LAHORE: Most of the merchandise people are purchasing to celebrate Independence Day is not manufactured in Pakistan, but neighbouring China.
Traders of the biggest paper and products market of Punjab, Urdu Bazaar, have also set up exclusive stalls selling Independence Day related merchandise. Muhammad Aslam, a trader in Urdu Bazaar, told The Express Tribune that besides traditional local items, traders have imported huge quantities of decoration products from China. These products are specially designed and manufactured for Pakistan’s Independence Day and are being supplied to the entire country from Lahore Urdu Bazaar.
Another trader, Naseem Ahmad, highlighted that the massive influx of inexpensive and attractive Chinese merchandise has left little room for local manufacturing.
“Earlier, local craftsmen prepared flags, buntings, badges, caps and other decorative items for Independence Day, but now all vendors are selling Chinese merchandise due to a price war. Except flags and buntings, most products that have been put on sales are of Chinese origin,” he added.
Preparations to celebrate 71th Independence Day of Pakistan have started with great enthusiasm in the provincial capital. Special stalls with national flags, buntings, badges, caps, t-shirts stickers and other decorative items have been set up all over the city.
The provincial government, Metropolitan Corporation Lahore (MCL), educational institutions, art councils and trade bodies have also started planning Independence Day events.
The range of events include like flag-hoisting ceremonies, seminars, debate and poetry competitions, awareness walks, national and folk songs, dramas on the struggle for independence as well as photographic and paintings competitions.
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), on Wednesday, displayed a huge national flag covering the entire building with green and white colours.
Allah Nawaz, who was looking to buy a national flag and buntings with his young son in Urdu Bazaar, said as the month of independence has started, his children have been demanding flags and buntings. “I am visiting Urdu Bazaar to buy a flag, buntings and some other decorative stuff to celebrate Independence Day with traditional zeal.”
He said although a few stalls had been set up in his neighbourhood, he preferred to visit Urdu Bazaar to find a good bargain. “Generally, makeshift kiosks in different areas of the city have a limited variety. At Urdu Bazaar, you can find a huge range of decorative products for Independence Day,” he maintained.
Mrs Shafique, another local who was trying to find a suit for her daughter in Anarkali Bazaar, pointed out that especially designed green and white colour dresses have become popular among girls over the last couple of years.
“Shopkeepers manufacture special dresses inspired from green and white colours of the national flag for Independence Day. Most of these dresses have special prints and patterns with crescents and stars among the green and white colours.” She said although these dresses are used only once on August 14, they are worth buying to express your love for Pakistan on Independence Day.
Rehman Habib, a shopkeeper buying different decorative items to sell at a makeshift kiosk in the Kasur area, complained about the increase in price of various Independence Day related products. He pointed out that shopkeepers and traders were blaming currency depreciation and the increase in petroleum products prices for the hike. “I understand that rupee has depreciated substantially against the greenback, but the rate of price increase in wholesale market is far beyond the dollar-rupee exchange rate, which is really unjustified,” he concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2018.