RAWALPINDI: Mohammad Akram gazed up at the sky, hoping for an end to the rain that had turned the roads and cattle markets of Rawalpindi into a muddy mess.

The 60-year-old Sargodha resident was in Rawalpindi on Saturday to sell his animals for Eidul Azha. He was on Ghazni Road in Bagh Sardaran, where the rain inconvenienced him and his cattle.

“I got shelter from the rain in the market’s sheds, but it was a problem for the animals because there was no shelter for them. I bought a plastic sheet, but a safer place needs to be provided,” he said.

He added that he raised the animals to earn money, but because of the rain he was worried about the health of the animals.

Mr Akram is one of many cattle sellers who have arrived in Rawalpindi hoping to sell their animals, but the government has not provided any shelters for them.

He said the government should provide some shelter to vendors who bring animals from other cities.

In the past, the civic bodies would establish cattle markets to generate revenue, but ever since the provincial government decided to make such markets free, civic bodies have not made arrangements for cattle buyers and sellers ahead of Eidul Azha. Instead, the administration has simply allocated sales points.

The rain caught animal buyers unaware as well, and the strong winds and downpour moved tents set up by cattle sellers at markets and sales points. Animal sellers also had to try and protect their animals from getting injured, as wounded animals cannot be sacrificed.

Mohammad Ali, a customer on Bostan Khan Road, said that most people had come to sell their animals and did not have anywhere to keep them when the weather turned rainy.

The meteorological department recorded one millimetre of rain in Chaklala and 19mm in Shamsabad, as well as 24mm in Saidpur, 37mm in Golra, 29mm in Bokra and 23mm at Zero Point in Islamabad.

A met official told Dawn that seasonal low lies over north Balochistan and the adjoining areas, while monsoon currents from the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal are penetrating upper, central and southern parts of the country. A westerly wave is also active over the upper parts of the country.

He said the new system will bring rainfall to scattered areas in Rawalpindi and Islamabad in the next 24 hours.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2019