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‘Disturbing, disastrous’: TikTokers in Pakistan starting wildfires for videos

A video of Pakistani actor and TikToker Humaira Asghar has drawn flak on social media as she was shot walking in a silver ball gown in front of a forest fire raging behind her. Terming the social media trend of posing in front of wildfire disturbing and disastrous, the chairperson of the Islamabad Wildlife Management board said the actor should have been holding a bucket of water to extinguish the fire instead of glamourising it.

“This is a disturbing & disastrous trend on Tik Tok! Young people desperate 4 followers are setting fire to our forests during this hot & dry season! In Australia it is lifetime imprisonment for those who start wildfires. We need to introduce similar legislation @WildlifeBoard,” Rina S Khan tweeted.

This is a disturbing & disastrous trend on Tik Tok! Young people desperate 4 followers are setting fire to our forests during this hot & dry season! In Australia it is lifetime imprisonment for those who start wildfires. We need to introduce similar legislation ⁦@WildlifeBoard pic.twitter.com/RGMXnbG9f1 — Rina S Khan Satti (@rinasaeed) May 17, 2022

This, in Pakistan, has in fact become a trend as earlier this month a man was arrested in Abbottabad for intentionally starting a forest fire for the background of a video. However, Asghar clarified that she did not start the fire and there was no harm in making videos.

Those who set fire to forests don’t realise damage they do to wildlife! It is breeding season for birds in Margallahs right now & their ground nests destroyed by fire, can’t even escape! Here’s video sent by KP forest dept after recent fires in Haripur side ⁦@WildlifeBoard⁩ pic.twitter.com/o172HL4oyz — Rina S Khan Satti (@rinasaeed) May 17, 2022

Pakistan is the eighth most vulnerable country to extreme weather caused by climate change and temperatures have pealed 51 degrees celsius in parts of Pakistan in recent days. Forest fires are common from mid-April through to the end of July caused by the increase in temperature.

Pakistani media reported a video of two people set a forest on fire at Margalla Hills for the TikTok video surfaced where they could be seen setting the forest on fire with a lighter.

TikTok has released an official statement and said any content that violates guidelines and promotes dangerous and illegal behaviour is not allowed. “…any content that promotes dangerous or illegal behaviour would be a violation of our community guidelines and is not allowed on our platform. We work to either remove, limit, or label content that depicts dangerous or illegal acts. We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and encourage everyone to exercise caution and responsibility in their behaviour whether online or off,” the statement said.

(With agency inputs)

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Desk Team