RAWALPINDI: People of twin cities headed to parks and picnic spots on Eid days to enjoy the holidays.
The main rush came in the evening after the sacrificial animals had been slaughtered and meat cut, packed and distributed.
The first shock picnickers got was Rs30 parking fee, peoples’ entry was free but not the vehicles.
Ayub Park, Jinnah Park, Allama Iqbal Park, Potohar Park and Rumi Park were bustling with fun-lovers. Others headed to Patriaya Char lift, Rawal Dam, Daman-e-Koh and Murree as part of their Eid celebrations. However, over charging, sale of substandard food items and non-availability of quality products remained a major cause of concern for public. The vendors also took full advantage of the situation as the concerned authorities failed to control the quality and rates of the commodities being sold there.
Adults and children were charged Rs50 and Rs30 respectively for entry in Jungle Kingdom Ayub Park. However, children were overjoyed enjoying their turns in different rides at amusement parks.
Many families had brought their food along for picnic. The security of parks remained high alert and guards kept making rounds inside them to keep an eye on any nefarious activity while closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras were installed at entry and exits gates of all parks.
The second day of Eid-ul-Azha was also celebrated with great enthusiasm on Tuesday amid arranging parties with mouth-watering dishes and distributing the sacrificial animal meat among the poor and relatives.
Those who could not slaughter their animals on first day of Eid due to engagement of butchers or some other reasons would continue the practice on second and third day.
Families and youngsters are arranging special barbecue parties on rooftops, green lawns and open air places as well other picnicspots, for their friends and family members.
Some of families and youngsters, on second day of Eid-ul-Azha thronged public parks, open air spaces and hill sides and arranged barbecue parties that filled the air with the smokedaroma of grilled food.
Barbecue parties are considered to be the perfect way to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha, as meat of different varieties is easily available to everyone.
This second major festival brings scrumptious and delicious dishes of meat for food lovers, and almost every family arranges parties with mouth watering recipes.
A student, Ibrahim Ahmed Bhatti said: “Such parties not only give us an opportunity to enjoy Eid with loved-ones, but also give us a chance to taste different types of dishes made of sacrificial meat.”
Week-long holidays along with the pleasant weather, especially in the morning with light rain on Tuesday have added charm to Eid festivities as I can enjoy delicious meat dishes with my family and friends,” he said.
“I have a great time when all family members, relatives and friends enjoy food and gossip on Eid,” said Abdullah Bhatti, enjoying at a barbecue party. Eidul Azha comes once a year and the tradition of sharing meat with neighbours and the needy gives everyone a chance to store some meat for the coming days to eat and serve guests.
Overcharging by butchers
On second day of Eidul Azha, the rates of butchers dropped down substantially from Rs15,000 for a bull to Rs10,000 and less than Rs3,000 for goats and sheep.
On day one however, they were charging more than Rs15,000 for cows and bulls and over Rs3,500 for goat5s and sheep. All the well-known butchers had been booked by the VIPs of the twin cities, or doing sacrifices at their own homes. The rest did roaring business. Even tea sellers and cobblers become butchers on Eid.
Professional and non-professional butchers did roaring business in the federal capital and the garrison city and fleeced public for an early booking on first day of Eid-ul-Azha.
People headed to Rawalpindi and Islamabad droves carrying knives and cleavers to make money from Eid “season”. Citizens engaging seasonal butchers end up happy for paying less but decry the mess they make of the meat.
Hawkers offering knife-sharpening service were also witnessed roaming around the streets and roads and earned good business.
Public visit graveyards
All 66 graveyards in Rawalpindi were infused with scent of rose petals as people headed to visit their late beloved ones on first day of Eidul Azha.
However, they had to face the inflation there too as a kilogramme (kg) of rose petals was being sold for as much as Rs.350, relatively 10-15 percent higher than Eid-ul Fitr.
A number of stalls selling rose petals, garlands, joss sticks and other related equipment outside graveyards were also making use of opportunity to fleece public.
The vendors charged Rs.250 for a mid-sized and wreath and as much as Rs.1000 for a larger one.
Hike in commodities
The arrival of Eid-ul-Azha came along with high prices of vegetables and dairy items. As per prices recorded on the night before Eid, shaver chicken was being sold in Rs240/kg, which the highest this year.
However, the public rushed to chicken meat shops and bought it despite hiked prices while the shops remained closed on first two days of Eid. The prices of vegetables excessively used to marinade of barbeque meat such as green chilies, tomatoes, mint and coriander were also inflated.
Green chilies were selling hot for Rs100/kg, tomatoes for Rs120/kg, a bunch of coriander for Rs30 and lemon for Rs150/kg.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2019.