Only in Karachi: The ‘fairy god muggers’

Published: November 1, 2013

If you’re in Karachi, your heart beats at a different pace than it would in Lahore or in Islamabad. The way a woman carries her purse is different — the grip is tense and her fear is evident. For men, the watch on the wrist has to be worthy of no remorse if stolen. We are encircled by incidents of snatched valuables and while we sympathise with the victims, we also silently wait for our turn.

Except for a few, the story of being mugged started out as frightening but ended up as purely bizarre. Among the muggers who prowl the city looking for easy targets, there also exist a few ‘fairy god muggers’ who do not appear to have wings but possess (somewhat of) a heart.

Waiting at a traffic light opposite a busy supermarket in Bahadurabad, brothers Ibrahim and Hasan Ahmed* were sitting in their car with the doors locked and the windows all rolled up. Soon enough they got a gun glued to the right-side window. Realising the precarious situation they were in, Ibrahim handed over his phone. Hasan handed a cover-up phone, one that he kept for this kind of an emergency. The man with the gun got agitated and asked for the ‘real’ one. With flashing speed, Ibrahim handed over the spare phone, his watch and wallet. The two muggers got into conversation, as one looked down at the valuables in his palms. After a quick debate, one of them knocked at the window and returned all the belongings. So unrobber-like, to say the least.

In another instance, Rashid Qureshi*, a tailor who worked at Tariq Road was asked to hand over his cell phone. He did not have any. “When I told the muggers I didn’t have a phone to hand over due to a recent mugging, they handed me a phone instead.” It was unbelievable. He was given the option to select for himself a phone from a bag that held nearly 50 snatched cell phones.

Another Karachiite, Karim*, had his wallet snatched at gunpoint. One of the robbers saw that the fuel meter of his car showed ‘empty’ so they handed him 400 rupees to get some petrol filled.

I do not mean to glorify the criminals; I just want to hold the mirror to the dismal state of affairs in the mega city. After all, this is a piece about being grateful for criminals not committing a crime.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Asif
    Nov 1, 2013 - 10:27AM

    It will be great if only the robbers give back the SIM and identity cards.


  • Imran
    Nov 1, 2013 - 10:33AM

    Without a prosperous Karachi we can never have prosperous Pakistan. InsAllah under the guidance of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif we will swipe this city clean of all criminal elements. It will take time but prosperity and peace will indeed return to this great city of ours. The targeted operation is underway and will hopefully succeed, but in case doesn’t the Federal Government will be there to use all of its might to clean up Karachi and I am confident it will triumph.

    Always hope for the best and remember the Prophet’s (PBUH) saying “truth is victorious and falsehood has perished because falsehood by its nature is bound to perish.”


  • Rabia Afaq
    Nov 1, 2013 - 10:35AM

    I have a similiar incident to report. My husband and I were at a busy signal near PECHS. A robber knocked on our door and showed us a gun asking us to hand over our things. My husband’s window was jammed so he reluctantly opened the car door. Perhaps hoping not to draw too much attention (if we handed over our stuff via the door) or because he changed his mind, the robber signalled to us to go ahead. We could not believe that for a moment. When we finally understood he was really letting us go, we said thanks and the robber responded by nodding his head and accepting our greeting. It was relief that things did not spiral out of control and I am still grateful to that robber.


  • cup
    Nov 1, 2013 - 10:53AM



  • JS
    Nov 1, 2013 - 10:53AM

    That awkward moment when you are praying that your muggers might actually give you something better than they are about to take.


  • Zain Jafar
    Nov 1, 2013 - 11:35AM

    Glad to know that they’ve developed somewhat of a heart after snatching peoples hard earned money. Could you also please let us know where the other incidents took place just so we know where the fairy zones are.


  • Amer
    Nov 1, 2013 - 11:53AM

    Oh come on! Is this a joke? Please don’t glorify criminal gangs….


  • TS E
    Nov 1, 2013 - 11:55AM

    robbers returned my ID card after stealing my wallet


  • Dajjal
    Nov 1, 2013 - 12:17PM

    Well, its hardly surprising, considering how well the criminals in Pakistan are doing they can afford to be generous…


  • Ayesha Ahmad
    Nov 1, 2013 - 1:20PM

    The mere thought of being mugged sends a chill down my spine :'(


  • I am a Khan
    Nov 1, 2013 - 5:18PM

    The rulers, the law enforcers and the judicial system are responsible for this lawlessness. Each and every criminal who robs should have his hand cut off, the Police SHO in whose area the robbery happened should have his hand cut off, the Court Judge in whose Jurisdiction this crime happened should have his hand cut off and the Political MP in whose constituency this crime occurred should have his hand cut off. If all this was really done, crime will come to ZERO. Mark my words.

    Btw the author should not target only Karachi…all cities and even smaller towns in Pakistan have extremely high crime levels. Sad.


  • Saddam
    Nov 1, 2013 - 5:31PM

    If any of the mugger or potential mugger has read this piece then please learn something from these ‘fairy god muggers’ LOL!


  • Saddam
    Nov 1, 2013 - 5:36PM

    Wondering if there is any mugger who actually washed you car and gave you massage after giving you stress? Come on ET! by sharing such things you are creating sympathies for the muggers. After reading this, don’t expect that you’ll also find a nice and ethical mugger .These ‘fairy god muggers’ would mug and can shoot you as well.


  • Khizer
    Nov 1, 2013 - 5:38PM

    Karachi I guess got what it voted for


  • Anon
    Nov 1, 2013 - 7:59PM

    What on earth is the point of this article? That not all criminals are hardened hooligans? That some criminals in Karachi are going through an existential crisis where they’re re-evaluating their lives and are experimenting with Samaritanism? Are we now supposed to feel a little pacified that there are good-natured robbers out there who aren’t “all bad”? Is our faith in humanity on its way to restoration?

    Your opinion that not all muggers are terrible is nothing but a manifestation of Stockholm syndrome so let me make it plain for you and for everyone else. THEY ARE THE BAD GUYS. They are the people who leverage the abysmal law and order situation of Karachi to their advantage. Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn if these people treat their victims with thoughtfulness or do anything which may seem good-natured. They are criminals, often killers, and a few outlying acts demonstrating relatively soft behaviour don’t mean diddly-squat to the rest of us who live in constant fear of mugging (and even death) at the hands of these delinquents. Recommend

  • point missed
    Nov 1, 2013 - 10:14PM

    at least put ur name there when giving the whole world a lecture. It says this is to show how bad things are in the city.
    use ur brainRecommend

  • Anon
    Nov 1, 2013 - 11:43PM


    An anonymous title is an extrapolation of my freedom. I have every right in the world to withhold my identity, especially in this dank, dangerous world.

    Secondly, I absolutely love the hypocrisy; I don’t see your real name either. Unless of course your family name is Missed and your parents named you Point as a kind of cruel joke, in which case I apologize profusely.

    Thirdly, you logged on not to express your views on the article but to tell me that my comment has lost credibility because I didn’t use my real name.

    Point missed. Love the irony. Really inspired. Recommend

  • Nov 2, 2013 - 4:20PM

    They sound more like spies than robbers. This is an easy way to check identity of any person and maybe see if he possesses some special ID cards and all.


  • Nov 2, 2013 - 8:54PM

    This us just representing something which happens once in a blue moon. Well something things go really bad and persons get shot for not having a cell phone. Really pretty. Happened with me.
    This article is nothing but an orthodox dear.


  • Saad Ullah Khan
    Nov 4, 2013 - 2:19PM

    I lost my NIC in one such incident only to get it back via Pakistan Post a few days later. All is not lost I guess..


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