A Pakistani social media activist with millions of followers is facing criticism after posing for a TikTok video at a forest fire as a devastating heat wave causes widespread misery in the country.
Humaira Asghar posted a track of herself playfully walking in a silver ball gown in front of a burning hill with the caption: “Fire bursts out wherever I am.”
This comes after police arrested a man in the northwestern city of Abbottabad earlier this month for deliberately starting a forest fire as a background for a video.
This Pakistani ticker set the forest on fire for 15 seconds video.
– Discover Pakistan ???????? | (اکستان (@PakistanNature) 17 May 2022
Temperatures have reached a peak of 51 degrees Celsius in parts of Pakistan in recent days, leaving the poor and vulnerable struggling to beat the heat in the impoverished country.
Ms Asghar, who has more than 11 million followers on TikTok, said in a statement released by an assistant that she did not start the fire and that there was “no harm in making videos”.
The track has since been removed.
“She should have held a bucket of water to put out the fire instead of glorifying it,” Rina Saeed Khan Satti, an environmental activist and chair of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, told AFP.
The group said at least one other fire had started in the hills around the Pakistani capital this week for a social media video.
“The message that these videos send is too risky and it needs to be contained,” Ms Satti said.
One comment below Ms Asghar’s video on TikTok said her actions were “mere ignorance and madness”.
Pakistan is the eighth most vulnerable country to extreme weather caused by climate change, according to the Global Climate Risk Index compiled by NGO Germanwatch.
But experts say there is a lack of awareness among the population about environmental issues.
Forest fires are common from mid-April to late July, caused by sharp temperatures and lightning as well as slash-and-burn farming.
TikTok is widely used by young people in Pakistan and videos often get hundreds of thousands of likes
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