KARACHI - The Karachiites, without any discrimination, set up Sabeel (water stalls) and cooked Haleem (Niaz) to distribute among the faithful on the 9th and 10th of Muharram. The cooking of Haleem is an old tradition of the City as the people from various localities collected the amount and then cooked the Niaz of Haleem on the day of Ashura to observe the great sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS). Like all other religious occasions, Muharram has also its economic significance. A large number of people distribute Haleem, Kithra and Sharbat (soft drink) among the poor, as well as faithful, relatives and neighbours. Besides, many people arrange Nazr and Niaz by distributing Biryani and Qorma with Sheermal, Taftan or Roti. According to a rough estimate, people spend billions of rupees for distribution and preparation of Niaz in Muharram with their self-contribution. People started buying things for Nazro Niaz from the first of Muharram, which rose to peak on Ashura day. The trend of buying commodities continues even after the Ashura but not at the same pace as witnessed during the first 10 days of Muharram. Retailers said that buying of commodities gathered momentum from Muharram 7. Wholesalers, retailers, shopkeepers and market forces fully exploit this situation by demanding higher prices. Milk is being heavily used in making sweet drinks during Muharram. Sudden increase in milk prices during Muharram is a sheer jerk to the consumers and the authorities concerned cannot take action as their officers lack magisterial powers. An aged buyer Syed Ramzan Zaidi said, No matter what is the rate, people buy milk for making Sharbat in huge quantity during Muharram and especially a day ahead of Ashura. He said that milk was being sold at higher prices in some areas. But despite all enthusiasm of preparing Haleem or other items for distribution among the faithful, inflation in recent years has hit hard the buying capacity of people which also dwindled down this old tradition. Roti, Taftan and Sheermal makers also enjoy a 'heyday during the first 10 days of Muharram. Caterers, who do not have any orders for marriages and other ceremonies in Muharram, continue their business activities by getting orders for Haleem, Kitchra, Biryani and Nazro Niaz.