The historical Qissa Khwani Bazaar, which attained worldwide recognition for being the ancient market of South Asia, famous for its storytellers, having rich cultural diversity, Mughal era architectural buildings, aroma of food cuisines, and aromatic Qahwa (green tea) required face-lifting and renovation after its infrastructure was badly affected owing to some worst incidents of terrorism during the period from 2001-13.
Located in the heart of Peshawar near historical Chowk Yadgar, Ghanta Ghar and Balahisar Fort, the Qissa Khwani Bazaar remained a key trade and cultural centre where international merchants of subcontinent, Afghanistan and Central Asia stayed at nights and swapped tales of love, culture, art and architecture, music and each others' traditions.
The British Commissioner of Peshawar, Herbert Edwards had great love for Qissa Khwani who called it the Piccadilly of South Asia.1 He said storytellers and musicians with traditional Rabab with Tabla staged culture programs and enthralled visitors.
Qissa Khwani had witnessed a sharp decrease in arrival of foreign tourists during 2001-13 when terrorists targeted this culture hub of Peshawar that claimed so many precious lives including Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour in 2012 and CCPO Malik Muhammad Saad Shaheed in 2007.
The terror attacks made an adverse effect on its culture, business and infrastructure outlook besides affecting Qahwa business. However, the resilience and courage of its residents and shopkeepers negated the nefarious designs of enemies of peace and culture and continued their business despite significant shortfall in their profits.
- 1. "Following creation of Pakistan, its tea stalls were centre of political discussion where locals exchanged views about the country's political situation, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah-Gen Ayub Khan Presidential Election, 1965 Pak-India war, OIC summit at Lahore in 1974 besides a number of sports and cultural events during 1960-75," recalled former Information Officer, Misal Khan (80) while talking to APP.