- Title: PAKISTAN: Middle class Pakistanis expect a bleak Eid this year
- Date: 18th September 2009
- Summary: RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN (SEPTEMBER 17, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MARKETS ILLUMINATED FOR EID-UL-FITR WOMEN AT BANGLE STALL BANGLES ON DISPLAY PEOPLE IN MARKET VARIOUS OF READY-MADE GARMENTS SHOP OWNER, SHAUKAT ALI, ARRANGING DRESSES WOMEN ENTERING SHOP (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) READY-MADE GARMENTS SHOP OWNER, SHAUKAT ALI, SAYING: "Inflation has surged so much that people are unable to buy flour and sugar. Naturally that has affected our businesses also. If you look at the markets, you will see the huge rush of people, but not many are actually buying anything." KARACHI, PAKISTAN (SEPTEMBER 17, 2009) (REUTERS) CROWDED MARKET IN KARACHI WOMEN BARGAINING AT COSTUME JEWELRY STALL VARIOUS OF CUSTOMERS AT CHILDREN'S CLOTHES STALL WOMAN SEARCHING THROUGH CLOTHES HANGING IN SHOP VARIOUS OF WOMEN CUSTOMERS AT SHOE SHOP RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN (SEPTEMBER 17, 2009) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) RAJA BADAR, CAR SHOWROOM WORKER WHO HAS SET UP BANGLES STALL FOR EID, SAYING: "There is no business. Customers come and ask for prices. When they hear the prices, they say: 'Too expensive. Too expensive', and they go away." VARIOUS OF BANGLES ON SALE VARIOUS OF WOMEN AT SHOES STALLS CUSTOMERS WALKING PAST UPSCALE SHOPS WOMEN LOOKING AT DISPLAY WINDOW OF UPSCALE SHOP (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) ZEESHAN HAIDER, CUSTOMER, SAYING: "Prices are touching the sky. When you come to the market, you feel that you should either own a bank or forget about shopping." CLOSE OF SALIB RAUF, STUDENT WHO HAS SET UP BANGLES/ HENNA STALL FOR EID VARIOUS OF RAUF ARRANGING BANGLES AND HENNA CONES IN HIS STALL (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) SALIB RAUF, STUDENT WHO HAS SET UP BANGLES/ HENNA STALL FOR EID, SAYING: "This is the occasion of Eid, but inflation is so high. That is why I decided to do some small business to get some money." VARIOUS OF MUSICIANS TRYING TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS POST-MIDNIGHT TRAFFIC RUSH IN MARKET
- Embargoed: 3rd October 2009 13:00
- Location: Pakistan
- Country: Pakistan
- Topics: Economic News,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA1RDT21DIINC3A6O66IW8XVEWH
- Story Text: Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, a festival that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting.
Dressed in new clothes, friends and family will gather to pray in a congregation, and then visit each other for mouth-watering feasts.
Gifts are exchanged annually, but many Pakistanis say they do not have much to celebrate this Eid.
Rising prices and unemployment have tightened the purse-strings of many ahead of Eid, leaving most with little to spend on the small joys of the occasion.
Shaukat Ali, owner of a ready-made garments shop in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, is dejected as Eid draws near and business remains almost at standstill.
"Inflation has surged so much that people are unable to buy flour and sugar. Naturally that has affected our businesses also," Ali said.
"If you look at the markets, you will see the huge rush of people but not many are actually buying anything."
In Pakistan, Eid-ul-Fitr is due to fall on September 21 or 22, depending upon when the new moon is sighted.
Despite the slowing economy and rising prices, many people - especially those with small children - are out every evening in markets all over the country, hunting for bargains.
Raja Badar, a car showroom worker who has set up a bangles stall in a busy market, said customers were appalled by the hike in prices of items that are normal Eid fare.
"There is no business. Customers come and ask for prices. When they hear the prices, they say: 'Too expensive. Too expensive', and they go away," Badar said as he arranged colorful glass bangles on makeshift wooden benches along the street.
Most of Badar's fellow vendors are like him -- they all have other jobs but come out every year towards the end of Ramadan to make some extra cash.
Many Eid shoppers say with expenditures growing so rapidly this year, the only way to manage their Eid budget is to avoid big shops and branded items and be happy with cheaper things.
"Prices are touching the sky. When you come to the market, you feel that you should either own a bank or forget about shopping," said Zeeshan Haider.
Every year, small makeshift shops and stalls spring up along the streets of cities and towns, selling things at a discount compared to the bigger shops because of their lower overheads.
Several professionals have turned part-time vendors, setting up stalls selling items ranging from glass bangles and hair clips to clothes and shoes to cash in on the surge in shopping in the run-up to the Muslim festival.
"This is the occasion of Eid, but inflation is so high. That is why I decided to do some small business to get some money," said Salib Rauf, a 9th class student, who has set up a henna counter on the footpath along with his two younger siblings.
Eid-ul-Fitr is the biggest holiday of the year in Pakistan when people, regardless of their social stature, splurge on new clothes, trinkets and food.
This Eid, it seems, will be a bleak affair in many Pakistani households.
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