Billboard Withdrawal Syndrome

Throughout Shahrai Faisal hundreds of billboards are being pulled down, finally exposing the hidden landscape which had been overrun by the splurge of billboards stacked ever so high. For a number of years I have been criticizing this splurge of billboards throughout the city, but today the emptiness really me hard. Today standing at a traffic light on Shahrai Faisal (Jinnah Hospital signal) I noticed the area in faint visibility and the emptiness around quite uncharacteristically silent. Many of us had gotten used to the two dozen odd billboards that had not only provided us with brief entertainment for the few idle moments at the stop, but it also contributed to the much needed illumination in the area, but now in a post billboard era the area appeared to be in a virtual dimly light blackout. The few street lights seemed far too faint, in contrast to the heavy illumination which was provided by the billboards in the area, but now it felt empty. Quite a number of Karachitis have honestly started feeling the effects of billboard withdrawal syndrome

Talking to a few people from the Billboard mafia over the few days, I see one general argument coming through on all discussions. They complain at this is a slick popularity move by the Local City Government and accuse the administration to have a slick plan for the future when the dust settles the Local Govt will re-auction the entire area afresh hence opening up a number of prime locations for their own people without giving any due considerations for the heavily priced auction barely a few months back.

Upon asking for a time line, they said ‘Yar is mulk mein paisay key liya sab kuch ho saktay hai aur yeh billboard market kharboon ki game hai, time dau aur tamasha dekho, 7-8 mahinon kei baat hai aur phir dekhna motay pipe key bhanay say dubara acution karenin gey’.

I must accept this is just an opinion from one of the affected billboard brokers to whom I talked to personally, but the confidence with which he narrated this statement sharing with me other stories of corruptions and underhand dealings it convinced me further that something was definitely afoot

All I can say that, until the city govt returns yet again allowing the billboard mafia to recapture our city’s landscape, lets enjoy it while it last, savor this sight, enjoy the greenery and appreciate the open space around us.

But is it just me or do you also feel a definite sensation of Billboard Withdrawal Syndrome

22 Comments so far

  1. Tamed~. (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 4:36 am

    As I don’t live in Karachi any more, I am not suffering from the syndrome (if you really know the menaing of syndrome-u teeth doctor ;).

    But I am sure you are right, the history tells us that we do not learn from our mistakes, & may be before next monsoon, we might see the mushroom growth of bla-boards (Urdu wali bla not a typo) every where..

  2. Zeeshan Syed (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 9:30 am

    I don’t get it actually. Must we criticize every little single god damn move that the government makes? Even when it’s a positive move? How soon can we forget that those billboards that some people (and NOT all karachiites) miss today (because of the lack of lights on streets), killed a number of people and spread darkness in the homes of those people who lost their loved once because of these very god damn giagantic billboards?

    Do we need EXTRA lights on the streets and yet sleep without electricity and then wake up in the morning only to bitch about power problems and to tell the boss “I can’t work cuz I didn’t sleep the whole night”?

    The city would look CLEANER without these billboards. The city will look larger and you won’t have that feeling that “everything is about fall on your head”.


  3. Ahmed (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 12:07 pm

    I’m all for taking those ugly billboards down! It makes the city look ugly, they don’t serve any good meaningful purpose. The city doesn’t get significant revenue that can be put to use. The billboards were not constructed properly and neither were they safe to be up there in the first place. The advertisments are not controlled either.

    Taking the billboards down is a positive step towards improvement.

  4. IUnknown (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

    the removal of advertisements has made the city a bit more ventilated and open :D

    i think the advertisement shud be put on selected places. and shud not be vague as they were used to be.

  5. Rukun (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 1:00 pm

    you miss those fat chicks on adverts dont you!

  6. Kashif (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

    I will be satisfied when they take the wardi down.

    Chacha wardi lainda kyun nahi?

  7. ShahidnUSA (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

    Instead of erecting Billboards by itself they can paint advertisement on the sides of the buidings.But they still are distraction, possible cause of a traffic accidents.

