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.
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.