[Civic Talk] Sunday Bazaars in Gilgit – Baltistan

by Shujaat Ali

A bazaar is an area, marketplace, or street of shops where goods and services are exchanged or sold. The word derives from the Persian word bāzār, the etymology of which goes back to the Middle Persian word baha-char, meaning “the place of prices”. Thus bazaar is an area where buyers and sellers meet for the exchange of goods and services by the interaction of market forces i-e demand for and supply of mechanism. Although the current meaning of the word bazaar is believed to have originated in Persia, its use has spread and now has been accepted into the vernacular in countries around the world.

It is obvious that in today’s busy world one always remains in search of facility and easy accessibility for acquiring basic supplies of life. As a result, shopping under one roof or in one place in becoming common practice these days. One can say that this trend stated due to the on going uncertain security situation in our country. It is the reason that huge crowd gather in front of utility stores, super markets, departmental stores and Sunday bazaars while other markets are standstill.

Let’s be specific to Sunday bazaars. Sunday bazaars or as we often call them “Itwaar Bazaars” in Pakistan, are main place of attraction on every weekend for common people in our country. We all know that Sunday bazaars are arranged in all four provinces of Pakistan except the new established province of Gilgit-Baltistan.

One can easily foresee that Sunday bazaars are providing good opportunities for buyers to purchase and sellers to sale basic amenities of life at reasonable prices in one place. It saves time and money of both parties. Some complains about Sunday bazaars as observed by the writer are;

  • Insufficient security arrangements in all the Sunday bazaars and the fear of terrorists act among the consumers have marred the business of such bazaars.
  • The sale of substandard food items is continuing at the local Sunday bazaars despite the high claims of local concerned authorities to streamline the things for the provision of quality daily use items at reasonable prices.
  • Rude attitude of the stallholders who display quality fruit and vegetables but sell rotten items and misbehave with buyers on complaint. Few stallholders follow the rate list issued by the local market committee but the rates at the Sunday bazaars are the same as that of open market.
  • The stalls of second-hand garments were also set up at the Sunday bazaars in the city. Both rich and poor people are seen at these stalls bargaining with the stallholders.

The shopkeepers of Sunday Bazaars of the city increased the rates of daily use commodities according to their will and continued fleecing the consumers by unchecked overcharging. Poor people get warm clothes from Lunda bazaars at very cheap prices to keep them warm. The prices of new winter clothes are out of their reach. They, therefore, rush to hand-me-down stalls, where one can get it at affordable rates. However; many people also complain that lunda products are also expensive at these stalls. The prices of used clothes too are high as compared to other Lunda markets. The people want to buy the best second-hand winter clothes at the lowest prices as they could not afford the new one, but it is expensive due to excess demand and limited supply.

To conclude, I am leaving the following three questions for you to discuss.

  1. Do we need Sunday bazaars in Gilgit-Pakistan even in presence of Lunda Bazaars, Sabzi Mandi and Utility Stores?
  2. Does the elected government of PPP under the leadership of Chief Minister Mr. Syed Mehdi Shah would ensure provision of Rotti-Kapda and Makan for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan?
  3. Is there housing problem in Gilgit-Baltistan? If yes, how PPP government can resolve it?

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  1. Action speaks loder then the Words GOVT of GILGITBALTISTAN is Totally FAIL to Accomodate the Effected people of ATTA ABAD HUNZA so who can Expect some thing from this ZORDARI CURRUPTED GOVT. they all are on the foot steps of ZORDARI……..

  2. 1. I personally dream of a small local ‘Women Farmer’s Market’ with strict rules of pricing, vendor selection (women only), quality control and carefully managed one, can be a good initiative to benefit both consumers and local farmers in terms of affordability, quality and reliability as well as awreness to a better socio-economic inter-action. It should only be managed by the women and should be assisted by the local government to facilitate the necessary infrastructure and security provisions.
    I am not in favour of a typical Sunday-bazar one encounters in the mega cities’ a pile of garbage’.

