Search for best donkey in Pak!
The Karachiites' search for the town's swiftest donkey this year has ended with "Talash", which literally means search.
"Talash" emerged as the fastest donkey among the 50-odd participants and won the "Chief Secretary (CS) Cup" in what can best be described as dramatic circumstances while hundreds of viewers enjoyed every bit of the contest.
The race led to split-second decisions, going by the scores.
"Talash", pulling cart number 13, a number that proved lucky, covered a 14-km distance in 17 minutes 13 seconds.
The News did not mention the names of the runners-up, but the one pulling cart number 50 came second, clocking 17 minutes 27 seconds and cart number 32 came third with 17 minutes 59 seconds.
The proud owner of "Talash" was Asghar Shah Badshah. The other owners were Kamran Shah Badshah alias Kamo (runners-up) and Peer Bux alias Peero.
The participants got a walkover from former champion "Ladla" that did not participate in the contest. This helped Asghar Badshah, who had twice been a champion before the 'CS Cup'.
Talking to The News, Asghar Badshah said: "We will party tonight in a local hotel at Kharadar and all the friends would be celebrating".
Asghar Badshah said he fed "Talash" pistachios and almonds that cost him Rs 500 a day "to keep him strong and healthy to get maximum output from him in competitions like this".
He said he was now eyeing the Governor's Cup.
The race started with a bit of drama when all the donkeys, supposed to line up a few minutes before the start of the race, suddenly started running, surprising every one, especially the organisers. The situation was saved by the time the chief secretary arrived.
"Unlike horses, the donkeys are not trained enough to wait for the word go or some whistle, therefore, when they get lined up, they immediately started running," said Nisar Ahmed Sheikh, the general secretary of the 'Pakistan Sports Board Donkey Race'.
The newspaper said it was festival time as cart riders and their charge were cheered along the route.
From Park Towers Clifton to the Governor House, the roads were lit up and the city gave "a cheerful picture as if some kind of festival was going on".
Sindh Chief Secretary Fazal-ur-Rehman distributed the prizes to the cart riders, while the exhausted donkeys stood by in silence. Asghar received Rs 15,000, Kamu Rs 10,000 and Peero Rs 5000.