KARACHI: The numbers are still coming in, but so far, roughly 0.4 million hides have been collected from sacrifices made this Eidul Azha. If each hide fetches Rs2,500, that comes to a total of one billion rupees.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Mustafa Kamal, who oversees the affairs of the party’s Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation, cryptically declined to share how many they had in hand. “All I can say is that we have collected much more than what we raised last year,” he said. “As a matter of fact, last year’s figure was crossed by the end of the first day of Eid (November 7).”
However, party sources said that up till now, the MQM has counted over 100,000 hides of goats and cows. The number is likely to go up as information trickles in from different party offices, they said.
Kamal explained that the hides are auctioned off to different contractors even before the collection began. “Our boys bring them to a central point from where the buyers take them away.” The hides eventually end up at the tanneries.
Jamaat-e-Islami’s welfare organisation, Al Khidmat, said that it has collected 35,000 hides, which were also auctioned. “There are still some more in the pipeline as the collection drive is still on,” said a spokesman.
The JI received the best response from Malir and its surrounding areas, he said. “Interestingly, hardly any clash took place with the MQM,” he remarked. “If we had known about the MQM’s laidback attitude, we would have been more aggressive.”
Indeed, this year, the police patted themselves on the back as no major outbreaks of violence were reported in fighting over the precious hides. “This year broke all records because no big incident was reported,” remarked SSP Javed Alam Odho. “Whatever one or two skirmishes were reported were small. And for the other complaints people managed to solve them on their own.”
The biggest report came from Block 14 in Gulistan-e-Jauhar where at least a dozen armed men stormed into a seminary in order to take the hides. But this was disputed by the police who said that there was an attempt but it was unsuccessful. The madrassa didn’t even want to register a case.
People who run tanneries say Karachi sees a sale of 500,000 to 700,000 hides every Eid. Many mosques and madrassas gear up well before the Eid. “I give it to the mosque,” said Shahid Ahmed, a resident of Gulshan-e-Iqbal. “At least, I know it will be used to pay for the lodging and expenses of poor students learning the Holy Quran.”
The Dawat-e-Islami did not say how many hides it had collected this year. The Sunni Tehreek gave the number of 6,260, a little more than the 5,000 it collected last year. Edhi volunteers appeared disappointed at its 5,000. “Well, what can I say? When political and religious groups force people to donate the hides a day before the Eid, who would give anything to us,” said Anwar Kazmi, an Edhi spokesman.
The city government managed to do relatively well when it came to cleaning up. Karachi DCO Roshan Ali Shaikh said the city had buried 940,879 offal of sacrificial animals in 24 trenches after collecting them from 103 collection points. They received 1,446 complaints from the public.
On the first day, 476,413 offal were lifted. North Nazimabad town recorded the maximum number of 56,000. On the second day, 319,095 offal were buried and Saddar town lifted the maximum number (29,941). On the third day, 145,371 offal were picked up by 6 pm.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2011.
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