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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

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.