Being the change we want to see in Karachi

We’re all asking questions ahead of the grotesque events yesterday. The blame game was in full flow even yesterday simultaneously as public property and life was being destroyed amidst complete anarchy. MQM and Muslim League leaders, in their separate rallies in Karachi and Islamabad, and in countless statements delivered to private TV channels, blamed the Chief Justice and his apparent stubbornness.

The fact that they are, every thing said and done, the people who form the government, and who have the responsibility to enforce law and order, a responsibility which clearly does not end after sending the CJ and his accompanying lawyers a warning letter from the home ministry before his arrival, was and still is being conveniently forgotten. Geo is now reporting that free reign firing and exchange of gun shots has erupted in areas of Orangi. Who I ask, is responsible for this now? The CJ again? Where is the police? How did these mobs gain access to these weapons? Who sponsors this violence and why?

As many of us sat deflated and disturbed from seeing grotesque images splashed across our TV screens through out the day, the insensitivity of some of our pro-government leaders both in Islamabad and Karachi, knew no bounds. Apart from the flowery language and tall claims of having the “support of the people”, there was no sense of accountability, no real regret, nothing to inspire any confidence. President Musharaff’s address in particular was so bullish if you took out the parts where he sympathized with the families of those who had lost their lives in Karachi it would have been hard to recognize the address was delivered on the same day which some people were describing as the darkest in Karachi’s history.

The response from the opposition parties served to deflated and depress me even more. A nationwide strike has been called by the MMA for Monday. This morning, I learned that Imran Khan amongst other opposition leaders too had signaled their support for this strike. I remember having read some where that Karachi loses approximately Rs. 1 million in revenues everyday when a strike is called. I am not an economist so I wouldn’t know how accurate that figure is, but I wonder if that took account of precious time lost, everyday activity disrupted, schools and colleges closed, fear and insecurity instilled into ordinary citizens’ lives. And I can only wonder if our opposition party “leaders” bothered to keep any of this into perspective when they proposed the idea of this strike.

When there was a discussion here at KMB before Saturday, discussing the events that might happen, the only complain I made was that our leaders, time and again, deprive me of my greatest asset, my hope. Difficult as it has been, I have managed too hang on to some of it this time again. May be, just may be, things in my city, and my country, will change some day. But that is not to say our so-called leaders have inspired any confidence, but because the hope that we our selves can rise, and be the change we want to see in our society, hasn’t still vanished completely.

The greatest tribute we can give to those who sacrificed their lives yesterday is by trying to achieve what they probably died fighting for. Most of the dead were political party workers, and regardless of which party they might have belonged too, I’m sure deep down they all had the intention of seeing Karachi prosper and grow. Sitting at home, and “protesting” over their loss of life, by observing a strike, is going to achieve nothing for anyone, except more socio-economic losses for this troubled city of ours. When will our leaders learn this? When will they stop jeopardizing our lives just to further their own half baked agendas and lopsided arguments? How long will we pay the price for their inanity?

Saturday was not the first time ordinary people were forced into the grind because of the rivalry between the government and the opposition, and it probably won’t be the last. But I’ve had too much. I’m not going to let Monday be another of those days where I am forced to put my life on a hold because some one else is protesting against something or the other. I’m not observing Monday’s strike and I urge you to do the same. Karachi is crying out loud for us to be the change we want to see in it. Let Monday be a start.

11 Comments so far

  1. tee (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 4:25 pm

    strikes surely DO affect the economy and life in general…but isnt that the whole point behind them? to show that the city is not in a peaceful condition? arent strikes meant to move the government into action? if you really DO condemn whatever happened yesterday then what, apart from words can you do abt it all? is showing no support the wise way or is it just a way out i wonder?!

    karachi for once needs to stand up to the oppression it has undergone for years….. if WE the so-called neutral ppl dont let our side be known then who can we blame for the situation? was yesterday such small an incident that it did not affect us in any way? did it not MOVe ur souls into doing something abt the situation? most of us just sit and condemn things and then move ahead…..


