A TT to my head & a press pass in my Pocket

20070514_31.jpgFor those who did not have a glance at today’s Daily Times, Urooj Zia (UZi) our fellow Karachi Metroblogger has written an article titled ‘A TT to my head and a press pass in my pocket‘ which appeared on the front page of the Karachi section of Daily Times today.

We at KMB have been speculating, accusing and counter-accusing trying to figure out who is responsible for the tragic incident but honestly all these blog posts and discussions pale when one hears of the hair-raising stories from people who were ‘there’ during the massacre. It was sadly a day when the Police & Rangers were found lounging on the side streets as they were ordered to hand over the entire city to the ‘ghundas’ till 4 o’clock in the evening. It was shocking that our administration which is responsible to protect human lives could be so ruthless to allow this to happen while they look on in amusement. Quite literally the more one looks at the entire chain of events I become even more determined to call it a State Sponsored Massacre

Continue to read Urooj Zia’s experience of the events which unfolded on May 12th while she was on press duty

A gun-toting political activist placed a TT pistol’s barrel between my eyes Saturday afternoon when I refused to tell him where I had come from or where I was going.

I was at one of the party “check posts” that had been set up all over the city. Roads had been blocked, forcing people to walk. I had to walk from Kashmir Road to the Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum, because I had been assigned to report on events there.

On the way, I was stopped by one of the “post-keepers.” My press card was tucked away in my pocket, and for men who stopped me, I appeared to be an ordinary citizen walking alone on the road, devoid of any party flags, badges or banners. Questions were asked. But when I didn’t answer the TT pistol came out. It was at that point that I decided it was a good time to use the immunity that a press card is supposed to provide. “I’m a journalist,” I said, but was asked to prove it. Only after my press card was thoroughly scrutinized was I allowed to go ahead.

All of this happened while a police mobile until stood by, with policemen leaning against it, watching the entire scene, looking thoroughly bored. The policemen laughed if they were asked for help. A friend and I were trapped in a street near Guru Mandir. We could hear shots being fired from the direction of Business Recorder House, and had to get out to the Quaid’s mausoleum. All of a sudden we heard shots from all around us. Unless we wanted to be caught in what might escalate into a crossfire in the next couple of minutes, the only option left was to climb walls and jump into one of the surrounding houses (this was a residential area).

A police mobile came along, however, and we stopped it to ask the policemen for directions. “Take any street at all. Most of them lead to the mausoleum,” we were told. When reminded that we knew that most of the surrounding streets eventually led to the mausoleum, and that, we had asked them for the “safest” route out, one of the policemen said: “You can get killed whichever route you go on. Take your pick.” All of the men in the police mobile apparently found this funny enough to break into laughter.

While Aaj TV was under attack, a number of reporters on duty in the area went up to the Rangers personnel posted nearby and pleaded with them to help those trapped inside Business Recorder House. “We’re helpless. We can’t do anything unless we have orders from above,” the Rangers personnel kept saying, hours after the shooting had initially begun.

Other journalists reported sordid stories from around the airport. Young men toting flags and banners had set up camp outside the airport departure lounge. They hid, however, when policemen came by. Reporters in the vicinity were asked whether they had seen any political activists around. Munawar Pirzada (from Daily Times) said that he had seen some nearby. After the policemen had left, the activists came up to the reporter, dragged him by the hair and took him aside. They then proceeded to threaten him with dire consequences if he said anything the next time the policemen came around.

On M. A Jinnah Road, activists of the same party accosted myself and two other journalists with me and tried to bully us into giving our names, numbers and office addresses. – DAILY TIMES May 14th 2007

90 Comments so far

  1. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 2:57 am

    MQM’s ministers are having hard time doing the damage control.. they were caught with their pants down and they didn’t expected such a strong reaction
    to their terrorism tactics

    what do you mean by “having hard time doing damage control” and which STRONG REACTION are you talking about?

  2. UZi (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 2:58 am


    oooh oooh and you know what Waseem Akhtar said? “Jee people who’re saying that the police and the Rangers were not active on May 12 are WRONG! Had they not been there, there would’ve been a lot more bloodshed.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!! Yeah RIGHT! Lie away, moron!

