islamabad - The relocation of beauty salons from residential to commercial areas served no purpose except causing inconvenience to female clientele, as many have been moved again to those residential areas where eviction is not on the cards while businesswomen who have rented spaces in commercial areas complain about privacy and security issues.

The Capital Development Authority has been sealing commercial establishments in residential areas over nonconforming use on the Supreme Court’s orders and beauty salons in residential units have also been facing action. According to official data, over 53 beauty salons were functional in residential areas and of them about 20 are still functional as the operation is still underway. Officials say about 15 beauty salons were sealed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) while about 18 were shifted to commercial areas voluntarily.

Due to lack of privacy and small and cramped places for offering various services, higher costs and security concerns, none of them shifted to the high-rise malls, preferring to move to sector E-11 where the concerned housing societies have not been enforcing the law and the CDA has limited its operation to only main sectors as per court’s orders. Some, who can afford, have moved their parlours to posh markets finding some less crowded corners, as privacy is the biggest concern for the female clients, especially brides.

“It’s strange to go across the market to get to the car when you are wearing makeup and everybody staring at you,” said Javaria, a working lady. “Salons in nearby proximities were not only easy to access for women but also had proper setup for all the services they offer in privacy.”

Sadia who works for a nongovernmental organisation said she had an appointment for a party makeover in F-7 branch of Jugnu’s but when she reached it was sealed and it took her one-and-a-half month and had to go to their main branch in Rawalpindi to know which branch she should go to in future. Sadia who is their regular client because of their good services said “they have moved their branches either to commercial areas or to E-11 that is not safe in such precarious security situation or is quite far.”

Another housewife, Faiza, said she used to go to a Chinese parlour in F-10 whenever she got time from household chores even at night whenever there was any event as it was quite close to her place. But now she will have to go to E-11 where the salon has been shifted and it is quite inconvenient for all the women of her vicinity. As the parlours have no representative body or pressure group to make their voice heard, but they all have more or less same views and grievances.

“It’s a women only business catering to women and it is quite odd to work in a market in our culture,” said Daniella who has shifted her parlour from F-7/1 to Bangsh Plaza of Jinnah Super Market. “This idea can work in western cultures but is not suitable for our conservative society,” she added.

She further said that clients, especially brides, complain about commercial locations as residential establishments give them privacy and convenience. Besides, she said, higher rents will also lead to higher business rates and service charges and the discounts the parlours were offering earlier would be retracted.

“We need larger space to set up salon and studio and cannot operate in market that is so inconvenient, especially for the brides,” said Tania Khattak of Jugnu’s, a parlour, which has been shifted to E-11 because of her regular clients who need privacy and proper services. She viewed that this exercise was based on favouritism and did not do good to anyone as many are still operational in residential areas.

Dispelling the impression that the operation is only directed towards economical salons and some big names have been spared, Zahid Sultan, Director Building Control at CDA said in accordance with the court’s orders all will have to vacate the residential buildings ultimately. As operation was initially focused in sector F and E so most of the outlets were evicted from there and the rest in sector G will also be sealed in the next phase.

He said due to limited staff and resources, they have been conducting the operation in a phased manner. “We also sealed Tariq Ameen’s salon in E-7 and others in sector G will also be relocated when the operation starts in the said sector.”