• Market for sacrificial animals moved from Sohrab Goth to Northern Bypass this year
• Maweshi mandi is safer than Red Zone, claims spokesperson
KARACHI: The worsening situation of street crime that has already affected daily life in the metropolis is now taking away from the people the festivities associated with Eidul Azha.
It is an old tradition that people in large number get together a few weeks before Eidul Azha only to visit cattle markets set up in different parts of the city annually to buy sacrificial animals arriving there from different areas of the country.
Every year, the Karachi cattle market, or maweshi mandi, said to be the biggest market of sacrificial animals in the metropolis, had been set up a few kilometres away from Sohrab Goth along Superhighway, but this year its location has been changed to Northern Bypass.
The apex court had ordered relocation of the cattle market from Superhighway since it was being set up on lands owned by private housing societies. The cattle market, like previous years, is being managed by Malir Cantonment authorities.
However, before arrival of buyers and people going there for entertainment, robbers have spotted the location as roads leading to the Northern Bypass Cattle Market are said to be infested with criminals and a large number of people, including cattle farm owners, have already been deprived of their belongings while travelling there.
As the season began and the first truck of animals was unloaded in the market last week, youth in large numbers turned up to welcome it and started making visits to the market.
However, social media is abuzz with reports of incidents of street crimes in the vicinity. Victims are claiming that they were robbed of their belongings on way to the market.
A Whatsapp voice note has also been circulating on social media in which a person introducing himself as Syed Abdul Sami from Syed Farm, Karachi, claims that he was on his way to the market with five to six people to book a space for their cattle when they were robbed of their mobile phones, laptop and wallets worth almost Rs700,000.
The man claimed that there was a police van stationed almost one kilometre away from them, but the policemen declined to help them saying that the crime took place within the jurisdiction of some other police station and not theirs.
A Facebook page by the name of Mandi Lovers also posted on May 19 that their team member Musa Zeeshan and his friends were on their way to the cattle market when they were deprived of their belongings by armed muggers.
Last week, 42-year-old Faisal Hanif was shot at and wounded by muggers in front of his wife and son when they stopped their car near the cattle market to get fruit juice.
A source said that even in normal days, the area is highly affected by street crime and this was not something that could not have been anticipated by authorities before shifting the cattle market from Sohrab Goth.
However, a spokesperson for the cattle market, Yawar Raza Chawla, told Dawn that not one case was registered with the area police near the market and it was all ‘hoax’ to damage the biggest activity of Karachi.
“Bring me one case registered with any of the police stations that shows any link between the robberies and the market. If an incident is happening six kilometres away from the market, does the responsibility lie with us? Even if someone is reporting that an incident has happened near mandi, they must also mention whether it is Northern Bypass or the Malir cattle market,” he said.
“People for the sake of some likes and shares are spreading misinformation and making people afraid of participating in Karachi’s biggest event,” he claimed.
“This time the cattle market has been set up on over 700 acres and the turnover is likely to cross Rs700 billion. Do they want to hurt the economy by doing this,” he asked.
He said security in the area was more than the security in ‘Red Zone’.
When asked how they plan to make the route to the market secure for people, SITE-Superhighway SHO Aurangzeb Khatak told Dawn that police vans had been deployed and round-the-clock patrolling carried out.
Also, a contingent of Rangers has also been deployed in the area after reports of muggings emerged.
Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2023