  3. d0ct0r (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:10 am

    green number plate cars white clutus Grey Alto parked in front of newtown dairy.. supplying heavy arms to these terrorist from MQM.. even the MQM’s flags were quite visible.. and were only removed when their highups must have seen live footage of Ajj and must have called those terrorist on the ground to get rid of all the flags immediately. and that even infuriated these terrorist that they were exposed on live tv.. so they turned their guns towards ajj tv.. and continued firing.. and when MQM’s rally was over at tibet center then more MQM’s goon gathered outside Ajj building and started chanting anti ajj slogans and this time they were careful and as must have been directed by highups none of them was carrying flags..(but those bright color caps of their unit workers were obvious) ..

  4. @li (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:15 am

    Good work and a legendary example of professionalism that has been set by journalist in Karachi. I should commend all of them. However when it comes to current situation we all know that MQM is at fault. Unless some die hard MQM fan is here who will dispute it. The ultimate responsibitly of governance and prevention of loss of life is with the Goverment which at the moment is with the MQM. When the interior’s secratary has issued warnings of clashes 7 says ago MQM is also saying same thing. We all know when ever there is some problem buisness recordere and the BCB branch there are the first ones to be burnt. Shouldn’t the goverment had put susbtantial number of law enforcement agencies at that point. Shahraefaisl supposedly the battle field where the loss of life was highest. The most secure road ususally in karachi because the VVIP’s go through that road. Was the goverment stupid to keep no police on that. I was listening to Farooq Sattar and another crony of his who were saying that our forces were spread thin.. Duh..

    I am living in Saudi Arabia and while i have to listen to other country people “indians” asking me what is happening in your country. When i told one old fellow he said the children of the people who left india are now the murderers,, then thank god Good riddence. Being a muhajir decendent as well i felt like holding a shouting competition with him but he had a point. and i was only forced to tell him we have leaders you have the nation.

    It is all a facade that MQM wants to show.. I think that MQM needs a good thrashing and we need another Naseer ulalh Babar.

    I pray to God that please insert some good sense in MQM wala and every other gun owner in Karachi not to use them for ever.

  5. d0ct0r (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:17 am

    strong reaction i was referring to Monday’s successful strike across the country.. atleast publicly MQM is exposed as a terrorist party.. now if dictator doesn’t read the writing on the wall then what can the public do.. they’ll just have to endure and suffer these terrorists who are imposed on them…

  6. Khakan (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:19 am

    I am glad you cleared all this for me. I may have sounded but did not mean to personaly attack you. I started reading this blog for about a month ago and since then all I see is the comments against mqm, and not just comments but cursing, using F words (Even MAA Behan ki Gallian)so you can understand what impression i would have gotten about these guys. Trust me I came to this blog to have some intellactual conversation about paki politics but this mqm bashing made me so mad. I been living in Boston for few years now but cant detach myself with Karachi because my roots are there. I love my city and care about the city. I am glad to that you mentioned 90s barberic action taken by PPP and 80 riots done by other ethinic groups.
    It is unfortunate what happend to you and other journalists on that day but it was really in nobody’s control.I am not saying that all mqm workers are Angles,since mqm is a big party with thousands workers you will find all human falvors. whatever you expereinced was individually taken reactions not party policy. We all know that mqm introduced middle class people to the parliment. prior to mqm nobody from middle class could think to even get close to the parliment building.mqm has made few mistakes but who does not.
    All I can say is that mqm is the better choice in paki politics and is the only hope for the country.

  7. d0ct0r (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:26 am

    ironically this is not even a political blog.. its about all things karachi .. BUT karachi has been plagued by MQM so we’ve to discuss it as well.. coz these terrorist affect our lives on daily basis…

  8. d0ct0r (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:32 am

    btw how many of the MQM’s supporters still deny that Ajj tv was attacked by MQM’s terrorists?

  9. mantraman (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:32 am

    The MQM stands fully, completely and totally exposed. They are a bunch of liars, fascists and killers. The proof is 6 hours of live TV coverage by AAJ TV, when the MQM kept on targeting innocent civilians. I salute people like Talat Hussain, Urooj Zia, and others like them, who, at very considerable risk to their lives, showed us the true face of the MQMites.

    People like Altaf HUssain, Ishrat-ul-Ebad, Waseem Akhtar should be arrested and tried. The crimes that they have committed are so many, so horrific that I don’t think that there will be any real issue in finding proof of their guilt.

