GILGIT: As Eid approaches, the shopping centres in Gilgit have become crowded with men, women and children trying to finish their last minute shopping.
Most roads leading to the main markets in Gilgit remained blocked on Saturday. As vehicles and pedestrians increased, traffic police found it hard handling congestion problems, being unaccustomed to handling such heavy traffic in the city.
“It is very frustrating to see that drivers here have no traffic sense,” said a policeman controlling traffic in the NLI market. The market, which houses goods imported from China, has been rushed before Eid as the products there cost almost half those of Pakistani companies, according to Mujahid Ali, a shopkeeper.
Hidayat Ali, who had come to shop along with his family for Eid shopping, said, “I like Chinese shoes and crockery because of their affordable prices and pleasant finishing.”
The rush of shoppers in the markets during the last days of Ramazan has been three times what it is in normal days.
“It gets very crowded in the last week of Ramazan, as this is the most suitable time for outsiders to shop and get back home in time for Eid,” said Abdullah Jan, a vendor.
He said the situation will return to normalcy by the 28th of Ramazan, as people start going back to their native towns and villages. One of the reasons for busy shopping centres is the comparatively peaceful situation in the area, Jan added.
Many see the high inflation as no reason to not shop.”Why shouldn’t I spend on Eid?” said Rehmat Khan, when asked if he could afford to do Eid shopping for his six children in the prevailing price hike and the global economic recession.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2011.