Canada Pakistan Trade Expo & Mega Star Show Review by PakStar [Must Read It]




Review By: PakStar Magazine



With the full support of local Pakistani media (radio stations/newspapers) and the Pakistani consulate, this event was designed for the Canadian businesses to come and interact with Pakistani manufactures/exporter of food items such as rice, pickles, cookies, leather garments, fabrics, marble stone products, knives, pharmaceutical products, motorcycle apparel, etc.

This event was marketed heavily only on Pakistani media instead of promoting it within Canadian media. Emphasizing mainly on the music performers, keeping entry tickets for $10.00/single day entry or $15.00 for entire weekend – it became more of a regular MELA then an actually business expo. This event was not catered to the Canadian businesses.

PakStar managed to get reviews from several vendors who came from Pakistan. They were excited and looking forward to this event, but were in for a big surprise.

Vendor (A – Fabric: “we were extremely excited and looking forward to this event. On Thursday when it  tarted, no one was here except the organizers and vendors. We paid $6000.00 to the organizer in addition to our expenses such as airfare and accommodation. What we got was, general people who gave offers to buy our samples for $5.00 – $10.00 each; I wish I could do say something but I can’t. We are defiantly not coming back again. We have traveled to many different countries for expo but never ever experienced anything like this.”

Vendor (B – Motorcycle Apparel): “We are bit happy as we made 3 deals for our products. It’s not good but it’s ok. The organizers are marketing the performers more and more and if we had to see Abrar and Shahzad Roy – we could’ve paid them in Pakistan and watch them – we came here to meet and interact with the local
businesses and not to see the concert.”

Vendor (C – Leather Garments): “This event is a joke. Since the start of this expo till today, we have only seen general public or people who don’t have a business or want to start a business in near future. We have spent a lot of money to be here at this event. I’ve sold all my samples for $25.00/each and taking back few bucks with me.”

Vendor (D – FALAK RICE, PICKLES): A local distributor of Pakistani products (cookies/spices/rice) was selling their inventory quickly in this expo by reducing the prices. When we asked why? They had similar answer – they spent money on 3 different booths and now they wanted to recover the money back.”

Vendor E – Pharmaceutical products: This is our first time coming out of Pakistan and show casing our products which are up to the international standards. We had expectations but it’s not as we anticipated. We have not been approached by anyone as yet and I don’t think this is right event for our products. We were shown different picture and reality is in front of you. Public is here to enjoy the music show, no one is here to trade or to build business relation.”

Vendor F – PIA: Surprisingly Pakistan’s International Airline had there own stall as well, giving out airline’s flyers, posters, fact booklets. We normally don’t see PIA in the events; they were pressurized by the  government of Pakistan to sponsor and support this event and in exchange they were given a booth in this expo.

Music Show review:

Shahzad Roy performed on Saturday. Toronto police was visible on the entry doors to manage the crowd. Once inside the hall, it was a chaos. Many vendors had to quickly pack there stuff and leave. They didn’t want their products to get stolen with the crowd. The hall became much suffocated instantly due to large number of people inside. The hall was packed to capacity (1500) and many people were denied entry and were forced to leave the premises.

The stage was very basic, nothing fancy and the sound system was not up to standards. Even the local performers complained about the setup. Complaints after complaints, but the main singers some how managed to perform.

On Sunday, Abrar ul haq, Rabi Pirzada & Tariq Tafu performed. Large number of people started to gather out side the hall by 5pm. Vendors were told to pack up there products by 7:00pm so the organizers could remove some stalls and make space for the concert crowd. Again the police were called to the main doors to
manage the crowd entry.

Many people had to line up for 40 minutes to an hour at times. People who had already bought the tickets were waiting out side to enter the hall. Friends of organizers were getting in and out of the hall without any problems but the general public had to wait.

Sound was not that great. This time they had the volume turned up high and at one point Abrar’s microphone stopped working and we could hear Abrar track playing in the background. He was singing over his own CD. People managed to enjoy despite the conditions inside the hall.

This was not a business expo – this was a regular fair in which companies were flown in from Pakistan to showcase their product samples. The organizers made their money and gained popularity; vendors weren’t happy at all. People had to wait out side in lines for more then 40 minutes to get inside (Saturday/Sunday),
despite buying advance tickets.

