As Eidul Fitr approaches, scores of shopping centres can be seen bustling with people buying clothes, shoes and other accessories to prepare for the religious festival.
At Cheena Bazaar, women have been browsing through shops and the colourful makeshift stalls set up to add variety and convenience for the customers. Popular for women and children’s items, the bazaar attracts people from across the district.
Nabila, who was shopping at the bazaar told The Express Tribune, “Men really don’t understand the dynamics of our shopping. Even if you give them a sample, they will usually end up buying something totally different. I’m grateful to that I am able pick and choose for myself.”
Similarly, Mumlikat, a woman who works at a beauty parlour, was happy with the turnover at the bazaar. Recalling the closure of all businesses during the militancy, she felt relieved that normalcy had returned to the region. “We were confined to our homes and not allowed to go out at all. Things have definitely changed for the better,” she said. “Some women are coming in from remote areas to shop and get salon services,” Mumlikat added.
Meanwhile, some women complained of inflation, saying prices were bordering on the exorbitant. “With the sky-high prices, it’s difficult to purchase anything. There’s so much we have to buy but children don’t understand parents’ compulsion,” Sherina, an elderly woman told The Express Tribune.
On the other hand, shopkeepers expressed satisfaction over the sales. They keep shops open till late night. “With the grace of Allah, our business has been flourishing ever since peace was restored here. The police are patrolling the bazaar, which helps people shop with peace of mind,” Asif Khan, a cloth merchant, who has been running his shop for the last 20 years, told The Express Tribune.
Ayub Khan, owner of a footwear shop, was also pleased with sales and said that families come in droves to shop at the bazaar during the day and night.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.