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Gunmen steal hundreds of holiday outfits from Pakistan tailor

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Gunmen have robbed a Pakistani tailor of more than 200 outfits made for customers ahead of the Aidilfitri holiday that marks the end of Ramadhan, tying up and beating his staff.

Muhammad Razzaq told AFP on Friday that two armed men barged into his Islamabad store before making off with 240 completed or near-finished shalwar kameez outfits – Pakistan’s national dress.

“The police have not been able to find any clue to the ruthless guys who turned this Aidilfitri for me into a nightmare,” said Razzaq.

The haul was worth more than PKR720,000 (nearly USD4,000), he added.

Pakistanis, and Muslims around the world, celebrate the Aidilfitri holiday with new outfits and jewellery – with the rich splashing out thousands on glitzy ensembles.

But even poor people try to buy something new for the holiday, and tailor-made outfits are frequently cheaper than store-bought clothes.

Most of the shelves in Razzaq’s shop were empty and he sat disconsolately behind a sewing machine.

“I have been working in the area for the last 20 years and have customers who come to me from posh areas of Islamabad and Rawalpindi with branded and expensive fabrics,” he said.

Salman Ashraf, one of the tailors tied up during the raid, said the robbers were very aggressive.

“The gunmen thrashed us, tied us with ropes and asked us to remain silent,” he said.

Police confirmed the incident and said they were investigating.