Extended holidays: Quetta quiet after outflow of immigrants

Most shops in the heart of the provincial capital remained closed on Sunday.

Express September 05, 2011

QUETTA: Traffic wardens chatted with their colleagues at Manan Chowk on Sunday, otherwise chaotic intersection on the city’s major thoroughfare, Jinnah Road.

Most shops, markets and even restaurants in the heart of the provincial capital remained closed on Sunday, otherwise a working day in the city where an overwhelming majority takes Friday off as the weekly holiday.

Quetta is a ghost town on Eid because a huge section of its population comprises immigrants from interior Balochistan, particularly northern districts bordering Afghanistan.

“These people will come back after spending a week in their ancestral towns in Pishin, Chaman, Zhob, Loralai, Qila Saifullah or Afghanistan,” said Shafiqur Rehman, a traffic warden.

Quetta returns to life a week after Eid, said Ali, a shopkeeper on Abdul Sattar Road. Few shops will open on Monday, he said. Attendance at government offices, including the Civil Secretariat, was thin even before the commencement of Eid holidays.

“We celebrate Eid for six to seven days,” said Khaliq Rind, a resident of Brewery Road.

“I have bought enough meat, vegetable and other necessary items because we will continue to receive guests almost for a week,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th,  2011.

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