Closure: Final page turns on Saeed Book Bank Peshawar

A significant chapter in Peshwar’s literary history came to a close.


Manzoor Ali February 24, 2011

PESHAWAR: A significant chapter in Peshwar’s literary history came to a close as the largest bookstore in the provincial metropolis shut down after over 40 years of operation.

The massive bookshop’s shutters have stayed down, with owners placing a banner notifying that the books will be shifted to their main store in Islamabad.

When contacted, Saeed Book Bank employee Manzoor Hussain told The Express Tribune that the shop had been closed for three days. The owner, Akbar Saeed, said lack of readership in Peshawar compelled him to shift his business to Islamabad.

“There is no reading culture in Peshawar and we mostly deal in foreign titles,” Akbar said. The family-owned business was established in 1955.

The closure of the shop came as a shock to avid readers.  Javed Khan, a resident of Peshawar termed the closure a setback for the city. “It is indeed sad news that the only bookshop where we had the luxury to browse through shelf upon shelf of fresh imported titles is gone.”

A spate of bombings in recent years had exhausted the city’s avenues for entertainment, with people often being wary of stepping outside their homes. The closing down of the oldest bookstore seems to be the final nail in the art of imagination in Peshawar.

“Where should I go if I need books? All the way to Islamabad to purchase a single title?” he rhetorically asked.

The bookstore’s section on Afghanistan and north-western Pakistan including the tribal areas was one of the most popular here and contained a mammoth number of titles, beginning with some of the earliest texts up to the most recently published.

“The last book I purchased from that section was a rare book, ‘The wind blows away our words’ by Noble Laureate Doris Lessing on her experience with the Afghani resistance,” Khan said.

The closure of the city’s largest book store came at a time when it is struggling to return to normalcy after devastating bombings in recent years that have taken hundreds of lives and rendered the city barren of culture.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2011.

COMMENTS (44)

sheenweb | 10 years ago | Reply A sad news. It is sickness and death of Reading habit, www.sheenweb.com
Atif Hameed | 10 years ago | Reply Very disapointing News. recently after the perminent closure of KHAN KLUB Hotel in Peshawar I felt that it will set very bad example for other businesses and institutions in Pesh. Now the closure of Saeed Book Bank will bring more negitive impect to the City of Hispitality (Peshawar). I dont know what are the resons behind this but I am feeling so bad and looking forward and hopeful that SBB management will realise and will respect the peoples opinion here in Peshawar. The closure of SBB is not acceptible to any one here and of course we are the peacefull citizens and want to spread knowledge, Books & education. Please do not close healthy and progressive activities in our city. I have suggession if the continuation is not possible for the SBB management here in Pesh then there are many other options for continuation like Franchise or authorirse sellers / distribution. I hope you peoples (Resindence of Peshawar) will support the suggession because we want to see SBB in Peshawar again.
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