Dec 27,18:16: What’s your story?

Published: December 28, 2013
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Six years later, The Express Tribune asked, ‘What’s your story?’

Six years later, The Express Tribune asked, ‘What’s your story?’

I was in Badin at a PPP election camp during the campaign. My cousin received a phone call and I saw him placing his head in his hands. “I think something very bad has happened,” he said to me. I called a friend in Dawn News and he told me BB had been shot and there was a chance she wouldn’t make it. We didn’t know what to do – people were putting up flags, dancing, singing Dila Teer Bija and chanting PPP slogans. Only my cousin and I knew what had happened in this crowd of thousands. Thirty minutes later, we were sitting in the camp office when we heard screaming. The news was out. We closed the camp and told people to go home. In 45 minutes, the firing started. Our office was in walking distance of Zulfiqar Mirza’s office and cars full of men arrived there and started firing. Things went out of control within minutes – people were looting banks and shops. Some people went to a thana near my house and attacked it. I was handed a pistol and told to stand outside the house of a family, because we were scared the women and children would be targeted.

Sameer, Karachi

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I was reading a book in Quaid-i-Azam Library when an employee of the library informed all of us that BB was attacked in Pindi. We all rushed towards the TV. The news was shocking for me but I thought she couldn’t die due to her security. I can’t forget when the news anchors announced that she was no more. I stayed before the TV for 15 minutes, waiting for them to announce that she is alive and out of danger but they didn’t.

Naik Muhammad, Lahore

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My daughter is a naat khwaan and we were on our way to a milaad in Jaamgoth for a family’s wedding. We heard the news on the radio. When we got to Jaamgoth, we were unable to leave for three days. The family went ahead with the wedding the next day and it was done very simply. Everyone wore casual clothes. There was also a wedding in our building in Azizabad and all the food from the reception was sent back to the family’s house. At 3 in the morning, they were able to do the rukhsati and the girl left her home on a bike.
Sobia, Karachi

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I was at my friend’s house. My father told me it wasn’t safe to head home. So it was the first time I was able to stay the night at her house.
Sagheer, Karachi.

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I was in the newsroom and a ticker ran on TV saying she was injured. We thought it was like the October incident, which is why we assumed it was just a cracker or a false alarm. Then someone said, ‘She’s died!’ We were shocked, we didn’t believe him. Our first fear was how to get home. Our TV reporters then called me and because I’m a sports reporter, they explained to me in terms I would understand: “It’s like lunchtime at the cricket match, the rioters are tired and have headed home, they’ll come back out at Fajr.
Saleem, Karachi.

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I was with my sister at Boat Baisin and my baby, who was 4 months old at the time. I received a text message from my father saying ‘Benazir injured.’ We didn’t pay much attention to it, finished our shopping and returned to my mother’s home. Our chowkidar, who is from Larkana, opened the gate. His eyes were wet and he said, ‘Benazir ko maar diya.’ I wasn’t able to leave home for 3 days. We didn’t have enough diapers for the baby and the only shop that was open was selling diapers for newborn babies. We had to make do with those.

Zehra, Karachi

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I was stuck in a traffic jam on Korangi Road when my mother called to tell me that Benazir Bhutto had been killed. Just then, a man knocked on my window and said, “Benazir mar gayi! Gaari choro aur bhago (Benazir is dead! Leave your car and run).” I saw men with sticks approaching, some things burning further away. I parked my car and started walking. Seconds later, I heard a lot of shouting and I lost my vision for a few seconds. The Rangers had used tear gas as the men had attacked a bus full of people. Still struggling to see, I was escorted by Rangers personnel to National Medical Centre Hospital where many were seeking refuge. My family came to pick me up a couple of hours later. I was okay but my eyes weren’t – they were burning and watery. So you could say I was tearing up when BB died.
Fawad, Karachi

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I had taken a day off from work to grudgingly take a friend from Seattle around Karachi. We were at Park Towers, when we learned Benazir had been shot. I dismissed the news as yet another spark of violence. It’s Karachi, I thought. Who stops here? By the time we stepped out of the mall, Benazir was already at the hospital. It took fifteen minutes for the city to crash. She had died. The idea of her death was vague, eclipsed by the urgency of getting home, cutting through the panic that was catching on. Traffic jams in the city are a cacophony of people cursing, cars honking and restlessness. That day, it was still and silent. BB stopped Karachi.

