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What does the attack on Debra Lobo mean?

Updated April 17, 2015


Debra Lobo.
Debra Lobo.

It is not known yet for sure if they were responsible. On Thursday evening, Debra Lobo, the Vice Principal for Student Affairs at Karachi Medical and Dental College and a Professor of community medicine was attacked by four unidentified gunmen as she made her way to the University Campus.

According to reports it was around three p.m. in the afternoon, just barely at the cusp of Karachi’s rush hour. The road was full of cars and people and because it is Karachi; also assassins.

The injured Ms.Lobo was rushed to hospital. In an unlucky city, she was lucky she managed to get there in time. In last reports, she was said to be in stable condition.

The rest of Karachi is far from stable.

Also read: From TTP to IS: Pakistan's terror landscape evolves

If the vast and varied buffet of hate filled extremism that is already laid out for its misled souls every dawn and dusk were not enough; this latest horror points to the local germination of a foreign evil.

Unverified reports from the scene of the attack on Ms. Lobo said that flyers in Arabic and English were found on the scene of the attack. According to Pir Mohammad Shah, a senior police official present at the scene, the leaflets said that the attack was carried out by the “Lions of Daula Al-Islamiyyah”, which is the name Daesh uses for its territory.

AFP officials who saw the leaflets reported that they also said, “We shall lie in wait until we ambush you and kill you wherever you may be until we confine and besiege you in America and then God willing, WE WILL BURN AMERICA!”

Also read: Govt in a state of denial about Daesh?

Ms. Lobo, the police informed the press at the scene, was an American citizen. It was the sort of statement that the Karachi police have become adept at handing out at the scene of death and disaster.

If the dead person had a known political affiliation, they can shrug and say, “It was political enmity”, if they had a name that identified them as Shia, well then “it was sectarian enmity”. If neither of these applies then there is, of course, the all-purpose “family enmity”.

In the case of Ms. Lobo, an educator who devotes her life to teaching Pakistanis community medicine they latched on to her American nationality. As far as the Karachi police are concerned, the victim is always to blame and if there is a reason for hating them, well then their death is entirely explicable, and consequently completely ignorable. Such is the condition of the enforcers of law in a land where no good deed goes unpunished.

If this were not so, Karachi would not be littered by the heaps of bullet-ridden bodies. In recent weeks, the various episodes of political dramatics have left the city an abyss of chaos; where all sides; the ones losing and the ones hoping to win, seem to revel in darkness and disorder.

With such a demonic chorus, cheering so gleefully at the collapse of everything it is no surprise that the good souls are being targeted and exterminated.

The very existence of women like Ms. Lobo, those who believe in the city’s young people, particularly its girls are a threat to the quagmire that Karachi’s political losers, its land grabbers, its terrorists want to maintain.

A police officer examines US citizen Debra Lobo's car, targeted by gunmen in Karachi on Thursday. —AP
A police officer examines US citizen Debra Lobo's car, targeted by gunmen in Karachi on Thursday. —AP

Education and commitment, healing and development, are not things they are interested in, and so they kill and let kill, perpetuating the nihilism that is their common creed.

With a population of nearly 22 million people, Karachi is the largest Muslim city in the world. Whether or not Daesh or its affiliates was behind this particular attack, they will probably be the orchestrators of the attacks of the future.

Also read: IS not a threat to Pakistan: Peshawar Corps Commander

A city where the police are largely ineffectual, where “operations” never result in outcomes and local political powers seem embroiled in endless infighting is a magnet for any extremist group seeking a headquarters.

The Federal Government, they must know from the most cursory perusal of the city’s Metro pages, will predictably look the other way.

The people used to attacks, will cower and take cover, some, like Debra Lobo will be lucky, saved by the prayers of the thousands they have helped and healed.

Others will be less so, flyers proclaiming the vengeful vendettas of this or that flavour of hatred, this or that brand of terror, laid on their dead bodies on yet another bloodied Karachi street.


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