    2. Rhetorically ‘yes’ but practically ‘not’. The reason is, when we look at the macro economic indicators of the country, it seems that the notion of Rotti, Kapra, Makan will remain worst than ever at least for a decade (only if proper economic policies are put in place right now), otherwise it could take much longer or never (without a revolution).
    Although, GB is more potential in terms of resources but here again ‘policies matter’. Since GB council has no powers over macro-economic decisions but has limited powers in micro-econmic policy formulation, one can wonder how smartly they’ll peep through the tunnel to identify and address the fundamental issues? Here again, the question is ‘how visionary are they’? have they an eye to detail?

    3. Where there is a man, there is problem. God has created man with an (intelect) that has the capcity to detect problems and find solutions for his own. Food and shelter are the basic needs of every creature since the creation, to be able to survive and off course the ‘survival’ (life) is the most important of all and it’s for this reason that ‘creatures’ cross evrey limit when their survival is threatened. Although, if not all, most of the socio-economic problems today are man made because of the inability to calculate the demand and supply gap or simply ‘income and expenditure’. The population growth clearly denotes this inability of our society at large by deepening the troubles of a troubled economy that has hardly ever experienced good managers.
    Indeed there is a housing problem in the GB as elsewhere. Few suggestions from this part;

    i. Allocation of high mark up loans is not a solution to the poor.
    ii. Lowest segments of the society should be the top priority while making policies but it is contrary in the country.
    iii. Affordability and viability should be considered.
    iv. Anti seismic housing patterns should be introduced.
    v. Awareness to typical designs should be promoted.
    vi. Usage of locally available material should be encouraged.
    vii Loans should be allocated to those who follow the rules with full spirit.
    viii. Building laws should be enforced and violations must not be tolerated.
    ix. A good architect is one who ‘edits the nature’.
    x. Consultancy to high end professionals (Engineers, Geologists, Economists..) should be a pre-requisite prior to policy making.

  3. 1- In different cities of our country “Itwar Bazaars”, Juma Bazaars” Budh Bazaars” etc are a common sight. The apparent benefits of these bazaars are:
    a- Many of the items of daily use are available at one place.
    b- Prices are reasonable as compared to other places and markets.
    c- Provide opportunity to small shopkeepers and vendors to showcase their goods to selling.
    d- Mostly poor segment of the people takes advantage of such bazaars.
    e- Accessible without difficulty.
    f- Out of residential areas.
    g- Proper arrangement of cleaning once bazaar is over.
    If the Sunday Bazaar work in the similar way I think that is a good step.

    2- “Rotti, Kapra aur Makan” was a slogan, is a slogan and will remain a slogan. I don’t know how many people reached their eternal abodes in hope of having rotti, or kapra, or makan or all of the three. There is no magic with the government to make this happen to the faster increasing population with limited resources and of course, with heavy foreign debts. Sometimes back, a minister was asked this question of how about providing rotti kapra aur makan. In reply he made of fun of this and said that all these facilities are available in jail. So the minister should build jails capable enough of accommodating the whole population!
    3- Yes, housing is an issue, even our CM has not yet got a CM House! The housing needs to be looked into as it has much potential to generate economic activity and job opportunities at the same time proving low cost/rent houses to government employees, private sector and common people.

  4. With reference to the question regarding Roti, Kaprha and Makan by Mr. Shujaat Ali, it is pointed out that this is a slogan which was coined by the founding members of the PPP almost 45 years ago. It had at least some relevance with the population of the country of that time and Govt. Policy of nationalization of key sectors of the economy. Even then,it could not be materialised. Now with a population of 180 million and dwindling economy burdened with over $ 55.0 billion foreign debt and unprecedent corruption, it seems well nigh impossible to provide these basic necessities of life. If some body promises to provide Roti, Kaprha and Makan to every one, he/she is deceiving and fooling the people. Don’t be misled by such person.
    Istead of such dubious claims, the Government should provide Roti, Kaprha and Makan to the disaster affected people of ATTABAD, Gujal (Hunza)

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