GUJAR KHAN: Despite a ban, dog fighting remains one of the most popular activities in the Potohar region and an open secret.
Affluent families from Kharian, Bewal, Jabbar, Mirpur and Dhadial spend large sums of money on bull terrier breeding.
A puppy from a bull terrier who has won fights is sold for between Rs50,000 and Rs200,000, according to Chaudhry Khadim, who had come all the way from Mirpur to watch the much-awaited dog fight in Gujar Khan on Sunday.
A buffalo is set aside exclusively for providing milk to the bull terrier, who is also fed pure desi ghee during training.
Bashir Mughal, who hails from Daultala and is famous for breeding bull terriers, told Dawn that one puppy is assigned three trainers. A dog’s routine involves a 10-km jog twice a day to improve its stamina.
Another breeder, Mohammad Zakir, said his dog had recently won a fight and that he has been offered Rs1 million for it but he has refused to sell the dog.
“I bought him in Quetta and love him like family,” he said.
The Sunday fight near Gujar Khan was attended by thousands of people from Punjab, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and even people from outside the country.
The dogs were driven to the venue in cars and were given VIP treatment.
Some of the better known fighter dogs include Bubloo, Moon, Heera, Moti, Doggar, Koka, Shankar, Kaala and Jockey.
Mohammad Bashir, who attends dog fights regularly, told Dawn that some dog owners either rub bitter tasting ointments on their dogs so other dogs would not hold their bite for long, oil so they cannot get a grip and sometimes even poison to kill rival dogs.
That is why two referees are tasked with properly washing the dogs before they are allowed to fight, he said.
Dog fighting has been prohibited by the district administration and the police.
The hosts of these events organise them in secret, deep inside forests and other remote locations. Those attending the event are never given an exact location and are given the address to a neighbouring location.
The matches continue from morning till sunset and are filmed so they can be uploaded on social media, where they are avidly followed.