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Stop Raping Karachi!!


22nd May:

10.30 am: It’s a regular day. My daughter has gone to take an exam. My maid has arrived by public transport which means the city is functional. I know what has been happening in Lyari but for me it’s a regular day. However, Lyari is a splinter in my conscience. I know I must, if nothing else, write about it. Things, they say, are a wee bit better. I make up my mind to call up this person who lives in Lyari and set up an appointment to meet her for an interview. There is so much violence in that area, and life has come to such a stand still, and so many people are dead or injured, that the people of Lyari don’t even have enough food. They are mostly daily wage earners. They have no money and no work. They are confined to their homes, hungry and scared. This woman from Lyari? Her story must be told.

4 pm: A relaxed afternoon. I have run my errands for the day. A longish siesta should help beat the May heat.

7 pm: Siesta over. A cup of tea in hand. Channel flicking begins as I sip tea in my safe haven. News flashes appear. On Facebook, a friend’s status says “Karachi phir karrah raha hai” (Karachi moans in pain again). I quickly move to Twitter. Karachi is, sadly, trending.

7.25 pm: More news on all tv channels. About how this started in a rally of a nationalist party which was being supported by other parties as well. Marvi Memon was there too. The rally was in protest of the proposed Mohajir province and the recent operation in Lyari. Ironically, the rally was called “Muhabbat e Sindh Rally” (Love of Sindh Rally). But hatred takes over. Unidentified armed assailants open indiscriminate fire as the rally reached close to Juna Market. Initial dead are counted as 11. More than 30 wounded.

A young man, who is bleeding apparently due to gunshot wounds, runs for his life after unknown assailants opened fire at a rally in Karachi on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.—Photo by Faysal Mujeeb/Whitestar
Courtesy: http://dawn.com/2012/05/22/firing-on-awami-tehriks-rally-injures-five/

7.45 pm: Angry political talk shows are being aired. They are all talking about Karachi but not about Karachi. They are angrily attacking each other. They are fighting over who loves Pakistan and Sindh and Lyari more. I am a common citizen. I am hurt and angry and confused – Why are they not talking about what happened? Why are they still selling their party, instead of worrying about those innocent lives?

8.10 pm: I am texting people I care for to make sure they are home and safe. A brilliant idea comes to my mind – cellular phones sold in Karachi should have inbuilt template messages that go something like: Unrest in city. Many killed. Are you alive? Are you safe? Are you home? Don’t move out; stay indoors.

8.30: A city of 18 million reacts in different ways. Some are what we call the “Infuriated mob”. The “Miscreants”. God alone knows who they are. All I know is that they are burning down vehicles and closing down shops. Violence has now spread to all areas. And people like me, in frustration, are tweeting feverishly. What else can we do? Well, we can ignore that this ever happened. But that would be simply signalling that we are zombies. So we tweet. And talk. And vent our anger.

A fellow tweeter’s tweet says everything I want to: Karachi belongs to? A) Muhajjirs B) Sindhis C) Pashtun D) Others E) Karachi kisi key baap ki jageer nahi hai sabka hai. I chose (E). You?

12.30 pm: I am still flicking channels and looking at tweets about Karachi. It is like a compulsion. An obligation. How can I be heartless and not even do this. I blog. And I go to sleep.

As for the woman on Lyari, and her story? For that, I will have to wait till the blood in Lyari dries up a bit. I am praying to God that more blood is not spilled on the same streets.

And for us Karachiites, tomorrow is a nother day. Call us brave, or resilient, or dheet, if you must. As if we have a choice.

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About FarahnazZahidi

Journalist, writer, blogger & activist. Currently working for The Express Tribune. Focus on human rights, health, gender, peace & Islam. Idealist. Wannabe photographer. Chaai, traveling, reading, friends and motherhood.

6 responses »

  1. Was catching up with my family at 1:00am Karachi time and son says his exam tomorrow may get delayed……I ask, what happened? he says read it in the news tomorrow mom . I just read your blog……thankful my family is alright but what about the others? I worry for those suffering. Do I care what group they belong to? Can we just go back to being humans and forget if we are Sindhis, Pashtuns, Muhajirs or more???? I think it’s time Karachi see a youth movement like the ones at Tahrir Square in Egypt……power of unity at one spot will deter all ethnic differences if the youth are empowered and utilize twitter and FB to unite……

    Reply
  2. your post made me beyond sad. sometimes I wonder,should we even dare to hope for a better future? very well written.

    Reply
  3. Saadia Moosa

    Love this piece. Love the template idea:)

    Reply
  4. I cry though my eyes are dry ; tears are just not enough for this.
    Ya Rabb ………………… forgive us all………….and show us a way.

    Reply
  5. I wonder when (or if?) all humans will realize that we all have equal worth – all humans, regardless and without exception. Such a tragedy. Humankind will never advance until this basic concept is realized.

    Reply
  6. I think it is very easy to say that Karachi belongs to us. But lets ask ourselves what we have done for this karachi. I am talking about all the communities who claims “karachi” to belong to them. How may parks they have made here, how many hospitals , Libraries, Schools, Colleges , charitable institutions etc. (this excludes people who talks alms/charities from other communities and spend that money in building “madarsa/mosques etc. eg. Al Khidmat , who takes charity from karachi and takes that money to other parts of pakistan and afghanistan , lets also ask them how much their “ulamas” contibutes from their salaries ????) ??? I think the Pathans have only been occupying any empty / unclaimed palces and building homes/shops their , punjabies also join them . why we cant do that same anywhere else like Islamabad, Gawader, larkana ???? are Pathans / punjabies allowed to grab empty land their ???

    Reply

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