Militants in Peshawar have been taking the hides of sacrificial animals and robbing people, despite the adding of 2,000 police officers and Frontier Constabulary officials to protect people during Eid-ul-Azha.
“They came in pickups and took as many as possible. The suspects managed to flee before the police arrived,” said one villager to The Express Tribune.
The armed men are thought to be from militant organization Lashkar-e-Islam, although some police officers believe they are just locals involved in the selling of hides.
According to neighbours, the men warned people not to donate the hides and took with them around 60 in three days.
“It is an easy source of income for both criminals and militants; they also forced Afghan refugees who celebrated Eid a day earlier to handover the hides they had collected,” a policeman said.
Peshawar is the administrative centre and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan governed by Pakistan’s federal government but with a special set of laws.
During Eid-ul-Azha, Muslims follow their prayers with the slaughtering of cattle to honour the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his promised son Ishmael.
The meat from the sacrificed animal is divided into three parts: the family keeps one third, another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbours and the other third is given to those in need.
In Pakistan alone, nearly 10 million animals are slaughtered on Eid days costing over US$3 billion