Varsity-cum-cattle farm


University of Karachi (KU), which is among the country’s top higher educational institutions, has turned into small cattle farms.
Taking advantage of the huge area allotted to the university, some employees of the varsity have started raising sacrificial animals to be sold on the Muslim religious occasion of Eidul Azha. The varsity, which had a large stretches of seldom utilised land, had enough grass and bushes to provide nourishment to the sacrificial animals.
Sources said that some varsity employees got contracts of sacrificial animals, including goats and bulls, from outside financers against huge amount of money and breed the cattle inside university premises all year round. Later, these animals were sold in cattle markets on the eve of Eidul Azha. As soon as Eidul Azha passed, the varsity employees would receive new animals after renewal of contract for another year.
This practice had been going on inside the university since the last many years and now many small cattle farms had emerged in the province’s highly dependable public sector educational institutions.
“Breeding of sacrificial animals in KU is low cost,” a lower grade employee, who wished not to be named, told Pakistan Today. “There is always grass and bushes in the varsity which is more than enough for raising sacrificial animals,” he added.
“I have seven goats, which were given to me by different people residing outside the varsity, for breeding,” he said, while adding that they gave him Rs 1,500 per animal per month.” “They take away their sacrificial animals on the eve of Eidul Azha and afterwards they leave new animals at my house,” he said.
“I have five children and I have assigned the responsibility of looking after these animals to my eldest son, he said, adding that he had only seven animals but there were some varsity employees who were running proper cattle farms and supplied their cattle to some renowned farmers who would in turn book their stalls in Asia’s biggest cattle market on the eve Eidul Azha.
What’s wrong if we have sacrificial animals at our houses,” said another employee of the varsity who was also involved in the business of cattle farming. “The varsity has allocated us houses and if we breed animals then the university management has nothing to do with us,” he added.
“I have more than a dozen goats and they consume grass and bushes that grow up after monsoon rains, but they do not damage the varsity property,” he said, while adding that, “I sell these animals in the market on Eidul Azha to earn some money as my monthly salary is not enough to cater to the needs of my family for an entire year.”
“I have three bulls too but I have shifted them outside the varsity a few days ago under pressure of varsity officials to take them out of the university for a few days,” he claimed.
“Some varsity professors have concerns with our business but I want to let you know that some varsity teachers also leave their sacrificial animals at our houses,” he alleged.
“Two months ago a meeting took place under the auspices of KU vice chancellor (VC) and the VC directed the registrar to issue notices to the officials concerned and remove cattle farms from the varsity,” said Faculty of Management and Administrative Sciences Dean Prof Dr Abuzar Wajidi.
“The decision was taken in KU House Allotment Committee of which I am in-charge too and it was strictly ordered by the VC to remove cattle farms from the varsity premises immediately,” Dr Wajidi said, while adding that he had no idea whether the cattle farms have been removed or not.
“One cattle farm was identified in the varsity and it was removed and now there is no cattle farm in KU,” claimed VC Advisor on Security Affairs Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi. “A driver of KU transport was running a cattle farm in his house which was removed on the VC’s directives,” he added.
When he was asked about the rise in the number of goats and sheep inside the varsity premises, he said some individuals were raising sacrificial animals at their houses which although was in violation of the rules, but the varsity management could do nothing in this regard.