By Nazar Abbas
People have been forced to pay taxes as there are no tax-free cattle markets set up in Rahim Yar Khan.
The citizens and traders are compelled to pay taxes at the weekly livestock market as no free markets have been established in any municipal committees of Rahim Yar Khan (RYK).
With less than a week to go before Eid, not a single free market in any councils of RYK has been arranged to facilitate the tax-free trade of sacrificial animals. According to the announcement made by the Punjab Government, temporary free markets are supposed to be held in every district of the province.
Due to the absence of free markets, the people have to buy animals for Eid from the weekly animal trade market where they have to pay RS 700 for a small animal and RS 3000 for a bigger animal. Mir Nazeer Rubnawaz, Chairman Municipal Committee Zahir Peer said, “soon free markets would be established for tax-free trade of animals on the occasion of Eid Al Adha.”
As the government has not sprayed anti-Congo virus vaccine in the cattle markets, people are fearing the spread of the disease like last year in Southern Punjab.
He further said that yet no preventive measures have been taken to stop the spread of Congo Virus, which is worrying both the buyers and the sellers.
Animal trader Ghulam Yasin says, “We have to pay from RS 700 to RS 3000 per animal in taxes and fees in the weekly livestock market.”
He further highlighted, “First, the animals are very expensive, upon that the taxes have made the trade harder for both the trader and the buyer.” He demanded that the government should fulfill its promise of establishing free markets.
Mohammad Akmal, another resident of RYK said, “Apparently the staff of Livestock Department is present in the animal market representing the district government. But they are not doing any spray to prevent the spread of Congo Virus. This has resulted in a panic situation.”
Congo Crimean Haemorrhagic Feber, a fatal type of fever is spread by certain insects which are usually carried by animals. A crowded animal market can become a perfect place for the spread of the virus from animal to animal, from animals to people, triggering a fatal chain of virus spread.
Last year, there were a few casualties due to the fatal virus, which included a senior doctor as well.
Measures must be taken to prevent the spread of lethal viral infection before it is too late.
It would be wiser to launch awareness campaigns and animal check drives to prevent any unwelcome epidemic.
The writer works with Pak Voices as a citizen journalist from Rahim Yar Khan district in Southern Punjab. 
Translated by Tariq Mahmood