With Eidul Azha around the corner, many makeshift cattle markets have cropped up across the city for the sale of sacrificial animals, occupying residential spaces and stifling the mobility of residents.
This year, Sohrab Goth Maweshi Mandi - considered to be the largest cattle market in Pakistan - has been set up in front of housing societies located in Scheme-33.
However, the sprawling cattle market has crept into the heart of the locality, creating gridlocks for motorists and making it impossible for the residents of the housing societies to reach their own homes without having passes issued to them by the market's administration.
"They have set up the market at the very entrance and have started misbehaving with residents and the visitors alike," Ajmal, chairperson of Muslmanan-e-Punjab, a housing society, told The Express Tribune.
"They are forcing upon us hefty charges for parking and accessing our own homes which is absolutely illegal," Ajmal added.
To cover the costs of the guards deployed at all entry and exit points guarding the market boundary, the organisers demand an entry pass that costs Rs6000.
Last year, the Sindh High Court had issued a stay order restraining the market's administration from putting up stalls near the housing societies but spotty law enforcement has only emboldened the impunity with which organisers take up spaces.
"Every year we are told that the cattle market will be shifted somewhere else, but it never happens," Ajmal added.
Residents have warned that they will stage a sit-in on the highway if the shelters are not removed. Several complaints have also been lodged at the prime minister's Pakistan Citizen's Portal (PCP) but all in vain.
Kokab Baig, a resident of the society, said the organisers have erected barriers on the road leading to the society and it is "manned by uncivilised staff, which routinely misbehaves with the residents".
Voicing anger, another resident, Asif Jahangir, said that his son's wedding ceremony was scheduled to take place on July 25 but in light of the heedless expansion of the market and its interferences, he is concerned whether guests to the wedding ceremony will be permitted to the venue.
"People are already being stopped for identification and search. I fear wedding guests will also be troubled," Jahangir said.
The situation is expected to get worse once the number of visitors drastically increases in the days leading up to Eidul Azha. The residents are bracing for large crowds thronging to the cattle market.
"It is just the beginning," Salman, a resident, expressed apprehension. "We are going to face more troubles when more buyers flock to the market," he added.
Another, resident Munawar was of the view that setting up a cattle market right in front of the residential area would turn the area into a pile of garbage, "which could lead to the spread of various diseases".
Heated confrontations between inconvenienced residents of the locality and the guards of the cattle market have also broken out.
However, shrugging off the growing concerns of the residents, Yawar Chawla, media manager of the cattle market, said: "Residents will have to endure a month of trouble".
Chawla said he was in contact with the representatives of housing societies and would resolve the issues. "Passes will be issued to residents 10 days prior to Eid to ensure uninterrupted access".
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2021.
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