    Karachi has sufferred enough at the hands of these uneducated, primitive animals. These goons and fascists have ruled the roost for long enough. Karachi has sufferred tremendous economic decline in these last 20 years, or so. Business has moved away to Lahore, to Peshawar, to ANYWHERE but Karachi. Is this the progress that these numbskulls talk about ? Is it our fate that we, as Karachiites, must face a continuous decline in this city’s fortunes ?

    have we not had ENOUGH, ENOUGH, ENOUGH of these kidnappers, ransomers, bhatta-seekers ?

    They are unable to rule effectively, when all they care about is looting and kiiling; when they have to send money every week to Altaf Husain in London. How can Karachi develop when the rulers could not give the slightest damn shit about the welfare of the city’s inhabitants ? The answer: it cannot.

    Have we not seen the decline and fall of this city ? Who has been the master of this city for the past 20 years (if not more) ? The MQM. And what has the fate of this city in this period ? Economic decline, crime, unparalled corruption, killings, breakdown of law & order.

    In this same period, see how the other parts of the country have grown. See Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, etc etc. Is it our fate that we MUST ALWAYS SUFFER ? Why ? Why ?

    The time has come to rid ourselves of people who do not give a rat’s ass about us. We should treat them in the same way as they treat us.

  10. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:35 am


    Im not sure what agrivates my fever more.

    MQM Apoligists


    Ppl actually bothering to engage them.

    Gj Uzi, I did something similar on sat,(lucky for me JI/ST scared the thugs off), i wonder the reaction of ure family after reading the piece :P.

    Btw, i saw the Guv @ DO TALWAAR @ 1:30am (going towards park towers)— in a white prado with 6 (SIX) rangers jeeps + 2 police mobiles with him.

    a) These guys have prado’s? o_O.
    b) lol @ the security.
    c) Come on!, even with so much “power” ure scared to get out during the day??

  11. d0ct0r (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:39 am

    Reporters Without Borders today condemned attacks by members of the MQM (an extremist party that supports President Pervez Musharraf) against the offices of Aaj TV and the Business Recorder daily newspaper (a member of the same media group) in the southern city of Karachi on 12 May, in which gunmen opened fire on the building while the TV station was providing live coverage of the MQM’s violent, pro-Musharraf demonstrations.


    internationally these terrorists have made us all proud..

  12. d0ct0r (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:43 am

    @Red_Munk!! they’ve got fleets of Prados and Mercs and all the other cars at their disposal…

  13. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:44 am

    “I see is the comments against mqm, and not just comments but cursing, using F words (Even MAA Behan ki Gallian”.


    So MB & the other mods, who warn & delete a post that is abusive in the slightest of way, allowed everyone to target & victimise the pious angels?

    Wow, we really have sinned.

    Im gonna & pray for forgiveness.

    Thank you, Oh great one, for showing us the right path.

    Oh btw… I know this might be too hard a word for you, but I was being ‘sarcastic’.

  14. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:48 am

    Hey d0c!, where can one sign up.

    Or is 13> murders a pre-req ??

  15. Zainuddin Zafar (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:55 am

    lets what ur chootiya of a blogger MASROOR has to say to this. MQM Ka ghunda saala. tattay uthalo MQM tum.

  16. UZi (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:57 am

    Red_Munk: What didju do on Saturday? :|

    As for my family, they were worried shitloads, of course, but I’m a reporter, and my parents understand that stuff of this sort is part of the “occupational hazards.” They know I love my job, and don’t stop me from stuff just because I’m a bandi. My parents be-eth “cool”! : )

    Again: What DID you do on Saturday? Now I’m curious! O_o

  17. d0ct0r (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:57 am

    one more hilarious thing just one of the MQM’s terrorist(who him self was also shooting) died that day in friendly fire from his fellow terrorist.. and MQM’s minister kept on claiming 8 and then 13 MQM’s supporter died that day.. on sunday just one MQM’s workers janaza was attended by governor in his parado.. while another dead person who was being claimed by MQM as it supporter turned out to be false when that guy’s poor parents from interior sindh said that he didn’t belonged to MQM and just went to karachi to earn his living… these people just love cashing in even dead people..

    “‘Ÿà€Å ŸÑÿßŸÑ ÿ®ÿ™€å ÿ¨ÿßÿ¶€í ⁄Ø” (meaning those who oppose us well end up in Ambulance..)


  18. sheenoon (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 4:16 am

    shabash UZI…..:):)

  19. One Karachite (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 4:32 am

    Guys I don’t support MQM, but don’t wish a Naseer babar again. If a M@therF@#ker like him comes again, MQM would be much more stronger.

