EVEN MUGGING HAS A FUNNY SIDE

Once I asked my class of over 30 students if they had ever been mugged. Eighty percent of them, including female students, said yes. They had lost their wallets, laptops or mobile phones to snatchers. All my brothers, brothers-in-law, male cousins and other close relatives (mostly men, sometimes women) have been victim of street crimes at some point in their lives.

Street crimes have become rampant in Karachi. It is highly unlikely to find people who haven’t lost their belongings to street criminals. The problem has grown so much that it has now become a regular subject of discussions during family gatherings where everyone updates the rest on the latest count of muggings in the family.

Mirza Ghalib says ‘Mushkilain itni pareen mujhe par ke asaan ho gayeen’. Simply explained it means, the problems increased so much that they ceased to be problems. In Karachi’s case, while it is true that the problem of street crime has increased to a great extent, it does not mean in any way that street crimes have stopped being a problem. However, they have definitely lost the seriousness or gravity that was once attached to them. No more do our ammis, dadis and nanis give sadqas if someone comes home ‘safely’ after losing a mobile phone or a wallet. People have accepted mugging as a fact of life.

Luckily, Karachiites have this unique ability to laugh at their problems and they have learned to make fun of mugging incidents as well. You can see videos and memes about mugging. Of course, most of them are inspired by real life incidents.

Strange as it may sound, there is a funny side of street crime as well.

Once upon a time, my husband happened to be travelling in a qingchi quite late at night. He was passing by the University Road. Now those who have travelled on this particular road would know that a long patch of the road, starting from Karachi University to Mausamyat, does not have street lights and is quite dark after sunset. So in this darkness, as the qingchi made its way towards Mausamyat, a motorbike started following it. No one took notice because it had a couple on it. Then the biker sped up, bringing his bike parallel to the qingchi and asked the driver to stop, saying, ‘Ladies ko bithana hai.’ The qingchi driver duly stopped his vehicle.

The woman got off the bike, came to the qingchi, showed a gun to the passengers, gathered their belongings, went back to the bike and the couple zoomed away. Everyone was stunned. I’m sure they must have been mugged before but by a woman would have been their first.

Another time, my brother was going to his university – in a qingchi again. It was very hot that day and he was sipping on his Milo drink to ward off the heat. Then came The Bike. With two passengers. You just know who they are when you see them. As is the routine in such cases, they demanded the passengers’ mobile phones and wallets. My brother gladly handed over his ancient, almost nonfunctional phone to them. “Give us the green one,” one of them said to my brother. “Green one? I have only this mobile which I just gave you,” my brother replied. “No, the green one which you were using a while ago. It’s in your bag. Take it out now or else…,” the snatcher threatened. Oh, the green one, my brother thought. He took out the empty Milo box which he’d kept in his bag to throw in a dust bin later and waved it in front of the snatchers. “Iski baat tou nahi kar rahey thay aap?” He said to the snatcher, who furiously looked at both my brother and the Milo box and sped away.

These were just two incidents that I could remember but I am sure there must be many others and if asked, everyone would have a story to tell about mugging. It is a serious situation no doubt when someone comes up to you with a gun and demands that you hand over your belongings to him. But, sometimes, all you can do to deal with the trauma is laugh at it later because as our ammi/dsadis/nanis would say: “Shukar hai jaan to bach gayi.”

– By Javeria Shakil, Faculty Media Studies Department, Bahria University Karachi.

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NA MALOOM AFRAAD

Street crimes in the big cities of Pakistan let alone Karachi are a no new-call for any one of us. We Karachites, have become used to of such happenings, let it be armed-robberies, assaults or gun point muggings, we commonly get to hear stories of people getting filched at the stake of their lives when stuck in a traffic jam or banks being heisted. These bandits are often the subject of our conversations when we tend to regale our friends with tales of us beings mugged, possibly losing some money, gadgets or credit cards. But what we virtually lose is our trust towards the society. The confidence for our sodality tends to fade for long before we regain the deception of a safe living and a secure hood.

I came about a similar gest a couple of days back. My mom and I waited for the driver in the car, parked a little far from the medical store. Not later than five-minute, there was a power failure. In the pitch black hour of that night, there appeared a man approaching the window on my mom’s side. A “Na-maloom-afrad” dressed in white shalwar-kameez, with a withering voice, unexpectedly demanded all we had, money, phones, jewelry, watches etcetera.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune Blogs

Courtesy: The Express Tribune Blogs

When my mom tried to pacify him with our valuables, I could feel shivers down my spine. He tried to petrify us with his harsh-bleak words and a gun posed at us, I could see the streaks of fear, of being caught in action, on his face too. It was clear that he was new to this trade of terror. My sense of protection was wrecked beyond repair when I saw his soaring aplomb; his placidity was feeding on our fright. In monetary means we had to give up on some money, a pair of solitaires, our watches and all the stuff in my mom’s bag nut crushed inside with agitation, we were left weak and woozy in the face the society.

