Time and again the government tries to curb the activities of banned outfits in Pakistan around the time of Eid ul Azha by banning the collection of hides by banned outfits. This is a major source of income for them and allows them to use this revenue to indulge in illegal activities. This year again, the government has announced the same ban. As good as it sounds, it never works. Successive governments on the occasion have imposed the same ban; however, its implementation is not only difficult but also a matter which is not prioritized.
Hide collection is just a small part of how the networks operate. Last year, the government also decided to put an end to all the funding that these networks receive via these unofficial channels, however, we have witnessed nothing but the rise of extremist narrative in the social set up of Pakistan. Concentrated efforts have been made to make them a part of the mainstream system, especially by allowing them to contest elections - which is a gross violation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and also outlines the inability of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to control the electoral process.
If the like of Khadim Rizvi, Ahmed Ludhianvi, and Hafiz Saeed and their factions were prominent faces during the elections, then banning hide collection is just a feel-good measure which will not result in any concrete action. 2.2 million votes are a huge number of votes and if the radicals have this kind of support in the system, our focus needs to shift a bit from mainstream parties and analyse what is going on the ground.
If the government machinery is actually interested in banning the hide collection, then a task force should be formed. For years, people have been donating hides to several organisations in the name of religious sacrifice and with the hope that it will be used for a good cause but there is no check on how and for what purpose they are used. Writing out orders on papers does not help in the materialisation of that ban. The task force should not just be responsible for implementing the ban but it is important to streamline the process of the donation of hides. Those donating them should also get feedback on how it was utilised.