Bombs here guns there, bombs and guns everywhere!

Published: June 16, 2012

I was convinced that her bag contained a bomb and that she was asking for forgiveness for what she was about to do. GRAPHIC: ERUM SHAIKH

To say that the daily violence in Karachi affects our lives is quite easily the biggest understatement of the decade. As much as we try to shield ourselves from the gore; the aftershocks of protests, strikes, muggings and shootings have permeated and changed our drawing room conversations. Women tell each other stories of neighbours’ relatives being robbed at gunpoint, while men argue about who got stuck in the most dangerous crossfire while returning home from work.

Not long after the Karsaz blast during Benazir Bhutto’s jalsa in 2007, I was coming back from school when I saw a cab right beside our van. The driver of the cab had a beard which covered his entire chest and half of his protruding abdomen but, more alarmingly, he had a suitcase in the back seat. The sight made my nerves go haywire as I pleaded my van driver to either drive faster or slower, whichever, so that we could maintain as much distance between us and the taxi.

Another time, I was in the prayer area of a hospital. A woman came, put down her mammoth-sized bag beside her and began to pray. When she was done, she began crying in her dua and repeatedly asked to be forgiven, loudly enough for the people in and outside the area to hear her. After she was done, she left her bag and walked out. I was convinced that her bag contained a bomb and that she was asking for forgiveness for what she was about to do. I looked at the bag, picked it up, then put it right back. I rushed outside and looked for someone to help me. To my relief, the woman was standing outside talking to her son. There were only a few times in my life that I have been so relieved.

Hence, we are not only affected by what happens in the city but we have built our lives around it. We stock up on food, gas and other supplies in case a strike is announced at midnight and the markets are closed the next day.

Today, elders no longer tell children stories of their childhood; instead, they share stories of how a stranger entered the neighbour’s house and shot him, and that this was why children should never help strangers.

Read more by Tehmina here.

tehmina.qureshi

Tehmina Qureshi

A journalism student who is a former sub-editer at The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    Agree, nicely stated. In most countries its simple, crime and violence is the domain of the ‘ bad guys ‘ and the State apparatus counters this. In our case its more complicated the distinction between the two is blurred and so, countering it becomes a problem and for you and me, coping with it an even bigger one.Recommend

  • a 54321

    um im sorry but whats wrong with you? why are you stereotyping soo much? ANYONE can be carrying a bomb.Recommend

  • Confused

    so you are telling us more stories of violence in the neighbourhood and why we should not trust strangers too?Recommend

  • Boy

    The picture is highly inappropriate …bomb and the burka?Recommend

  • Jaleed Ahmed Gilani

    Too much stereotyping….
    Hatred of maulvis and burqa-clad women is evinced in this article. True, they are responsible for alot of problems, but, they are NOT the devil incarnate..Recommend

  • pk

    @Boy:
    May be it suggests that the woman in Burkha is a bomb, if you know what I mean ;-)Recommend

  • leila rage

    @not that inappropriate considering that suicide bombers sometimes wear burqas so that they aren’t suspicious. And think back to the lal masjid incident and how those terrorists tried hiding in burqas as well. Recommend

  • Zalim Singh

    Burqa is a simple and sure-fire way of getting a bomb in – nobody will demand any frisking.Recommend

  • Hindu Indian

    @Author: I remember the late 90′s when the state-run channel in India would play ad’s of Bombs inside cycles/scooters. Those were tough times. I hope you guys come out of this.Recommend