Strands of ineptly patterned fairy lights lace the fringes of building and poles in bazaars across the federal capital. The setup expresses enthusiasm, while the inflation does not allow festivities to go beyond window shopping. As Eidul Fitr approaches, strollers and bystanders outnumber genuine shoppers.
An expected flow of hundreds of people throng F-7 markaz each evening after breaking their fast. Window displays of shops, once again like each year, have been unenthusiastically concealed with discount stickers. Most shopkeepers are disappointed at the turnout of people in the shopping area.
Women thronged to malls on Sunday for the last-minute Eid shopping. PHOTOS: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS
While some point fingers at the appalling security situation, others blame inflation for the low turn out of shoppers. “Everything has become so expensive, even though we have put up discounted rates for Eid, people still want to bargain” said Sher Dil, a shopkeeper. “This is the only time of the year when we manage to make some profit”, he said, adding “over the years profit margins have been shrinking.”
Swaying his shabby dusting cloth over a wooden table, Kaleemullah Khan had enough time to proficiently swipe the glitter powdering off the glimmering bangles at his stall, which is set up on display especially for Eidul Fitr at the centre of F-7 Markaz.
Even though hundreds of people walk in the market, they skim through these stalls and walk off. “Sale of bangles and henna has remained low this year” he added.
To beat the heat, thousands turned to Centaurus for Eid shopping. However, most lurk around without shopping. Cars parked on the main road stretch from one end of the mall entry to the other.
While the main bazaars remain busy, several private Eid bazaars are setup all over the capital also exhibit traditional items such as bangles, henna, jewellery and clothes.
A wedding marquee in E-11 was transformed into an Eid Bazaar on Saturday evening where a total of 75 entrepreneurs exhibited an array of items such as clothes and home décor. Organiser Kashmala Adnan said that Eid bazaars were a good opportunity for people to meet one another. “It is a new and upcoming trend for people in Islamabad who are very restricted with their [Eid] activities. Such events encourage them to step out interact and celebrate,” she said.
L’atelier CEO Zahra Raza said that Eid bazaar had become an annual feature of her store. She said that the bazaar had become bigger and better with every passing year.
Traditional arrangements are made for women who want to indulge in henna art and wear bangles at chand raat. Moreover, a range of emerging new designers which bracket in an affordable price range is also an attraction for women to shop. A total of more then 70 established designers, while four new have exhibited their latest collection on the occasion at L’atelier.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Abdul Sattar Esani said that additional security officials had been deployed in the capital. Extra security pickets and patrolling vehicles will assure safety of the citizens. Esani said that the security plan was shared with other officials concerned three to four days before Eid. Officials will vigilantly monitor all commercial markets in all the sectors of the city, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2014.