A cattle show was being organised by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, the Sindh Board of Investment, the Agriculture Department and the Livestock and Fisheries Department.
It was a feast for families and friends alike on an otherwise lazy Sunday afternoon. Over 350 exhibitors participated, more than 120,000 visitors attended and business deals of worth Rs1,000 million were materialized.
Perhaps the most happening enclosure was that of the ostriches. Excited children stood close to the railing, trying to catch a glimpse of the eight-foot-long creature. They ran away shrieking as it came close to them, and ducked its slender bare neck.
The Pakistan Ostrich Company had set up their stall to promote ostrich farming because of its meat and leather. “The meat tastes just like mutton,” said a woman at the stall.
Baby ostriches, also at display, were for sale at Rs40,000 a pair. Why so expensive? “Because we import the birds from Australia,” explained the woman.
Among the other animals on display were cows, buffalos, sheep, horses, monkeys, cats and camels. Their caretakers stood proud by them, flaunting their animals, each had gone an extra mile to show it off.
There was Mohammad Islam from Nawabshah, a man in his 50s who had brought two of his horses at the show. Decked from head to toe, in real silver, they looked dressed up for a royal parade. “Each horse was decorated for 150,000 rupees”.
There were French and British breed of humungous cows, and camels from Thar. The caretaker had dressed them up in colourful bonbons and had painted floral patterns on their skin with henna.
The animal owners paid nothing for the venue. “We were encouraged to bring in our animals for free,” said a caretaker from Bhains Colony.
“It is fun, see how happy these kids who come to see these animals are, Karachi needs this, it is breath of fresh air amidst news of suicide bombs and killings we hear every day.”
“I am glad I read the newspaper today, it is awesome fun for me and my children,” said Ali Aftab, who had come to visit.
There were an array of birds too; some of the hens and cockerels were a good ten kilos. There were fancy pigeons, cockatoos and a breed called the reverse wing pouters — it looked their wings were placed the other way round.
Inside the halls in Expo Centre was more serious business; industrialists and agriculturalists had set up stall, for people interested in investment. The idea was to encourage investment in livestock farming, and the animal show was placed to attract people in.
The involvement of the Sindh government and its different departments enabled the participants and exhibitors to interact with the authorities and discuss potential investment opportunities.
Earlier, the event was formally inaugurated by Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Speaker Sindh Assembly. Khuhro stated that the true potential of the livestock, dairy, fisheries, poultry and agriculture sectors in Sindh is yet to be exploited and such events provided a platform for interaction between potential buyers, the business community and value-chain providers to explore new markets.