It was a holiday fiesta for the Pakistani community in Qatar as families and children thronged Regency Hall where stalls of delectable traditional cuisines, handicrafts, clothes, shoes and other daily use items were displayed with ostentation.
The hall was packed from the moment its gates opened at 2pm till its closing at 9pm. The facility turned into a festivital of sorts as families came, shopped, dined, and hung around enjoying different musical and dance performances.
The Pakistan Souq Bazaar was organised by Amer Saeed Khan, founder of BPF Group of Companies, with support from the community representatives, and the Embassy of Pakistan. At the end of the event, the organisers formally launched Pakistan Souq, an online portal for business community and the Pakistani expatriates living in Qatar. The Souq bazaar launch also included competitions, entertainment and raffle draws with prizes for visitors.
There were as many as 68 colourful stalls with different Pakistani products on display. There were handmade traditional clothes and shoes from different parts of Pakistan, as well as attractive handicrafts, jewellery, makeup material and henna designs, among many other items.
Further, there were 10 food stalls offering authentic Pakistani cuisine such as biryani, haleeem, goal gappay, kulfi and other sweets. Families, especially children, relished the food in an ambience of festivity.
Um-e-Mohammad, a Pakistani woman, had a stall offering traditional Balochi clothes, specifically hand-made. “I am from Balochistan. I bring traditional clothes used especially for marriages from Balochistan. These are all handmade. Strictly speaking, all the clothes we have brought from Makran. It shows Balochi culture. We have many people living in Qatar from Balochistan, we regularly import the clothes as there is sufficient demand.
“These clothes are strictly made by hand at house. We have already been selling our clothes online. The Souq offers us an opportunity to further display our culture to the people in Qatar. The Balochi people gift such kind of clothes to their daughter on the eve of marriges.”
Shoaib Baloch, an active member of the Baloch community in Qatar, said: “We have brought traditional things in the Souq to show the Pakistani community at large and other expatriate communities that these items are available in Qatar. Even Qatari people also like to wear Balochi attires after making little alterations.”
There were some business people who have come from Pakistan to take part in the Souq. One of them was Ammara Abrar, CEO of Green Acre company. She co-partnered the event. She said: “We have brought different products from Pakistan to market in Qatar. The items include pearls, handmade shoes, clothes, bed sheets. We wanted to show the people in Qatar that the products of high quality are made in our country. We wanted to have made-in-Pakistan items here.
Later in the evening, the organisers held the official launch ceremony that was attended by the officials from Pakistan embassy and noted members of the Pakistani business community. The national anthems of both Qatar and Pakistan were sung with enthusiasm. A cake cutting ceremony was also held to formally launch Pakistan Souq portal.
Speaking on the occasion, Amer Saeed Khan said: “Pakistan Souq is a unifying facility offering access to e-commerce, e-business services, business forums, job portals and career counselling for SMEs and startups.”
He added: “We provided free of cost stalls to all the retailors and cottage industry people. We will also provide them online space at our portal to further promoted these industries. For this event, we have gathered almost all business community of Pakistan in Qatar. He thanked the embassy officials and community representatives for helping him in organising the event successfully.”
Idress Anwar, a noted Pakistani businessman and community leader, said: “We as Pakistani expatriates will always support everyone who works for the development of our country. All members of Pakistan Business Form extend full co-operation to Amir Khan. The Pakistani business community in Qatar is like a bouquet and Amir Khan is going to be a beautiful addition into it. We appreciate his innovative initiative.”
Masood Gul, Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of Pakistan, said: “We always support any growth in the trade relations with other countries. When the idea of the Pakistan Souq was presented to the embassy, we were very delighted. This [the portal] is a very important aspect of our exports with Qatar. The customers will get direct access to the Pakistani products online.
“Pakistan’s trade with Qatar is increasing. It has already gone double since the blockade of Qatar. The portal will further enhance the trade between the two countries.”
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