Edhi Centre: One of the ‘many’ bodies at the ‘Sard khana’ was screaming so loudly that it shook me, “Why can’t you speak out for me?” I took a step back, and looked away. Another one almost nudged me “Are you okay with all my friends laying down here all across the room?” Still shaken, the next one screeched in my head “Have you gotten so used to watching bloodshed, that you don’t care anymore?”
I ran away gasping for air, taking long breaths the whole while to calm myself down. Suddenly from somewhere inside me, I heard a whispered, “Why are you okay with being silent?”
Millions of citizens of Karachi are suffering from the conflict between political parties and gang mafias. A war between, land mafia, drug mafia, bhatta mafia and others, who feed on corruption have wounded life across the city. At least 490 people have been killed in target killings in the first half of this year, 11 killed last Sunday.
Following Wednesday's killing of 17 people including ex-MP Waja Karim Dad, violence has further escalated – bodies are literally being thrown in jute bags across the city. Many officials and analysts say more will continue.
Police say many of those killed were kidnapped first. Victims displayed signs of severe torture. 315 people were killed in July alone; those who are not killed, have to endure the loss of a loved one – their lives have been consumed by a vicious cycle of grief. The most alarming thing however, is how the citizens of Karachi are reacting to it. While deprived neighborhoods like Liyari are suffering due to the violence that has taken place between criminal gangs who are armed dealers in drugs and extortion rackets. Why are we just watching innocent people die?
We know the power of our politicians, shutting down entire cities in the blink of an eye. Now they seem to be ‘less strong than the mafia’? Hence, should we believe that the government’s ‘deep concerns’ are useless, if they can’t seem to bring a stop to this rot? We have watched and heard of meeting after meeting, discussion after discussion over Sindh and the Federal Government, but when Karachi actually was on red alert, no police were to be found on the streets.
The real disgrace
More than 1,400 people have been killed in Karachi since January, and the numbers keep ridiculously escalating. Why don’t we protest? Mohsin Sayeed, Fashion journalist and social activist says “its apathy”.
He argued it was not the fear of the citizens but their selfishness towards the Karachi killings. “As long as it is not happening in their own house, they’re fine with it”
Mohsin, with many others came out at the Karachi Press Club to protest the killings, disgusted by those who couldn’t make it there to demonstrate support, only to show up to a lawn exhibition later in the evening.
Mohsin says, “People are the culprits. Look at Anna Hazare in India. Didn’t he gather 30,000 people in one city and 20,000 in the other? Isn’t their government considering them? Why then do we feel, we won’t heard?”
Our problem is that we think it won’t make any difference. But Nabiha Chaudry, a student who has been keenly active in protests at the Press Club for years says “These protest will make a difference. I have seen a significant change over the past 3 years, with students from NED making huge waves through their protests”
People need to know that they NEED to come out. This madness will go on, because nobody cares. If you step out to shop for Eid, and hit lawn sales, but find it ‘unsafe’ to come out and protest, you should know who you are kidding.
People are cozy by indulging in cyber discussion, boldly speaking their minds out, RSVP-ing events. But when it comes to stepping out and holding a screaming banner, they hide behind their doors, resorting to excuses like ‘security, fear, uncertainty’.
Maybe our anticipation is as dead as it was in 2008, when the death toll was 777, or in 2010 when it was 1339. This year, it is at its highest, a catastrophic 1495 and still counting. Are you sure, that this time the fire won’t reach your own house?
The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.