Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Junior, the grandson of former Pakistani President and Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, has voiced distress over the killing of the endangered Indus River Dolphin. Bhutto Junior, a visual and performance artist and curator known for his advocacy for wildlife and climate justice, highlighted the incident in an emotional video statement on Instagram.

Recalling a letter written by his aunt, the late former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto following the death of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Bhutto Junior drew attention to his grandfather’s deep bond with the region of Sindh and its environment. The letter described Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as being akin to the River Indus – “strong and kind”. Bhutto Junior underscored his late grandfather’s efforts to protect the Indus River Dolphin, known locally as ‘Bhulan’, including imposing a hunting ban on the species.

Expressing deep sorrow, Bhutto Junior relayed the tragic news of a recent incident where an Indus River Dolphin was killed by hunters. He passionately asserted, “If you have killed one dolphin, it’s like you have killed a part of Sindh.” He pleaded with the culprits to refrain from such actions in the future, emphasizing the significance of the creatures and the importance of their preservation.


The Indus River Dolphin, or ‘Bhulan’, is a unique species of toothed whale endemic to the Indus River Basin in Pakistan and northwestern India. It is the first discovered side-swimming cetacean and is known for navigating and hunting through echolocation. Despite being the national mammal of Pakistan and the state aquatic animal of Punjab, India, its population has significantly declined due to human activities, including entanglement in fishing nets, water poisoning from industrial and agricultural chemicals, irrigation, and dam construction.

Protecting the remaining sub-populations is critical for the species’ long-term survival.