City to turn green & white with flags on Independence Day

Published August 12, 2022
A boy blows two vuvuzelas at once in Paper Market.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
A boy blows two vuvuzelas at once in Paper Market.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The deafening sound from the vuvuzela jolts Sheikh Nisar Ahmed Parchumwala, the biggest manufacturer of the printed Pakistan flags, in his office in the centre of the Paper Market on Hassan Ali Effendi Road.

“The horn is so noisy. It’s been banned in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. I wish they ban it here as well, but until they do that we are marketing it here because it is so much in demand,” laughed Parchumwala.

The gentleman proudly shared that he is almost as old as Pakistan. “I’m turning 75 some 16 days after my country on August 30,” he said.

A glance inside Hassan Ali Effendi Road makes you see everything in green. And the colour is splashed all over the city in the form of the fluttering flags, bunting, the green T-shirts, badges, lockets, hats, stickers, sunglasses, bracelets, bangles and other memorabilia.

The biggest sellers among these are the flags.

Parchumwala’s factory in Korangi manufactures these flags where they make sure the white portion on one side and the star and the crescent in the middle are according to the correct dimensions and also the green is the right shade. Some time ago the flag-maker, sometime also ran a movement for which he approached the court for a decree to stop tampering with the official flag design.

It is a well-known fact that the flags used to be stitched earlier, with appliqué work done over the green material, which made them rather expensive. But Parchumwala, who also manufactured the stitched variety, then introduced the printed variety, which he produced on a large scale as they were quite inexpensive. Suddenly, you had flags fluttering on balconies, rooftops, cars, bikes, etc.

In 2004, Parchumwala also created the Guinness world record for making the biggest flag in Pakistan. It was a 173,400 square feet flag that was spread out inside the National Stadium ground in Karachi. This year he wanted to make a one-kilometre-long flag to break that record. “But you need time to work on such a flag. It takes months. The airport would have been ideal for us to unfurl our one-km-long national flag. Sadly, no one in the government reached out to us for support as everyone there seems to be too busy with politics right now. So my plan did not materialise,” he said.

This year, along with the usual ‘Jashn-i-Azadi Mubarak’ printed on most memorabilia, there is also mention of the 75 years of freedom. And Parchumwala has to be content with just that for now. “After all, we couldn’t have let this grand occasion go totally unnoticed,” he smiled.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2022

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