Just last night someone was asked me what are these killings in Karachi. Is it Shiite Sunni? I replied its more than that. Seeing that the guy was a conservative local, I didn’t know whether he could get the example of Sao Paulo and Favela vs Gated communities (an extreme analogy) so I asked him has he seen depiction of Mexico in movies. He replied in affirmative so I told him, like Mexico in movies its a free for all shiite vs sunni, Mohajir vs Balochi, Mohajir vs Pathans, extortion mafia which comprises of mainly MQM, ANP, PPP, ST and Police, fights over whether the mosque will be Barelvi or otherwise, kidnapping by Talibans and Sindis etc, bank robberies to finance terrorist activities and anybody else who wants to get in the game.
My family and friends tell me that whenever they are stuck in a traffic jam, they panic that any moment someone will knock on the window with a pistol and ask for their belongings. A friend told me that his junior gave up his cellphone thrice like this and is always nervous. This is a promising up and coming banker he was talking about.
I was talking to another colleague who works in a multinational bank yesterday asking about whether he passed his CFA exam or not. He said to me get me out of this country. I was with him on our Europe trip last month and he didn’t mention anything like this so I asked him what changed. He said couple of kids with absolutely no political affiliation from his colleague’s mohalla went to play night cricket and couple of days later they found bullet riddled bodies such as one had multiple bullets fired in his throat. These were Mohajir kids and they think Baloch had something to do with it. These were 20 year olds and probably killed because of their ethnicity last week.
We all remember when Raza Haider of MQM was killed. 40-50 daily wages pathans (roti wala, sabzi wala, mochi) were killed in retaliation.
Before the Lyari gang war, when the fight between Mohajir and Balochis had reached its peak with Mohajirs being abducted and tortured in Lyari area, my friends say that use to leave home in the morning looking at their family and kids and wondering whether they will live till the night to be able to see their kids and family again.
After MQM and ANP now PPP (in the garb of PAC) and probably everyone else has jumped in the game. They throw grenades not only at your shop but also at your home. This is taking the business to another level. Kidnapping for ransom is one game. I have heard of another tactic of threatening to kidnap your kid for ransom as they know the school he goes to etc.
If we haven’t reached the favela vs gated community, we are pretty quickly moving towards it. Not all of us will be able to afford a house in gated community (I can’t even afford a house now in a middle class ungated community) so the ones left out who now considered privileged because they can afford going to Espresso or Port Grand or Atrium will be at the mercy of events.
I will not talk about electricity etc as the whole nation is miserable because of it. But can you imagine the psychological trauma an average worker goes through just because of the law and order situation everyday. Whenever rioting starts, if kids are in school, what the family is going through. And till the breadwinner has come home, what his or her family goes through at home.
Cousin of mine is in school business. They have around 4 or 5 campuses in lower middle income area of Korangi. You see news reports wherein students are allowed to do exams in VIP rooms with books etc after paying Rs.1000 to Rs.3000, he said that is pretty rampant. He told me that a father of 9th class student came to him and was crying that his son has studied hard for the whole year and now all these other kids will cheat their way ahead of him. Doesn’t hard work pay.
Can you image the kind of generation we are breeding. My cousin was also on the invigilation team that went to schools in Lyari and he said we were provided police escorts during the short time we visited those schools and everyone was cheating over there as well with PAC representatives in school ensuring that we don’t create any drama.
We do visit Port Grand, Atrium, Rs. 600 burger joints but this is all escapism. Can you imagine the psychological mindset of the kids that grow up in such a corrupted and lawless society. A highest per capita charity contribution in the world, few TCF schools here, few ambulances from Edhi there, charity food kitchens by Sailani etc wont take away the fact that this city is going to the dogs. True people will make it out of it, will go to Harvard and Oxford, will score recording breaking GCSEs but add to that there will be scores of people who would have just matriculated unfairly and then there will be those that never got the chance or opportunity on account of being born in the wrong locality.
I haven’t touched upon the sectarian elements, religiosity, encroachment, no public spaces, transport mafia, health care etc but readers might get the drift.
What really is hurtful is that no one is doing anything to curb this or reverse this. The degeneration, I believe, is still not irreversible. But one cannot do everything at the same time so a few key areas need to prioritized. There have been papers after papers of what we can do and we can go on and on but its all be done before and no one is there to implement it.
I am not a policy analyst but if you were to ask me, give me one recommendation : I would say revamp the police. Massive hiring on merit (no quotas but restricted to people resident in the city no matter what is there ethnicity. Have entry tests academic and physical, whoever clears it can train. Train them and send them to local police stations to add to their manpower). Increased patrolling with a highly trained police which is not afraid to take on criminals will reduce crime significantly. If that happens, the ticking time bomb that every citizen of this city has become will be become peaceful.
Next step would be education and so on…