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Peshawar people like to visit fighter rooster fair.

Byline: Sher Alam Shinwari

PESHAWAR -- A large number of people of all age groups drove to Bacha Khan Chowk, earlier called Chargaanu Chowk, on every Friday and Sunday to buy their favourite breed of fighter roosters.

The roadside chicken fair is regularly held twice a week where sellers and buyers strike a deal to swap fighter cocks for handsome amount. Despite ban on cock fighting in the province, most people are still involved in it and the competitors invest money to make their cocks win a Baazi (competition).

Amjad Ali, a dealer of fighter cocks, told this scribe that fighter roosters had a sharp weapon called 'Khar' at the back of their claws and they made use of that spur in the fight. He said that fighter roosters were reared like kings and given a special diet of butter, milk and dry fruits.

'Fighter roosters are made to run at least six kilometres daily, which is essential to develop their stamina, and Khar at the back of their claws are sharpened. They are kept awaken for several hours ahead of the competition,' said Mr Ali.

A hybrid fighter cock can fetch around Rs150,000 as rearing fighter roosters is still a popular pastime and traditional game in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A normal home-bred chicken can earn from Rs800 to Rs1,500 while a special breed of cock can fetch from Rs8,000 to Rs15,000.

Shadi Gul, 56, a resident of Peshawar, said that most special hybrid roosters were brought from Mianwali, Punjab and those included fighter cocks Java, Peela and Cheetah while other dealers also brought their chickens and variety of pet birds from almost every nook and corner of the province. He said that there were around 35 to 50 different breeds of fighter cocks.

'I bought a rooster for Rs7, 500 at the fair just for fun but many of my friends pet the cocks for fighting purposes. A fighter rooster should have special traits including height, crown, a piercing beak, sharp spike at the ankle and vigilant eye catch,' he said.

Mr Gul said that a homebred hen laying eggs could earn up to Rs6,000 to Rs8,000. 'Many people buy white colour roosters just for fun and some pet them for Baang (call). Such cocks are called Baangi Charg (crowing roosters). The fighter cocks are billed as Qulangi Charg,' he added.

Although government has clamped a ban on rooster's fighting that earlier used to be conducted at open places, especially in Shah Bagh and Wazir Bagh, yet large number of people continue to sell and buy fighter cocks and also there are reports that cocks fighting competitions are still held in many private hujras under the supervision of the influential people in and around Peshawar.

Rahim Bakhsh, 40, said that cock fighting had been a primitive tradition still prevalent across the country and even abroad. He said that selling and buying of fighter cocks should be banned. 'I think wildlife department should take the step to discourage the business of fighter roosters,' he added.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Oct 8, 2018
Words:567
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