We watched yesterday as hundreds of thousands descend upon Ghari Khuda Baksh, the ancestral village of the Bhuttos to bury their daughter Benazir in a funeral ceremony the likes of which i have never seen in its enormity or sadness. It was attended by the entire PPP leadership, as well as her entire family.Â Her burial took place after friday prayers at about 2:30pm.Â Following that an air of utter gloom and doom has prevailed over much of Karachi and Sind.
Due to the precarious situation in most areas of this province, the army was called in to maintain law and order shortly after the funeral. With orders to shoot at sight any miscreant or protester indulging in the destruction of public or private property. Curfew has also been declared in some areas of interior Sindh which were still smoldering with agitators.Â I went out to get something for myself in the early eveningÂ here in Karachi and the streets bore the look of total desertion.Â The street lights were shut off and no one was in sight. All the shops were closed as well as all the gas stations and there were hardly any vehicles moving about at all.
Personally speaking, i have never seen Karachi like this in my life. Even in the worst strikes and situations the corner shops remain open, even if they do so discreetly. However yesterday evening was like something out of a nightmare. Nothing was open, i roamed around for about 10 mins in my car searching and then realizing the situation went back home immediately.
At least the rioting has stopped due to the army patrolling the roads, but i did not see them during my visit outside. The media is reporting that they are posted on the main artery Shahra E Faisal as well as in the industrial areas. They must be there as yesterday there were reports of several towel factories being torched by miscreants inÂ the North Karachi industrial area.
It is Saturday the day after her funeral today, and everything is still shut.Â I do realize the government announced three days of mourning but at least a few petrol stations and grocery stores should be open for this city in which millions live? god forbid if somebody needed emergency medical care in these circumstances!! Several Ambulance services have also stopped working due to lack of petrol.
Furthermore the media is reporting the involvement ofÂ militant elements such as Baitullah Masood and Al Qaeda in this assassination. No kidding? these lunatics have been after the poor woman since the day she got back here. Still there are rumors circulating about other elements being involved in this fiasco, as well as whether the shrapnel or the bullets or the sunroof killed poor BB. What does it matter i say? it was all due to the unprovoked brutal attack on her and now she is gone forever.
If i was asked to describe the relentless tirade of information coming through my TV set in one word it would be repetition.Â If i were to do the same for the situation in my country with the elections looming (yes according to our caretaker PM they are not cancelled) it would be grim!!