Category Archives: Commerce

Long march: No crowds, no bigwigs, no traffic jams — business as usual


Daily Times Reporting

LAHORE: The bigwigs of civil society organisations did not show up at the Allama Iqbal International Airport to receive sacked chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Wednesday.

The organisations that remained active throughout the lawyers’ movement for the restoration of the judiciary did not take to the roads contrary to the lawyers’ expectations. Although the activists of Pakistan Labour Party, Khaksar Tehreek and the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan (CCP) reached the airport carrying placards and set up a welcome camp, their turnout remained quite low compared to what it was the last time Justice Chaudhry had come to Lahore to address the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA). Continue reading

LAHORE: Marginalised male sex workers vulnerable to HIV/AIDS


Photo: Tariq Saeed/IRIN
A significant number of masseurs working in Lahore are actually male sex workers

Source Mazaqah

LAHORE, 21 September 2006 (IRIN) – Under the illuminated Minar-e-Pakistan, the towering monument that marks the birth of the country, Pervaiz Din lays out the accessories of his trade. The tiny bottles of massage oil and aromatic colognes tinkle cheerfully as he pulls them out of a cloth bag and sets them out on a tray. Through much of the balmy September night, Pervaiz will await customers who seek a soothing roadside massage, a head rub – or something more.

“Some nights I get lucky. I get two or even three ‘good customers’ and I return home happy,” Pervaiz tells IRIN.

The ‘good’ customers he refers to are men who seek sex and will pay less than US $8 or so for a few hours with Pervaiz. They also pay for the room usually rented out in a cheap, ‘bazaar’ hotel, although some take him to the rooms or apartments in which they live.

“I have some ‘regulars’ who drop by several times a month. They really enjoy my services,” Pervaiz said.

Pervaiz is one of the hundreds of male sex workers (MSWs) in Lahore, the teeming capital of the Punjab province, and with a population of 8 million Pakistan’s second largest city after Karachi. Beneath its lush trees, and the domes and minarets of the Mughal buildings scattered across its older parts, scores of MSWs operate. Continue reading

Microfinance changes woman’s life

By Jawwad Rizvi

MICROFINANCE has changed the life of Bushra Bibi, a mother of eight.

Bushra Bibi has been making and selling vermicelli to earn her livelihood for the last 18 years.

Earlier, she borrowed money from a private moneylender at a very high interest rate for her business. However, she could not earn enough to support her children as most of her income went in paying the interest.

Bushra Bibi said she was married to Shafaqat Ali about 20 years ago. She started her married life with him in Rampura, a village near Jallo Morr. After some time, they shifted to Adda Chabeel, another village near Daroghawala area, she said. “Since my marriage, I have been making vermicellis at home,” she said, adding her husband was a carpenter and did not have a regular worker. Therefore, she said, she started the business of making vermicelli at home. Continue reading

Apple Computers store launched in Lahore

Daily Times Report

LAHORE: US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson on Friday termed the launch of Apple Computers in Lahore, a landmark of American investors’ confidence on Pakistan.

According to a press release, ambassador said, “The partnership between Apple and Raffles Systems, representing our two countries, will promote growth and prosperity in Pakistan”.

She hoped this partnership and others between American and Pakistani companies would keep growing.

Since 1977, Apple Computers has been a global market leader for personal computers, portable media players, cell phones, computer software and other electronic products. Apple’s popular consumer products have moved technology from the corporate world to the public.

“Information technology, especially in the personal computer sector, has grown phenomenally in Pakistan,” said the ambassador. “The combination of internationally competitive costs and high-speed connectivity make Pakistan an attractive destination for IT investment.”

More than 80 US firms currently operating in Pakistan, were employing more than 41,000 people directly and an additional one million indirectly. The US is Pakistan’s largest investor, with more than $900 million investment in fiscal year 2007.

New Lahore bookshop revives reading culture

By Kamila Hyat, for the Gulf News (April 28, 2008) 

Lahore:  For years, book lovers in Lahore, a city reputed for its literary history as well as its architectural inheritance, have mourned the apparent loss of the love of reading.

Many book shops have gradually vanished and in others, magazines have taken the place of more substantial tomes.

Teachers and parents have lamented the fact that in an age of television, DVDs, computer games and numerous other forms of jazzy electronic entertainment, children had turned away from books.

But, a single experimental idea has proved much of this conjecture about the relationship between Lahoris and books to be false.

The large Readings bookstore, which stocks row after row of used books, encyclopaedias and other literary material from the US, has within the two years or so of its existence become one of the most popular spots in the city. Continue reading

Pawning the family jewels – in Lahore

Ahmad Rafay Alam

Rent-seeking is destroying our cities. I know that’s a strong statement, but it’s more than deserved. Let me explain.

