The traditional soapbox has been proved outmoded this month – the must-have accessory for the modern politician in Pakistan seems to be the shipping container.
According to the BBC, even Imran Khan is said to have spent more than $120,000 (£70,000) on one. “These shipping containers that you have placed on all four sides are not enough to stop this ocean of people!” declared cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan at a rally on Tuesday night. He was addressing Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Originally, the Pakistani government strategically placed a number of shipping containers near political institutions, ready to be placed as a blockade for potential protesters. But party workers have discovered that containers make excellent stages for rallies, and they are now an indispensable item for any big political event.
To the endless interest of Pakistan’s media, they can also be converted into mobile homes. In January last year, ul-Qadri held a four-day sit-in in Islamabad. While his supporters were out on the street, he slept inside his customised container, fitted with heating and a bathroom.
It was later reported that Khan’s party had had a container converted at a cost of some 12.5m Pakistani rupees ($124,000; £75,000). It is equipped with meeting facilities, a bathroom, and a nifty spiral staircase leading to the roof – and is supposedly bomb-proof. See our previous articles regarding container homes and their increased popularity in the USA and Europe.
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Siobhan R.// SMC Editor