Sales of Independence Day related items have increased by 100% as Pakistan appears more enthusiastic in celebrating August 14 this year – breaking all sales records of previous years, traders said.
This year, sales of flags, buntings, badges and other goods began in mid-July, almost two weeks earlier as compared to August 1 last year.
The number of roadside stalls increased by more than 50% due to improving law and order situation in Karachi.
Meanwhile, festive activities including flag hoisting, fireworks and musical shows as well as illumination of government buildings are expected to double this year.
“Our sales have already gone up by over 100pc this year and well surpassed our targets,” 
owner of VIP Flags, Nisar Parchamwala said on the eve of Independence Day.
“It seems people of Karachi are being extra zealous than people from other parts of the country,” he said.
“Good thing is that many schools are also celebrating August 14 and holding functions this year.
Additional demand this year came from some religious institutions and mosques which are arranging flag hoisting ceremonies coupled with some other celebrations,” Nisar said.
He claimed there was thin demand for flags and other items from political parties.
The wholesale prices of various items have gone up by 5-10% than last year, Nisar said.
He blamed retailers for charging more than 100% prices from consumers as August 14 nears.
A retailer at Gurumandir was seen selling 1.5 ft flag for Rs100.
He said the same sized flag was priced at Rs80 last year, citing the 5-10% hike in wholesale rates as the reason.
One set of bangles (2 inch size) can be purchased at Rs100 as compared to Rs80 last year.
The wholesale hub at Hassan Ali Affandi Road near Paper Market wears a festive look.
Prices of independence day related items are lower than roadside stalls in various areas of the city.
Stalls are loaded with flags, T-shirts with trousers, bangles, badges, wrist bands, caps, 
face masks, glasses, balloons, glasses, CDs of national songs, etc.
The number of investors in this business has increased manifolds this year, with many lifting the stocks from wholesale markets much earlier this year – hoping to make a windfall.
President All Karachi Tajir Itehad Atiq Mir estimated Rs10bn sales of various items in Karachi this year as compared to Rs5bn in 2015, while sales in Lahore are estimated at Rs5bn as compared to Rs2.5-Rs3bn last year.
He said nationwide sales of these items may hover between Rs40-50bn as compared to Rs20-25bn last year.

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