top of page

“Phone nikaal”

For a mediocre Karachiite, these bandooks (guns) and bam dhamakay (bomb blasts) have casually turned into dark jokes and have become a part of our identities, while my Lahori peers may not be fully aware of the consequences of such offenses that my Karachi has seen in its past (and present), they do share quite a witty sense of humor to bring my beloved city down (ngl we still have better food).


Jokes aside, most of us karachiites do not even know what we really have gone through, it is through these discussions and conscious insight that we come close to understanding the trauma we have collectively been through, and fortunately or not have picked up this elite (read: perhaps a little problematic) sense of humor along the way.

It is when we sit around, with our peers who have not been raised in such conflicted zones that we realize that maybe, maybe this was not…normal? It is when we collectively reflect the recurring violence that kids around the world in conflicted areas face, that we realize that we are no different. It is when I go out with my friends in a careem and push my phone underneath my thigh or be on an alert 24/7 or suddenly enter a trail anxiousness when I am out until midnight; it is in those times I realize that security is something we have been deprived of for so long that this, is who we are or have become. Always prepared for a robbery, a gun, a dhamaka, a death.


One day, a friend asks me:


“What has been your scariest dream so far?”


And I would list down things like kidnapping, bomb blasts, plane crash, some more of kidnapping, rape threats etc…but again unlike dreams they don’t stop existing when I open my eyes.


But I guess, at least we have a good sense humor.

87 views19 comments

19 Comments


Being a person who has never been to Karachi but listened to all the stories like this I can't even imagine what this situation would feel like. The horror of there being a chance of being looted anytime is something my brain can't comprehend. Though Karachi has a lot to offer this is a very big negative for anyone wanting to shift there and it should finally be changed by making this city safe for its people. The only way this can be done is by a citywide program similar to Safe city programme for Lahore.

Like

This is such an important topic to be discussed. This way of life has become so common, especially for people living in Karachi, that we often pay no heed to it and do not think about the impact it has on a person's mind, behavior, psyche, and emotional and mental wellbeing. Constantly living in fight or flight mode has serious a impact on our mind and body. This is the way of life for many in Pakistan. We often do not even realize the indirect conflict we are facing in our day to day lives and how it affects us.

Like
Replying to

Exactly Iqra, I wish there was more awareness in this regard and this issue was paid more heed to in fact of not being considered at all.

Like

Karachi has unfortunately been ripped off from its rights and as we continue to blame national or provincial governments, we must also take responsibility. The city that hosts around 3 crore Pakistanis fails to even do the bare minimum like not littering the city or following basic traffic rules. Karachi was hit most by the so called voice of Karachi, that breaded gangsters and made the city a mess. Being a Karachite myself, I can understand the where you are coming from, but it was us who allowed a so called representative to dismantle the city into pieces. Today the city has no choice but to support Imran Khan who in his 4 year regime failed to even consider Karachi…

Like
Replying to

The people of karachi have suffered the most in respect of security, education, infrastructure, water and many other basic facilities. Given city's contribution ti the country and its glorious past it breaks my heart to see it become a lost cause. But yes, the people can to an extent be held accountable for karachi's unforseen future, but it feels like they have also given up and have accepted the bare minimum this country offers. For eg two years ago the monsoon rains completely collapsed the infrastructure of karachi, people died because they were stuck in underpasses and yet nothing has really changed.

Like

Recently visited Karachi for the first time and to be honest i felt safe and loved the vibe of the city. Yes, the issues are there and the perception also forced me to be very careful about my stuff while I was outside.


I remember back in 2007, when there was a blast in Karachi on arrival of Benazir and my father was there (fortunately escaped the incident). The city of lights of gone through many of such incidents especially the day to day target killings.


Karachi has come far from where it was 10-12 years back but still a lot of progress to be made!

Like
Replying to

You are absolutely right, karachi has gone along way and has become relatively secure however the fear lingers. The caution is still there. We might be secure but in our heads we cannot really fully achieve the content and security unfortunately.

Like

Despite living in Karachi most my life, I could never truly love or care for it. And that almost became and 'unpopular opinion' of sorts, as most karachites love the city and its fast-paced and energetic culture. I never argued over the matter because it was always hard to make people understand how a whole city can leave so many sentiments of trauma and distress. Every day that you step outside the door, you truly do not know what will happen and whether your safety will be compromised. It is sad that it is the city with the most opportunities; both academically and professionally. And yet it cannot provide you with the most basic of human necessities: safety.

Like
Replying to

Accurate Fatima, I too have spent most of my life in Karachi and in breaks my heart to reflect back to Karachi in the days after partition and now. My nana used to tell me that the streets of Karachi used to be washed everyday, it was truly our founder's city and till date remains the biggest economic hub in the country. Alas, it lacks not the security but so many basic necessities. However, one can perhaps hope that one day maybe it changes.

Like
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page