Despite the freeze on diplomatic ties between India and Pakistan and protests against the fair, traders at the recently concluded four-day Aalishan Pakistan exhibition did brisk business, reports Upasna Pandey
Politics and diplomacy was put on the back burner at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan where Pakistani traders were doing brisk business during the recently concluded four-day Aalishan Pakistan trade exhibition.
Traders, participating in the four-day show, which began on September 11, organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, said that no matter what ties both the countries shared, the common man in both countries have no hatred against each other.
The trade exhibition witnessed huge footfalls, with people from all over thronged the expo where a wide array of garments, textiles, jewellery and other products were on display.
The exhibition was quite successful with over 150 exhibitors displaying their products, a marked rise from the 90 that participated in 2012.
“The fair received a good response, with many established brands and companies keen on expanding their reach in India participating in the expo,” said Athar Khokhar, director, TDAP.
Traders at the fair further said that Indian women were very excited about the products and even negotiating and bargaining in Hindi and Urdu. One buyer, Neha, said, “I am a big fan of Pakistani fabric, which is quite superior and the food is good too. So coming to the fair was a great experience.”
Another buyer at the fair said that the popularity of the newly-launched Zindagi channel had prompted her to visit the fair. “I am an avid Zindagi channel viewer. I hope to purchase some dresses similar to those worn by the Pakistani actors,” said Anita, a visitor at the fair.
And the fair was not just a shoppers’ paradise, as it even had something to offer to the academically inclined. A stall displaying a book by famous Karachi-based journalist and author Reema Abbasi titled Historic Temples in Pakistan: A Call to Conscience also drew in large crowds.
However, the fair wasn’t without incident. On the first day of the trade fair, members of the Hindu Sena, Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal raised slogans and protested against the event, demanding that the event be called of. However, they were soon cleared from the premises and the show continued as per plans.
Quratulain, from Gul Ahmed, a reputed brand in women wear, said “we are happy with the response but it is definitely less as compared to 2012. We have customers who are aware of the brand and have been coming to us for many years.”
Image: Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit with his wife Summiyah Basit at a stall at the Aalishan Pakistan trade fair at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Photograph: PTI photo