Sacrifices decline by 28% to 5.8 million animals in Pakistan this Eid Al-Adha

A customer (R) checks a cow at a cattle market set up for the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival or the Festival of Sacrifice in Karachi on July 10, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Sacrifices decline by 28% to 5.8 million animals in Pakistan this Eid Al-Adha

  • 8.1 million animals were sacrificed last year, national tanners association says 
  • Coronavirus lockdowns, movement restrictions and weakening purchasing power have caused decline

KARACHI: Pakistanis sacrificed around 5.8 million animals worth $1 billion on the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha this year, 28 percent lower than last year, data from the Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) shows, amid a coronavirus pandemic and economic contraction.
Pakistan this year banned open-air livestock markets inside cities for Eid Al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Government social-distancing restrictions this year, including half-day closing, saw a drop in customers at the normally bustling markets which, like in other Muslim countries, are set up in urban centers ahead of one of Islam’s most important festivals.
Agha Saiddain, a senior PTA official, said 8.1 million animals were sacrificed last year, which dropped by 28 percent to 5.86 million animals, worth over Rs174 billion ($1 billion), this year. 
“The reason of the decline in animal sacrifices are coronavirus related lockdowns, movement restrictions and weakening purchasing power of the people,” the PTA official said. 
PTA data showed two million cows were sacrificed this year compared to three million last year and 3 million goats as compared to four million last year. Around 60,000 camels were slaughtered this year against 100,000 last year.
Eid businesses play an important role in the overall economy of Pakistan that has contracted by 0.4% for the first time in 68 years.

Tanners say despite the lower number of sacrifices, prices of skins and hides remained low this year because of lower export demand of finished products. The major export market for Pakistani leather products, including garments, is Europe while tanned leather is exported mainly to China. 

“The European markets are closed after the outbreak of COVID-19,” said Gulzar Feroz, an ex-PTA chairman. “Majority of tanneries are shutdown or working at 50 percent of their capacity in the absence of demand from Europe.”

Skins and hides of sacrificed animals provide around 30 percent of the raw material for the country’s leather exporting industry which is also suffering from declining production and exports. This year the price of cow hide was around Rs 450-500 as compared to Rs 900-1200 last year, according to tanners and exporters. 

“The raw material [skins and hides] purchased last year are not totally consumed; that is why the purchases were limited this year,” said Syed Shujaat Ali, chairman of the Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PLEGMEA). “The facility which would stock 100,000 hides could buy only 5000. If the main buyers are not purchasing, how will the prices soar?”

The export of leather products has declined by 9.4 percent to $765 million during the outgoing fiscal year FY20, data shows. A major decline of 27 percent was seen in the export of tanned leather while leather garments’ exports declined only slightly by two 2 percent, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. 


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.