Our Karachi

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Chapter 4

Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karachi, 10:15 pm

Zahid Khan was sitting with his two special guests, there was a wine bottle, empty glasses and plates of dry fruit on the glass table at the center of the room.

“Mr. Zahid,” the one with Pathan accent spoke: “you have failed to deliver, people have stopped listening to you.”

“My dear sir,” Zahid said hypocritically: “we have been able to create clash between two political parties of Karachi, everyday ten to twelve people die in target killing, now we are just waiting for boss’s order to march at Karachi, this vast city is yours sir.”

“This entire country is ours, we own it, we give sacrifices for its integrity,” said the blackie.

“No doubt sir,” Zahid said with a smile and poured wine in empty glasses.

“We have come to know that your disciple was found dead,” said the blackie sipping from his glass.

“Yes sir,” Zahid replied and sipped the wine.

“He was a useless bastard and deserved death,” said the fair guy in his usual Pathan accent: “now listen carefully potray him as an Indian agent in your TV program,” he threw a white file on Zahid’s face “Classified Information” was written on the center of file in bold black letters, the blackie said: “use this script,”

“As you wish sir,” Zahid said sipping his wine.

“Now we would send our special shooters to kill that bitch of cafe, she wants a discussion on Baloch issue, we would show her what it means going against us.”

Defense View, Karachi, 11:00 pm......

“Samreen,” I said to her playing with her hair, we were laying on her bed and had just finished our love-making: “your life is in danger, please stop your activities for a while,” I said kissing her forehead.

“You should be my strength not weakness,” she coming on top of me said, her round breasts dangled before my mouth.

“I am not saying so but....” I said fondling her breasts.

“If you love me than stand with me on every occasion.

“I love you and am with you,” I replied looking in her eyes, she gave me a long kiss, I rolled her down and started licking her neck, our bodies were sweating.

After that incident on my first visit to FTS cafe, I became a regular visitor, and also gave few lectures on history of Sindh, Samreen was impressed from my lectures and we became lovers, she forced me to write a book on history of Sindh, and I am working on it, it’s titled as “Taboos of Sindh.”

From some time Samreen has been working for missing persons of Balochistan and started to contact Mama Shabbir, who had arranged a long march from Balochistan Islamabad, and since that day Samreen has been receiving death threats, she is told again and again to stop playing with fire,

Seventy years old Mama Shabbir came before world in 2013, when he along with his family announced to have a long march for missing persons of Balochistan, his son too is missing, marching two thousand kilometers by foot Mama Shabbir reached Islamabad, and broke record of Gandhi. He was arrested from Karachi Airport as he was going to attend an international conference on human rights at USA. When he was released, LUMS University of Lahore, arranged a seminar for him but some hidden hands pressurized the university management and the seminar was cancelled, when Samreen came to know this that a person was being forced to shut his mouth again and again, she contacted and invited him to come to her cafe and say whatever he wants to say......

I left Samreen and returned to my single bedroom flat, opened my laptop and started writing a research paper about Karachi to be presented in an international conference organized by our institute.

What an amazing city Karachi is, I wrote: a city by the sea, it faced a time when no one gave importance to it, and today Karachi has become apple of everyone’s eye, till 17th century nobody even knew that there exited a city by the name of Karachi. In 1729, some tribes migrated to this place from Kharak Bundher and called the area as Kalachi, after that a business oriented family of Seth Naomal settled here, a person named Bhoojmal of belonging to Naomal family gave suggestion to Bibi Muradan to build a fort for safety of this area, the locals cut the Tamal Forest and built a fort sand and wood, it was spread over thirty five acres and gave two gates to the fort namely Kharra Dar and Meetha Dar (the sour and sweet gates). But the real face of Karachi came out during 1840s, when British conquered Sindh in 1843. Sir Napier standing on the shore of Karachi had promised to make Karachi princess of east. Before being a complete city, this part of Sindh was reserved for tombs and shrines of saints, and people visited these shrines during special occasions. When Shree Ram along with his dear wife Sita went on journey to Hinglaj, he stayed at Karachi for one night and his disciples built a garden in his remembrance, which was known as Ram Bagh, but when Pakistan was born Ram Bagh was changed to Aram Bagh, the locals celebrated the fest of Mangho Pir from early days, while Abdullah Shah Ghazi had come here in one of the earlier failed attacks of the Arabs, before bin Qasim invaded Sindh in 712 AH, Ghazi was also celebrated as a saint by the locals.

