A day of horror at Plaza

This story that i received in numerous emails came in THE NEWS two weeks back & its a must read for you. I share it here with our readers. [Credits: Mustafa Jamal]

At 5.15 p.m. June 4, I stopped at Plaza, in front of the Polani Motors on Karachi’s busiest thoroughfare, the M.A. Jinnah Road, to have my car’s electric window repaired. Soon, I was mobbed by some seven to eight people, who insisted that I get some door rubbers installed. I refused but they started the work nevertheless.

Quickly, I found myself trapped, with these people doing all sorts of work on the car, not listening to my command, directions and pleadings. These people had me so placed that I could not run, scream or phone anybody, even though I was on the busiest road of Karachi. By all means, I was held hostage by them.

Then it was crunch time. Their boss handed me small piece of paper. It was a bill for Rs25,600. He literally ordered me to pay. Yes! You read it correctly, Rs25,600 for work I did not order and I did not know anything about — for installing some rubbers on the doors. Their boss ordered me to get to the nearest ATM and pay the amount. There are several ATMs in and around Plaza but I stalled. The heavily-guarded portion of Abdullah Haroon Road was my safest bet. I told him, albeit correctly, that my bank was located near the Metropole Hotel and I could not withdraw the amount from One Link ATMs. This was not true, of course.

The head honcho, with a menacing look on his face, sat on the passenger seat of my car, while his colleague sat in the seat behind me as we drove to the ABN-Amro Bank near the US Consulate-General. I told the two to stay seated, inserted my card in the door and entered the bank. I alerted the bank guards and officials and rang up my editor. I also tried 15, which nobody picked. Soon the police arrived and the two men in my car were escorted to the Artillery Maidan Police Station, in front of the Governor’s House. There our crime reporter handled the issue. The agony was finally over.

I learnt that a gang was operating at the Plaza and had robbed several people, charging, in one case Rs40,000 for installing door rubbers. I have heard of three similar cases. In one instance they went to the victim’s house to get the money. I was indeed lucky. There are currently many more members of the gang who are still at large. It would be a good idea to inform your friends and colleagues to avoid the area.

5 Comments so far

  1. ilefiya on June 24th, 2008 @ 11:00 am

    good post after a looooong and boring meblogging, man pls we need more posts like this, and even more comments for it, metblogging after its new look is not what it use to be.

  2. jinchacha on June 24th, 2008 @ 11:14 am

    These people must have formed and organized mafia by now. Back in 1990, I took my recently painted 1977 Toyota Corolla to that place and was mobbed by teen-aged boys who offered to put all sorts of essential stuff on the car. I reluctantly agreed thinking I was helping them make some money. I later found out that I was charged 10 times the price. They operate the way of Bush ie. Shock and Awe……. And needless to say that all this is patronized by the nearby Preedy Police Thana which is any SHO’s posting of choice.

  3. bizare on June 24th, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

    Well, my dad business is based in plaza and i know these people really well. They will going to get a thing for 10 from the market and sell it for 1000. This is being going on for a long time and all the business owners are fedup of these guys. Usually police raid the area and they disappear for a day or two and as they give chai pani to thanna they are good to go. Advises not to park on the side of the road rather park in rimpa plaza parking and then goto market to purchase. Secondly dont trust these guys working outside. Even the rubbers he is talking about is like .50 paisa each which they usually sell it for 10/50/100 for each car.

  4. Zag (surferzag) on June 24th, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

    Damn!!! I haven’t gone there for quite sometime, but I remember last time I went there a couple of guys came and asked me about these rubbers to which I said no and they went away….. I guess now they don’t take no for an answer.

  5. fahmed on June 30th, 2008 @ 5:36 pm

    same thing happened to me there around 6-7 years back. i ended up payment a couple of hundred pkr for some rubber…etc

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