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Posts tagged with: Karachi

Legacy of Shame

He was bundled in a stark white cloth, his head gaping through the wrapper as he was being ruthlessly carried out of the ward. He was born on the first day if this year, 2011 and died four days later – couldn’t battle long enough for sufficient oxygen. Son of Abdul Sattar died of asphyxia and breathed his last at the NICH hospital – Karachi, Pakistan.

The sight was horrific and disconcerting. However, for the medical staff it was a typical happening, which they encounter at least 4-5 times a day. As we walked through the ward the parents looked at us with helplessness in their eyes, hoping that we are some senior medical practioners. Or magical practioner for that matter – who would wand away their child’s illness and revive them back to health.

Their temporary hope was crushed back to the debilitated faculties of the ward. They were thrown back to the mercy of ill equipped and unhygienic premises – Back to the mercy of irresponsible nurses and undependable doctors. Pakistan’s public healthcare sector is under resourced and over whelmed. Physicians and nurses display extreme irresponsibility primarily due to lack of financial incentives and resources in terms of medical equipment etc.
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Strangers in Our own Land

A few days back at around 8:45 pm, I was heading home via the now well known bottleneck on Khayaban-e-Shaheen, outside Zulfikar Mirza’s residence.

I noticed that there was a group of about 50 to 60 women standing outside the home minister’s house, all in head scarves. Slowing down i noticed that they were yelling at the home minister who was standing outside his gate. Obviously I was intrigued and came around to the other side of the road to try and hear what they were saying. I stopped my car near a sidelane opposite the home ministers gate as my curiosity was aroused. After all its not every day that you see a minister, surrounded by the “awam” holding a kutcheri on the road. I wanted to take a quick snap with my cellphone.
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The Inflicted President

My friends call me fortunate when I tell them that I live in Karachi’s most secure location, opposite Bilawal House, Clifton. They think I live in peace, serenity and tranquility but little do they know about the hardships I have to face every day, especially when the ‘Inflicted’ President is in town. My life cannot get more topsy-turvy when he plans to bless us with his visit. Where people dread unforeseen disasters, I ask the Almighty to keep him in Islamabad till eternity.

The moment Mr. Zardari sitting in the president house, Islamabad decides that he wants to visit Karachi, his team of ‘mind readers’ start making preparations for his visit. All roads leading to the Bilawal house are cordoned off, shops closed, barriers erected overnight and all human and animal activity is strictly prohibited within a radius of 2km leading to the most protected property in Karachi after the US consulate of course.

Living in the apartments opposite Bilawal House, I have to face severe hardships everyday commuting to and fro from my heavenly abode. Before the bomb blast at CID headquarters in Karachi, all road cuts leading to the apartments and commercial area opposite the Bilawal House were blocked with concrete barricades forcing residents to go all the way to the end of the main road in order to enter the lanes leading to their homes.
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Slogans for Solidarity Day Rallies across Pakistan

In an attempt to gear up supporters of the Solidarity Day rallies across 108 cities of Pakistan – here are some slogans created by activists of the Aman Ittehad Naeem Sarwar Khan.

Do spread them around, and we welcome more creative suggestions from the community at large
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Solidarity Day for Peace in Pakistan – 1st Jan 2011 [100 cities across Pakistan]

Rallies for peace will be held on 1 Jan 2011 in over 100 locations across Pakistan in solidarity with those suffering violence and repression.

We demand accountability of all, particularly those that use religion or any ideology to create hatred amongst the people of the region. We condemn the use of political, military or economic power to repress and exploit people. In doing so demand an end to the protection of all those state and non-state actors that take the law in their own hands and propagate or encourage militancy and extremism by their words or actions.

We, the citizens are ready to lead the nation to progress, to justice, equity and tolerance. The people’s interest instead of the much flouted National interest must be the measure for all actions and policies of the state.

Solidarity Day is an expression of the power of ordinary citizens. It is a call to enable the people of this region to exercise their choices and free will. It is a clear message that we SHALL NOT sit back and watch.


More updates to follow leading up to the 1st of Jan event across Pakistan – also RSVP on the Facebook Event Page

104 108 cities across Pakistan will be hosting the Solidarity Day rallies

Pictures from the Cargo Plane Crash Site in Karachi, the Day After

Pictures from the crash site of the Russian Cargo Plane in Karachi on 28th November 2010 at 1:00am within the confines of the Pakistan Naval Base Bahadur. The plane luckily / unluckily crashed in a sparely dense area of Karachi, had it been a few hundred yards either way would have meant far more severe devastation and loss of life on the ground, prayers go out to each and every person who lost their lives in this disaster.

Pictures have been shared by Capt Shahid Hasan who lives close to the site of the crash within the confines of the Naval base.

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Child Beggars: The Future of Pakistan?