Today, the youth has second thoughts about carrying their belongings out on the road. Carrying a low range mobile for the muggers seems normal. When these street crimes manage to make it to the headlines every other day, what is the real solution to bring an end to this evil? We must educate our society because only a literate society can lead to a strong and peaceful nation. We should also weave a strong family fabric. Kids should be taught about the worst consequences of such activities taking place in the society and the evil should be nipped in the bud. Surveillance cameras should also be installed around the city and the government authorities should target oriented efforts to find possible jobs for the unemployed youth or provide unemployment benefits to not let their frustration ignite into flames of unlawful and illegal acts. Finally the ones caught guilty for street crimes should be rewarded with dreadful punishments as an example for others.

Punishment is not for revenge, but to lessen crime and reform the criminal.

Elizabeth Fry

– This blog is written by Rasik Qureshi, an A levels student, based in Karachi.

COVER MY FACE, KICK MY CELL PHONE UNDER THE SEAT, AND HIDE MY EARRINGS WITH MY DUPATTA!

Does your walida muhtarma recite ayat-ul-kursi a gazillion times before you leave home? Does your dad start calling as soon the clock goes five minutes forward from your usual arrival time? Do you follow the constant vigilance principle of Mad Eye Moody like a fanatic? If all your answers were positive, my dear friend,you are a Karachiite. A cynic towards his surroundings who is learning defense against the dark arts (read: street crimes).

Courtesy: Cartoon Stock

Courtesy: Cartoon Stock

My brother has been mugged twice, an uncle thrice, and a cousin more than 8 times! If these are the statistics for a small family, imagine that for a whole city. When my uncle filed a report for his mugging and his lost identity card, the policeman cleverly missed out the mugging part and instead wrote that my uncle has mistakenly dropped his identity card. Shall we not be vigilantes, if our protectors get a share of every valuable that we lose to these street criminals?

It is saddening, how we have to be all eyes and ears while walking alone, especially in dark and dimly lit areas. Oddly, we feel more secure if we see a mango person like us instead of a policeman. Whenever my father or brother parks a car to pick up some cash from the ATM, or some medicines at a store, and my mother sees anybody approaching on a bike or a group she will start hyperventilating. She will instruct me to cover my face, kick my cell phone under the seat, and hide my earrings with my dupatta!

It is the fear instilled in our hearts so strongly, that we find even the respectable to be suspicious. We eye fellow commoners as criminals. We will think twice before helping a wounded man in a dark street because the fear of getting mugged and losing our life for a petty cell phone or a couple of bucks has engulfed us completely. I heard some engineering students ambitiously telling about a device they are trying to build. They wanted to punish street criminals who were robbing people of their cell phones by installing a device inside our cell phones that will burn the phone right after it was snatched, turning its value to zero.

Courtesy: The Droid Guy (TDG)

Courtesy: The Droid Guy (TDG)

I pondered, whether this will ever be a long term solution for these crimes? The street crimes rate in Karachi was curbed a little, but with the removal of barriers on lanes and streets has given it an all new raise again.

Always remember, your life is valuable more than your cell phone and your money. If you see a gun, do not ever resist. However, I also believe it is the need of time that we emerge as a strong civil society and raise voice against such crimes but most of all we have to stay vigilant yet safe.

11424328_10207080389110754_1902811450_n Written by Asra Rizwan, who is doing her Bachelors in Information Technology from NED University, and loves to read.

THE RICH GETTING RICHER, THE POOR GETTING POORER!

Street crimes like snatching of mobile phones, cars, jewelry etc. is on a completely different level in Pakistan. The increasing number of cases of street crimes is an alarming situation. To identify and understand the root cause of the increased slope is necessary before starting discussing how awfully these crimes are attempted.

The very natural and obvious reason is the disparity between rich and the poor. The difference in the income distribution of the rich and poor is clearly the main reason the poor force themselves to indulge in street crimes and to make it their income source. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

rich-get-richer

Courtesy: Cartoon Stock

Another reason is the unemployed and literacy rate of our country. The increasing rate of inflation gives the poor no other reason than to commit crimes. The low salaries and lack of facilities of our police force makes them allies to the robbers.