In 1843 Charles Napier dreamed to build Karachi, he asked for feasibility reports for irrigation system, one of his major projects was to join the islands of Kimari with main city and to do so he ordered to build a bridge. After four years in 1847 Napier left Sindh, Sindh was annexed with Bombay presidency, but the work of bridge carried on it was complete in 1854, Bartle Frere became the Commissioner of Sindh in 1851 and during his period (1851-1859), he set new dimension for development of Karachi and rest of the Sindh.

In 1857, when Sepoy Mangal Panday stood against British legacy, the white skinned started considering Karachi as a replacement port, and up to 1873, the primary goals of development were almost achieved. Karachi port Trust was formed in 1886, and from 1909, it had an authorized chairman, now Karachi was to be considered amongst four most important seaports of the sub-continent and during the First World War in 1914, Karachi had become the biggest market for wheat supply, during 1912-1913, 1380000 tons of wheat was exported to different countries from Karachi. The Burma Oil Company and Standard Oil Company were established in 1909, that very same year 177 acres of land was allotted for Karachi board, during WW-I Karachi became third important seaport of India.

The British decided to lay network of railway in Karachi, but John Jacob opposed and suggested that river from Jehruck to Karachi which would be beneficial for future g4enerations and citizens of Karachi would be able to cultivate vegetables, rather relaying on other parts of Sindh, but in 1854 foundations of Railway company were laid, by this project Karachi was to be connected with Multan, Lahore and Amritsar. In 1858 the work of railway line started and up to 1861 108 miles track was laid, while in 1865 this entire project was finished and first train traveled from Karachi to Kotri. After that the British Raj started other projects like education and health reforms and in this regards Trinity Church was built 1855, where Christian missionaries from all over the world used to come and preach teachings of Christianity. In 1865 the Cantonment Station Building was built which had a loko shade library and a community hall, The building of City Court at Bunder Road was built in 1868, while Adaljee Dinshaw Dispensary in Saddar was built in 1882, Victoria Museum was built in 1887, Sind Club in 1883, Sindh Madarrest-ul-Islam in 1885, Frere Hall was built in 1865, St. Andrews Church in 1868, D G Science College in 1887, Empress Market in 1887, Mayor Weather Tower in 1892, Indian Chamber of commerce in 19223, Sindh high Court in 1929, Karachi Municipal Cooperation in 1931 and Mohta palace in 1933. From late nineteenth century to mid of twentieth century Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, English, Sindhi, Gujrati, Parsi, Memon, Kutchi and Punjabi communities used to live together in peace and harmony, Karachi gave the best example of a modern city having peace and prosperity.

In 1947, Karachi became the first capital of newly born Pakistan, while Muslims of UP, CP and Biharis entered this mega city carrying spittoons on their bare shoulders, since then the demography of this city changed overnight the Brits, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sindhi, Gujrati, Kutchi all vanished in thin air, and one could only find aliens with spittoons, good times for Karachi ended in 1947, violence entered the very roots of the city.........

I stopped writing and felt a layer of pain in my entire body, whenever I think, read or write about Karachi, my soul gets tortured, we the Sindhis lost it and lost it for nuts, even God forsook us Sindhis when this injustice was happening to us, Sindhis were killed for speaking Sindhi and wearing Sindhi caps in the capital of Sindh and Pakistan. I walked towards the window, opened it and stared in dark sky, t seemed to me that even the sky was crying over fate of Karachi.... This is not my Karachi, I thought, I had spent my entire life in this city, which once was a wonderful place to live, but today it sucks......yet I love Karachi with all her shortcomings, my father Dr. Ahsan, who was a historian and professor at KU, used to tell me wonderful stories about Karachi, but when I started my schooling, ethnic riots in Karachi had started the Muhajirs had stood up against Sindhi speaking people, they were told Karachi is their property, and overnight every wall of Karachi was painted with one slogan: “Sindh me aman ka mansooba, Muhajir sooba.....Muhajir sooba..... (There is only one way of peace in Sindh....a separate province for immigrants).

