Religious vigilantism in Karachi
This happened a few weeks back but it still has the power to shake me up. It was a regular evening for me. I left work at the usual time; little did I know that I would be subject to moral policing par excellence – Taliban style – in the day light and that too in Karachi.
On my way back from work, I was waiting at signal of Hotel Crown Plaza. The driver of the taxi next to me knocked on my window, I thought there must be something wrong with the car or something so I rolled down the window and raised my eye brow in question. It was then all hell broke lose. He went ballistic, first he accused me of promoting promiscuousity by leaving home un chaperoned and then said that we, as a nation, are facing so much trouble because our women have stopped observing hijab and what not. After the initial shock and paralysis which lasted a full ten seconds, I rolled up my window and decided not to listen to his tirade.
The signal turned green and I put the car in motion but that taxi driver decided to teach me a lesson and started following me and banging my car with his hands which was very dangerous in rush hour traffic. It was then I got really scared and decided to stop by next to a traffic police constable who was manning traffic at the signal. I complained to him but he couldn’t help because the taxi driver drove on when I stopped next to the constable. He asked me to wait it out for a few minutes so I parked my car there for ten minutes. After waiting for a while, I too decided to go, but instead of taking the usual route, I took the more crowded route because I was too scared to go anywhere less crowded.
I have lived in Karachi most of my adult life, I love living here but if this is the shape of things to come, then things look very bleak.