Siddiqabad Phatak Fair: A Decades-Old Hub Of Bajaur's Economic And Cultural Buzz


(MENAFN- Tribal News Network) For 45-year-old Mohammad Zeb, setting up an ice cream stall at Siddiqabad Phatak Fair in Bajaur District is a lifelong routine. Rain or shine, this weekly festival has been the source of his livelihood. While he also participates in other local events like the Phatak Fair and Mohmand District's Lakaro Fair, the Siddiqabad Phatak Fair stands out, not only for its economic benefits but also for employing two boys.

The Siddiqabad Phatak Fair, initiated in 1990, has become a staple event held every Saturday on the Bajaur-Peshawar Main Highway. Beyond being a marketplace for livestock, boots, tools, food, and electronics, it serves as a unique cultural and economic center for Bajaur. Locals and visitors from other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gather for business and entertainment.

Mohammad Zeb's ice cream business thrives both in summer and winter, with specific customers from various areas of Bajaur making it a point to indulge in his ice cream at each festival. Despite inflation, Zeb maintains the quality of his ice cream, priced at Rs 50 per box.

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Mian Gul Jan from Khar Tehsil eagerly anticipates the fair each week, emphasizing the tradition that has been part of his life for the past 30 years. The fair, managed by a local on an annual contract, involves various taxes on stalls and items, contributing to the economic activity of the region.

Haji Akbar Jan, former President of Siddiqabad Phatak Bazaar, highlights the fair's role in promoting economic activities, turning it into the focal point of economic transactions every Saturday. He urges the provision of facilities to enhance employment opportunities and pledges cooperation from the business community.

Concerns are raised by Mohammad Zeb regarding the lack of drainage arrangements, causing issues during rainfall. He calls for drainage solutions and facilities like bathrooms and penthouses to elevate business prospects. Aftab-ur-Rehman, a fair contractor, acknowledges the need for drainage improvements and assures action after the completion of highway construction.

Aftab, responsible for several festivals, including Siddiqabad Phatak Fair, prioritizes tax collection with consideration for people's economic status. He emphasizes the fair's importance, attracting buyers from Punjab and contributing millions to the local economy weekly.

While cultural fairs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have witnessed a decline in recent decades, Siddiqabad Phatak Fair stands resilient as a dynamic hub of cultural and economic activities in Bajaur.

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