It has been an old practice of Mr Zardari to offer Sadqa (animal sacrifice). He has been doing this for a long time: Farhatullah Babar.&mdash
It has been an old practice of Mr Zardari to offer Sadqa (animal sacrifice). He has been doing this for a long time: Farhatullah Babar.—File photo
ISLAMABAD A black goat is slaughtered almost daily to ward off 'evil eyes' and protect President Asif Ali Zardari from 'black magic'. Does this, and the use of camel and goat milk, make the beleaguered president appear to be a superstitious man?

Well, not to his spokesman. “It has been an old practice of Mr Zardari to offer Sadqa (animal sacrifice). He has been doing this for a long time,” spokesman Farhatullah Babar told Dawn on Tuesday.

But his detractors, who want to see him out of the Presidency, would see in his new-found religiosity a sign of nervousness in the wake of the scrapping of the NRO.

One thing is certain Hundreds of black goats have been sacrificed since Mr Zardari moved into the President's House in September 2008. His trusted personal servant Bai Khan buys goats from Saidpur village. The animal is touched by Mr Zardari before it is sent to his private house in F-8/2 to be sacrificed.

Insiders say that when Mr Zardari moved into the President's House, a flock of black partridges were introduced there for their supposedly magical effects.

Unfortunately, the whole flock was electrocuted when a live wire fell on their cage.

A camel, a cow and a few goats kept on the grounds of the presidency, however, survive and provide milk for its worthy resident.

That tradition from celebrities like Mahatma Gandhi may be followed for health reasons — as may be the Neem tree that President Zardari introduced there for its anti-septic qualities.

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