Pakistan shuts down 50-year-old weekly book bazaar

Islamabad, Jan 2 (IANS) Pakistan authorities have stopped vendors from selling books in Rawalpindi’s Sadar, bringing to an end a 50-year-old book bazaar that took over the areas pavements every Sunday.

Vendors have been coming to Bank Road in Sadar every Sunday, arranging stalls on the sidewalks of the roads and selling books, magazines and textbooks.

The books available ranged from subjects such as law, engineering, literature and religion to gardening and housekeeping magazines. A Landa Bazaar — a smaller bazaar — was also organised on Bank Road and Haider Road every Sunday.

The Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) collected Rs 300 per stall as a rental from the vendors for a day. Every Sunday, traders in Sadar close their shops and commercial establishments for the weekly holiday and the book sellers would temporarily take up space in front of the plazas to spread their wares on.

However, the traffic police have now stopped the vendors from putting up stalls on the pavements and road sides, as the books and the buyers — and browsers too — can get in the way of traffic.

Rawalpindi Cantonment Board spokesperson Qaiser Mehmood told Dawn that the bazaar was closed by the traffic police, and not the board.

“We allowed the vendors to sell books, and charged them a fee for a day for the last 50 years,” he said.

Book lovers who came to the area on Sunday expressed resentment, saying that the books were not only cheaper here but the book market was a special feature on Sundays in Sadar.

“I came to buy books, but I was shocked to see the book bazaar has ended. The police and civic body have deprived the people of a (place) to get cheaper books,” Mohammad Akhtar, a retired government employee, told Dawn.

He said bookstores were expensive and there are no prominent public libraries in the area, so people have no choice but to purchase cheaper, second-hand books to satiate their hunger for knowledge, information or entertainment.

–IANS

ahm/vt

Top