Pakistan fashion week: Show goes on in terror hit Karachi

By Shilpa Raina, IANS
Friday, November 12, 2010

KARACHI - Pakistan’s best known fashion week was on, there were smiles on the ramp and banter among organisers. That’s when the latest terror blast hit Karachi, killing at least 19 people, changing the atmospherics in seconds.

In a show of resilience, however, everyone put up a brave face and went about business.

On the third day of the Pakistan Fashion Design Council-Sunsilk Fashion Week (PFDC-SFW) Friday, the event pressed on - with a little rescheduling. There were few signs of the panic that had gripped those present a day earlier.

When the explosion rocked CID building in Karachi’s high security zone Thursday, cell phones started beeping, immediately stealing away attention from the ramp. Audience members wore a worried look.

The blast had taken place near Hotel Sheraton where most of the international media, buyers, organisers and many designers were putting up. The venue for the four-day fashion week - in which over 40 designers are taking part - is at the other end of the city, which is Pakistan’s business hub. With participants already having reached the place, everyone was safe.

But still a sense of uneasiness prevailed. Everyone in the audience waited for a break between shows to talk to family and friends.

That’s when designer Hassan Shehryar Yasin, who was also coordinating with models backstage, announced that the remaining events would go on without a break. Just after the show, Yasin told IANS how stressful it was for the entire team to handle the crisis.

“We had got a call from the security people to shut the venue as soon as we could. They gave us flat 50 minutes and told us to vacate it for security reasons.

“So while I came on the ramp to make that announcement, inside I was shivering and wondering how we would every pull this off,” said Yasin.

“But all credit should go to the models who were very worried backstage about their family, but they had to smile on the ramp, they managed it pretty well.

“Also it was a very difficult situation as there was hardly any time for makeup, so I had two lipsticks in my hand, and I was doing the job myself. It was real tough, but I am glad we managed it pretty well,” he added.

Everyone’s security was the main issue for organisers, hence a short meeting was called where all international media and buyers were given a brief about the situation.

Hotel Sheraton too had suffered damage - broken glass in the lobby and rooms - due to the high intensity blast. The hotel is just a stone’s throw from the CID building.

“There is no need to panic. Everything is fine, it’s just that security in the city is tightened up and there are check-points everywhere. So just be calm, the hotel is safe and we can go there once they clear the glasses,” said Ruqhia Nazeer, chief executive of R Team, an event management company.

Alexandra Senes, the French fashion entrepreneur, said she was not scared but sad.

“I won’t say I am scared but yes I am sad because I feel at a time when they are putting up so much effort to make things happen in their country, a blast happens. The whole effort goes for a toss,” she said.

“But it won’t change my perception and love for this country and place, I will come back again next year,” said Senes.

According to senior Karachi-based fashion journalist Aamna Haider Isani: “With these blasts, life comes to a standstill and business comes to a halt, but people have become resilient and have moved on because they know they don’t have a choice, but to live with reality.”

“And when you don’t have a choice, you either moan in life or live your life and I believe we all have chosen the latter,” she added.

Filed under: Terrorism

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