While Karachi was shutting down, I learned a harsh lesson

Amidst bullets, panic and chaos, there were around 10 women with me and we had no idea where to go.

Aleena Rizvi March 08, 2013
I was on a bus going back home, when the bus was stopped near Mausamyaat Gulistan-e-Jauhar area and we were asked to step out of the bus due to the protest going on in the city.

It was March 6, 2013; the time was 2:00pm.

Though part of the public transport system, I expected that the bus drivers and conductors would show some responsibility on their own behalf, but the bus driver asked everyone to get out of the bus the moment he saw flames and heard firing heading his way.

I can't blame him though; in times like today people are just out to save their own skins.

Yet, there were around 10 women with me and we had no idea where to go.

The route going to Gulistan-e-Jauhar was blocked as gunmen were creating panic by firing shots in the air. The opposite route going towards N.I.P.A was also blocked badly due to a traffic jam.

There were three to four police cars with a dozen or so police men but none of them proceeded to help us or guide us to a safer way. In a few minutes, the whole area was filled with people screaming, rushing, and trying their best to hide themselves.

All the buses were dropping their passengers at Mausamyaat and were taking a U-turn to go back.

The shops were closed and we were not able to find a rickshaw or a taxi as transport was suspended.

The sirens of ambulances were beginning to terrify us. Almost everyone was getting calls from home, but due to the chaotic situation, no one was able to communicate properly with their family members.

A group of young men was roaming around there but instead of helping the girls, they were up to their cheap antics and were misbehaving with the girls standing there.

This area was a residential one. The doors and windows of all the houses and flats were closed and not even a single resident could be seen there. This only frightened us further. Something had gone terribly wrong and here we were stranded in a part of the city which is sufficiently notorious for rioting.

After I had been standing there for 45 minutes, my father arrived and we took refuge in Karachi University; we stayed there until the 'situation in the city became stable', so to speak.

I learned something that day; no one will come to help you when you’re in trouble. This was more scary to me than all the chaos ensuing around me. People in Karachi have become completely indifferent to others' pain and just view the helpless as an opportunity.

I didn't see even a trace of humanity in all those around me yesterday, but then again, I think it was too much to expect any help from the bus drivers or other people when even the police officers declined to assist us.

Have people completely forgotten what our religion and morals teach us about humanity?

I humbly request my fellow citizens to remember that we must stick together in times like this and help each other out as much as we can.

Aleena Rizvi An Acca student who has completed her O'Levels and A' Levels from City School. She believes that every individual has a right to voice their opinion and speak up against the evils of the society.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Mrs.Tariq | 11 years ago | Reply Dear Aleena, I belong to the generation who used to roam the streets of Karachi without the fear of being harassed or mugged, even in the wee hours of the night.We used to stay late in the Karachi University Laboratories and travel alone to Guru Mandir to be picked up by our parents,Yes I have seen the "City of Light in its full bloom,till I was caught in the chaos when all hell broke loose, that is 27th December 2007.I was trapped in the traffic jam on the Zebbunnnisa street and my son who had gone into a shop could not be located.Moments ago he called to tell me the news of attack on Mohtarmma,and now all the mobile phones were off.He couldn't be contacted after that. Allah has been generous I found him after a few minutes.Consider the plight of a mother running here and there looking behind falling shutters of shops,with nobody listening to your screaming.I realized that the day of judgement is going to be somewhat like this,all the stories about the chaos when India was divided flashed before my eyes.That day I lost my Karachi, somewhere, and it has not been the same since then.I can only pray that the days of my childhood and youth return soon when we were alive till the stray bullet which has our name inscribed on it,finds us one day.
Talha | 11 years ago | Reply Comeon people give her a break! She is right! And she DID help the other 9 women! Stop trying to find errors in her! We, writing comments, do not know about the horror of that moment. Anyways May Allah protect our country and clean it from all all this. And may Allah reward you for your patience and your act of courage of helping those women, Aleena. Ameen
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