Karachi is a city of fun, entertainment and success. Many government officials have done a remarkable job in making the city a better place by investing in its infrastructure. However, what is the future of this city or if talking on the macro perspective, what is the future of this nation? Well, the future is the girl who knocks on your window convincing you to buy flowers that can buy money for a meal. The future is the little boy who walks around frantically looking for car windows that he can clean in order to save himself from getting abused by the his “bosses” running the beggary business. Instead of having these children focus on their future by providing them with education, love, motivation and support to excel in their lives, they’re given flowers and wipers to make a living at the age of 9 or 13. Yes, the future of Pakistan is on the streets.

The number of children on the streets has nearly tripled since last year. Many of these children don’t focus on how to excel in their education and make a successful career. They’re more focused on earning enough money to fill their stomachs. Instead of being a doctor, lawyer, teacher or businessman, the children have made their professional careers in begging.
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Karachi: Press Conference for the Air Blue Crash Affectees Group [Sat 13 Nov]

Families, friends and loved ones of the Air Blue Crash Victims have formed the ‘AirBlue Crash Affectees Group’ with the following objectives:

  1. Provide a platform for all affected to gather, raise their concerns and share their pain
  2. Urge the Government, Air Blue, Air Bus and Civil Aviation to clearly identify the causes of the crash
  3. Highlight the atrocious experience witnessed by the affected in the aftermath of the crisis
  4. Formation of an independent judicial commission which will study the aftermath of the disaster and design standard operating procedures for dealing with any such disaster in the future
  5. Provide compensation for the affected families based on international standard
  6. To formation a benevolent fund to providing short term and long term assistance to deserving victim families

A Press Conference is being held at Karachi Press Club on Saturday 13 November 2010 do join in to support the group’s first press conference and peaceful protest to raise awareness about lack of resolve and intent from Air Blue and the Government

Venue: Karachi Press Club
Date: Saturday, 13 November 2010
Time: 2:30-4:30pm
Facebook Group: Air Blue Crash Affectees Group

Bring placards and black armband to register your protest.

URGENT- Forcible eviction of Flood Affected people in Karachi

A very urgent appeal was emailed by Zulfiqar Shah of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research [PILER] to a number of mailing lists appealing for help in preventing the forcible eviction of over 10,000 flood affected IDP’s from their camp in Karachi… In my opinion there might seem to be an ulterior political motive to shove them out of Karachi – for the sake of Humanity this must stop – CAN YOU HELP – the message reads as follows,

This is an urgent appeal for your immediate intervention to save flood affected families from forcible eviction.

  1. About 10,000 flood affected people got settled at Labour Square camp in Gulshan- e- Maymar Karachi. This is a government recognized camp.
  2. Last week local revue official (Mukhtiarkar) made an announcement that people should evacuate camp within one week otherwise they will be forcibly evacuated by 5th October;
  3. This resulted in protest by affected people and smaller level scuffle between revenue officials, affected people etc;
  4. On last Sunday, Al- Khair Trust stopped supply of food and to our information many families are sleeping hungry. We can only bring 20 children to PILER centre for lunch today as they had not eaten for last two days. They aged 4 to 12 years;
  5. Food supply of the camp was initiated by Sylani Welfare Trust, run by liberal and moderate people but surprisingly this was replaced with Al Khair Trust, run by hard core religious people;
  6. Flood affected families with women, children were in fear, many of them without food for last two days but now worst has came in the shape of threat of eviction;
  7. By the time I write this mail ( 13: 50 PM / Tuesday 5th October), five to six police vehicles along with lady police have reached to camp and many of camp residents rushed to us crying that they are being forcibly evacuated. “My village Mirpur Buriro in District Jacobabad is still under water, please go and see; where we can go? Its cruelty to evict us” Says Muzafar, a young resident of camp.

It’s surprising that the government wants to evict these people. It’s equally surprising that this camp is not in a school that government want vacated to reopen school. This camp is in an empty building which was empty for last 3 years and there is no problem if it run additional 3 months.

Government had not given any indication of such an eviction initially. It has only came up with the idea a few days ago. It’s likely that these people will be forcibly evicted and this may result in another catastrophe for them.

Please intervene and do whatever you can do to stop this eviction.

Zulfiqar Shah, PILER
021 3 6351145-7

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy wins an Emmy for Pakistan

In a very positive development, the renowned New York Times documentary film maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy recieved an International Emmy Award in the Current Affairs category last night at the Frederick P. Rose Hall of Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York for her documentary “Pakistan – Children of the Taliban”. Where she had revealed how the Pakistani Taliban are recruiting increasingly younger fighters from small madrassas in deprived neighborhoods to carry out deadly attacks both inside and outside Pakistan.

