By Zia Ur Rehman


KARACHI – The government is taking steps to limit clashes between political and religious parties and has barred outlawed militant outfits from collecting the hides of sacrificial animals to ensure peace during Eid ul Adha, which Pakistan will observe November 7-9.

“A war for animals’ hides is not strange in Karachi, where constant fighting goes on for territorial control, land grabs and extortion rights,” Ashraf Siddique, a city district government official, told Central Asia Online.Three people were killed and about 10 injured last year in clashes over hide collection, he said.Security experts are also concerned about the money militant groups stand to make collecting donations and sacrificial animals’ skins.
“As hide collection … is a very lucrative business (worth) millions of rupees, the activists of political and religious parties – including banned militant organisations – … are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure they fetch the maximum number of hides,” Siddique said.Any political or religious party member caught stealing sacrificial animal hides on Eid ul Adha will be arrested and tried by the Anti-Terrorism Court, Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan warned.
Rather than sell the hide of a sacrificial animal to a commercial buyer, many people prefer to donate it to help a charity or support a political party.

During a high-level meeting of political parties and NGOs October 31, all political parties agreed on precautionary measures meant for Karachi, he said.

“Any political party or organisation must seek permission from the Sindh Home Department or the concerned district co-ordination officer to collect the hides of sacrificial animals on Eid, (and) only registered parties would be allowed to collect hides,” Wassan said. Also, nobody will be allowed to carry arms during the three-day holiday.

Militant groups try to skirt rules : 

Banned militant organisations linked with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and al-Qaeda pose as welfare organisations, Central Asia Online has learned. Banners and posters appealing for hide donations have appeared in different areas of Karachi.

“A government ban of these jihadi organisations merely led to them to operate under different names,” said Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.

The fictitious charity foundations serving militant causes create problems for law enforcement agencies, he said.

But recent restrictions have generally shown some success, security analysts say, notably in that security agents have removed banners and posters soliciting hide donations to benefit banned groups.

“With the restrictions imposed by the government barring outfits from collecting hides freely, not many banners and posters appealing for hides (have been) seen in Karachi,” Muhammad Karim, an aid worker, told Central Asia Online recently.

“The role of such militant charity organisations is a serious issue because many of them are based on spreading militancy via supporting terrorism financially,” he said.

The government will not allow outfits to collect animal hides during Eid, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said.

Government efforts to prevent illegal hide collection

“We will (monitor) the activities of these outlawed organisations during Eid days,” Malik told journalists in Karachi October 28, adding that unlike past years, authorities also will try to prevent their attempts to collect hides.

The Punjab government plans a similar ban.

Banned outfits will not be allowed to set up camps in the provincial capital or elsewhere to collect sacrificial hides, The Nation reported October 31.

Banned groups include Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Tehreek Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi, Tehreek-e-Jaferia Pakistan, Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan, Khuddam-ul-Islam, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jamiat-ul-Ansaar, Jamaat-ul-Furqan, Khair-ul-Nisa International Trust, the TTP and the Jammat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the report added.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has also imposed a ban on collection of hides during Eid. The authorities have also banned storage of animal hides inside city limits. They issued the order to protect public health and to thwart militants from collecting hides, Central Asia Online reported October 31.