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Pakistani man fights police over 40-foot shark

Remember the shark the size of a school bus that starred on PhotoBlog Tuesday? Well, it's back... and it's causing a stir. 

Fareed Khan / AP

Visitors surround the carcass of a whale shark in Karachi, Pakistan, on Feb 9, 2012. 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.

Ashraf Khan of The Associated Press takes up the story:

KARACHI, Pakistan — Qasim Khan waged the unlikeliest of battles with Pakistani authorities Thursday over the right to charge hundreds of curious visitors 20 rupees (22 cents) 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 the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

Business was brisk 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 harbor. 

But police cracked down 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.

Fareed Khan / AP

A boy peeks inside a tent where the carcass was being kept. One visitor, 9-year-old Fizza Umar, said "It was so huge! I wish I could take it home."


Shakil Adil / AP

A man sells tickets to people eager to see the shark.

The move sparked a comic game of cat and mouse between Khan and the police. They would order him to remove the cover, which he would do briefly before replacing it. Then the cycle would start over again.

Khan countered by saying he paid 200,000 rupees for it. "To recover my cost I am charging just 20 rupees per ticket, but the forsaken fishery authorities have deprived me of this fortune," he said. Read the full story.

Fareed Khan / AP

Some in the crowd were upset to see people climbing all over the shark. "This is sheer disrespect for animals," said 20-year-old nursing student Usman Zada.