The PTI-led City district government‘s unusual announcement ‘kill a rat and receive Rs 25 as reward’ surprised many.

It certainly amazed even more when a group smuggling ‘dead rodents’ from Punjab to Peshawar was caught red-handed purposely to get the prize-money.

The anti-rats operation was officially launched last Friday night, the time, when rodents invaded the city streets.  

By using toxic food, sweeteners and poison, a total of 550 rats were killed in the operation conducted mainly in drainage, godowns and their hidden dense. 

Being sharp and clever by nature, rats reportedly disappeared abruptly after sensing the situation and seeing poisonous food placed at their dense, and those who ate, died, put inside the bags and dumped in open fields. However, those who have killed rodents would receive prize money of Rs 25 for each rat.

Similarly, owing to two off days, a massive action is due from Monday (today). As expected general public showed less interest in the drive launched after rat bite issues sprang up following the death of an eight months old minor Khuzifa, who allegedly died of wounds inflicted by rodent bite some days back at Hasan Garhi.

Though, Peshawar city has variety of medium-sized, long-tailed black rats and can easily be seen on streets, markets, homes and shops. But, it wondered many, when a group that was smuggling ‘dead rats’ from Punjab to the city was barred from doing so. 

Certainly, this unexpected attempt aimed at getting the prize-money was foiled near Attock Bridge after Police recovered about 100 dead rats from a vehicle.

Packed in five shopping bags and hidden in the vehicle, the driver told police that they were going to Peshawar to claim the prize for the dead rats.

Being talk of the town nowadays, this bizarre ‘rat killing drive’ was started to control the spread of rodents in the capital city, but, it is also now being politicized by mocking and laughing at opponents.

In this regard, taunting the PTI, the PML-N affiliated Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid drew a comparison between the countrywide campaign against terrorists and the rat killing drive in Peshawar.

He said that Nawaz Sharif is making efforts to eliminate terrorists while Imran Khan and his government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are running after rats. Imran Khan is doing ‘rat politics’ these days. He further said, “I am praying that he may succeed in his mission.”

But on other side, the new breed of giant rats with a size measuring 22 to 30 centimetres (12 inches) are being witnessed in the provincial metropolis making life miserable in Peshawar.

The plan is complete elimination of the rats, because they are causing damage to public property and edible goods, besides posing serious threats to public health. 

The most affected areas are Faqirabad, Hasan Garhi, Afghan Colony, Zahirabad, Ashrafia Colony and Shahi Katta, where there residents are more worry mostly about their kids and that’s why avoid leaving them alone even inside homes fearing of possible attack by a rat.

In most of the cases, a rat most probably bites one on his face, feet and hands, while sleeping, which may cause bleeding and rat bite fever - an acute, febrile human illness caused by bacteria transmitted by rodents, rats, or mice, in most cases, which is passed from rodent to humans.

Rat bite is stated to be dangerous but incapable of killing a human. There are 42 hours to get injected against rabies if bitten.

Killing of 550 rodents on the very first day of the drive is not enough. There is need to expedite it further and must continue until the desired results are achieved. If paying Rs 25 for killing a rat does not work, there is need to increase this prize-money. Through, it looks an unusual exercise, because no such effort was made in the past, yet it has too much importance linking it with human health.

Claiming to have killed 100,000 rats, Nasser Ahmad, chief of anti-rat operation, is hopeful to come as per the expectations of the people.

Being a professional rat killer whose job’s title is also a ‘Rat Killer’ seems to make the difference in the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.