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.
- Do we need Sunday bazaars in Gilgit-Pakistan even in presence of Lunda Bazaars, Sabzi Mandi and Utility Stores?
- 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?
- Is there housing problem in Gilgit-Baltistan? If yes, how PPP government can resolve it?