Ramazan begins with religious zeal and fervour

LAHORE: The holy month of Ramazan has begun as citizens across the city had their first fast with religious zeal and fervor on Monday. A month of fasting is observed across the Muslim world in order to obtain the pleasure of Almighty. 
On the first day of Ramazan, special arrangements were observed across the city, as a number of people remained busy in buying items for the entire month. A large number of people also turned to mosques and offered prayers in tight security. They also prayed for the prosperity of country and also for the success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan Agency against terrorists. 
Meanwhile, special food items, including Samosa, Pakory, Dahi Bhalay, Fruit Chat, and Kachori, continued to be sold throughout the day. Stalls for preparation of these items have been set up across the city and citizens remained busy in buying these items ahead of Iftar. Citizens complained about 20 to 30 percent increase in prices of these items due to Ramazan. 
Seasonal beggars, along with their children, were seen on roads, outside mosques and on traffic signals as hundreds of them have moved to Lahore from across the province for begging.  A buyer on Wahdat Road said that with the start of Ramazan, shopkeepers have increased prices of food items instead of reducing them. He said: “Shopkeepers are getting a benefit of our compulsion because they know that these items form Iftari and every customer has to purchase them during Ramazan”. Another citizen, Muhammad Yasin, said that local food items were unhygienic because shopkeepers did not keep safety and cleanness in kitchen during preparation of these items. To borrow profit, he said, shopkeepers used substandard oil, which consisted of animal fats and their intestines. He further said that they also used rotten meat, vegetables and other things. 
Gul Khan, a shopkeeper in Ichhra, said that he have to increase the prices because prices have already been increased in wholesale markets and that they have to purchase items on higher rates. If they would sell items on prices less than that of wholesale markets, he said, how would they be able to run their businesses and households. 

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Aaj Kal