Hide collection a chronic conflict in Karachi | Pakistan Today

Hide collection a chronic conflict in Karachi

KARACHI: A mucky mixture of blood and water fills the streets and the smell of raw meat permeates the air. People, including children, delightfully gather to witness the scenes which are enough to give long-lasting nightmares to a person. And if you are lucky, someone won’t dump offal outside your home.
Yes the occasion was Eidul Azha and it was celebrated in a typical fashion this year. But buying sacrificial animals at the prices at which you can buy a car and then spending the entire Eid day requesting the butcher to come over to your place so that you could fulfill the religious obligation aren’t the only things that are associated with this festival.
This Eid also paves way for a unique battle in Karachi a battle for animals’ hides. The activists of political parties gear up for this event as if it were a do-or-die situation and are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure they fetch the maximum number of hides.
After all, this is a very lucrative business. It’s a game of millions, if not of billions, and the stakes are high. The hide-collecting season means big money for religious organisations as well and their members also join the hunt.
The competition is tough and, understandably, the blood of sacrificial animals is not the only one to spill during the Eid days. An activist of the All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organisation – the student wing of the MQM and two residents of Lyari were killed over hides in Karachi this Eid.
Who killed them? There are only allegations. Would the killers be arrested? There are no chances. Many others were also injured in separate incidents of violence involving hides.
In a city where constant fighting goes on for territorial control and land grabbing and extortion rights, a war for animals’ hides is not strange. A worthless code of conduct for hide collection that is issued prior to Eidul Azha is as futile an exercise as it could be because nobody cares about it. In most areas of the city, hides are booked even before a person has bought an animal.
Almost nobody dares to defy the dominating political party in their area. On Eid, their activists can be seen prowling the streets of residential areas on motorcycles, keeping an eye out for sacrifices taking place in the area and those which are still pending.

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