A Pakistani TikToker with millions of followers is facing severe criticism for filming in front of a forest fire amid one of South Asia’s intense heat waves.
Humaira Asghar has been accused of starting a forest fire in Margalla Hills National Park in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The online star, known to her 11.5 million TikTok followers as Dolly, can be seen in her now-deleted TikTok video walking in front of a burning hillside while dressed in a silver ball gown.
“Fire erupts wherever I am,” Asghar wrote in the video’s caption.
Rina Saeed Khan Satti, an environmental activist and chairperson of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, criticized Asghar in a tweet on Tuesday. She also said that Pakistan should have much stricter legislation against those who start wildfires.
“This is a disturbing & disastrous trend on Tik Tok! Young people desperate [for] followers are setting fire to our forests during this hot and dry season,” Satti wrote. “In Australia it is lifetime imprisonment for those who start wildfires. We need to introduce similar legislation.”
“She should have been holding a bucket of water to extinguish the fire instead of glamorizing it,” Satti told Agence France-Presse. “The message these videos is sending is too risky and it needs to be contained.”
In a statement released through her assistant, Asghar explained that she did not start the wildfire and claimed that there was “no harm in making videos.” Asghar also took to Instagram on Wednesday to deny the accusations stating that she filmed in a national park.
“As you can clearly see in this video the billboard indicates the place which is motorway and NOT National Park Kohsar,” Asghar wrote in her post’s caption. “Listen to the person in this video carefully so that you know the reality. I expect justice.”
Wildfires are common in Pakistan from mid-April up to late July. The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) reported a blazing temperature of 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in the city of Jacobabad in Sindh Province on Friday. Meanwhile, Islamabad and other cities such as Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar recorded temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).