It’s a bright sunny afternoon and not everything is just as super about Karachi as ever. After a hot day, cold breeze is felt on the face and refreshes me but makes me sadder this day and my heart is bleeds, as the city is burning again. Party interests, gains and losses, snatching and throwing of power, demands and deals are one part of the story and the other part is the loss of innocent human lives who have never known and will never know their crime, but have gone from this world not in a way anyone wants to.
I am having a cup of tea and decide to watch the news headlines due in 15 minutes on TV channels. My phone rings. It’s my 5-year old niece from England. What a lovely chitty chatty voice to freshen me up! I ask her how has her day been in school and she tells me that the most special thing about today was that their school has become a part of ‘Adopt a Leopard’ campaign of WWF. So, she is now looking for donors and she asked me if I could adopt one as they are dying and they are precious and they might go extinct . She carries on with her stories but I am no more with her, pretending to listen but my mind is somewhere else. I pass the phone to my mum and go to the lounge to listen to the headlines.
”The number of people killed in my city of lights has crossed 80 in just 72 hours”. What a world we live in! Probably, the lives of the people living in Karachi (or the rest of my country) are even cheaper and worthless than those of leopards or other precious wild animals in the other part of the world. Or have we turned into wild animals killing innocent human beings on the basis of a different language and/or sect. No, even wild animals get along quite well when the forest is in danger, so we are worse.
Just a day ago while trying to get back to home from work; I entered my street which is in an area relatively immune to what goes on in the city. I found the whole street cordoned off and a massive force of police and rangers was on duty. I was scared for a second but just driving a few 100 yards I see lights and decoration. They were actually deployed to provide security at a “high profile” wedding ceremony. All this was happening at a time and in the same city where tens of people were losing their lives every day and the number rising thick and fast by the hour. Probably, I was too optimistic about the role and responsibilities of our law enforcement agencies in the society as I tend to forget that they are always there when they are not needed and are seldom seen otherwise. Memories of the clifton shooting few weeks ago, the events of Kharootabad are evidence of their agility when they needed no orders to provide instant ‘justice’ outside the courts. But, I try to justify my complaint that had these police jiyalaas made it to those areas where a battle is going on, they would only have added to the number of helpless officers who are so powerless against highly trained “unknown” gunmen loitering the streets with sophisticated and state-of-the-art weapons. Humanity disappeared from the face of the Earth when those who were fired upon were welcomed at the hospital with sticks and torture, and they wished that they had not been taken to the hospital in the first place. Once again our free and heroic media, our agile forces, our intimidating Interior Minister do not know the identity of these “unknown” butchers.
Why are they unable to control the situation? Where are the leaders, supposedly our guardians? Our ‘Superman’ Mr Rehman Malik arrives in the city and proves me wrong. My heart goes out to Mr Malik who immediately flew from Islamabad on the honourable President’s advice and promised that he would stay awake all night to come up with a plan to tackle the situation. Now, surely, that is commitment and fulfilling your responsibility to the ‘best of one’s ability’. Thank you Sir, for giving up your one night’s sleep but have you ever thought about the family of the 5 year old child who was killed on her way back from the madrassah, or the teenager girl whose father was killed as he walked her back from the exam and questions you,
These families would stay awake too for not just one night but many more nights to come asking themselves ‘humain kis baat ki saza dee gaee’. This is followed by Mr Malik’s master plan, SHOOT TO KILL which is immediately acted upon as, quite ironically, the number of people killed by “unknown” gunmen doubled since the orders were passed on to the police. I wondered if all this was being done by “unknown” groups why did Mr Malik asked two political parties to keep calm and observe peace, so he does know the unknown and we all do.
A wild thought again: how would Mr Zardari, Mr Gilani or Mr Malik react if it was their loved ones were killed in the streets of Karachi?
I learnt at school, ’Uneasy lies the head that bears the crown‘. But in Pakistan, this quote has never existed, as uneasy lies the nation who is living under these crowned heads. I wish these honourable people in authority knew why Umer (may Allah be pleased with him) was scared to come into power, probably because he knew there’s a bigger authority to whom he is answerable one day, and the crowned heads are going to have the toughest questionnaire on that big day.
‘’if a dog dies hungry on the banks of the River Euphrates, Umar will be responsible for dereliction of duty’’
Momina Chawla is a dentist and a freelance writer from Karachi.