KARACHI: Six biers were shouldered atop heavy hearts from Lyari’s Sangu Lane on Thursday, leaving nothing behind but shrouded widows, grief-maddened fathers, and confused young children amid fading photographs.
It started off like any other fun evening. A group of young men went out to Zainab Market to finish their Eid shopping. Two borrowed Rs1,000 from their older, well-off cousin to buy shoes, stopping first at Kharadar to grab a bite.
Twenty-four hours later, their families were in mourning. The night was spent in a frantic search for the men who had gone off the radar. Then Maula Baksh’s phone rang at 6:30 am. He had been desperately searching for his 27-year-old son Shahnawaz, asking the police and Rangers if they had detained him. The caller was someone from Civil hospital.
Baksh’s son was identified from among the bodies that were found in PECHS in gunny bags. “My son and I were the only earners,” sighs Baksh. Shahnawaz was employed at the Hubco power plant, and barely had any time to go shopping. This was the only free time he had had in a while to venture to the market.
Shahnawaz’s three children — one-and-a-half-year-old triplets — crowd around their mother and grandmother.
“They have holes in their hearts,” their grandfather says, as he receives more mourners.
Neighbours sang Shahnawaz’s praises. “He was always there to help someone out - if someone was sick, he’d take them to the hospital, he’d run errands… he just went shopping to buy something for his son,” said one woman.
His 18-year-old sister Amna spoke eloquently about her brother, a stark contrast to her deathly silent sister-in-law and wailing mother, who has not slept since her son went missing.
“We do not want Mohajirs to be killed in retaliation for our brother’s death and for their mothers and fathers to feel the pain that we are feeling now,” Amna quietly said. “We just want an end to this bloodshed and for peace in the city. That is all.”
Neighbours amassed around the grieving 25-year-old Naureen Shahnawaz and her three children. “When her son grows up and learns how his father was killed, won’t he want to take up arms?” questioned an angry woman.
The anger - among the women - is not at political parties, but at the government, for failing to take a stand for Lyari’s young men and working to improve security in Karachi.
The deaths of the young men have shocked even old hands at the defunct Peoples Amn Committee who are used to the blood and guns and gore. The mourners question everything, unwilling to understand or accept the senseless killing of six of their own boys.
Bakht Bibi, who lost her 26-year-old son Nadir, says, “It wasn’t like this during [Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto’s time or in Benazir’s time.”
Nadir would always tell her when he left the house. “He would tell me to pray for him.”
On that day, he didn’t.
His six-year-old daughter, Bisma, points to her father’s picture. “Abba hain! Nadir!” When asked where he is, she innocently replies that he has gone for Hajj.
Nadir’s cousin, Irfan, a Lyari resident, was also among the group that had ventured out to Zainab Market. “We had just begun to mourn Irfan’s death when word came that Nadir’s body had been found as well,” says Mohammad Sharif, their cousin who lent them the money to go shopping.
Irfan was planning to move to the Gulf to find work, a promised land of sorts for Lyari’s young Baloch men, who have seen generations move to the UAE and Oman to find work.
All that is left of his dream is his brand-new passport.
Sharif says that as Irfan’s body came in, another man a lane away had just found his son’s body in an Edhi mortuary. He touches his own passport in his pocket. “I cannot wait to leave Karachi and go back to my job in Dubai. This has shocked me beyond belief.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.
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@Salman Orangiwala: i have no idea what this Extorion is. but it does not take a political expert to see the fatal flaw in your thinking. will this killing of the 6 men lead to any resolution of problems or will it lead to further killing? i think the answer is pretty obvious.
There is more to this than meets the eye. The killers remain unidentified. No arrests are made. How can the violence stop when those responsible for it are never caught?
@shenzay: So if god forbid had this been someone from ur family.... Wud u have said the same thing?? Maybe the people doing all this r not pkistanis maybe the aren't Muslims ?? Yes their r ppl fighting over their confused identities but does tht mean tht innocent people deserve to die??? Maybe they weren't event involved in the identity crisis.....have u realized tht they could have actually been patriotic pakistanis and not Sindhis and baluchis? And I'm sorry but nobody deserves to die such a Horrible death!
Peaceeee... Peace for all... Peace for country! Pakistan :( this was so painful to read & this is all happening in the Holy month of Ramadan :( May Almighty Allah show us the right path... Ameeeen!!
Yea people fight on bases of ethnicity, world has reached to multiculturalism... Isrealis, Arabs, Americans and Blacks and more races are living in the same town/cities of worlds ... like SF,NY,LA.
And we are still fighting on bases of races within ... WHAT is wrong with this NATION .... Lanat hou in sab parties aur inko support karnay walon pay @[email protected]
@Hassan: It's a story about Karachiites, Pakistanis, fellow human beings, who lost their lives in a terrible, scary and senseless way. Please read the story as the story of fellow compatriots who died, not focus on the fact that these are victims from a particular ethnic group. This is ONE story, I'm sure there are stories and other coverage of other victims as well. This is not a tit for tat media coverage game, this is about the very real loss of Karachiites. Let's wish and pray for peace, safety and security for all in Karachi, in Pakistan. That is what people want.
Urdu speakers are being pulled from buses, kidnapped, tortured, killed, heads cut off on basis of ethnicity. It would be wrong to say these are random killings when notes are discovered from bodies saying 'these many bodies enough, or should be send more?'
