Stories about street crime

Rehman Malik has left but his legacy of barring cellphone networks still lives on

My driver didn’t show up today. I could drive myself but then my other family members need the car too. None of us can call Uber or Careem because the apps are not working in the absence of mobile data services so we are stuck. My friend from college is in town for a day. I cannot reach out to her because the only way to contact her is via cell phone – I cannot expect her to check emails to figure out a plan. I had planned that she would come over; we would order something and hang out ...

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Is IG Sindh trying to promote gun culture by rewarding a man for killing a criminal?

Some days ago, Sindh Inspector General (IG) AD Khawaja lauded and rewarded a Karachi resident for killing a robber. This seemed like an old West Hollywood movie where bounty hunters get rewarded for killing criminals. He further stated that citizens should possess weapons to defend themselves. I wonder if this statement depicts how weak our judiciary is or how helpless those whose job is to defend us are. Moreover, this statement comes at a time following a recent incident that shook people with horror – Karachi residents beat a street robber until he was unconscious and then dumped him in a sewerage hole to ...

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Will WhatsApping the Rangers help restore security in Karachi?

The Pakistan Army has been carrying out much needed action against terrorists in a coordinated and systematic manner since General Raheel Sharif took charge. Instead of going for an all-out clean-up operation against criminal elements, the Army higher-ups have taken a cautious approach (keeping the aftermath of the 1992 military operation in mind), taking every step with great care. This time around, there seems to be a genuine effort by the Sindh Rangers in order to establish a connection between the armed forces and the citizens of Karachi. Karachiites can now send a text or audio/video message to the Rangers via WhatsApp to ...

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Dear Pakistani mom, why must I fear not getting a proposal?

Dear Pakistani mom, I am your beloved daughter, slightly spoiled but mostly a responsible, caring individual who would go to great lengths just to see a smile on your face. One who would run to the medicine store to grab some medicines should my ailing grandmother’s health so require. Please remember ‘you’ raised me so. You raised me to be a thoughtful, caring, independent and confident individual. You taught me not to follow the guidelines of learned female helplessness by waiting for the sympathy of my three brothers to get medicine in case I suffered a bout of respiratory infection. You raised me to believe women ...

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The case of stolen side mirrors and stereo systems

Fahad Ahmed, a banker by profession, was provided a company-maintained car by his employer. After having upgraded from a two-wheeler and now commuting in luxury, this brand new 1300cc vehicle was the car of his dreams. Little did he know that soon he would be coming under tremendous stress, just in order to keep this car safe from various criminals, roaming the streets of Karachi. It was a Sunday and Fahad had gone to his in-laws for dinner with his wife and two kids. After attending to the social call and exchanging farewell, the family returned to their brand new ...

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Karachi might not be a safe place to live but neither is Houston

What is the chance of a bad outcome, like death, in Karachi? Based on anecdotes circulated on social media and what you read in the news, you might assume that chances for a series of unfortunate events remain high in this city. This conception prompted a friend to do some calculations to gauge the chance of an unexpected death in Karachi, compared to any major metropolitan city in the US. Assuming how the calculations were fairly accurate, the bottom line was intriguing. The likelihood of an untimely, unexpected death was similar in the two places. Comparing the death rates in Karachi with other cities and countries was perhaps meant to ...

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Karachi, its violence and the death of a friend

During the second last week of Ramazan, Zia Masroor, a batch mate from my university, Dow Medical College (DMC), was shot dead by armed robbers. He was driving back home after retrieving some cash from an ATM and as he turned into his street and was about to reach home, he realised he was being followed. Fearing the robbers might enter his house and endanger his family, he kept driving on, trying to throw them off track. Moments before he was shot, he made one last call home asking them to shut all doors and windows and to stay inside and be ...

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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 ...

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Cleanse Karachi of unregistered motorcycles!

In a third world country like Pakistan, where successive governments have failed to provide a reliable transport system, motorcycles tend to be the lifeline for masses. Take the example of Karachi, which accommodates more than half a million motorcyclists every day. While the number of motorcycles has increased in recent years at a phenomenal pace, the government and traffic regulators have made no efforts to bring discipline in this realm. The Excise and Taxation Department of Sindh has finally started issuing official registration plates for motorcycles purchased as of July – an initiative one must appreciate as it could provide traffic ...

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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 ...

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