On the other hand, there are communities or organizations whose sole reason is to involve people and involve them in street crimes in their respective cities or few areas. The police have failed to curb to a huge extend. There are young lads to full grown up men that actively participate in increasing street crimes and working towards its promotion.

Coming down to the intensity of street crimes. They may be a mere case of snatching and robbery. One might lose a great deal of things, jewelry, cars you name them but sometimes the criminals take the most priceless thing from you and that is life. Just for the sake of expensive things a person has to give away his life to those heartless criminals. There are so many cases of street crime where the victim had gotten himself killed because of getting involved in an argument with robbers and sometimes it was without any reason.

If asked many will give solutions such as educating the poor so that they have a sense of discerning to know what is right and what is wrong. Further it helps in reducing the unemployment rate and contributes towards the betterment of the poor. Installation of surveillance cameras will assist in tracking the culprits. Not every police or guard is involved with robbers. The black sheep in the police force should be detected and serious action should be taken against them.

A key role that an individual or society can play is to help the poor financially rather than looking down at them. We can stop being ostentatious. When the lower class sees the extravagant clothing, jewelry, mobile phones they feel a sense of complexity or have the urge to attain these thing which forces them to resort to illegal means.

I think the only thing we can do, is to distribute the wealth and the resources equally somehow. Maybe, that will help. When the poor will not get poorer, when he will see some hope, the crime rate is bound to be controlled somehow.

11419769_10207078767590217_278874573_n This blog is written by Anosh Lodhi. She has currently completed her Bachelors in Bussiness Administration degree, with majors in HR, from Muhammad Ali Jinnah University, Karachi.

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING

 Nowadays, we observe so many around us suffering under the most traumatic conditions ever. Tell me honestly do we react? Do we let the universal sense of pessimism sap us of action? Or do we continue to live in our own tiny little bubble?

There are no optimistic answers to these queries for those who will not dare to express their gut feelings against what is wrong and who will let the fear of disappointment sink their struggle for success.

For the citizens of Karachi Street crimes are developing as a norm and a regular feature. As street crimes are rising in the city, it’s quite difficult for the people of Karachi to live peacefully. If we talk about other cities of Pakistan, after Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are facing an increase in street crimes. Cars, motorcycle, mobile and wallet snatching are the most common.

With a passage of time, it is becoming tougher for Karachiites to move around spontaneously in their own city. They are already being loaded by a high inflation rate, and now increasing number of street crimes are absolutely getting on their nerves.

There are lots of police stations around the city but apparently they don’t work as citizens of Karachi want them to do. Many victims of street crimes do not even feel to inform police or to report them to a police station as they know that nothing would come out of it and that it would be just a waste of time.

And I don’t think they are wrong. Because personally I’ve experienced that mostly what people think about our police is not wrong at all. No I am not against our police, I am just saying that they are lazy sometimes or sometimes consistently to perform their duty. Oh wait! You do not agree with me? So according to you our police is serving well for the society? Yes! You can say that because you haven’t experienced trauma that I’ve gone through and I’ll pray to God not to show anyone the situations that I’ve seen.

Just a day before his wedding, my brother-in-law got shot by some street criminals on Drigh road in front of a large public. Even after giving his cell phone to those devils, he was about to take out his wallet for them. Suddenly he felt something on his stomach and the next moment the bullet struck and crossed his whole abdomen. He was admitted in hospital for 6 months and still not in a good condition. He lost his mother when he was in ICU, fighting for his life. She heard about the incident and within 3 days she passed away. Well that was his bad luck I must say.

But what police did to us was more than that Incident. We heard that police got culprits and they are behind the bars. When we reached there and ask about the criminals. According to police

“saab wo pakry gaye thy… phir hath chura k bhag gaye, ap fikar na karo ham puri koshish kar rahy hain phir cy pakar me ajaengy!’’

Courtesy: Cartoon Stock

Courtesy: Cartoon Stock

I was completely blank at that moment and was thinking that are they kidding or what? I mean, seriously??  That is the standard of our police that a criminal can easily run away by twisting his wrist, and our so called protectors, they call themselves police force, they wear uniform of a police to tell public that you can enjoy your life we are here for your security but In reality they are not even strong enough to hold a hand of a criminal? Or they just left his hand as a result of heavy bribe offer?

