ISLAMABAD - With Capital Development Authority (CDA) sleeping over its long promised anti-encroachment drive in commercial markets, vendors in several commercial centers have disappeared not because of a crackdown but because they have found D-chowk as their favourite destination.

Normally, vendors pay certain amount of money to shop owners to allow them set up their cart outside the shop. But at D-chowk, they find good enough customers without paying any charges for the place they occupy.

D-chowk, the protest venue of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) has virtually become a mini commercial center where one can get fruit, vegetables, pakoras, samosas, utensils, clothes and other essential commodities as vendors have swamped the place.

Vendors that would sell commodities at Aabpara Market have now shifted to D chowk and are quite happy for earning big profit keeping in view the number of protesters who buy items from the vendors instead of going to the major commercial places that are situated at distance from the protest venue.

Noor Sahi Jan, who would fry pakoras at Aabpara Market has now placed his stove at D chowk and is quite satisfied with the hot sale. “I wish I had shifted my stove here earlier. Here I can’t meet the demand of customers,” he said. Vendors that would usually sell corns at commercial markets in Islamabad, have completely disappeared and could be found only on Constitution Avenue where they have permanently established their hand push carts. The fruit sellers have occupied a separate lane on the protest venue where they don’t have to chant for attracting customers. “I would run fruit stall at a pavement near Jinnah Super. My friend advised me to shift it to D chowk. Now I earn more than double,” Gul Wali, the vendor said.

The PTI organizers have established an oven for providing baked bread to participants while chefs could be observed cooking curries at another place. Constitution Avenue, the highly-sensitive road where public transport was even forbidden to travel, now virtually has become hub of vendors.

A vegetable vendor Farman Ali told this reporter that he had working for a wholesaler for selling the stock at D chowk. “The wholesaler is at Super Market but he gives me certain quantity of vegetable for selling it at D Chowk. I give him Rs 5,000 daily and the rest of money goes to my pocket,” he said.

Even the flower sellers near Jinnah Super and Super Markets, whose shops were rooted out by CDA during anti-encroachment drive, too have found their new abode in D chowk where they sell flowers.