  2. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 4:40 pm

    Zainub, a single company like that of EBM, may lose revenues to the tune of 1 million a day. Surely, Karachi, the production capital of Pakistan, will lose a lot more.

    And the sad part, is that everyone (including myself) loves a day off, hence, we all are partly responsible for such strikes being successful.


  3. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

    Even if no one wants a strike, we are forced to stay in.

    Tee, what good have strikes done in the past?

    The roads are deserted till Maghrib (Office hours may i add), After which everyone gets out to socialise.

    I concur with Zainub, we need to get on with our lives. Nothing will be accomplished sitting @ home & unless we as a city/nation do not change our thought process, we will continue to suffer.

    Did anyone watch the Cap Talk today morning? (I guess it was a repeat of last night).

    Did u hear what THE NEWS Ed was saying.

    No where else in Pakistan did things go violent.
    Not sukker, not gujrat, not lahore, not peshawar,

    but karachi.

    Make of that what you will. It wont be a min too soon before we see the back of the present admin IMO.


  4. Fatima K. (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

    Zainub, I couldn’t agree more with all that you said. Having said and seen all of the last two days, the question that remains is what we are going to do to change so that we can prevent a repeat performance. I’m all for that kind of progressive attitude.


  5. zeeshan syed (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

    President Musharaff’s address in particular was so bullish if you took out the parts where he sympathized with the families of those who had lost their lives in Karachi it would have been hard to recognize the address was delivered on the same day which some people were describing as the darkest in Karachi’s history.

    So Zainub, were you in your diapers back in 90s? YOu call yesterday as the darkest day of Karachi. Dude, that is so wrong! Yesterday was dark yes but darkest? LOL!


  6. zainub (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 7:35 pm

    Don’t put words in my mouth Zeeshan, I didn’t say *I thought* yesterday was Karachi’s worst day, I said some *other people* did. Read carefully before you attack people. And keep it civilized mind you, weather I was in diapers or not in the 1990s or in whatever era, is non of your business.


  7. ash (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

    karachi has seen way darker days sadly. However i agree with everything else you said.


  8. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on May 14th, 2007 @ 10:52 am

    Seems like we (Karachities) are once again heading for ethinic divide of early 90s’

    Those who were Happy Go Lucky Kids then,

    Karachi was in worst grip of violance, terror & anarchy sponsored by political roller coaster chain of events of the then Government(s) – from 1991 till 1997

    It was purely for vested interest of the ruling parties be it PPP or PML (N) VS MQM the Single largest party of Urban SINDH. With passage of time MQM have also learned the trick of trade and their agenda has been changed, they serve their masters only, not the common people where they belong

    sufferings of common Karachities have multiplied not reduced.,


  9. M SaeedUr Rahman (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 7:46 am

    We the true Karachites do have a lot of brainy people.Unfortunately not enough brave ones to stand up to the thugs of MQM.
    People in Karachi need to have an alternate security force other then the local inept police and a better method of goverence then what we have.
    Unfortunately the Chowkidars(our army folks)are used to easy bread and taking all the resources they need to stay inside our homes rather then keeping their lazy asses in the barracks.
    Oh my lord please help us.
    What a waste.We are a failed nation.


  10. M SaeedUr Rahman (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 7:46 am

    We the true Karachites do have a lot of brainy people.Unfortunately not enough brave ones to stand up to the thugs of MQM.
    People in Karachi need to have an alternate security force other then the local inept police and a better method of goverence then what we have.
    Unfortunately the Chowkidars(our army folks)are used to easy bread and taking all the resources they need to stay inside our homes rather then keeping their lazy asses in the barracks.
    Oh my lord please help us.
    What a waste.We are a failed nation.


  11. M SaeedUr Rahman (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 7:51 am

    We the true Karachites do have a lot of brainy people.Unfortunately not enough brave ones to stand up to the thugs of MQM.
    People in Karachi need to have an alternate security force other then the local inept police and a better method of goverence then what we have.
    Unfortunately the Chowkidars(our army folks)are used to easy bread and taking all the resources they need to stay inside our homes rather then keeping their lazy asses in the barracks.
    Oh my lord please help us.
    What a waste.We are a failed nation.



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