Pakistani fights police over 40-foot shark

Qasim Khan waged the unlikeliest of battles with Pakistani authorities on Thursday over the right to charge hundreds of curious visitors 20 rupees each to see a roughly 40-foot whale shark he bought from a fisherman.

Khan is in the business of buying fish, albeit usually much smaller ones, and jumped at the chance on Tuesday to pay about $2,200 for the 20-ton behemoth, which was discovered dead in the Arabian Sea off Karachi.

Business was brisk on Wednesday, as several thousand people paid to see the brown and white-spotted shark, which Khan set up under a cloth tent next to the harbour. People crowded around to put their hands on the massive shark, and families snapped their picture with it — ignoring the pungent smell as it began to rot.

But police cracked down on Thursday, saying fishery authorities had decided people should be allowed to see the shark for free. Khan resisted and hid his prize attraction under the giant piece of green cloth he had previously used as a tent. Finally, the authorities impounded the stinking giant whale shark from Khan.

“Around 4000 people visited our site to see this unique shark and we are doing nothing but fair business. But today the police has tried to snatch this way from us. We will even go to court if necessary,” he said.

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