The phrase “rent-seeking” is an economic term originally identified in connection with monopolies. It has now grown to provide a better understanding of government regulation and, more sinister, abuse of power and privilege. It doesn’t really have much to do with leases, which is where you hear the word rent thrown about quite a bit. It actually stems from Adam Smith’s tripartite division of income, namely profit obtained from investment, wages earned through labour or rent earned through the lease of an asset. Rent-seeking is the practice of making income without the risks (and rewards) normally associated with investment or the toil and effort normally associated with labour. It represents money made without the rent-seeker actually making a real contribution to the productivity of the economy.

Another way to identify the practice of rent-seeking is to examine incidents of when a third part interferes in the availability of an otherwise accessible transaction. In a more obvious context, take the billboards in our cities. Anyone who wants to put a billboard up has to get the approval of the local government authority that regulates the advertising we see in our cities. In Lahore, it is the Parks and Horticulture Authority. The PHA, thus, interferes with the free availability of advertising space in the city and the income it makes from regulating permission to erect billboards is income in the form of rent-seeking. Last year, the PHA netted some Rs350 million in “revenue” collected from the regulation of billboard advertising. Continue reading

Blame game on over Anarkali Food Street’s cleanliness

Abdul Manan and Fahad Baig write in the Daily Times:

LAHORE: The government took no heed of the public complaints regarding the poor sewerage system and unhygienic conditions of the Anarkali Food Street, which has been posing a filthy look for the last many months, Daily Times has learnt.

It has been observed that the food street lacks proper drainage facility, while now and then overflowing gutters and heaps of food waste add to the miseries of the shopkeepers there. For this very reason, foreigners are no longer to be seen visiting the food bazaar, which, now, surely offers all kinds of local ‘specialties’.

There has been a blame game between various government agencies over the cleanliness and maintenance of one of the city’s main tourist attractions. Continue reading

Lahore Book Shops: Gone With the Wind

Guest Post by Darwaish

Mall road is one of my favorite areas of Lahore and I have some wonderful childhood memories associated with it. There is no other road like it which we all love here in Lahore, probably because it’s so close to the heart of the old city.Yesterday while driving around the mall road, I decided to look for a book shop and buy 3 books which were long pending in one of my wish-list. So driving slowly, I started to recall the old books shops where I used to buy books with my father when I was a little child. To my great surprise and shock, I could only find Maqbool Academy which is located in famous Diyal Singh Mansion and Feroz Sons. All the other old book shops were either closed or they had changed their line of business.

First, I couldn’t believe that all those lovely book shops I once loved are really gone one by one but then I realized it had to happen, keeping in mind the ever dwindling lack of interest in reading book in our society. General public has lost interest in book reading and for sellers it is no longer a profitable business.

There used to be atleast 10 book shops at Mall Road only just 8 or 10 years ago but only TWO exist now.

For example, there used to be one small book shop near Regal Cinema gate inside the small lane (I forgot its name), where there are two flower vendors now. Also there was the Imperial Book Depot and across from Regal used to be the Classic Book House. Then across from Cathedral and High court was Russian Book House.

But my favorite was a small book shop at Regal, just on the left of Shireen Mehal. I think its name was Mirza Book Agency and not only they used to have the best ever collection of children”s edition of famous novels but also The Hardy Boys and every other comic collection. I still remember my father got me a pocket sized version of Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities from there long long time ago. This shop not only sold old books at low, affordable prices but they had a special taste in Urdu literature. The owner of that shop introduced me to some of the finest writers of Urdu literature and I can’t thank him enough for doing that (if only I can find him now). Continue reading

Lahore’s Landa Bazaar: the poor man’s shopping paradise

Bilal Akram

LAHORE: Another mark of Lahore, Landa Bazaar, famous for trading generally used articles, is dynamically keeping its attraction for middle income and the poor, both from here and other far off cities and towns, though in patches it is falling victim to a business of smuggled goods mainly coming from Afghanistan.

A fast spreading parallel markets of cheap and second hand articles, mainly run by pathans and the ones from the tribal belt, have already appeared at the entry points of the decades old Landa Bazaar and undermining its fame.

The market, due to its historical background, is one the most famous among markets of similar nature in various parts of the country. Continue reading

Selling flowers in Lahore

The country’s first-ever wholesale flower market ‘Flower Exchange in Pakistan’ was inaugurated at Mini Tollington Park, on Main Boulevard, Gulberg, Wednesday.

It was jointly established by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Parks and Horticulture Authority. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Punjab Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Mian Shafqat Ali, appreciating efforts of the LCCI, hoped the Flower Exchange of international standards would play a vital role in promotion of floriculture. Continue reading