Should I light a candle or curse the darkness?
"Even we can't do anything in front of a gun," I heard a police officer tell me after I was mugged.
This weekend had me pondering over the mugging I faced recently while returning from office in one of Karachi's most secure areas. It was truly an unnerving experience.
It is not an uncommon occurrence to be mugged just opposite two well-guarded hotels of Karachi, in the presence of a couple of Rangers mobiles just a stone's throw away, and the police too standing nearby - after all it is Karachi meri jaan.
However, I was bewildered by the shocking response I got from the security personnel around me just seconds after the incident. A Rangers officer said:
"I'm on official duty and can't move (to follow the speeding snatchers)' while talking on the cell phone and sitting inside the mobile."
On approaching the police van, I realized the officer on duty was engrossed in a personal discussion with a eunuch and later that officer befittingly remarked:
"Even we can't do anything in front of a gun."
In hindsight, I felt dumb to have even asked the security personnel for help. In this situation, the words of Zulfiqar Mirza resonated with me, who had stated that it is not wrong to carry a weapon to protect your valuables and family against the criminals of Karachi.
Well, are you ready to be a street fighter to survive in Karachi, because honestly, I'm not!
Growing up, we are taught that for survival, when somebody challenges you, fight back, be brutal, and be tough. However, the mantra for survival in Karachi seems to be 'act dumb and hand over whatever you have' and for emergency situations, 'keep your boree (bag) with you.'
Incidentally, I was a participant at the Chartered Accountants Student Association, an organized conference themed 'Let's light a candle rather than curse the darkness', held a couple of days ago at one of the hotels opposite to the very spot I was mugged. I was captivated by the inspirational speeches by Dr Adib Rizvi and Shehzad Roy, but this incident and the lethargic attitude of the security personnel added one more reason to curse the darkness and challenged my resolve to dodge bullets and enjoy a 'normal' life in the city of lights.
Although the Ministry of Information of Sindh is spending heavily on advertising the slogan “Do not let the city of lights be suffocated by darkness”, it would make a greater difference if the security personnel are also empowered to protect the common man and are alleviated from their duties as private guards for the VIPs.