From ashes to flame

The last week in Karachi has been bleak to say the least. The abbas town blasts almost shattered the spine of one of the most hardened and resilient cities on the face of this planet. When I say this i mean it quite literally because this city of almost unimaginable proportions 19 million at last lucid count is already groaning under the enormous pressures put on it by the its denizens. Karachi not only came to a standstill but wept tears of blood as balconies containing kids, cycles on the streets, rickshaws, thelas and all blew away in a storm of pure evil the likes of which even we have not seen in recent memory.

In the aftermath of this explosion not only did many people lose their lives and livelihoods, but our collective sanity was also under threat with rumor upon rumor in circulation regarding the blasts and the security situation post it. Official counts of the dead kept piling up, although I wonder how they are calculated when no one official reached ground zero in not just hours but days post this mini apocalypse. The media did the rest, blaring sirens wailing mothers and blood on the streets on national television ensured that no one with any shred of compassion slept in Karachi that night.

Those who did not sleep were members of a community much spurned by intellectuals and mainstream alike. The insomniacs in social media pakistan started early, were the first ones to reach the ground and reported back to people like me who started generated lists of donations. drop off points and things in immediate need of the victims.   The power of social media once again shone through this gloom and as early as the next morning donations started trickling into needy hands in the form of milk for babies, blankets, water and cooked meals.

Through the much maligned sharing, re tweeting and posting of social media pakistan, who are always called out for making too much of an issue about everything, news of what had occurred, how many had died and what was needed spread like wildfire through Karachi.

By midday next day as mainstream activists also launched their donation efforts students form Indus valley had already gathered at teen talwar to raise 1 million (if not more) in four hours. They didn’t wait for any leader to guide them nor a tsunami to come and float them away on its waves of would be hope. No they stood on signals side by side pleading with the swarm that is traffic in this city to loosen their pockets!! Another  such community effort was organized on the same day by Yusra Askari as she rallied friends and family to gather funds, make care packets and distribute them herself with volunteers in Abbastown.



The point of this post is not to take credit. I don’t give a toss about it, never have as long as the cause is served. However to not document what happened that day and in the two days following it when so many made such valiant efforts with absolutely no government machinery at their back nor many resources at their side except for their phones and gprs guiding them to where and what to do would be criminal.

At this point, few days post the blast, the residents of Abbas town were not only welcomed by their sunni brethen in their homes. They have food for months, donations in cash and kind are pouring in, the trickle has become a veritable sea of help and this can all be monitored online. As always obviously there are issues on ground, chief among them many beggars popping up in the area to partake in some of the rivers of aid now flowing. However even institutions like KESC have pitched in with waiving six months of bills and to my knowledge many of the victims now have rent free housing for a year provided by their own communities organizations. Shaheed foundation has been exemplary in opening a massive relief effort at mohsin hall and other places as well and now the expatriates are trying to send in their help daily as well.

The fashion community of Karachi has not been found wanting also in this time of need. They have gotten together and organized “Fashion for a cause” today at Ensemble boutique next to Xanders cafe off 26th street today. The designers involved deserve not just applause from all of us but support in this effort!


So once again Karachi stood up for its own when needed, we did not stand by in the face of terrorism, in fact the citizens of this city took it head on, battered it back with the strength of their love and have proved that even though many say Pakistan is a train wreck in slow motion there is fight still left in us! Fight to unite in the wake of tragedy fight to overcome it and to stand up for what is right.

So as you start reading plethoras of stories in mainstream media about what happened, take a moment to salute people like @Anumbatool  @MansoorGeoNews  @Beenasarwar  @faizanlakhani  @Shivangi @Fifiharoon @Abidifactor @Mohsinsayeed @Jehan_ara @Aftershockcem @Samramuslim @Drawab and many many others who worked like machines online to become & spread the hope that people of Abbas town have today. Also do realize at some point in your existence that the 65% of this country, the youth are now understanding that they do not need to wait for their leaders empty promises to become reality they have a tool of their own called Social media. They will use this tool when they have to for whatever purpose they find is important enough. Consider this fair warning.

Labaik Ya Pakistan!