There are shops like the Body Shop and so on in Pakistan and Metro supermarkets and so on. Subway is there in some parts, but there are also the ‘shops’ which are little more than a hole in the wall with pull-sown shutters for night use. There are a lot of stalls which are temporary and are basically barrow type stalls that can be pushed. On these stalls you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables or cheap plastic items which originally came from China.
Even in Rawalpindi, one of the Twin City (Islamabad, the capital is the other “Twin”) close to the bus station and the railway station there are ‘shops’ like the ones in the pictures. The material on display is for the traditional women’s garb, the shalwar kameez and dupattas. You buy the material and give it to a tailor or a seamstress to make into a suit. There are shops which sell off the peg suits but they are more expensive as are the designer suits on offer in select outlets in the cities.
The pictures in this post were all taken in the Khyber Paktoonkhwa province – formerly the North Western Frontier. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has a camp in the area for displaced people either from neighbouring Afghanistan (just over the mountains) or those who have been displaced in Pakistan because of natural disasters – earthquakes and monsoon floods. The blue bucket type containers you can see in the pictures are the property of the UNHCR and contain dried food.
I make no comment, only to say that people are poor and will buy whatever is sold cheaply. They have to survive. The photos were taken in autumn 2012 just before the onset of the monsoon season which was late that year. You can see that the rains are about to start in the photos – all taken by Athar Abbas.
The photos were taken close to the area where Osama bin Laden was killed. I hope they give you an idea of what life is like in areas of Pakistan which are outside cantonment areas (where the army are posted) and cities. All comments welcome!