Pakistan’s biggest date market sees huge Ramadan demand

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Stock of freshly arrived dates at the market in Karachi. (Photo by Khurshid Ahmed)
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Dates are being displayed to attract customers at the market in Karachi. (Photo by Khurshid Ahmed)
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Dates are being loaded on a van for supply. (Photo by Khurshid Ahmed).
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Dates are loaded on a van at the dates market in Karachi. (Photo by Khurshid Ahmed)
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People are buying dates from a vender. (Photo by Khurshid Ahmed)
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People buy dates from a stall at Dates Market. (Photo by Khurshid Ahmed)
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People buy dates at Khajoor Market for iftar in Karachi. (Photo by Khurshid Ahmed)
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Stock of dates availabe for Ramadhan at Dates Market in Karachi (Photo by Khurshid Ahmed)
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A view of the Dates Market in Karachi. (Photo by Khurshid Ahmed)
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Buying and selling goes on at city's dates market, Karachi. (Photo by Khurshid Ahmed)
Updated 17 May 2018

Pakistan’s biggest date market sees huge Ramadan demand

  • Karachi’s Khajoor Market caters to the whole country’s needs
  • Pakistan is the world’s fifth-largest producer of dates, with annual production of 650,000 tons

KARACHI: With the onset of Ramadan, commercial activities gather pace at the largest date market in Pakistan, where retailers and wholesalers rush to purchase the most sought-after commodity in the country during the Muslim fasting month.

Khajoor Market is situated in the Lyari area of Karachi. Established before the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the market has started thriving once again since security in Karachi has considerably improved following recent operations by law-enforcement agencies.
While selling dates can be lucrative at any time of the year, the business acquires greater momentum in the run-up to Ramadan. 
This is reflected in a sudden increase in the number of venders in the area, from 100 shops and kiosks to sometimes nearly 200.
The market not only caters to Karachi’s needs but also other parts of the country. Pakistan meets 50 percent of its demand by importing dates from Iran, though it also buys significant quantities from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other states. 
But most importers and dealers complain about cumbersome import processes. “We’re facing problems due to import permits that… not only increase our costs but consume a lot of time,” Hanif Baloch, chairman of the market association, told Arab News, adding that freight costs have also gone up.
Due to high demand for dates during Ramadan, retailers and wholesalers raise prices. “Dates that are usually available for 70-80 Pakistani rupees ($0.61-$0.69) per kilogram are now sold for more than 120 rupees,” said retailer Ahmed Hussain.
The world’s fifth-largest producer of dates, Pakistan is focusing on increasing local production — currently about 650,000 tons per year — since the country is situated in an agro-ecological area where high-quality dates can grow on a massive scale. Sindh province contributes around 50 percent of dates.
Muslims worldwide like breaking their fast with dates, which are a good source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They are also a good source of energy since they contain sugar and fiber.

Yara Shahidi honored with Spotlight Award

Yara Shahidi was honored with an award at the 25th Annual Elle Women in Hollywood Celebration. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2018

Yara Shahidi honored with Spotlight Award

DUBAI: Actress and social activist Yara Shahidi was honored with an award at the 25th Annual Elle Women in Hollywood Celebration on Monday and took to the stage to give a speech.

The Iranian-American star of TV show “Black-ish,” who has her own spinoff show called “Grown-ish,” was given the Calvin Klein Spotlight Award at an event attended by the likes of Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez and many more.

The 18-year-old Harvard University student is one of a star-studded list of honorees, including Lady Gaga, Shonda Rhimes and Mia Farrow.

The event also celebrated the female cast of “Black Panther” — Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o — at the event in Los Angeles’ Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Shahidi sat down with the magazine for an in-depth interview published in its November 2018 issue. The teen, who hails from a highly accomplished family — one of her cousins is the rapper Nas, while another, Anousheh Ansari, was the first Iranian-American astronaut — covered everything from women in Hollywood to her political activism.

“We’re holding people accountable for their actions. There’s an intentional knowledge disparity in any industry, which is tied to the maintaining of power. I love the fact that this community of women is disintegrating that. I’ve been able to reap the benefits of it, and I’m also fortunate to have my parents with me, guiding me,” she told the magazine.

Shahidi has talked openly about her family in the past, including in a revealing social media post about her parents during the uproar about the proposed US immigration ban in 2017.

“If my baba was stuck in an airport because of a Muslim ban 39 years ago, he would have never fallen in love with my mama. I would not exist and I wouldn’t have two amazing brothers,” she posted on social media at the time.

The actress has been vocal about her Iranian-African-American heritage and even called herself “a proud Black Iranian” on Twitter.

In her most recent interview with Elle magazine, the actress expands on what causes are close to her heart.

“Immigration, gun control. There’s been a lack of humanity, especially in the policies of these past two years, policies that alienate minorities,” she said.

Lady Gaga was also awarded at the ceremony, and took to the stage to give a powerful, emotional speech about being a survivor of sexual assault.

“As a sexual assault survivor by someone in the entertainment industry, as a woman who is still not brave enough to say his name, as a woman who lives with chronic pain, as a woman who was conditioned at a very young age to listen to what men told me to do, I decided today I wanted to take the power back. Today I wear the pants,” she said at the event.