ISLAMABAD, Nov 12: Ahsan Khan, who came to ‘Landa Bazaar’ in H-9 along with his son to buy woolies, was astonished when he came to know that hand-me-downs too were beyond his reach.

“I was expecting that I will get a second hand sweater for Rs250 but most of the outfits are in the range between Rs400 to Rs550.

Khan, who works as a labourer, had no choice but to leave without buying a single winter clothe for his son because he has to run his house and he was not sure that he will find work for next few days because of upcoming holidays of ‘Ashura’.

Khan was not the only one who has been facing this situation. It is a story of every person who belongs to lower middle or lower class.

Because of inflation, buying power of the people has squeezed and almost every thing has gone beyond their reach.

Trousers and jersey used to be sold for Rs250 to Rs350 in the same bazaar at the end of 2012 but now they are available for Rs400 to Rs550.

Windcheaters were sold for Rs650 to Rs700 at the end of 2012 but now traders demand Rs1,000 and even more for the same kind of jackets.

With the drop in mercury, which will touch below freezing point by next month, the problems for the lower middle class will multiply.

The inflation-hit people are left with no choice but to rush to ‘Landa Bazaars’ but this time they too have very little to offer.

Sarfaraz Ahmed, who had come to buy a jacket, said nights had become a bit cooler for the last few days, making travel on motorbike without windbcheater almost impossible.

“When I came to Landa Bazaar to buy a jacket, its price tag (Rs1,000) took me by surprise,” he said.

“I told the shopkeeper that I want to buy a second hand jacket, not a new one but shopkeeper refused to negotiate the price. Now I will go to Raja Bazaar where I am confident that I will find a better and cheaper stuff,” he said.

Mohammad Farooq, a shopkeeper, while talking to Dawn, said that all hand-me-downs came from Karachi and rapid increase in petroleum prices had made them dearer.

“In early 90s we would sell sweaters for Rs15 to Rs25 and still we have margin but now we are not able to run our house with this business because the prices of clothes have increased manifolds,” he said.

Economic expert, Prof Iftikhar Ahmed, while talking to Dawn, said that inflation and unemployment were the major reason for debilitating buying power of a common man.