Our Karachi

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Chapter 11

Defense View, 4:30 pm

As the time was getting close, Farzan was getting excited, we had already taken two cups of tea during our work, now we were setting the chairs for the speakers.

“Ah!” she exclaimed: “so the day has arrived when other people are ready to listen us.”

Samreen gave her a smile and said: “you are one of us, we are always ready to listen you,” Farzan gave her a smile and said: “it is very hard to lose your close ones, few incidents change entire course of your life.” I was moved by her words, I knew what it meant to lose close ones, especially when someone is punished for the crimes he has not committed and said in a sad tone:

“True….” Both young ladies stared at me.

“My father,” I said: “was killed at NIPA Bridge during the ethnic riots that took place in Karachi, and since then things have never been same for me, I was tortured for raise a voice against injustice at my university, in this country you are punished to speak truth.” Both ladies sympathized with me, and then Samreen said jokingly:

“After this program FTS would arrange a program on your life,” we started to smile and carried on our work. By five-thirty, we had completed all our preparations, suddenly the doorbell rang and we were petrified, I went to the door and opened it. Mama Shabbir and the journalist were standing at the door, shaking hands with them I welcomed them in.

“So all set for the big day,” the journalist said with a smile.

“Yes,” Samreen replied.

“Samreen,” the journalist said: “you need to be careful, by arranging this program you have made many enemies.”

“Don’t worry sir,” Samreen replied with a smile: “the world is an amazing place, here you make friends and foe at the same time.” There came a silent moment and then she said:

“Who cares about death if one has friends like you?”

When the dot hit six o’clock, people started to come to FTS and within fifteen minutes the hall was over crowded, I closed the door as there was no more space in the hall and sat in one corner, Samreen moderated the program, she started by saying:

“This evening is a unique evening, as we have some amazing guests to share their stories with us, let me introduce our speakers this evening,” and then pointing to the old man she said: “on my right is Mama Shabbir, a Baloch human rights activist, he had the famous long march for missing persons of Balochistan, next to him is Miss: Farzan, she is also Baloch activist and was with Mama Shabbir in the long march, next to her is a well-known journalist Asifullah, we welcome you all.” The three guests nodded their heads, as the audience started to clap.

“Let me remind our audience,” Samreen said: “please don’t interrupt our speakers, once they have finished their presentations, you would be free to ask questions.” After another little pause she said:

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I invite Mama Shabbir to open this session,” The audience started clapping.

“Thank you,” said Mama Shabbir: “I am glad to be with you and thank Miss: Samreen to give us an opportunity to talk about a serious problem with the Baloch people, these are ways to cripple us mentally and physically so that we no longer are staunch on our cause. But they forget that the Baloch are a proud nation. We have fought and survived various invaders and our heritage and traditions have only further strengthened instead resolve.

After him Farzan spoke and said:

“We kept asking you for help. I asked the High Court of Balochistan and the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the police and the activist groups. But no one has heard us. If our brothers, sons and fathers are guilty of a crime, produce them in court and charge them officially. Punish them after charging them. But follow the law and the constitution. There is a limit to our tolerance. Imagine how it must have felt when in the middle of the Long March, after reaching Dera Ghazi Khan, we saw the news of the discovery of a mass grave in Khuzdar.”

Finally the journalist was given the chance to speak, and as always the journalists do he joined many things with his peculiar wit. Everyone seemed to enjoy, what he was saying and as he finished, there was a thunder of applause, then the audience asked questions and got answers.

At nine pm, Samreen called for an end to the program, most of audience left after getting autographs from the three speakers, finally everyone left the café, only I and Samreen were left behind.

“Let’s have a dinner and then move to my flat,” Samreen said happily. We closed the café and came out. It was a starry night, but still the sky upon Karachi was dark, I felt a cool breeze coming from the sea, we were going towards her car parked just outside the building, she opened it and sat in the driving seat, while I was in the passenger’s seat, she ignited the engine. The traffic on the overhead bridge was moving smoothly, we also took that route and started to speak about the success of the program, discussing its merits and demerits, and suddenly I looked into the rearview mirror and noticed a motorbike following us.

“We are being followed,” I told her.

“Don’t be crazy,” she said carelessly.

“Look in the rearview mirror,” I cried, she looked into the mirror and noticed two persons in black dress, their faces covered following us, her face went pale and pressed the accelerator, even the bike riders increased their speed, Samreen pushed the brakes as the bike came in front of us, one of them came down and pulled a gun from his bag, and in no time open around of fires on us, I opened the door in a wink of an eye an jumped out of the car, as I fell on the road my elbow started to hurt, Samreen was hit by five bullets, as the firing stopped, the shooter ran towards the bike and the disappeared in the thin air.

I was feeling the pain in my entire body, but I stood up and ran towards the car, Samreen was lying in a pool of blood, I felt her coldness, she died on spot. People started to gather around the car, suddenly sirens of police vans and ambulance it my ears, she was shifted to the ambulance, I wanted to shout and scream but my tongue was unable to utter a word. Suddenly my head started to spin and I fell down on the road.

The End

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