Counter-terrorism authorities to monitor animal hide sales during Eid ul Adha

By Ashfaq Yusufzai

An animal market in Palosai village near Peshawar can be seen on July 31. [Ashfaq Yusufzai]

An animal market in Palosai village near Peshawar can be seen on July 31. [Ashfaq Yusufzai]

PESHAWAR -- Pakistani authorities are preparing to monitor the collection of animal hides sacrificed during Eid ul Adha in an effort to deny funding to banned militant groups.

Eid ul Adha is set to begin on August 12 in Pakistan. Pakistanis donate the hides of sacrificial animals, which can bring in more than Rs. 5 billion ($31 million) at markets where they are bought and sold to supply the leather industry.

The National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) has urged Pakistanis not to intentionally or unintentionally donate such hides to terrorist organisations.

Those wishing to report incidents related to Eid ul Adha hide sales should contact NACTA on helpline 1717, it said.

"The organisations wanting to collect animal hides on Eid ul Adha should get No Objection Certificates (NoCs) from the government," said Deputy Commissioner Peshawar Muhammad Ali Asghar.

All organisations wanting to collect hides must obtain NoCs, according to directives that the District Administration Peshawar issued July 11.

"The aspiring groups or individuals will also present their previous records of charitable work and registration with the social welfare department," said Asghar.

"We are going to ensure that the hides are collected only by registered charities and that the funds serve the public welfare," he said.

"The [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] Home and Tribal Affairs Department has issued directives in this regard, and we will be taking every step to ensure that hides don't fall into the hands of suspected individuals or groups," he said.

The Sindh Home Department on July 6 also imposed a ban on the collection of hides during Eid except by politico-religious parties and welfare organisations approved by the district administration.

The Punjab Home Department did the same, and officials have asked relevant groups to seek permission by July 31.

Strict action will come against those who accept hides without prior approval, officials said.

Timely decision

The effort to monitor the collection of hides "is a timely step to do away with terrorism at a time when all sorts of militants have gone into hibernation", said Peshawar-based security analyst Brig. (ret.) Mehmood Shah.

"Without money, the terror outfits cannot continue their campaign against peace," he said.

Worldwide consensus exists on the necessity of stopping terror financing, Shah said, adding that Pakistan, one of the countries most affected by extremism, is making significant strides toward that end.

Ubaid Rehman, a professor at the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, also appreciated the move.

"The hides of sacrificial animals from Eid have been a major source of funding for terror groups, who entice the public by claiming the money supports the upbringing of orphans and health care for the poor," he said.

The government's campaign is scaling up public awareness, and authorities hope that donors will give the hides to legitimate organisations, said Rehman.

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