LAHORE - Bookings at the leading hotels and guesthouses are almost closed while the sale of liquor is on the rise, as Lahorites are all set to celebrate the New Year.

It has also been learnt that a good number of policemen are about to perform protocol duty for the elites who are preparing dance parties at guesthouses and farmhouses.

Young motorcyclists, defying police crackdown, are also ready to take over the main roads in their traditional style where thousands of cops are deployed to hunt down them and eve-teasers too. “Lahore police have finalised a comprehensive security plan to maintain peace and law and order on the eve of New Year. More than 5000 cops will be deployed across the provincial capital,” a police spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Some hotels’ management believe that sever cold is unlikely to affect their businesses since they were receiving more orders from the customers. Popular restaurants located in Gulberg and Defence areas are also planning parties on the eve of New Year.

Prices of the party items are almost doubled while the guesthouses situated in posh localities like Model Town, Gulberg, Defence Housing Authority, Faisal Town, and Johar Town have no more space to accommodate the new comers. However, some leading hotels and motels in the town are near to close more bookings ahead of the Night.

DIG Haider Ashraf approved the security plan during a meeting held at the police headquarters on Tuesday. Lahore SP Security Malik Liaqat and SP Headquarters Omar Saeed are directed to deploy additional police force at the Mall, Liberty Market, Fortress Stadium, DHA and Gulberg to keep things under control. Police would set up special pickets by putting barricades and barriers to intercept the movement of motorcyclists, performing stunts on their two-wheelers. A police official said that the traffic wardens would also be deployed on the important roads to ensure smooth flow of traffic on New Year night.

The bootleggers have noticed high demand of various Indian brands, a new trend this year in the City, apart from the other imported or smuggled brands of whiskey.

A bottle of Indian liquor is being sold at Rs1500 in the black market. Police are also planning to deploy thousands of cops across the city to control eve-teasers and those who may go ‘overdose’ while celebrating the event. Stage-dancers are also in high-demand despite their managers have increased the rates two times this year, said a party-planner who has been working in the red-light locality for the last 10 years.

Since the nightclubs and gambling dens are banned in the country and prohibited under the law, guesthouses and hotels have become a substitute source of ‘entertainment.’

Like previous years, elites of the town have planned parties at the farmhouses on Raiwind Road, Canal Road, Barki, Bedian and Defence Road. A great number of guesthouses located in Gulberg and DHA are, in fact, operating as brothels, police sources said.

All party items from alcohol to prostitutes are offered to the clients with guarantee of no-police-raid at some guesthouses located in Gulberg and Ghalib Market police precincts. Sources said that managements of such facilitates run the business in connivance with the police. The police would raid and ransack the party only if the ‘concerned officials’ are not paid their due share, a party-organiser said.According to him, the popular guesthouses located in the posh localities have stopped more bookings because of high-demand of dancers and prostitutes on that night.

On Tuesday, there was huge rush of shoppers outside the barrooms in the premises of city’s top hotels. At least four leading hotels are running barrooms with liquor of various brands on sale in abundant. Many people were seen buying liquor from the local hotels in panic. They are stashing more bottles than needed, fearing the whiskey shortage would hamper the arrangements on the eve,” a bootlegger said requesting anonymity.

According to the sources, apart from the liquor and whiskey, privileged youth also consume recreational drugs to celebrate the event that comes once in a year. On such occasions, police play hide and seek with the bootleggers and middlemen associated with the prostitution trade to get maximum in shape of bribe.

A party organiser who manages ticketed-events was of the view that the whiskey or alcohol shortages were common at this time of the year. “Whiskey runs short prior to New Year every year. This year, we have arranged it in double quantity to accommodate maximum guests,” the organiser with an event management company said.

According to him, many elite families are hosting the events at farmhouses, where family friends and special guests are also invited from other cities.