Stories about crime

Wali Flo Shah’s success story: When he refused to let poverty break him

“I know you’d expect this kid to be a criminal, But before you judge someone, don’t be as cynical Because that child wasn’t a story, That child was me.” Thus, eighteen-year-old Wali Shah ended his powerful spoken word ‘The Child’, narrating his journey as an immigrant child – battling economic hardships at home and a troubled gangster life outside in Toronto, Canada. For his narration, he received a standing ovation at a prestigious event at United Way, attended by dignitaries in the city of Mississauga. I met Wali Shah later in his home, located in a modest, middle class rental apartment building. As his Mom received ...

Read Full Post

How I became one of the ‘namaloom afrad’

I was never really the brightest kid in my class. Going to school meant tolerating the teacher’s taunts as he caught me trying to distract my mates from the last bench. It also meant getting kicked out of class almost each day, and spending the rest of the day roaming around the city with my other close pals. My elder brother was different. His studious nature meant that I was always second best at home. My father spent his entire life as a school teacher, earning just enough to feed and educate us. My mother was a simple housewife who ...

Read Full Post

Why Karachi police fails to convict its criminals

Karachi is at siege by an array of criminals such as the Taliban and from splinter groups with political support. Over 2,200 people were victims of homicide in the city last year – the highest number in nearly two decades. Yet relatively only a few of those killings were successfully investigated and prosecuted. Ali Sher Jakhrani, a legal advisor to the police, says that over the last few years, about 23% of murder investigations led to a conviction.  A 2011 report by Pakistan’s Human Right Commission put the number as low as 10%. The upsurge of violence in the city has led ...

Read Full Post

SITE: When industrialists are forced to work in a ‘pigsty’

Ironically, the largest sty in the world is located in Pakistan. In fact it is in Karachi, known as Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) Karachi. It is an industrial estate with over 3,000 industries, shops and warehouses. SITE is managed by a quasi-government organisation called SITE Ltd while the ‘tenants’ are represented by SITE Association of Industry. But why is this estate that contributes approximately 28% to the nation’s treasury dubbed as a mere ‘sty’? The answer lies in the tour of this 4,500-acre estate. I once wrote a satirical letter to editor that USA was looking for Osama bin Laden (OBL) ...

Read Full Post

No sympathy for men

Picture this headline, “Married woman doused with acid by ex-boyfriend”. Now think, what would follow that little news item? TV cameras and reporters would surround the victim, while NGO personnel, politicians, and every self-proclaimed human rights activist in town would be running to the cameras to show how evil the incident was and wail over the state of our society and the state of human rights. When it came to light that the police never collected physical evidence and never properly recorded the co-accused’s statements, thus eliminating any chance of a conviction, everyone would have a field day screaming about the fact ...

Read Full Post

Police encounter and my brush with death

Recently something bad happened to me and this completely changed my views about preferring to live in Pakistan. I had first-hand experience on what it feels like to know that your name might soon be added to the list of “missing persons” and this confirmed just how insecure one’s life and future is living in this state. While driving to a friend’s place (I was all by myself; no driver or friend with me) a policeman astride a bike suddenly blocked my way, followed by another making a ‘forced’ entry into my car. I was ordered to pull over and ...

Read Full Post

Who will speak for the Pakistani woman?

Whether you wear a dupatta or not, the fact of the matter is that the minute a woman steps out of her house, she will feel as if everyone is staring at her. And this will happen in the local market and regardless of which neighbourhood you may be in – affluent or relatively poor – the reaction from men is usually the same. They gawk at you as though you are from a different planet. Even when I have to go to my workplace, I quickly get off the car and rush inside, lest all kinds of prying and penetrating eyes be ...

Read Full Post

Is it a crime to be a girl?

It was an hour of joy and happiness for my mother when the doctor told her she would have me in her arms in nine months. But this happiness turned into despair for my father and grandmother as they came to know that a girl would be born to their family. They forced my mother to kill me before I was born. Daddy, please don’t kill me. I won’t make you angry. I’ll be a good daughter; I won’t ask you for expensive clothes and toys. Please don’t kill me. But I was killed after just 30 days in my ...

Read Full Post

Nasreen’s dismembered body didn’t scare me

Female body parts were found from different parts of Karachi, including Soldier Bazaar and Guru Mandar. One of the victims, whose body parts were found in the Guru Mandar area, was identified as Nasreen. As I looked at Nasreen’s body chopped into pieces that lay on separate tables in a smelly morgue, I did not shudder. Any normal person would have trembled, I think. I spent 15 minutes in that very room where her skinned parts were being inspected by medico legal officers (MLO). I roamed around, looking at her body for details; if I had not seen the body, I ...

Read Full Post

Meet Umair, Pakistan’s very own child prodigy

Child prodigies are an eclectic bunch; being  on the fast-track in the lane of life at such a tender age makes them so. Although, some go on to commit suicide, turn to crime and develop drink and drug problems, we remain irrevocably fascinated by them.  We are overcome by their childhood achievements and allured by the fame and recognition they bring to the family. Secretly we wish in the depths of our hearts that our children would also do the same. However, what we fail to realise is the immense pressure that these kids are put under, the long hours that they spend ...

Read Full Post