PESHAWAR: The old market of storytellers, Qissa Khawani Bazaar, is left with few memories of traders and travellers sharing their stories over a cup of green tea, while passing from Afghanistan to the subcontinent.
Dhaki Nalbandi, the centuries-old narrow street leading from the main Qissa Khawani Bazaar, once famous for the birth of film icons, has now turned into a place remembered for massacres, where many legends breathe their last.
The recent events at the bazaar are creating a new history. If travellers would sit over a cup of tea today, there would only be tales of violence to share.
If storytellers of modern-day Qissa Khawani share their stories they will tell the listeners about the killing of 20 people on January 28, 2007. Among the deceased was a well-respected police official of the city CCPO Malik Saad and police official Khan Raziq.
The storytellers will then go on to say that three years later, on April 18, 2010, a suicide bomber targeted DSP Gulfat Hussain, three police constables and a Jamaat-e-Islami leader Dost Muhammad Khan only 50 metres south of Dhaki Nalbandi.
They will surely tell the story of November 11, 2012, when a suicide bomber targeted SP (Investigation) Hilal Haider’s vehicle barely 200 meters west of Dhaki Nalbandi.
“Awami National Party Provincial Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour, who had survived two assassination attempts in the past, was targeted on December 22, 2012,” they will say next. “Police official Abdul Sattar and seven others were also killed in the suicide attack in the middle of Dhaki Nalbandi,” they would add, while pointing to the narrow lane.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2012.