The controversial video brought to the forefront some very touching issues, it at times exposed some sensitive people to an extent, that the initial viewing held a few years back in Karachi was limited to a very select audience, following the publication on PBS FrontLine there are restrictions on the video preventing it to be streamed into Pakistan due to the sheer threat it can pose to the people Sharmeen had interviewed during her documentary

In a very touching moment, the day before, her father died of cancer in the UK where he was undergoing chemotherapy. Her message following the news of the death of her father on facebook, posted practically 10 hours before the Emmy award ceremony, where she was in attendance, read “Only the good die young- you always said aba…love you” and later following the victory she dedicated her emmy to her father by saying “Tonight’s Emmy win is dedicated to you aba…

We can only be supportive to her as a nation, mindful of the mixed emotions which she must be going through at this very emotional moment. Sharmeen, Pakistan is damn heck proud of you, and I am sure it would be a moment of pride for your father as he smiles down at you from the heavens above. May this also inspire us all to go forth despite all the odd with the achievements you achieve one after another. Thank you for bringing one proud moment for Pakistan

Eid Day at Flood Relief Camp at Northern By-pass Karachi

Many years ago, maybe even in my childhood, when I spent much of my time crossing through the hole in the wall of Jinnah hospital where we lived, into the Bijatta line juggis to Farzand ki dukan, I stopped thinking of people as rich and poor, but as nice people or not, gentle or rough, honest or crooks, interesting or boring. I have come across some of the most generous and refined people in the poorest of localities, and boorish, crude and miserly attitudes in homes that have more than plenty. So I was not a bit surprised when I found such gentleness, patience, strength of character, humour, hospitality amongst the traumatised residents of the Northern Bypass Flood Relief Camp on Eid day.

The floods have not only traumatized those who were in its path, but in another equally intense way all those who have watched the horror unfold on their television screens. Some courageous people went straight into action mode, supplementing the efforts of the Army rescuing people, setting up camps, and getting relief goods and medical help to them. The rest of us felt inadequate in the face of the enormity of the tragedy. But as in all natural or man-made disasters, there is eventually room for all levels of support and assistance.
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MQM Leader Imran Farooq Assassinated in London

Reports are coming in that Dr. Imran Farooq an MQM leader based in London may have been knifed to death while coming out of his house in London. My personal differences with the MQM aside this is totally not acceptable, I offer my condolences to the MQM supporters and their families on this loss.

He was assassinated while he was returning back home from a casual walk. In my opinion it’s highly unlikely that this was a random robbery incident and hope that the UK police comes to the bottom of this as soon as possible

It is being rumored that a few days back he may have been suspended from the party because of some heated differences. Grapevine reports from London have also pointed towards a finger pointing towards the Pathan community, which could possibly be leveraged to turn Karachi into a battle ground between MQM and the ANP.

As of writing of this report the MQM Leadership is in a meeting at the 90 headquarter in Karachi, we await their annoucements and hope that they issue a very careful and reserved statement, most likely MQM will announce a three day mourning in his honor and the next three days will be the most tense days in Karachi’s history, if the last months mourning is any way to go by, I suspect some serious bloodshed in the city as a retaliation.

Karachi please stay safe.

Talibanisation of Clifton and DHA

If Talibanisation stands for militancy, weapons, lawlessness and uncivilized behavior, the Pakistan Army may as well forget the Waziristan operation and begin its charity from home – the DHA and Clifton areas of Karachi. These areas are now in control of urban Talibans who roam around in obscene heavy duty vehicles, which are invariably official, stolen, smuggled or foreign registered . They often travel in a convoy with dozens of prohibited bore weapon brandishing goons. They violate all traffic rules and hit, push, beat or kidnap any decent citizen who questions this lawless behavior.

While the illegal detention of a prominent city architect and scuffle with a PAF officer have been reported in the media because of the high profile of these individuals, there are hundreds of similar incidents that go unreported. While the citizens of Karachi may not have any immediate fears from the Talibs of Waziristan, they are already in a state of siege by the lawless militant ministers, parliamentarians and powerful members of the state.
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Stand by Samar & play your role today at 6:00 PM Darakshan Police station

HOT NEWS: Samar Khan is free, al charges have been dropped he is going home

Samar Ali Khan, An Architect by profession was arrested because he protested against the blockade on Khayaban-e-Shamsheer in front of provincial minister Sindh, Zulfiqar Mirza’s house. The police have arrested him; he is in Darakshan police station at the moment. Today he was produced in court but wasn’t released because the judge wasn’t present.

We have planned a protest in front of Darakshan police station on June 16th 2010 at 6:00 PM.

All of us must stand by him because he has shown the courage to raise his voice against unnecessary VIP blockades due to which people have died in ambulance in past.

It is giving you an opportunity to play your role against the atrocities and humiliation our government officials bring to us by abusing their power.

Please stop being a face book or a drawing room activist and participate to display the strength of people in his support and send a message that we are not immune.

Hope to see you there.