KARACHI: Residents of Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Gulshan-e-Iqbal are now livin in fear after the recent spree of knife attacks in the area. The attacker(s) has yet to be arrested.
The attacks have struck fear in the hearts of the area’s residents, causing them to stay at home in order to protect themselves from an attack. Playgrounds and parks in the area have seen a sharp decline in visitors and many restaurants and cafes, for which Gulistan-e-Jauhar is famous, are also seeing a decrease in the number of customers.
A waiter at Sajji House, a well-known restaurant in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, shared that they have observed that fewer families are coming out to eat. The number of male customers, however, has remained the same.
Kinza Batool, a schoolteacher and resident of Gulistan-e-Jauhar Block 13, said that the area is a popular spot for commercial activities, as there are a lot of tea shops, ice cream parlours and restaurants. “We have curtailed our activities, however, and even if women do go out, there is a sense of fear among us as we never know if an attack is imminent or not,” she said.
Another resident of the area who was enjoying a cup of tea with his friends at a roadside tea stall at Jauhar Chowrangi said, “We cannot ask our family members to sit at home but we have advised them to remain vigilant and, instead of our women going outside alone, we are accompanying them to their jobs or schools”.
After law enforcement agencies failed to nab the suspect(s) involved in the attacks of several women in the vicinity of Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Gulshan-e-Iqbal, the residents of these areas, along with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), staged a protest at Jauhar Chowrangi on Thursday.
The residents chanted slogans against the government and law enforcers, demanding immediate arrest of the individual or group behind the attacks.
A large number of women, mostly residents of the area, also joined the protest with a show of power, sending a message of courage in the face of the attacks.
Speaking on the occasion, PTI’s Karachi President Firdous Shamim Naqvi said that citizens are not terrified after the series of attacks. He was dismayed at what he called the government’s failure to nab this ‘ordinary’ attacker or group of attackers.
He said that the failure of the provincial government is quite evident, questioning what message the citizens will take from their government’s failure to catch this attacker who, despite increased security, has continued his attacks on women.
Erum Shaheen, a participant of the protest, said that we have asked our children to stay at home and refrain from going to playgrounds or parks as the fear among citizens has increased since we never know where the attacker will appear.
Another resident of the area, Ghafoor Ahmed, said that if law enforcers have failed to arrest the suspect then citizens should stay vigilant on community levels and encourage organising muhalla [neighbourhood] committees to catch the suspect. Ahmed criticised the government and said that instead of acknowledging the seriousness of the matter, ministers were making nonsensical statements about the situation being a conspiracy to derail the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.