    We Muhajirs are critizing MQM because of what ever they did, but if you are going to support Naseer Babar and people like him then our support would be with MQM.

  20. Syed Faraz Mahmood (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 5:51 am

    @UZI: simply Bravo!!

    yar jab bhi pore pakistan mein koi phada hota hai , wat almost har baar karachi ki lagti hai , instrument koi bhi ho bajta idhar hi ake hai, ,

    kfc jalega tu idhar jalega, masjidon pe khudkash hamla hoga tu idhar hoga, hartalein ,jalsey ,jaloos, sab ka takaiy-a-mushq karachi banta hai.

    why karachi :@

  21. Ibrahim (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 6:03 am

    The link provided by Jamal Shamsi at BBC Urdu site is a great article. People should read it. Very well written too.

  22. Naved Haqqi (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 7:25 am

    Last time I posted a comment, it was at the tragic time of the earth quake. I was deeply touched by the spirit and passion of our youth who did amazing things in helping their fellow Pakistanis (not mahajirs, pathans, punjabis, but Pakistanis). Today I am looking at a different picture here! I wish we could call onto the same spirit today and go out and help those innocent Pakistani brothers and sisters who have lost their fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, and assure them that humanity still prevails; that the few driven through political blindness cannot take away our love and respect for life and property of others; that we stand for righteousness; that we have not lost the values that our parents have entrusted us with; that we will shy away from racism and bigotry if we cannot fight it; that we dream for a Pakistan where we help each other to fulfil our dreams.

    Where are those boys and girls who worked day and night to gather clothes and food for their fellow Pakistanis? I hope that they come forward and talk about those times and tell those beautiful stories of how they walked for days to reach impossible areas and rescued scores of women and children, their brothers and sisters, Pakistanis.

    Lets do the right thing now as you did then. I am sure that all of you who participate in discussions here are intelligent and mature to understand and encourage what is right.

    May Allah bless you all…

  23. original-faisal (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 8:15 am

    QUOTE “mqm has made few mistakes but who does not” UNQUOTE KHAKAN


  24. NAEEM (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 10:49 am

    QUOTE “mqm has made few mistakes but who does not” UNQUOTE KHAKAN

    No, the biggest mistake of MQM was made by Mr and Ms Hussain who gave birth a filthy moron named Altaf.

  25. Omar (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 11:04 am

    Great work Urooj.

  26. BoZz (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 12:04 pm

    While we may all profess to know who was behind that days events, the article that was re-produced above and written by Urooj named no one in particular.

    Now I do not claim know much, but that article does not constitute as a job well done as it does not take names.

    That Urooj bravely strode out in to the jungles of Karachi on that day to do her job is noble but her bravery would have been better served had we been enlightened with names.

  27. aslam (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

    Question is, are people still gonna support MQM?

  28. UZi (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 1:38 pm

    @ Bozz: The names had to be edited out — “libel.” It was my word against theirs and I had no proof, see? So what we at DT had two choices:

    1) Abandon the story altogether.
    2) Write it out in such a way that taking names would not be neccessary.

    We chose option 2.

  29. JAFRI (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

    This information is being given from an insider. You know that the plan to attack AAJ TV office in Karachi was made in the Ministry of Information in Islamabad in the morning of May 12. Mr Tariq Azim, the Minister of State and Syed Anwar Mahmood, Secretary of Information (on extension after retirement) took the high-ups into confidence about the usefulness of such an attack. Anwar Mahmood, who having a Bihari origin has close links with the MQM, spoke on phone to Altaf Hussain in London and discussed the scheme of teaching a lesson to the AAJ TV with the MQM Chief. After Altaf Hussain’s approval instructions were issued to MQM workers in Karachi to start the attack and in the meanwhile the government provided them full shelter by ensuring that no Rangers or Law Enforcing agecy was present around the AAJ tv offices for almost 6 hours.

    We should keep the eye on the ball, that is, Musharraf (Army) and MQM, and not to get in the mess of “urdu speaking” versus “pukhtun” as this is what the establishment want- divide and rule. Our efforts and focus should be to get rid of Musharraf and MQM gundas and not to get entangled into ethnic politics, which would lead us nowhere but a dead-end.

  30. mansoor (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

    good going uzi! like your reporting style.

  31. shobz (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

    u go girl.

  32. Rehan ul Haq (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

    I believe more than the MQM its Chief Justice’s fault.

