Peshawar Chappal outlets attract Eid shoppers in droves before lockdown
Associated Press Of Pakistan
PESHAWAR, May 07 — Peshawar Chappal, the centuries-old homemade footwear tradition of Pakhtoon society, has attracted Eid shoppers in droves from across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including suburb areas here on Friday despite of coronavirus pandemic.
As nearly a week left in Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations, Eid shoppers including women and children thronged to Peshawari Chappal and others readymade shoes and garments’ outlets in Peshawar to select appropriate items for themselves and their loved ones ahead of the Eid occasion.
On Friday, great rush of people including women and children were witnessed in shoes and garments outlets in city,cantonment and university road following KP Government’s decisions regarding closures of all shopping markets, business centers, shoes and garments outlets including ‘Chand Raat’ shops except of an essential services from 6pm. today (May 8 to May 16) as Eid holidays and containing third wave of the coronavirus that was stated more lethal than prior two.
Jahangirpura bazaar near historic Qissakhwani Bazaar which was a main center of skilled cobblers making Peshawari Chappal since long, were working at homes till late night by engaging extra laborers to meet consumers’ pressing demands for Eid.
A substantial number of buyers from Charsadda, Nowshera, Kohat, Swabi, Khyber, Mohmand and Bajaur districts were also seen at Jahangirpura, Karimpura and Qissa Khawani bazaars to select decent, shiny and unique designs for themselves and family members where most of buyers violated anti corona SOPs.
Muhammad Khan, a local shoemaker told APP that a single pair passes through six stages of skilled hands to become a finished product. In first step, sole of chappal was made flattened with rubber piece whereas in second stage, a piece of leather is sewn and then fitting of piece with sole is done in third and fourth stage. In fifth stage, the pair was stuffed with a wooden piece to stretch and fix all the nails, leather and thread placed together to get the famous shoe adjusted.
“Finishing touches are given to a piece in sixth stage, which includes polishing and varnishing to improve pairs look while artisans also paint its border with a selected chemical for a long lasting shine,” he said.
In the wake of skyrocketing prices of foreign-made footwear, poor people including salaried and middle class besides low income groups are giving preference to readymade Peshawari Chappal keeping in view of its durability, attractive designs, affordability and great comfort level.
“My Eid shopping seems incomplete without Peshawari Chappal due to its eye-catching designs, comfort and durability,” said Urdu lecturer, Ehtisham Khan while talking to APP at Jahangirpura.
“I purchased two sets of Peshawari Chappal,one for my brother Zeeshan Khan and another for my maternal uncle on their request for Eid,” he said, adding its prices was relatively higher this year compare to last year that needed to be checked by the district administration. He said “we should not forget poor labourers, orphans and others needy people on this Eid due to COVID-19.”
The shopkeepers said the traditional footwear was being exported to South Africa, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, UEA, Europe, Afghanistan and Russia besides its demands were increased at Sindh, Balcohistan, Azad Kashmir, Punjab and Gilgit Baltistan. This famous chappal was also being liked in festive parties like Eid, engagements and wedding ceremonies in Khyber Pakthunkhwa. It was no longer confined to any specific culture or age group and being loved by all in order to give more colour to festivities.
Like others businesses, Peshawari Chappal’s business was also hit-hard by COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns in Peshawar where shoemakers had suffered great financial losses.
“We are likely to miss financial targets and orders on this Eid due to early closures of markets at 6pm, lockdown from May 8 till May16 and power load-shedding,” Muhammad Khan said.
He urged Government to announce special financial package for people associated with shoe-business and affected labourers, adding Peshawari Chappal business will grow only if Government’s provide interest free loans to affected businessmen.
Another buyer, Khayam Khan at historic Qissa Khawani bazaar told APP that Peshawari Chappal was his favorite shoe because of its shininess, great comfort level and unique designs. “Peshawar Chappal add colour to traditional look on Shalwar Qameez and a trendy appearance when worn with paints and jeans,” he said.
“I purchased five sets of plain black and dark grey designs as demanded by my brothers and cousins for Eid,” he said, adding,its other designs both for girls and boys with different prints embellished with stones were giving a different look and individual style attracting influx of buyers on Eid.
The people should not forget COVID-19’s affected persons on Eid and generously contribute by giving alms and charity before Eid. He urged Government to regulate this business and fixed rate for Peshawari Chappal to facilitate consumers.