Rawalpindi is now a city of markets. There are lots of well-decorated and renowned markets in the city. Upper and upper-middle class people go to these markets to buy their necessary items like clothes, shoes, cosmetics, ornaments, T-shirts, trousers, leather goods, pottery items, books, flowers, grocery items and the like.
“Another sort of market has also been there for commoners. That is the street market – set up on the footpaths of different areas of the city. The lower-middle and lower income groups frequently go to these markets. Though these markets are usually meant for low-income-group people, the rich also frequent these markets. Even foreigners visit these markets to procure uncommon items,” says Hasan Raza.
Somy Ali says: “Bara Market, Kartar Pura, Banni, Awan Market, Khayaban-e-Sir Syed, Urdu Bazaar, City Saddar Road, Jamia Masjid Road, Dhoke Syedan, Tench Bhatta are other places where there are street markets. Actually these places started the concept of street market. If you walk through these markets, you will find different kinds of products such as ready-made garments, caps, leather bags and other eye-catching stuff.”
Raja Bazaar is the heart of city. Almost every footpath there is full of hawkers and make-shift markets. In these markets they sell many kinds of items.
Naveed Naqvi, a 35-year-old villager says: “This is my first visit to Raja Bazaar. I want to buy some clothes and shoes for my kids. Cheap goods are available here.” Meesaq Rizvi, a 50 years old man says: “I have been visiting this market for the last seven years. My brother and son-in-law also visit this place for buying various things.”
“Talat Hussain came to this city from Karachi five years ago. Now he sells different categories of shoes and belts near HBL. When I visited his ramshackle shop, he showed some branded shoes,” says Ali Naqi.
“Saddar is another renowned place for street markets. If you pass through Babu Bazaar you will find lots of essential items to be sold. In this place you can collect different products such as readymade garments, leather bags, watches etc.
You can even buy vegetables and fish from this market,” says Ishrat Abbas.
Athar Ali, a student, says: "I am looking for second hand books here. To buy new ones would cost much, so I am looking for them here. Footpaths are the famous places from where you can buy different kinds of rare books.”
You can also get fake versions of famous perfumes or colognes here. There are rows of Johnson baby shampoo, Gillette shaving foam and so on. As you move along you will find roadside stalls selling sunglasses. "Sir, I have a Ray-Ban for you, get it dirt-cheap,” shouts Sajid Hussain.