One early morning in 1991, when I was seven years old, my father left home for his university in his white FX, as he reached NIPA, he thought he was being followed by a motorbike, two persons were riding it, my father ignored that thought and stopped at signal, the bike stopped just opposite of him, he looked at the riders, both of them were his Urdu speaking students, he passed a smile as he recognized them, in a wink of an eye the back rider pulled a pistol from his pant and shot my father, he died on spot. There were several Sindhi families in my Neighborhood at Gulshan-e-Iqbal, that very evening the neighborhood was preparing for my father’s funeral, when it was attacked by goons with masks, it seemed like a rain of bullets, in fear in hid under the bed, while acid in bottles was thrown in Sindhi houses, my mother was burnt in acid and died in hospital, I was expelled from the school and we were forced to leave the area, most of the Sindhi families left Karachi, but my Uncle Asim refused to leave the city, he was a director in education department, in 1999, he was transferred to Hyderabad, from 1999 to 2007 I spent eight years of my life at Jamshoro, during early nineties Sindhi nationalism got a new face, there was variety of nationalistic literature available, Jamshoro introduced me to Sindhi nationalism. In 2008, I got full bright scholarship of USA where I did my post doctorate and returned to Karachi, and thanks to Karachi it embraced me, but now once again Karachi was becoming out of control, it reminded me of that nineties’ era, I lit a cigarette and polluted Karachi by throwing smoke in the air. Karachi has become a very complicated city it generates seventy percent of Pakistan’s revenue, according to a report published in 2010 Karachi was a city carrying more than 1.7 million souls, out which 48 percent is Urdu speaking population, 14 percent Sindhi, 9 percent Pathan, 7 percent Punjabi, 4 percent Baloch and 12 percent other population. According to a study conducted by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, there are dozens of militant religious organizations working in Karachi, most of them are involved in terrorist activities, these include, Lashkir-e-Jangvi, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Jammat-ul-Furqan, Harkat-ul-Mujahidian, Jindullah, Lashkir-e-Tayaba, Harkat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami, Sippah-e-Sahaba, Tehreek-e-Jaffaria Pakistan, Sunni Tehreek and others.

Jindullah: this terrorist organization came into knowledge of people in 2004, when eight of its terrorists were arrested from Karachi, they were involved in bank robberies and kidnapping for ransom, and the amount collected was sent to Al-Qaida. It was formed by certain Attaullah Rehman in 2003, when he was expelled from Jammat-e-Muslimeen, they are inspired by methodology of Al-Qaida, and they have offices at Shahrah-e-Faisal, Model Colony and Landhi. In 2004, this group conducted an attack on Corp Commander Ashan Saleem Hayat, in 2007 their recruited militants went to WANA and fought against the army. The main object of this group is to damage all the assets of Britain and America working in Pakistan.

Lashkir-e-Jangvi: There are six operative groups of Lashkir-e-Jangvi at Karachi, they have good relations with Al-Qaida, and they are to be found mostly at Millat Colony and Orangi, their main aim is to kill Shi’a Muslims and foreign tourists, they are involved in suicide bombing and target killing.

Harkat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami: The Burmese Muslims are settled in large numbers at Karachi, in fact Korangi is also known as Burmese Colony, there more than thirty maddaressas of Burmese Muslims in Korangi, these maddaressas provide combat training to young students and motivate them to wage a holy war against unbelievers, apostates and infidels, mostly they are involved in sectarian violence.

Harkat-ul-Mujahidian: They are divided into two fractions, it is said that they have access to chemical weapons. In 2003, this group blasted twenty three fuel station in different parts of city that belonged to Shell Company. They were also involved in a suicide attack at American Consulate near Frere Hall in which twelve innocent people lost their lives.

All most all of these groups agree upon four basic points:

To make Pakistan a pure Sunni Muslim State,

To revive the Islamic caliphate,

To protect Sunni Muslims and implement sharia law, and

To kill Shi’a Muslims (according to them Shi’a Muslims are heathens).

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