The preparation of Christmas is in full swing in Faisalabad with most of the city’s shopping centres crowded with people from evening till late in night.
Readymage garments shops and roadside stalls in Kutchehry Bazaar, Anarkali, Madina Chowk, Mansoorabad, Jhall Khanoana on Satyana Road, D-Type Colony, D-ground, Jamilabad and Ghulistan Colony have seen their sales surge over the last week. Asad, a shopkeeper, said he had reduced profits on most garments at his shop and had even sold some at a loss because he had wanted to turn down any customers. “I don’t celebrate Christmas but I express my respect for the Christ by cutting down on my profit. It’s the most important day of the year for Christians,” he said.
Shoppers still complained that the prices of most garments were beyond their reach. They said the goods displayed on sale were of inferior quality. Akram Masih said he had compromise quality of clothes to ensure that he could buy a new dress each for his wife and three children.
The churches in the city have been decorated with light bulbs of different colours and Christmas trees have been set up in several Christian colonies.
Fair price bazaars:
The district administration is setting up fair price bazaars where eatables would be available to Christians at subsidised rates on December 23 and 24. These bazaars will be established at Saint Anthony School, Catholic Church in Madina Town, Pento Ground in Maryumabad Warispura, Main Church opposite PTCL exchange Jarranwala, Catholic Church Chak Jhumra, Liaqat Ali Park opposite TMA office Samundri and Christian Colony Mohala Shamaspura Tandlianwala.
District officials said wheat flour, ghee, sugar, pulses, fruits and vegetables and soft drinks would be sold at these bazaars at subsided rates.
Joyel Aamir Sahutra, minority member of the provincial assembly, praised the move to set up fair price bazaars on the occasion of Christmas. He said he would urge the government to make such bazaars a regular feature during all Christian festivals in the year.
A comprehensive security plan has been devised by the district police for Churches and Christain colonies. As many as 232 churches would get security on December 24 and 287 on December 25.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2011.