Karachi, my city of violence

Published: July 8, 2011
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Throughout the afternoon, suspense hung heavy in the air. PHOTO: AFP

Two nights ago, I heard sounds of blaring ambulances as I entered my house. The next day while I was on my way to work, my brother called me and told  me to turn back because the situation in the city might get ‘Orangi-ised’ by evening.

The ambulances I heard had been carrying the bodies of two men shot at Johar Chorangi, just half a kilometer from my house. For once, I thought it wise to listen to my brother, and went back home.

While I stayed at home I was only too aware that innocent people were dying and many were stuck in their houses with no food.

I kept hearing reports about shops and petrol pumps closing down in Saddar, Jail Chorangi and Gulshan-i-Iqbal. I could feel the violence inching closer and closer as I heard about incidents of firing all over the city.

If you were in Karachi you know what the day was like.

Throughout the afternoon, suspense hung heavy in the air.

Traffic continued to thin out as the day proceeded.

By evening there wasn’t a single bus on the road.

Cars zoomed past – everyone was in a hurry to get home safe, and alive.

Business continued as usual, but it was halfhearted.

Restaurant across the street did not have customers.

Half of the shops were closed.

Shopkeepers expected armed men on motorcycles to come thundering any second and order them to pull down the shutters.

But obviously ‘the boys’ were busy somewhere else.

By the end of the day the death toll had climbed to over 60.

I only missed a day of work. Many others weren’t this lucky.

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.