@Ahmed: He already mentioned Altaf Hussain......next time read before commenting
The real murderers are the political heads behind the parties in Karachi. How cruel they are -- just to get more control, just to pave ways for their illegal earnings from Land, Bhatta, Drugs and Dacoit Gangs, they are killing so many innocent people who have nothing to do.
I'm shocked at these are the people who have been selected to governs us, to have the legislation, Oh My God!
Almighty Save us from these ???????????///
I don't follow any political party or don't know who is initiating what. But I cant even imagine the mind set of the people who are ruthlessly killing and taking lives which Allah mia bestowed them with. What right do they have? How can they not pause to think about their afterlife. None of this is important. Its time the government flooded each road with Security Camera's, and the streams to get live access. What does not make sense to me is that why is the Government not doing anything to control it. What is the reason?
Why why why? why don't they learn that one day Allah will give them hell for killing people like this. Why aren;t they scared of God? Are they even muslims?
All fascist ethnic gangs of Karachi should be eliminated through force
Too painful! :'(
The article, especially the picture up there dried out blood (if any) in my veins... :( Inna'Rabbi alaa kulli shae'en Hafeez.... Ya Hafeezu Ya Hafeezu Ya Hafeezu : @rsk: I 100% agree with your suggestions. And hope all readers will try their level best to convey this message to mass media. Atleast we can use Social media (facebook, twitter etc.) to propagate this. Many of us will definitely have media personnel in our friends list. In this way every one of us will be acting as influence group. Please join hands, if we can do even this bit contribution, we won't be as much ashamed as we are today.
Please act today, before any one of us, or our own family friends get gunny bags..... GOD FORBID...
I could not read the line beyond 3 infants crowd around their mother. I cant visualise their future. I have no courage to read beyond. I cant imagine actual scene there.
This killing will take people of Karachi nowhere. Someone or an NGO should put up a large bill board with names of persons lost and names of people left behind. TV channels should stop broadcasting dead scenes. instead should telecast the story of life of people left behind. At least this way the stone hearted, trigger happy people may change their heart.
Newspapers and all media should stop publising such killing news. The more you publisize the more anger is developed.
@Hassan: Enlighten me if you can tell from the colour of blood if its of Muhajir, Pathan, Sindhi, Musalman, Hindu or whoever...
@ali: Include the name of Mr. Nawaz Sharif in the list as well!
With all the love i have for my country along with hopes, prayers etc reality is it is becoming a slaughterhouse day in and day out and the only escape is to pack bags and run away.
Call me a coward, but i bet anyone out there will do the same. I would rather work 20 hours abroad have my family out of here and contribute to the economy of this country in some way.
We are free, but freedom to live freely is sadly not an option here.
Editor Startup Meme
The six killed were the part of the Extorion mafia !!!!
30 + innocent Muhajir travellers on road picked up and killed by the colleagues of these extortinists , in retaliation .
Wonder when will the media show the truth .
@ali: Why not Farooq sattar and Altaf Husain. MQM is also the culprit. You conveniently forgot to mention them too.
This is really painful to see this kind of disaster in Pakistan. May god shower peace and harmony in Pakistan. Please stop bloodshed and treat everyone like humans.
No words to express my grievance..... Curse on those killers
OMG !! God Save Pakistan !!
All this makes my heart weep...Karachi the city of lights, the life-line of our economy and a hot bed of festival and celebration...look at it now...a miserably wretched city no different than the violence-stricken Mogadishu...
When will Shahi Syed, Zulfiqar Mirza, Altaf Hussain, Asfandyar Wali, and mainly Asif Zardari be hanged. When that day comes Karachi can reemerge as the city of lights. sadly the people of Karachi have stood behind these gangsters.
This is not the blood of Bari Eid sacrificial animals, but of humans, muslims who were murdered by demons in the form of humans (or may be worse than demons). I am ashamed to be called a muslim of a muslim country. this seems like a stonage time.
I am totally disappointed by some of the remarks of people who are giving an impression that this is some Muhajir and Baloch fight. Everyone knows that all these killings started with the fight among two liyari gangs. how the hell Muhajirs get involved in it? Also i guess people themselves are looking for trouble as they dont know that by concluding these killings as Muhajir Baloch Fight or Muhajir Pathan fight they are inviting a bigger bloodshed. This has NOTHING TO DO WITH MUHAJIR BALOOCH FIGHT
Sometimes i actually feel that Pakistan should not be created as it seems that all the bad things from india are gathered at one place to show there inhumanness :(
@ET STOP CENSORING MY COMMENTS
@Hassan: no bloch no urdu/pashto speakers they all were Pakistanis ... n I hope this stops once for all. Allah please show us the right path. Ameen.
@Hassan, why don't you do one instead of only criticizing some who are doing some work atleast
@Hassan: Whats the point of highlighting Baloch and Urdu speaking. Both were citizen of the country thats all we should know. Media doesn't leave any opportunity to fuel the fire
Once again Tribune does an article at once on the death of 6 Balochs but simply ignores the 30 dead and 25 missing Urdu speaking in Lyari
So much for fair journalism
There ''s just no sense to it,,,no sense at all to all this violence and hatred...what kind of people kill their countrymen?the victims were all innocent people who were not armed or involved in any violent activity..killing some random people who were shopping for eid ??make 's me believe that the killers don't have heart just like a motive to kill...it just doesnt make any sense!