As a virtual lockdown continues in Islamabad due to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) sit-ins, small-scale vendors and eateries in and around Aabpara are making brisk sales.
Restaurants and eateries are the only shops open in Aabpara, Melody and Blue Area markets as banks and other stores have been shut for about four to five days now.
Vendors selling corn, cigarettes, tea, snacks and mobile phone cards made nonstop sales around Khayaban-e-Suhrawardy and Kashmir Highway.
However, restaurant owners and vendors were hesitant to talk about their sales. Most said their business was either normal or below par.
“I have made sales worth Rs25,000 to Rs30,000 in four days”, said Qaiser Abbas, standing beside his dahi bhalla stall. Many vendors and cart pushers from other Islamabad markets and Rawalpindi too have converged on Aabpara.
Amir, a resident of Sector F-6/2 and a peach vendor, said he had made Rs600 by selling fruits to marchers. Another vendor, however, claimed he had not made a penny.
Maqarrab Khan was happy that he had brought his push cart from Sadiqabad, Rawalpindi, to Aabpara. An ice candy vendor said he had made Rs2,000 in two days compared to Rs300to 400 on normal days.
A pulao-biryani restaurant owner said it was business as usual for them. He said they sell three-four cauldrons daily. “Our sales didn’t increase significantly.”
Most other restaurants at Aabpara, Melody, Super Market and Blue Area said their sales had increased substantially ever since the arrival of the marchers.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th,2014.