanctuary in Cambodia.”

Khan also invited the singer to contribute towards the government's initiative to expand its tourism and environmental programs, “to which she kindly agreed.”

“On this occasion, Cher applauded the Prime Minister for his government's key initiatives for ensuring a cleaner and greener Pakistan,” the statement added. “She also offered her support for furthering the green initiatives through her organization 'Free the Wild' and thanked the Prime Minister.”

Cher took up Kaavan’s cause and has been a loud voice advocating for his resettlement. Four Paws International, a Vienna-based animal welfare group, has also led the charge to save Kaavan and provided the medical treatment needed before he can travel. The battle for his relocation began in 2016.

Even after he’s in Cambodia, Kaavan will require years of physical and even psychological assistance, Four Paws' representatives have said.

Because of the abysmal living conditions blamed on systemic negligence, Pakistan’s high court in May ordered the closure of Marghazar Zoo in the capital of Islamabad, where Kaavan has lived for much of his life. A medical examination in September showed Kaavan’s nails were cracked and overgrown — the result of years of living in an improper enclosure with flooring that damaged his feet.

The elephant has also developed stereotypical behavior, shaking his head back and forth for hours, which the medical team of wildlife veterinarians and experts blamed on his utter boredom.

For the past three months, a Four Paws team including veterinarian Dr. Amil Khalil and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board has been readying Kaavan to leave. Members of the welfare group will also accompany him to the sanctuary.

Pakistani online marketplace raises $6.5 mln seed round, second largest in MENA

Updated 19 January 2021

Pakistani online marketplace raises $6.5 mln seed round, second largest in MENA

  • The round was co-led by Global Founders Capital and Indus Valley Capital
  • Saudi’s Derayah Ventures has also invested in Bazaar which connects retailers to wholesalers and manufacturers

ISLAMABAD: Bazaar, a Pakistani online marketplace that connects retailers directly to wholesalers and manufacturers, has raised a $6.5 million seed round, the second largest ever in the Middle East and North Africa region and the largest in Pakistan, one of the venture capital firms that invested in the project said on Tuesday. 
Last year, Bazaar raised $1.3 million in Pakistan’s largest ever pre-seed round. Co-founded by Saad Jangda and Hamza Jawaid in April 2020, Bazaar started a closed pilot in Karachi during extreme lockdown conditions because of the coronavirus pandemic when shorter working hours created major supply chain problems for retailers. 
“Congrats to @joinbazaar on raising a $6.5M seed round, the second largest ever in MENA and largest in Pakistan, co-led by @Global_Founders founder and @indusvalleycap,” Aatif Awan, the founder of Indus Valley Capital, said on Twitter. “Couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with them as they revolutionize the $150B retail industry in Pakistan.”

“Magic happens when smart ambitious founders take on huge markets. In just 8 months, Bazaar has built an incredible team and product, serving more than 10 thousand retailers every month.”
Awan, former VP of growth at LinkedIn, said when his firm first invested in Bazaar in May last year, they set ambitious targets for 2020. “They went on to crush those goals by 10x!” he added. 
He said it was exciting that so many investors had invested in Pakistan for the first time through the Bazaar deal, including early-stage VC S7V, Singapore-based Wavemaker Partners, Saudi Arabia’s Derayah Ventures and US-based NextBillion Ventures. 

“Bringing the fragmented B2B retail market online is one of the biggest startup opportunities in Pakistan. I have tracked it for over a year and have been waiting to back the right team to go after it,” Awan said in an interview last year. “Bazaar’s founding team is phenomenal on all fronts – product, strategy and execution. Indus Valley Capital is really excited to partner with them.”