Costs, security crimp Pakistanis' feast celebrations

Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:16am EST
 
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By Waseem Sattar

KARACHI (Reuters Life!) - Sky-rocketing prices and security concerns are keeping butchers' knives sheathed in Pakistan ahead of the Muslim feast of sacrifice this year, with people buying less livestock for ritual slaughter.

Bustling livestock markets in major Pakistani cities are attracting smaller crowds ahead of the Eid al-Adha feast which begins in Pakistan on Saturday and commemorates the patriarch Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to God.

Rising prices and unemployment have tightened the purse-strings of many Pakistanis ahead of the feast and at the country's largest cattle market, set up each year on the outskirts of Karachi, traders say business is slow.

"So far it is like we've had no sales," said livestock trader Gullan Bhund, who traveled from the countryside with his flock.

"Mostly the people from the lower middle class and lower class are arriving here, and they say the animals are too costly and they can not afford to buy them."

Muslims who can afford it are required to purchase a livestock animal and distribute most of its meat to the needy.

PAKISTANIS ON EDGE

Further north near the border with Afghanistan, people in the city of Peshawar are living in constant fear of attacks by Taliban militants bent on destabilizing the government.   Continued...