The Outer Circle of the commercial area of Defence Housing Authority’s (DHA) Y-block market, which is a prime venue for Eid stalls every year, looked forlorn and abandoned as all the stalls were relocated due to security concerns.
The past four days lacked the festive hustle and bustle the Outer Circle was famous for due to the heightened security presence which restricted shoppers. The stalls around the Outer Circle which were seen around the August 23rd had been relocated to an adjacent area (next to Pot Pourri).
Asif, one of the vendors who had re-located his stall to the new location, told The Express Tribune that this year they had suffered major losses. He complained that they had been given only three days around the Outer Circle and had been told to relocate on August 26th.
“The Eid stalls around the Outer Circle were a regular feature for the past four years and attracted many people” said Asif. The Outer Circle is centrally located and easily accessible by the locals of the area. DHA public relations officer Tajammul Hassan told The Tribune that the DHA had nothing to do with the relocation of the stalls. “We were told to vacate the area around the Outer Circle for security measures since the prime minister (PM) was said to be visiting nearby.”
Hassan added that the PM’s house was close to the Y-Block market which is why security was beefed up. He said stalls were removed by the police and the relevant security authorities.
Sara Fazli, a local resident, said she appreciated the security but was disappointed that it had to be at the cost of relocating Eid stalls.
Some vendors complained that they had paid a sum of Rs5,000 to shop keepers in the Outer Circle in front of whose shops their stalls were to be placed. The vendors said when the stalls were relocated for security reasons they were not returned their money, which had been paid to cover 10 days till Chaand Raat.
Shop keepers in the Outer Circle denied the allegations.
Hassan said the DHA does not mediate in any transactions between the vendors and the shop keepers and if a commitment was made DHA was not a party to it.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2011.