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.


Ready to mentor Saudi cricketers on the kingdom’s request — Shahid Afridi

Updated 41 min 54 sec ago

Ready to mentor Saudi cricketers on the kingdom’s request — Shahid Afridi

  • Says cricket would be hugely popular in Saudi Arabia given that it is home to millions of Pakistani expats
  • Pakistani minister said this week Islamabad working on “practical steps” to promote cricket in Saudi Arabia 

KARACHI: Pakistani all-rounder and former skipper Shahid Khan Afridi has said he is ready to mentor Saudi cricketers if the kingdom seeks his help.
The comments come in the wake of a meeting between the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, and Pakistan’s Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, this month in which they discussed cooperation in the field of sports, with a focus on cricket.
“If I get a request [to train Saudi cricketers] I will definitely go as this is our own county and the people are our own,” Afridi said in an interview with Arab News at his home in Karachi this week.
The 40-year-old cricketer, fondly known as Boom Boom, captained the national team between 2009 and 2011, before retiring from international cricket in 2017. He is well-known for his philanthropic work across Pakistan and has formerly worked with UNICEF and a number of national organizations.
“I have been to Saudi Arabia previously,” he said, detailing his many trips to the Kingdom. “In my opinion there should be cricket [in Saudi Arabia]. There is our [Pakistani] community, which also likes to play cricket,” he said, referring to three million Pakistani expats who reside in the kingdom.
Pakistani minister Mirza said this week that Pakistan was working on “practical steps” to collaborate with Saudi Arabia to promote sports in the Kingdom, particularly cricket.
“I believe in sports diplomacy,” Mirza told Arab News in an interview on Monday. “The matter [of cooperation in cricket] has been taken with Ehsan Mani, chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board. We are working on practical steps to collaborate in promotion of sports, especially cricket.”
According to a statement issued by Mirza’s office, during her meeting with the Saudi ambassador last week, he said cricket was becoming popular in Saudi Arabia because of the Pakistan cricket team, which had a following in the country.
“We want to utilize Pakistan’s rich experience in the field of cricket and promote it in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Malki was quoted in the statement as saying.