Forget Malik, collect hides but inform us first

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Putting aside Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s recommendation, the Sindh government has decided to allow the politico-religious parties to collect hides of sacrificial animals during Eidul Azha but seeking prior permission from the authorities concerned, Pakistan Today has learnt. In August, the interior minister had requested all political parties in Sindh, especially in Karachi, to stop collecting sacrificial animal skins, zakat or fitrana in an attempt to root out the extortion groups. Well-placed sources told Pakistan Today that the Sindh Home Department has instructed the politico-religious parties wanting to collect the sacrificial animals’ hides during Eidul Azha to seek a formal written permission either from the department or from the office of the Karachi district coordination officer (DCO).
The home department officials had recently held a meeting with representatives from all political and religious parties and different non-government organisations (NGOs) on the issue. The meeting was also attended by deputy inspector generals of the three zones of Karachi and law enforcement agencies’ officials. The overall situations that arise during the Eid over the collection of hides were discussed in detail during the meeting such as hide snatching, brawls among collectors and forced collection of hides during the three days. The forced collection of animal hides has always remained a major issue and sometimes results in loss of lives also.
Under the ‘Code of Conduct’ for animal hide collection, the politico-religious parties and NGOs will have to apply for a formal permission in written from the Sindh Home Department or DCO Karachi before November 2 and only the registered applicants allowed to collect animal hides during Eid.
No collection points would be allowed to be set up in any area of the city and the use of loudspeakers by any party whether in mosques, seminaries or offices would not be tolerated. No one would be allowed to collect animal hides through door-to-door visits.
The home department also advised that representatives of political-religious groups or the NGOs should carry copies of their Computerised National Identity Cards and the permission letter obtained from the department or DCO office; otherwise the law enforcers would have the right to confiscate the hides collected by them. During the three days of Eidul Azha, carrying of licensed or unlicensed weapons, sticks and iron rods would be banned and to ensure implementation on the government’s order, snap checking would be carried out by the law enforcement agencies.
Foolproof security would be provided to the vehicles shifting animal hides from one place to another and all organisations should provide the details required to the concerned town police officers or supervisory police officers by November 2. The sources, however, said that the move is expected to trigger violence in the city – as in the past – during the three days of Eid, besides creating a sense of fear among the citizens because activists of political and religious parties frequently scuffle over the collection of hides.