City Landmarks – Abdul Hadi and Aslam’s bookstores on Khalid bin Waleed Road

Abdul Hadi and Aslam are strange characters for our time. Take Abdul Hadi for instance. He has been running his bookstore for past thirty years on Khalid bin Waleed Rd. I am not sure how has he managed to achieve this feat. He lets people read newspaper for free. One usually finds a group of young men sitting idly at the benches in front of his shop in the morning. They pretend to read the newspaper but they are really there for each others’ company. They probably work somewhere so they leave one by one, handing back their newspaper to Abdul Hadi who take them back with a smile. As if he’s running a library. His smile is a constant. Even when he talks about him getting evacuated harshly from his last location across the street. He poses generously for photos and is a natural.

He has a family of cats living inside his bookshop. The mother cat gave birth to four kittens sometime back and the happy family lives inside the bookshop. He takes pride in his cats. At times he feels more interested in managing his cats than his bookshop. Despite having some collection of English and Urdu fiction, his shop is primarily known for newspapers and magazines.

A little further from Abdul Hadi’s bookshop is Aslam’s bookstall. His bookstall is small and without a shelter which exposes it to the weather. Monsoon rain has affected some of his book collection. He has been able to save most of his collection by finding another storage area in an empty plot behind his bookstall. This community plot is used as parking space by the neighborhood apartments and Aslam has been allowed to use a corner for storing his books. His is an eclectic mix. From Roald Dahl to Shama’a Digest. There is no method to storing the books. I suspect there is none for ordering either. None of them seems to be selling well too. Just like Abdul Hadi, he does not seem to bother. He has his own collection of cats whom he feeds Kaleji which he purchases for Rs. 200 per pao.


Categories: City Landmarks

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2 Comments on “City Landmarks – Abdul Hadi and Aslam’s bookstores on Khalid bin Waleed Road”

  1. October 22, 2019 at 6:38 am #

    Amazing. There are still people in Karachi who somehow keep their connection with books despite all the hardships associated with it?
    Hats off to them. Brave souls.
    God bless them.

  2. October 22, 2019 at 6:48 am #

    Thanks for sharing.

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