In wintry Peshawar, Chitral’s woolly hats sell like hot cakes

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A shop full of Chitrali apparel in Peshawar’s famous Chitrali bazaar. Dec. 6, 2019 (AN photo)
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A craftsman at Peshawar’s Chitral Bazaar stitches together a traditional woollen hat. Dec. 6, 2019 (AN photo)
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Shop owner and craftsmen, Muhammad Tayyab, in his shop at Peshawar’s Chitral Bazaar. Dec. 6, 2019 (AN photo)
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A mechanic displays sewing machine parts in Peshawar’s famous Chitrali bazaar. Dec. 6, 2019 (AN photo)
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A mechanic displays sewing machine parts in Peshawar’s famous Chitrali bazaar. Dec. 6, 2019 (AN photo)
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Craftsmen and shop owner, Abdul Waheed, takes a customer’s head measurements in his shop in Peshawar’s famous Chitrali bazaar. Dec. 6, 2019. (AN photo)
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In between customers, shopkeepers at Peshawar’s Chitrali bazaar drink traditional green tea. Dec. 6, 2019 (AN Photo)
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A craftsman stitches a Chitrali hat at his shop in Peshawar’s famous Chitrali bazaar. Dec. 6, 2019 (AN photo)
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Traditional Chitrali woollen hats stacked one on top of the other and ready for sale in Peshawar’s famous Chitrali bazaar. Dec. 6, 2019 (AN photo)
Updated 07 December 2019

In wintry Peshawar, Chitral’s woolly hats sell like hot cakes

  • A special Chitrali woollen hat takes hours of meticulous handcrafting
  • Recent visit of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Chitral has boosted countrywide sales

PESHAWAR: Every winter, the traditional wool apparel business in Peshawar’s historic Chitral bazaar begins to boom.
The bazaar was first established by shopkeepers from the scenic upper Chitral region, from the extreme northwest of Pakistan, in the late 1940s. It is famous around the country for its expertly crafted handmade woolen hats, waistcoats, long coats and cloaks.
With roughly 500 shops, most of the people working in the bazaar are from Chitral and speak their native language, Khowar. But having adapted to the needs of their business and customers in Peshawar, they also speak Pashto.




Abdul Waheed stitches a traditional Chitrali hat in his shop in Peshawar’s famous Chitrali bazaar. Dec. 6, 2019. (AN photo)

Abdul Waheed, a shop-owner from upper Chitral said he’s been in the business of Chitrali hats for 20 years. A single Chitrali hat of pure wool, he said, took hours of meticulous crafting.
“A normal hat can be made in even an hour,” Waheed shrugged. “But a special one takes at least four hours.”
“I sit in the same shop of the Chitrali Bazaar where my father sat before me. I’ve been making these Chitrali hats for decades,” Waheed, 45, told Arab News.
“After the recent visit of the British royal couple, the sale of the traditional Chitrali headgear has risen,” he added and said these days, there was a demand for his warm hats from other cities in Pakistan as well.




Craftsmen and shop owner, Abdul Waheed, takes a customer’s head measurements in his shop in Peshawar’s famous Chitrali bazaar. Dec. 6, 2019. (AN photo)

The price of the handmade hats in the bazaar varies according to the design and quality, and ranges from between Rs. 500 ($3.20) to Rs. 2000 ($12.92). 
Waheed said that due to the high quality of the handmade products, people from neighboring Afghanistan also used Chitrali woolen products, and visiting European tourists took a special interest in purchasing from the historic bazaar. 
In the past, celebrities and royals who have visited Chitral have received the Chitrali hats as gifts, with iconic photographs of Hollywood actor Robert De Niro, Princess Diana and others in the traditional headgear now a part of the region’s documented history.




The packed Chitrali bazaar in Peshawar, bustling with shopkeepers and customers. Dec. 6, 2019. (AN Photo)

Sadiq Amin, 54, President of the Chitral business community in Peshawar said he was one of the first few shopkeepers in the bazaar and had been associated with the business since 1980.
He said the traditional Chitrali hat season started in November and continued until March, and reiterated that following the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Chitral last month, the demand for Chitrali hats had risen with orders pouring in from around the country.


Police detain Pakistani activists protesting PTM leader’s arrest

Updated 28 January 2020

Police detain Pakistani activists protesting PTM leader’s arrest

  • Lawmaker Mohsin Dawar and other activists of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement arrested as they demonstrated in Islamabad
  • The protests were against Monday’s arrest of PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen who is now charged with ‘sedition’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police on Tuesday arrested activists and lawmakers protesting the arrest of the leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), local media said.

Lawmaker Mohsin Dawar, along with several activists of PTM, were taken into police custody as they demonstrated outside the National Press Club against Monday’s arrest of Manzoor Pashteen, the movement’s leader.

Local media footage and videos circulating on social media showed police arriving at the protest site and rounding up demonstrators. One video showed Dawar in a policeman’s chokehold as another shouted: “Take them away!”

Kohsar police Station House Officer (SHO) Akhtar Ali told local Dawn TV channel that fifteen member of the PTM, including Dawar, had been taken to Kohsar police station from outside the National Press Club in Islamabad.
Pashteen was arrested by police from Peshawar in the early hours of Monday on a number of charges, including “sedition,” a senior police official of Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa told Reuters.

PTM campaigns against alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of Pashtuns and other ethnic minorities.

It emerged in 2018 after the killing of an ethnic Pashtun man by police in the port city of Karachi. That killing led to nationwide protests and turned the issue of alleged state violence against Pashtuns into a national debate.

The Pakistani military accuses the PTM of being funded by foreign enemies India and Afghanistan. The PTM denies foreign links.

Many of PTM’s supporters are ethnic Pashtuns who hail originally from areas bordering Afghanistan, which has been the center point of a long insurgency by Taliban and other militants and subsequent operations by the Pakistani military. Millions of people from the area have been displaced due to the operations.

Two members of the PTM, including Dawar, are elected lawmakers and were arrested under anti-terrorism laws and detained for close to four months after a deadly clash between troops and activists at a security post in northern Pakistan in May last year.