Independence Day preparations gain momentum as August kicks off -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Independence Day preparations gain momentum as August kicks off

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: The Paper Market on Hasan Ali Effendi Road where people come to buy paper, disposable bags, plates, birthday decorations, etc on wholesale rates is so green these days that it can be mistaken for a rainforest.

Paper Market is the best place to be as August kicks off if you are looking for Independence Day decorations. The big Pakistan flags usher you into the narrow street made narrower by vendors’ carts selling green and white T-shirts and frocks, wrist bands, bangles, caps and hats, badges and pins, balloons, flag bunting and even artificial nails.

Ask vendors around town where they got their merchandise from and they would mention Paper Market. But ask the vendors at Paper Market where they got theirs and they say Bolton Market and New Karachi. “The plastic stuff comes from Bolton Market and the clothes are from cottage industries in New Karachi,” said Osama Ahmed, a stall vendor.

Paper Market is the place to stock up on bargain patriotic merchandise

“But the flags come from right around here actually,” he added, pointing towards a first-floor flat in the building across the road, which had ‘VIP Flags’ painted on its outer wall. The flag makers also had a shop on the ground floor.

“We produce Pakistan flags all year round but the first two weeks in August is when we make the most sales,” said Noman Ahmed of VIP Flags. The biggest cloth flag in his shop was priced at Rs1,200 only though it is available for far more than that at other places. “Well, of course,” said Ahmed. “We sell at wholesale prices and whoever buys from us would like to make some profit on his sales as well,” he pointed out.

Nearby Ammad-ul-Haque had set up his little badges and pins stall. “Everyone wants a Pakistan pin on their clothes on Independence Day,” he said. There was a huge variety of pins on sale before him including those of cartoon characters Tweety and Queen Elsa holding little Pakistani flags. “The grown-ups want simple Pakistan flag pins to stick on their shirts or jacket lapels but children want the fancy ones with their favourite cartoon characters or pins of landmarks such as the Minar-i-Pakistan or Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum,” he said.

Another vendor, Shujaat Ali, was selling shiny green and silver bangles to go with the green dresses. “There are 36 bangles in each pack, which I’m selling for Rs50 only,” he said.

Shujaat’s stall was surrounded by girls and their mothers trying out the bangles for the perfect size. And once over with their purchases at his stall, they headed to check out other stuff such as hats, shirts and frocks, hair bands and artificial nails. The nails were available for Rs30 a packet with 10 nails in each little packet along with an adhesive tube. And the T-shirts were only Rs100 a piece for kids. The hats were for Rs60 each, even those with fake green tresses hanging out.

With so many Independence Day merchandise vendors crowding the area the sugar-cane juice vendors were pushed away to the other end of the road. But seeing the stacked sugar cane on the carts and the sweet green beverage in glasses, everything blended in perfectly due to having the right colour.

DAWN