PESHAWAR: It is believed in Pukhtun culture that fish should not be eaten or caught during the months that do not have the alphabet ‘r’ in them — May, June, July and August — because they have warm weather.
In the past, elders of a tribe would tell people to avoid fishing in the rivers across the province because water level rises during these months, in summer. This practice continues to date.
Subsequently, the sale of fish diminishes during the season. However, as the mercury drops, sale of fish surges.
“The number of customers is increasing with each passing day,” Anwar Ali, owners of a hotel by Indus River in Swabi, told The Express Tribune over the phone. “We have expanded our seating arrangement and repaired our huts – we are able to make Rs30,000 every day with the sales.”
He added if it is a weekend, it becomes difficult for them to accommodate people.
It is not only Ali’s hotel where construction was under way to improve the space for the growing number of customers. There are other huts as well that were being repaired.
“The demand of the dam and pond fishes will surge in September, October and December,” said Nawab, a contractor who supplies fish from Tarbela Dam. “To meet the demand, we also import a variety of fishes from Karachi, which is the biggest market for fish in the country.”
It is obvious that when the demand is high, the prices of fish also increase – even the prices of spices and other ingredients used to cook fish, go up. “If the A category of spices is for Rs1,000 when the demand is not high, then it goes up to as high as Rs1,500 when the fish season starts,” Nawab said. “These days the B category of spices is available for Rs1,200.”
Besides Swabi, in Peshawar ice-cream parlours have turned into hotels and they will stay like this for the rest of the season. “We have a variety of fishes in Peshawar,” Wajid Hussain an importer of fish, told The Express Tribune. “From Warsak Dam we have malai, from Swabi we have chakli and the famous sher mahi and trout are from the upper area of Malakand.”
However, he added, mostly people demand fish from Indus River or Tarbela Dam, which tastes the best. The new season sees picnic points mushrooming by Indus and Kabul rivers. Even the streets of Peshawar wake up to life after the scorching summer heat subsides.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2016.
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