Adverts mania: Invasive ads mar Rawalpindi skyline

Published: January 6, 2014
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Banners and hoardings intrude on the surrounding landscape with bright colours, lights and large fonts, making it difficult to focus on anything else. PHOTO: FILE

Banners and hoardings intrude on the surrounding landscape with bright colours, lights and large fonts, making it difficult to focus on anything else. PHOTO: FILE

RAWALPINDI: It’s the money that drives the muncipal corporations to blight the stretch of azure over our heads. Major roads and intersections in big cities and towns are peppered with never-ending advertisements in all forms, shapes and sizes popping over your head and flashing before your eyes as you commute to and fro from work.

Whatever remains seems to have been gobbled up by political advertisements. Rawalpindi is no exception. In fact, it may be worse off than some other large cities, as the local bodies contest here is quite fierce, with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf both stepping up to assert their presence. Political parties are spending huge amounts of money on adverts in an attempt to outshine the others.

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Some residents shared their views with The Express Tribune. “People do not want to be constantly assaulted by enticements to buy cars or cell phones. There are plenty of other avenues available — the print media, television, radio, leaflets, promotions,” said Rafaqat Ali, a businessman.

Advertisements are a form of visual pollution, said Khalid Hussain, an environmentalist. “Banners and hoardings intrude on the surrounding landscape with bright colours, lights and large fonts, making it difficult to focus on anything else. “Rooftop hoardings are another ugly feature of the urban landscape. The practice continues unabated,” said Hasan Kamal, a resident of Shah Khalid Colony.

Ali Rizvi, a carpet trader in Saddar, said the rush to get hold of public attention has led to an explosion of hoardings. “Free-for-all advertising must be reined in.”

In the wake of local bodies elections, the town has been seeing a gradual increase in the number of banners and hoardings. Although the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced the election schedule, it has yet to issue a code of conduct for candidates regarding advertising, allowing the free-for-all advertising campaign to go unchecked. Mian Waheed, the staff officer to the district coordination officer, said district administrations would check advertisements only after the code of conduct was issued.

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The ECP public relations officer said that the code of conduct is generally issued on the day the schedule was announced. He said the ECP had been busy with delimitation, which had delayed the announcement of the code of conduct. Although a code has since been issued, no one is enforcing or adhering to it. The ECP officer argued that the commission lacks the manpower to enforce the code on its own.

It is little wonder then that one sees politicians’ faces brazenly smiling down on passersby from hoardings and banners installed at busy intersections. “These are traffic hazards for unwary road users,” said Munawwar, a student.

“Although in bad taste, there is nothing much that can be done about it. Politics in this city has sunk to such depths that nothing surprises anyone anymore,” says Shabbir Naqvi, a lecturer at a local college.

“Among  the many things that disfigure the city are outdoor ads, graffiti on the walls and the hoardings, which now have come to display the new low that local politics has sunk to,” said Zainab Ali, a college lecturer.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Abdul Suleman
    Jan 6, 2014 - 1:33PM

    Enforcement of model code of conduct is essential in Pindi. Supporters of various political parties are misusing public and private property by putting up hoardings, graffiti, posters, banners and other materials.buildings, liquor shops, Even walls of educational institutions, hospitals, houses have not been spared by slogans.

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  • Nabil Ahmad Aziz
    Jan 6, 2014 - 1:54PM

    Classifieds are perfect way of selling anything. Why select hoardings, posters, slogans and banners only?

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  • Karachi wala
    Jan 6, 2014 - 2:14PM

    skyline…….its only sky

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  • Hina Mirza
    Jan 6, 2014 - 8:53PM

    If these hoardings and banners come up and dot every skyline, every chowk, every signal and every corner, the city’s visual image is lost amongst the sleek photographs of political leaders and political aspirants. Recommend

  • Shanama Shah
    Jan 6, 2014 - 9:01PM

    I am amazed that the city administration has no power to check illegal massive gantries and steel structure hoardings across the city. These have literally defaced buildings, architecture and city’s skyline.Recommend

  • Mateen Shah
    Jan 7, 2014 - 10:12PM

    I suggest public interest legislation to wake up the slumbering Rawalpindi administration.

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  • Hanif Faisal
    Jan 7, 2014 - 10:19PM

    Banners mounted on wooden posts are much more of a nuisance. These are at the eye level, there is no fixed size, there is no fixed angle and there are absolutely no rules for putting these up anywhere. These are printed in every other printing shop in the city.

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  • Akif Malik
    Jan 7, 2014 - 10:30PM

    Normally, a team of a few boys – hired guys or political activists — arrive, with the printed and mounted banner at the selected site with timber posts, stuff is off loaded, roads are dug, cemented blocks from footpaths are detached to put in the timber posts and voila, the pictures of political aspirants and their leaders fix their eyes on us, all in a few minutes.

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  • Abdul Hye Shah
    Jan 7, 2014 - 10:38PM

    How can we save ourselves from this untidy urbanity growing around our homes uncontrolled?

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  • Tahie Obaid
    Jan 7, 2014 - 10:47PM

    If we want to keep these hoardings from re-emerging, we must educate citizens to not allow these hoardings as our urban landscape. Not to accept that anyone can utilize the city’s space for their own private benefit. Not to accept that our city’s roads are open to be dug up for every post.

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  • Tasneem
    Jan 9, 2014 - 10:26PM

    Rawalpindi’s administration always has a severe fund-crunch. Where go millions of rupees collected as advertising revenue. Is the actual amount collected by the city’s administration is way below expectations?Recommend

  • Ali Rizwan
    Jan 9, 2014 - 10:32PM

    Hoardings, if managed by city administration honestly, may be a great source of income.

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  • Tehmeena
    Jan 12, 2014 - 5:59PM

    Hoardings can be erected and operated with no permission from the city authorities, it’s just amazing.Recommend

  • Munaver Sheikh
    Jan 12, 2014 - 11:21PM

    Advertising is as old as mankind. It is embedded in our lives as is food, sleep and speech. We all communicate, persuade, influence and lead to some action every day in our lives. When a man wears trouser-shirt, he is advertising he is a mod guy. When a woman wears lipstick, she is advertising that she wants to look beautiful. When a politician delivers a speech, he is advertising that he wants to be noticed. Ads are parts of human nature to be noticed. Why condemn them?

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