As people celebrate Eid, one hopes that they have thought about keeping safety at the forefront while looking after sacrificial animals and also acting carefully afterwards.
With Eidul Azha comes the influx of animals on the city’s streets, irrespective of the fact that each year the city administration announces that no animals will be allowed to enter city limits and all animal markets will be outside the city. Sprawling markets are set up outside city limits, often in areas where no utility infrastructure exists. With business hours extending late into the night, these markets are lit through makeshift electricity systems powered by generators and a cobweb of poorly joined electrical wires and illegally strung lights.
The past few years Eidul Azha has been coinciding with the monsoon season. Without proper logistics in place, rainwater accumulates in the markets making it laborious to visit and purchase animals. Furthermore, the standing water and makeshift electricity setups pose a serious hazard to animals and people alike. Pakistan is also experiencing yet another resurgence in the cases of Covid-19, and it is imperative that we follow safety protocols and social distance to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe on this joyous occasion.
A large section of the population does not have enough space within the boundary walls of their premises and as such they tie their animals outside. The roads of Karachi are already in tatters, and it is frustrating to see people hammer nails in some recently carpeted roads to prop up their tents. Some people even go overboard and tie their animals with electricity poles risking the life of their animal and posing a threat to the electricity supply of their area. In many areas of Karachi, the temporary sheds and tents erected to keep animals safe from the weather are illuminated leftover by lights and bulbs set up by local electricians who do not ensure that the wires are properly insulated. In some cases, people may even resort to usage of kundas and other illegal methods to light these setups, which can create safety hazards during inclement weather.
While looking after their animals, both buyers and sellers only care about the animals but no one cares about the surroundings. Dodder, plastic bags etc are disposed of carelessly which threatens to choke drains and these choked drains spill sewerage water on the streets, spreading various diseases.
It is disturbing to note that the phenomenon of using electric poles for hanging animals is prevalent in Lahore and other parts of the country as well. The ground clearance of poles mounted transformers in Lahore is much lower than Karachi and makes this practice more dangerous there.
Karachi often has rain in the month of July. In this situation, in case of rain, spilling water from choked nullahs will cause inconvenience for people and also cause a hindrance in the smooth supply of utilities.
The dynamics of today’s Karachi are different from the Karachi of the past. Today a large number of the population reside in apartment complexes or in small houses in unplanned settlements, which are reported to make up as much as 50 percent of the city. Streets have become narrow as people have encroached some parts of the streets also. During Eidul Azha season, when animals are tied on streets, it becomes almost impossible for fire tenders, ambulances, KE vehicles and other utilities to enter these streets in case of an emergency.
In the best interest of the city, where infrastructure is in a dilapidated condition, water scarcity is common, sewerage system is dicey and problems are infinite, we as citizens can save ourselves a lot of hassle by opting to carry out sacrifices at allocated places instead of doing it at our doorsteps and thus leave a trail of unhygienic residue around the city.
More and more professional butchers are now opting to sacrifice animals at their own shops; we also know that butchers loitering on the roads are mostly fake and may make a mess of their task while sacrificing the animal.
I love Eidul Azha festivities and the parties that follow, and I take personal interest in buying and caring for animals. For the last few years, I have been regularly taking my animals to the neighborhood butcher for the sacrifice and this hassle-free option is now my preferred choice.
It is observed that after Eidul Azha, many streets become inaccessible as offal and other body parts of animals are spread on the roads and the organizations responsible for cleaning the city are unable to work swiftly.
As a resident of Karachi, I strongly recommend that until the government sets up dedicated sacrificial areas, people should simply take their animals to a butcher shop in their area and get them sacrificed. This act will save the individual from hassle and keep the city clean and keep its infrastructure intact.
It is vital that the current generation follows the best practices and sets an example for their future generations. Reforming behaviors is a slow process, but every small action contributes towards the overall goal.
The writer is a publicist.
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