LAHORE – The sale of liquor and bookings at the brothels are on the rise to welcome the New Year – 2013– with elite of the town preparing dance parties at farmhouses, mostly in the suburbs of the provincial metropolis in this otherwise Islamic society.

Hotels’ management believes that sever cold is unlikely to affect their businesses as they were receiving more orders from the customers. Leading restaurants located in Gulberg and Defense areas are also planning parties on the eve of New Year Night.

The prices of the ‘items’ are almost doubled while the rest houses situated in the posh localities like Gulberg, Defense, and Johar Town have no more space to accommodate the new customers. However, the leading hotels and motels in the town are near to close more bookings ahead of the Night.

The bootleggers have noticed high-demand of various Indian brands, a new trend this year in the City, apart from the other imported or smuggled brands of whiskey. A bottle of Indian liquor is being sold at Rs1250 in the black market. The police are also planning to deploy thousands of cops across the city to control eve-teasers and those who may go ‘overdose’ while celebrating the event with friends.

“The stage dancers are in high-demand despite the middlemen increased the rates two times high for the new year night,” said a party-planner who has been working in the red-light locality for the last 10 years. Since the night-clubs and gambling dens are banned in the country and prohibited under the law, the guesthouses and hotels have become a substitute source of ‘entertainment.’

Like previous years, the elite of town have planned parties at the farmhouses on the Raiwind Road, Canal Road, Barki, Bedian and Defense Road. A great number of rest houses located in Gulberg and Defense Housing Authority are in fact operating as brothels, police sources said.

All party items from alcohol to prostitutes are offered to the clients with guarantee of no-police-raid at some guesthouses. Sources said that the management of such facility runs the business in connivance with the police. The police would raid and ransack the party only if the ‘concerned officials’ are not paid their due share, a party-organizer said.

According to him, the popular guesthouses located in the posh localities have stopped more bookings because of high-demand of dancers and prostitutes on that night. On Wednesday, there was huge rush of shoppers outside the barrooms in the premises of city’s top hotels. At least four leading hotels are running barrooms with liquor of various brands on sale in abundant. “Many people are buying liquor from the local hotels in panic. They are stashing more bottles than needed, fearing the whiskey shortage would hamper the arrangements on the eve,” a bootlegger, Masih, who preferred his first name not to be published.

He further said that a bottle of locally-made liquor is available at controlled (official) rate of Rs554 but that is sold only on permits in the hotels’ barrooms. The bootleggers usually sell a bottle at Rs 700 but these days they are selling it at Rs 1000.

Popular brands of whiskey are now being sold at Rs10000 per bottle. Usually such brands are sold at Rs 8000. However, various smuggled whiskey brands are also available at Rs 45000. According to sources in the black market, apart from the liquor and whiskey, the youth belonging to the City’s elite also consume recreational drugs to celebrate the event that comes once in year.

On such occasions, the police play hide and seek with the bootleggers and middlemen associated with the prostitution trade to grab bribe. Generally, the policemen step up patrolling around the leading hotels and brothels to nab the bootleggers and other clients. Notwithstanding the policemen are also actively hunting the bootleggers and middlemen to extract money, the business of prostitution and liquor sale is rising ahead of the Night, according to police sources.

A party organizer who manages ticketed-events was of the view that the whiskey or alcohol shortages were common at this time of the year. “Whiskey runs short prior to New Year every year. This year, we have arranged it in double quantity to accommodate maximum guests,” the organiser with an event management company said. According to him, many elite families are hosting the event at farmhouses on the Raiwind Road, Canal Road, Barki, Bedian and Defense Road, where family friends and special guests are also invited from other cities.