Humanity, and all that goes with it, seems to be slipping rapidly away from us, adding to the brutality that has increasingly come to shape our nation. This is, perhaps, most true in Karachi, where death comes easily and in many forms. The latest victim has been Abdul Waheed, a philanthropist and human rights worker, who was shot dead on May 14 at his medical store in Islamia Colony, Manghopir. His elder brother, with him at the time, lies in critical condition in hospital. His one-year old daughter also suffered a bullet injury.
Mr Waheed, originally from Swat, had been based in Karachi for around 15 years. He had been receiving threats since he condemned the killing of social activist Parween Rehman, with whom he had worked at the Orangi Pilot Project. Ms Rehman was killed in March this year. Mr Waheed himself ran a school, was known as an activist and regularly handed out free medicines from his store. These very factors appear to have resulted in his violent death by unknown assailants, who then fled after detonating an explosive device which created panic in the area. It is quite obvious that the killing was well planned and expertly executed by assassins who removed another good citizen from our midst.
We have lost too many such persons. Only the most evil can, in this fashion, go after those helping others in desperate need. The reality also is that Karachi has turned into a territory run by ruthless mafias. The failure to apprehend these persons, or protect those like Mr Waheed who had been threatened, only emboldens such gangs. Till the culture of crime and murder is eliminated from Karachi, more people will die. This is something we simply cannot afford. We desperately need people like Abdul Waheed and Parween Rehman. The action to eliminate them simply adds to the people’s hardships and proves that we have allowed our largest city to be converted into a jungle from where the rule of law has completely vanished, putting everyone at peril.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2013.