Alternative entertainment: May the best bird win

All-Pakistan Partridge Tournament was held in DI Khan city.

Zulfiqar Ali June 09, 2013
The partridges were judged according to their distinctive call. PHOTO: EXPRESS

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: With around 500 partridges in attendance, the annual All-Pakistan Partridge Tournament concluded in DI Khan city on Sunday. The tournament attracted partridge owners and spectators from across the country.

“I have been in DI Khan for the last two days and have brought my taroo (black partridge),” said Muhammad Irfan Khan, a resident of Bannu. “I have come here despite the extreme heat....I have come here to win a prize.”

Irfan added the two-day competition was free and fair, with no chance of cheating as, he says, the method of judging leaves no room for error. He was also keen on sharing his views about the bird. “I always keep a partridge with myself because I am fond of them. I have spent most of my life caring for these birds.” According to Irfan, fighting partridges can cost anywhere between Rs10, 000 and Rs300, 000.

Umar Daraz, another participant from North Waziristan, said he was proud to participate in the competition. “It is a sign of good luck when kept at home,” he claimed, adding taming the bird discouraged one from immoral activities. “I spend two to three hours a day taking care of my partridge’s diet and exercise.”

The partridges, birds from the pheasant family, were judged according to their distinctive call and the length of time they can cry for. The birds were divided into groups of five with a single judge for each group. Those partridges that did not make any sound, or made sounds that were lower in volume as compared to the others, were eliminated from the competition. This process was repeated until eventually the competition’s winners were decided.

Three winners were selected. Cash prizes of Rs10,000 and a trophy was awarded to the partridge owner securing first place, Rs6,000 to second place and Rs3,000 to third place. Malik Qayum Nawaz Hasam, a socialite from DI Khan, was the chief guest at the event and presented the awards. Several government officials were also in attendance.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2013.


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