ISLAMABAD - Though the prolonged sit-ins have forced many of the protesters of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) to leave the gatherings, there are some people still willing to come and stay at the protest area.
A small business enterprise of vendors has emerged at D-Chowk within the past two weeks drawing the sellers even from distant areas of twin cities, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
With much higher profits than the ones they would get in routine, vendors are not ready to leave the sit-ins despite uncertain situation after every deadline given by the leaders of both the marches staged at Red Zone. Muhammad Ashraf, a young Pashtun cart runner, who normally vends kulfi (a frozen dessert) in some areas of Rawalpindi, has moved his small business to the Red Zone some three days before and has installed his equipment opposite to the presidency.
“Most of the people around, including me, have come here for the first time,” said Ashraf, emphasizing that the demonstrations had given them an opportunity to see the area. Overwhelmed by the landscape behind him, the thing Ashraf appeared more content with was a higher profit he was earning there.
At D-Chowk Ashraf was having a sale of 3800 to 4000 rupees per day with a profit of 2000 rupees that he termed as a feast as compared to the daily profit in Rawalpindi. Surrounded by a cluster of PAT protesters that seemed helpless before the sweltering heat, Ashraf was busy selling kulfi with an utter indifference to any change and uncertain situation.
A few steps away from Ashraf was Khalid, a teenager who originally hailed from Multan but was employed at a hotel at Khanna Pul. Just two days before his owner had sent him to operate a tea stall with additional items like cigarettes and biscuits. Khalid was making sales from 3000 to 3500 rupees per day including additional profits but all for his owner as Khalid was serving on fixed wages of 300 rupees per day.
Abdul Rauf, a fruit seller, was selling Multani mangoes, Kohat’s guava and Indian bananas. He had moved here from Kachi Abadi near the fruit market, Islamabad. Rauf said the fruit business had more risk than the other businesses around.
“There is loss in shape of wastage specially when there is rain,” Rauf said, adding that selling fruit around sit-ins was more pleasurable while listening music in the background.