In a nutshell:

The Good
-Decent music and entertainment
-An attempt to bridge the gap between Canadian and Pakistani businesses

The Bad
– Marketed only within the Pakistani community
– Not a proper trade show, nor a good entertainment
– Event was not catered to the right market (Businesses)
– Not utilizing the full hall
– No re-entry policy. If someone wanted to come out for fresh air or to eat, they couldn’t – they should have given wrist bands or stamped hands for re-entry
– Poor concert sound system

The Ugly
– Pakistani businesses losing trust on Canadian trade expo promoters/organizers.
– Lack of discipline. Organizer friends were getting in and out of the building without any problems and general public had to wait in lines to get in.
– Over selling the tickets.
– No professional security guards.
– Whole event was not managed properly.


Most surprisingly the pick of the shows turned out to be the wonder-full-land performance by non-other then FAAKHIR.

Originally, the organizer of this show had announced that Ali Zafar, Sadia Imam, Shakeel Siddiqui and a team of comedians will perform at this years show. This is the only Pakistani event which takes place at the Canada’s Wonderland and people buy their tickets at discounted rate in advance.

This year it collided with the Expo, Abrar concert. On July 8, the organizer announced a new entry ‘SHAHID AFRIDI’ to this show and the very next day they announced ‘AFRIDI’ could not come. Then on July 10th, they announced FAAKHIR is coming to the show along with original lineup.

Why did they keep adding new artists at the last minute?

Maybe the organizer was panicking and making quick decisions, as there were two events taking place on July 12 (Sunday). By early morning of July 10, PakStar had learnt that Ali Zafar will not be coming to Toronto as he wasn’t able to get his visa.

The organizers of this show did not announced at any time on Friday (July 10) while being on radio stations that Ali Zafar will not be coming. On July 11th, day before the actual concert, Ali Zafar announced the following on his website:

“It is unfortunate to let our fans in Toronto know that Ali Zafar shall not be able to appear for the show due to the delay in visa arrivals. We must inform that Ali Zafar and his management was not responsible for the visas as they were to be provided by the organizers. July 11, 2009 – www.AliZafar.net”

This official announcement disappoints many people.

Early morning on July 12, Faakhir arrived in Toronto and was in the city for only 15 hours. PakStar crew met up with Faakhir before the concert. We found Faakhir extremely frustrated, stressed and it looked obvious that he hadn’t slept at all.

Around 8:30pm we arrived at the venue, Shahkeel Siddiqui was on stage then. Approximately 500 people were sitting in front of stage and the concert area was fairly empty. Sadia Imam introduced Faakhir on the stage soon after.

Faakhir started by informing everyone that “My friend Ali Zafar did not get the visa in time and the organizer of this show contacted me on Friday. Since I was in UK for another concert and was free on Sunday so I decided to take the ‘late night red eye’ from London’s Heathrow airport. I agreed to come, not because of the show but because this is a Pakistani show and we will not let Pakistan’s name get a bad reputation, we keep on covering each other’s back at occasions like this.’

After this brief statement he started the concert, performing live. About 55 minutes later, Faakhir was rushed to the airport to catch his 11:00pm flight back to London, UK.

Most importantly Faakhir sang completely live on minus one track (something which other singers should also follow) and his power packed performance was enjoyed by everyone. He belted out 12 hits, one after another which got the audience dancing on their feet’s. Many people from the rides returned to the concert area because of Faakhir’s thumping music/songs. Faakhir’s excellent performance and audience’s overwhelming response once again refreshed the fact why Faakhir is so popular in North America, especially on east coast and in Toronto.

The next morning we heard rumors that Faakhir was threatened and hence had a security guard with him. Faakhir spoke with PakStar from Dubai airport later: “No one threatened me however voices were raised owing to stress due to time constraints and rush. These organizers kept security guard with me for the 15
hours I was in Toronto, and I am sorry I couldn’t give you guys (PakStar) much time due to limited time.”

Why the organizer didn’t announce it on Friday or Saturday that their main artist/performer Ali Zafar will not be coming?

The organizers should work with each other and the Pakistan’s Consulate office should appreciate and support every Pakistani event taking place in the city. They should also mediate any conflicts between the organizers.

Our Toronto’s Pakistani community is fairly big and when you have two big events on the same day, frustration levels rises, people suffer and get divided. Also, the general public should be informed ahead of time if there are any last minutes cancellations or changes in the performer’s line up. Both shows had
issues and our community suffered.


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