Amna, Karachi

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Osama Yawar
    Dec 28, 2013 - 2:12PM

    I was in Lahore and was going back to my home when my mom called me, she was crying, from Peshawar and told me that BB passed away. I hung up the phone without saying any thing, rushed towards my apartment with my heart beating fast. I turned on the TV and saw the news. It was a heartbreaking and jolting news that made my cry. My father was also in SMBB`s caravan, i called him up and Alhamdulillah he was safe and told me how grief the incident was.

    Miss Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto [Jeay Bhutto, Sadda Jeay]

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  • Dec 28, 2013 - 2:15PM

    What ?? No one from Rawalpindi-Islamabad, you should have asked and considered a story from a person who were present there at the time of this incident happened.

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  • Adil Mansoor
    Dec 28, 2013 - 3:08PM

    I was on a flight from Islamabad to Karachi and while the plane was over Sindh nearing Karachi I could see bright orange lights scattered on the ground below. The plane landed some 15-20 minutes later and I got a call from my uncle who was calling to check up on me. I still remember his words ” Beta theek ho ? Benazir ka murder ho gaya hai ”
    My heart sank the instance I heard this. I was neither a dedicated PPP supporter nor an anti-PPP person but the fact that a national figure had died struck me very hard. My flight was not a PIA one but of a Navy fokker which had landed at the Mehran base near Karsaz. Our plane landed around 7 and we couldn’t leave it till 12 due to the unrest and violence outside. When we did leave with 2 armed cars and an official protocol the entire way was silent and it seemed pretty much abandoned. But the damage was very visible. Remains of Tires burning, windows broken and stones on the road. That moment I realised that the orange lights which I saw from the plane were of fire, things which the people set on fire in response to the death of BB.

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  • Sobha
    Dec 28, 2013 - 4:51PM

    “I was at my friend’s house. My father told me it wasn’t safe to head home. So it was the first time I was able to stay the night at her house”
    Sagheer, Karachi.

    Lol, this dude found some good in BBs death. Got to stay the night at a female friends house.

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  • Student
    Dec 28, 2013 - 6:35PM

    I was in my room preparing for psychological test of my CSS examination when I heard loud noise coming out of TV. I went outside to check and got the news that Benazir has been attacked. I thought she would be ok and went back to my books. 15 mins later I heard she was no more. I stayed in my TV lounge for three days and three nights. I couldn’t believe it would happen. Teary eyes and heartbroken I spent many days. Even at my test, I acted defensive for the role played by the Benazir during her two tenures and lost marks on that account.

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  • Nabil
    Dec 28, 2013 - 7:18PM

    I was in My Office at Steel Town karachi, We decided to stay late till 08:00 PM for some over time .. 5:30 we received call tht BB was shot & shifted to Hospital, Super Confused & Perplexed we turn live streaming of News websites .. everything seems so unbelievable … but what happen afterwards was more traumatic .. living in Karachi we had expected it and half of us decided to rush home immediately (before the Mob gathered & hit the main roads) while other half decided to stay over in office ..

    those who went outside within 10 min came back with broken mirror as stones were pelted on their car … thn on .. we somehow just inform parents tht we are staying in the office till its safe …

    we tried once again to go out around 03:00 Am and was luckily escorted by a Rangers Vehicle in a shape of a convoy .. the sight i have seen on the way home .. still haunts me … it is impossible tht anyone can do such damage with such efficiency & effectiveness at such short notice … for days my mind was not back to normalcy & the horror stories i heard from many people were unbelievable .. yet seemingly true .. Why is tht anything happens anywhere .. it is Karachi that Burns .. It was a great loss to lose BB but did it allowed to loot, burn, damage, kill some more fellow countrymen … :(

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