As Eid arrives for the residents of Lyari, the smell of the explosives is still fresh in their minds. They have not yet washed off the bloodstains of their loved ones.
The recent bombing in Lyari that claimed at least 11 lives, including seven children outside the Bazinjo Chowk football ground on early Wednesday, is a wound still raw. The Baloch community in Lyari has appealed to its community to not celebrate Eid with zeal to express solidarity with the people who lost their loved ones.
“On Eid day, we have to visit our loved ones’ graves for Fateha and visit their bereaved families,” said outlawed Peoples Amn Committee leader Zafar Baloch, while talking to The Express Tribune.
Majority of the neutral residents of Lyari remain scared as they fear more violence during Eid and the days to follow. Most of the residents haven’t even bought new clothes.
A common grief
The two arch-rivals in the strife struck Lyari will share a commonality on Eid day by tying ‘black ribbons’ around their arms to express solidarity with the mourners who lost their loved ones in the recent spate of violence and in tit-for-tat killings since the elections in May.
Lyari’s cultural charm has been the multi-ethnicity, and it was once known for its sports, politics and the art.
The Kutchi factor
In the aftermath of the May 11 general elections, Lyari faced another ugly surge of violence as the Baloch community and the Kutchi community collided with each other. The friction claimed dozens of lives and displacement of thousands of people belonging to the Kutchi community to Badin and other parts of the province.
“Before this, 60 per cent of the population of the Kutchi community was in Lyari; now there are only 20 per cent left,” said Kutchi Rabta Committee leader Hussain Kutchi.
Members of the Kutchi community plan to visit the displaced families in parts of Sindh. “I will ask them to come back,” said Hussain Kutchi.
Those were the days
“Lyari’s young generation has not seen what Lyari was in the peaceful past when the whole city liked to celebrate Eid in Lyari,” said Abdul Hai Baloch, a resident of Lyari’s Chakiwara locality.
“Those were days when the last ‘ashra’ (ten days) of Ramazan would be the peak for Lyari’s youth for Eid preparation,” he reminisced.
According to him, it is only on Eid days that the people of Lyari hug each other. “We are divided. Hatred has ruined us,” he explained.
“On Eid, I request group leaders to curb differences,” said Saad Mohammad Yaqoob Lasi, a resident of Moosa Lane, adding he will pray and request all to offer special prayers on Eid for peace in Lyari.
Diehard optimists continue to hope for a better tomorrow. Hassan Kutchi, a resident of Jumma Baloch Road, said that Eid is the ideal time to show strength and unity. “I will celebrate it. Let’s give a message of happiness,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2013.
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