Islamabad: With preparations for Eid-ul-Azha in full swing across Pakistan, a scramble for buying sacrificial animals at the last-minute has begun.
Yet, much to the chagrin of the general public, several animals have reportedly also been stolen from homes.
This year, the average price of a `qurbani` or sacrificial animal begins from 20,000 Pakistani rupees onwards and goes up to a princely sum of Rs 16 lakh - an amount that has left several appalled, considering a brand new car in Pakistan will cost only about Rs 7 lakh.
It`s the first time in years that the prices are so high and have nearly doubled from that of 2012. This means buying a sacrificial animal remains nothing but a dream for the salaried and middle class.
No wonder then, animals are allegedly being stolen from homes.=
Take for example cricket player Imran Farhat.
After paying Rs 1 lakh for his Eid goats, they were stolen overnight from his house in the upscale Valencia Town, Lahore. Despite police complaints and follow ups, the goats remain missing.
It was `breaking news` on some channels. TV channels have also been showing all kind of animals that are up for sale, including a goat that "drinks sprite" and chews `pan`.
One goat showed on TV was priced at whopping Rs six lakh, while the most expensive buffalo was priced at about Rs 16 lakh.
But then, if one does not feel like making his way through cattle markets crowded with buyers and animals, then help is just a click away.
`Qurbani Online` is among a host of websites which promises to have the animal delivered `at your home, at any relative`s location or any charity organisation`.
But as of now, the service is restricted to Karachi.
An official of the Livestock and Dairy Development in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province told state-run APP news agency that sacrificial animals between Rs 70,000 to Rs 1,00,000 are being sacrificed in the province.
People say rising prices of sacrificial animals have made it hard for them to afford and many joint families have decided to share the cost of sacrificial cows.
Butchers are also in high demand. The current rates are about Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,500 for goat, Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for cows and Rs 10,000 to 15,000 for camels.
Eid-ul-Azha is an Islamic festival in which devotees mark the prophet Ibrahim`s willingness to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to.