Chaos in Karachi

Its been two days since the explosion which took place in the procession taken out by the shia community on the 10th of moharram.  43 people have been declared dead up till now, this is despite the fact that the suicide bomber was stopped by a scout and a ranger both of whom lost their lives to save hundreds. We can only imagine in horror as to what would have happened if the madman had reached the center of the procession.

Many of us are today talking about how everything would have been ok if the procession had been postponed or banned. Should a large assembly be allowed in times like this and so on? Well first of all this procession has being taken out for the last 1400 years and has been attacked and persecuted in various shapes and forms, so how can the government forbid people from following their religion?(remember that speech of the qaid we tout) Secondly if we stop living the way we want to, then we might as well hand things over to the Taliban and live according to their rules right? Because is this war not about just that? Our way of life vs theirs that they want to impose on us? Needless to say the mourners have suffered greatly, both on their faith and their physical self and in my opinion did the right thing by carrying on and finishing the procession at its intended finishing point. If nothing else this will show the bastards who want to finish our way of life that we will carry on no matter what!!

What happened after the bomb is another story altogether, in fact it is a story so vile that even now it seems like the bomb might have been just a diversion. With the law enforcement agencies standing and watching, 2 entire blocks of M.A Jinnah roads main wholesale markets were systematically torched with what is rumored to be phosphorous. A very flammable material which causes instant combustion.  They stopped only about 500 meters from where I currently sit in my office, shutters down as they are still not letting us open. They need a clear road for the fire tenders. Yes the fire is still burning even after 48 hrs, because many parts of the whole sale markets are in lanes so narrow that the fire engines cannot enter them. Also among the markets burnt are the cities main medical and plastic as well as the cosmetics market. Thus the fire must be feeding off the chemicals in all of those commodities.

As for the loss, I am afraid that the estimate of 35 billion is total malarky and bull shit. First of all the plastic market which was the biggest lot of shops burnt mostly comprises of illegal squatters selling plastic buckets and things, hardly stuff worth billions. The main loss would have been incurred by the cosmetics market which I am guessing would be in millions not billions. Right now obviously people are distraught and with 3000 shops burnt, people are on the roads without their livelihoods. So the claims seem to be more emotional then based on facts. In short even if the government wants to compensate these people how will they ascertain the goods in stock in these shops? You could argue that many would have a paper trail as they have been imported but the reality is that many times the goods stocked in whole sale stores are there on credit from importers, paid for after sale. Plus people are adding the value of their properties to the losses, but if the property can be saved (some of the buildings have come down) then the value stands intact does it not? This is not to say that these people should not be compensated. They have been wiped out by a mercenary army and if the government cannot provide for their security they should at least try to make up for their losses. Perhaps they can help in the restoration and the saving of property which has been gutted?

As to who has done this? I point the finger squarely at the Taliban, the bomb has all their hallmarks. The insanity after wards could be part of a larger plan to destabilize our government. Which they have been trying to do since day one. First they attacked our police and army, then innocent civilians and now they have come to religious processions and mosques and the commercial nerve centers of the country. Blaming political parties seems to be our medias bread and butter these days, and that has crept into the new media as well but can a political party carry out this sort of rampage? Why would they do it?? After all these are people who vote for them as well as donate to them. I do not buy the land scam angle for a second, there are far sneakier ways of getting someone to let go of their property in this city then torching blocks of it. Realistically speaking this kind of carnage can only be caused by people who are madmen with no concern for life. We all know who that lets not confuse the issue. The authorities have lots of questions to answer though, the mayor of the city was present on the spot and said the police and the rangers could not protect him. If the police of this city cannot protect its mayor what chance do any of us have? Why were these mercenaries allowed to loot and torch at will? Where is the footage from the 100’s of cctv cameras lining the route of the procession?

The people of this city are enraged and they want the truth, it would be best if the authorities concealed nothing because anarchy is not far off. We must remember that although we karachiites are always accused of making a big fuss, we live in a city which is Pakistan. If this place goes does the rest of the nation.


Video taken by LBS team member Awab Alvi

I can take lots of pictures but I am not inclined to do so as I cannot bring myself to take images of people’s misery many of whom I know. The video is enough of a glimpse into the horror that lies before me.