  8. d0ct0r (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

    @ShahidnUSA on selected places that too was done.. but not every building is willing to give space to advertisers… some of them do give to advertisers and mobile phone towers and the building committee use that amount on repairs and other stuff…

  9. Adil Mulki (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

    1) Billboards should be SAFE for example supported by the exterior walls of Buildings and properly affixed so that the wind could not apply pressure from behind the board.

    2) Another little trick to make billboards safe could be by making them out of vinyl sheets (scotch print ) etc, having small perforations so as to allow air to pass through them. Anyone recalls making perforations on kites to reduce pressure on the kites when the winds used to be high?

    3) Its good to take all the boards off. We should look towards NATURE for our viewing pleasure. Tall green trees, there’s just no substitute for them.

  10. Tee Emm (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 6:11 pm

    BTW, as far as I understood the various news and onsite observations, only the stell sheets are being taken off the boards and that too temporarily till the monsoons are around. Very soon, the ‘nakeds’ will be given new clothes (after probably a new round of money changing hands).

  11. br0ke (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 6:45 pm

    this is interesting……’
    there was this billoard “the BIG apple” on the ftc fly over and everyday while coming back frm cbm i used get distracted by it and nearly wreck my car…..
    a month or so ago they took it down and while returning frm uni i tried to look for it and whaaammmm…….

  12. Tee Emm (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 7:35 pm

    Yes, the ‘Big Apple’ was meant to be confusiing :)

  13. Zeeshan Syed (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 7:58 pm

    No no no guys, it wasn’t BIG APPLE… it was “BIGG APPLE” (with two Gs), written right in front of… well… you know ;) Remember?

  14. atif abdul rahman (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 9:01 pm

    ive read it and watched it on tv that the city nazim says that the city district government doesnot get a penny of any billboard placed in atleast sharah e faisal.

    If these billboards r not giving back anything to the city, its better that we stand for consumer rights and support the government.

  15. atif abdul rahman (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 9:04 pm

    as for lightings and road side entertainment, i believe its the billboard+tv consumerism culture that has killed our aesthetic sense,our creativity and art. we need monuments and art pieces through out the city, ones which provoke possitive thought and especially those which sponsor the poor craftsmen.
    thats what we need, not ads of fat chicks lying on mattresses at traffic signals…

  16. Jaad Syed (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 9:12 pm

    hmm ! Bill boards should be allowed !! but they should not implant the Billboard wherever they find space to do so !!! there should be a proper planning for it !!

    Lolz @ Broke [:D]

  17. ShahidnUSA (unregistered) on July 6th, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

    Did you See what happens when you(you as in anybody) use substandard (mounting in this case) material? Now everytime high wind blows, would scare people.

  18. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on July 7th, 2007 @ 1:30 am

    broke’s story reminds me how Jazz Girl[zara shaikh] used to distract lots of driver near FTC in 2001/2 :-). Infact I heard about few accidents as well.

  19. ShahidnUSA (unregistered) on July 7th, 2007 @ 2:08 am

    A vivid sign creates confusion. For example, if they want to show apples, make sure use the good quality paint and make them very visible.

  20. Abbas (unregistered) on July 7th, 2007 @ 3:12 am

    It is great the authorities are finally removing the huge billboards in Karachi. Of all the countries I have been to, I can’t remember any country allowing such HUGE sized boards and in such quantities. Some of the boards are like 4 floors high! Opposite Regent Plaza, there are two rows of boards as if one was not enough. It looked so ridiculous. Now after the cleanup, the city is looking much cleaner. I commend the authorities for this bold step. Next we need to stand up against the mafia controlling those smoke emitting 60-year old busses.

  21. Abdullah (unregistered) on July 7th, 2007 @ 4:42 am

    Finally, they came to their senses. Last time I was i karachi, it was july 2006. At that time, the W810 was new. there were literally two billboards of that on almost every building on shahrah e faisal between avari and shaheed e millat. Good to see they cleaned it up. The question is of course how long will this last???

    Lets pray for long….

  22. Sa'ad (unregistered) on July 7th, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

    Karachits, count your blessings and move on.

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