Religious groups fight social workers for animal hides on Eid


LAHORE: Besides the traditional festivities and the observance of the sacrifice ritual, this Eidul Azha also witnessed a severe cold war between the religious parties and humanitarian organisations for the collection of animal hide.
According to sources, more than 50 percent of the hides collected were given to religious groups, including banned outfits, which continue to operate in the city despite the fact that the government had announced a zero tolerance policy for the aforesaid groups.
Earlier, a Pakistan Today report exposed the Punjab government’s inability to keep the banned outfits away from collecting the hides. According to sources, the public still had a soft corner for the banned organisations because of their recent humanitarian work in the flood-hit areas. Ali Sheikh, a resident of Muslim Town, said, “As the sacrifice is a religious obligation, therefore it’s our duty to give the hides of the animals to the religious groups.”
Another prevailing trend in the city was the competitive struggle between sectarian groups of the same area in collecting hides, as the prayer leaders at the majority of mosques persistently asked the public to donate the hides to them in the Eid prayer sermons as well as the Friday prayer sermon before Eid.
The Jamia Naeema spokesman Ziaul Haq told Pakistan Today that the seminaries needed all financial aid they could get even if it was in the form of hide collection. The salary of the Shikul Hadees – head teacher of Hadees – was not even Rs 10,000, he added.
However, Zia continued, the madrassah’s needs were not greater than the flood victims of the country, which was why “We informed our donors that they have an option to either donate the hide to the flood victims or to the madrassah as we made special arrangements for collecting hides for the flood victims on our own, as well as through the platform of the Tahaffuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat.”
A student, Mudassir Jamil, said that helping the flood victims through the donation of animal hide must be the foremost priority of every Pakistani. He criticised the role of those religious groups who were forcing people to donate the hides to them.
Unaffected: Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital (SKCH) Public Relations Officer Khawaja Nazir said that the religious outfits’ hide-collection campaign had not harmed the hospital’s efforts at all as their collection had been bigger than last year.
“We were not anticipating collecting even 40,000 hides but the figure crossed 45,000 this year, which is overwhelming,” he said.