  33. Rehan ul Haq (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

    All this blaming on MQM is rubbish cuz it wont take u anywhere accpet the MQM and let them work who started confrontational tactic judje from this if only opposition concentrate on election and just to be in the NEWS.

  34. w (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

    kill da mother fucker musharaf and that rat sitting in uk iltaf,things will be different but nah most pakies are pooofs big time.country is fucked.

  35. wasiq (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 4:07 am

    iam sorry but this is not possible for me to visit the KMB and ignore an author’s post…..i can hate the post,dislike the author or envy but i cannot ignore or single out the author…..

    Take me home, country roads

    I hear her voice
    In the mornin¡¯ hour she calls me
    The radio reminds me of my home far away
    And drivin¡¯ down the road I get a feelin¡¯
    That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

    Country Roads, take me home
    To the place I belong

  36. Raheel (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 4:10 am

    1. Journalism is a tough job.
    2. MQM are bastards. They have political power because they are in government so what the hell will police do. The ghulam Non Resident Non Pakistani Bhai Saheb.
    3. Musharraf has disappointed us now and his loopholes have started to come into light.

  37. Sufi (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 5:25 am

    Reminded me of Dia Mirza in Shootout at Lokhandwala.

  38. Farrukh (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 5:35 pm

    Wake up Rehan. Andhay pan kee bhee koi hadd hotee hai. You are as blind an MQM follower as you were at College. I feel ashamed I once studied with you.

  39. Ali Ahmed Khan (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 2:02 am

    Quite Intresting and it would be more if the guy placed barrel on her head pressed the trigger as well, the story is written to get some cheap publicity as it has never been happened before in any MQM julsa, further more i invite all the blinds who are barking against MQM to visit to Aaj TV channel building situated at Guru Mander, the building is called Business recorder Building and try to find bullet holes on that building, as Aaj channel for getting the same cheap publicity like UZI trying to get, as nobody witnessed anything, claims MQM fired on their building for 5 long hours then the walls should be riddled with the bullets but intrestingly no body find any bullets riddle wall on Aaj channel building it was a cross firing and Aaj like UZI trying to get cheap publicity , SO blind Tassubi people come and visit Aaj channel building and try to find bullet holes if you foung even 10 holes, i accept that you are right and if you failed then it simply means you people are anti karachi, anti urdu speaks tassubi morons who like to bark against the people of karachi. like one moron said on 12 may,we is recored in video and that video can be watched at MQM>COm that “HUM ITNI ASANI SAI KARACHI KA PEECHA NAHI CHOORAIN GAY”, haan na choro peecha mushkil sai to jao gay na aaj nahi to kal .

  40. Zurkah (unregistered) on May 28th, 2007 @ 9:34 pm

    What happened with a female reporter of the Daily Times, Urooj Zia, in Karachi on 12 May 2007 is a telling evidence of what kind of treatment is meted out to eduated female professionals by groups claiming to be the “vanguard of moderation”!

    It also speaks of the attitude accorded to journalists even when they happen to pass by a street. The fact that a gun was placed on Urooj Zia’s head speaks for itself the sanctity of a peaceful citizen disregarded and disgraced. What adds salt to the injury is the indifferent, unhelpful and rather shameful attitude of those expected to enforce law and order and provide all possible protection to law abiding citizens.

    Events in recent weeks have again proved that threatening media personnel is nor an aberration for MQM neither an act in isolation. It is actually a persistence posture of intimidation evident for the past five years that MQM is a coalition partner in Sind province and at the centre.

    Some weeks earlier, worrisome reports surfaced how women representatives are manhandled by MQM thugs in local assembly sessions.

    Media activists should demand from MQM how much it has has helped Pakistan move towards pluralistic, tolerant and accomodative polity?

    In addition to the timely notice by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX),
    International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders too has voiced serious concerns over threats issued to Pakistani reporters covering the causes and consequences of the 12 May tragedy in Karachi.

    In effect, a free hand was given to mobs to mercilessly quell moderate lawyers and quashing enlightened journalists who were covering the events.

    There are sad indications that irreparable blows have been inflicted on key components of the civil society in Pakistan that mostly comprise of, represent and cater to vastly moderate elements of Pakistan’s society:

    Was it really necessary to harass and intimidate the Karachi’s lawyer community? In fact, Altaf Hussain’s policies and actions are a disservice to Western efforts to promote moderation in Pakistan. Why then Altaf Hussain has launched a confrontation with the country’s educationally and professionally enlighted and most moderate legal personnel?

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