Choice is yours.  I am leaving you here to dig out the answers of the above story yourself. I have my own opinion. Now I want you to open your eyes and think about the story that took a life and was about to take another one but (GOD is Ghafoor ur Raheem, he gave new life to my brother-in-law) and I want you to stand up against this bribe thing, stand up against this typical police system which is of no use. Not only in my case but in many cases like Shahzeb Khan Case, Hamza Ahmed Case etc.

That’s my personal view. You may not like it but we can’t say that the solution of this problem is only to take action against it because the solution does not only lie in taking serious action against these criminals. The selection of people for responsible institutions must be based on merit, the youth must be educated against these crimes, job opportunities and adequate social status should be provided. By taking such preventive measures the increasing crime rate can be controlled.

1374898_238249699667663_1955042165_n This blog is written by Qurat-ul-Ain Sajid. She is a Media Studies student at Bahria University Karachi.

TIME WAITS FOR NO MAN

If you love life don’t waste time, since it is entirely based upon time. I have had a life experience more of an incident which justifies this statement but changes its direction.

Courtesy: The Stick Guy

Courtesy: The Stick Guy

An ideal life is the one where all your dreams turn to reality, wishes get fulfilled and all the hard work pays off.

I have always cherished the beautiful moments gathered throughout my school canteen and its owners, an old beautiful couple, whose presence had a major impact on my life, sometimes you feel close and attached to people whom you see regularly but don’t know them personally.
Anyhow, the school got over, life preceded at a normal pace with dreams to achieve an “ideal life”. I seldom visited the school and felt nostalgic every time seeing the old couple wasn’t as exciting as it used to be. They only existed as a beautiful memory, but since they possessed some part of my memory, I had promised myself that no matter where I go, I will always consider them as an important part of my life and as a human, I will take care of them, whatever resources I will have in the future. I will make sure all of it is there’s as well. I got busy with my life and the couple had the same old routine.
Unfortunately, all these thoughts remained in my mind without any implementation. One day as I got to know that the couple was no more in this ideal world where I was waiting to achieve an ideal life and only after that I was willing to get back to the people who were my past.
I inquired the school for any information about what happened to the school canteen owners, but they didn’t provide me any by saying it is confidential. When I exited the inquiry office I tried to ask the school staff, peons and sweepers for any bit of knowledge about them. Few of them told me that they heard about the robbery in their house in which the couple was encountered because they were trying to resist. I was left speechless and didn’t have it in myself to verify the information I received.
I was left with a lot of questions for myself, when would be the right time to become the person I always wanted to be? Isn’t life fair enough to give you time in order implement your ideas?

Courtresy: University of Wisconsin

Courtresy: University of Wisconsin

After this incident, I concluded that life isn’t entirely based upon how much effort you put in order to have a bright future; it’s about those little ideas which make you sleep peacefully at night, it is about the present, how you act immediately with the little resources you got. Lastly, it is about acting upon the things which you desire for, not by wasting your time in thinking but acting immediately.
Only if I could have given them some time and have told them that how important they were to me, I wouldn’t have had any regrets. But there is one question which always disturbs me, i.e I always wanted to do something for them even though couldn’t, there were other people as well who could have done something.

saira raees Written by Saira Raees Abdul Ghani, first year MBBS student from Liaquat College of Medicine and Dentistry. Writing is one of her hobbies. She is a keyboard player as well.

IN THE BROAD DAYLIGHT!

Every day, the stories of street crime appear in news headlines, creating fear and terror among the public. Unfortunately, this has become a regular activity in the major cities of Pakistan especially in Karachi. People read and make comments, but had anyone of us ever thought of controlling it? The answer is surely a big NO.  It hasn’t happened with anyone of our close one so who cares.

21019174-Thief-Stock-Vector-thief-theft-identity

Coutesy: Cartoon Stock

The most common street crime nowadays is cell phone snatching. The robbers involved are well armed and fully planned to commit a crime. People fear not only losing their valuable belongings but in most cases the victim loses its life. These illegal activities not only happen when the darkness arises, but many witnessed victims have experienced in the daytime. These culprits get hold of victim anytime, anywhere by any means because they know that the victim has a fear of a weapon.

We talk about street crimes but ever thought why these street crimes are increasing every single day? It is clearly known that the majority of street crimes is being done by young and poor and the major reason is the poverty. The government must provide basic necessities of lives so that they are not force towards these crimes. Other than that government must punish the guilty with an iron hand even if they belong to the elite class.

Each country has some social problems, but problems can be rectified by proposing solutions to it. Street crimes cannot be eliminated completely but can be reduced if the government proposes law and order in the country and works on education to create awareness. Little bits can make a difference.

– This piece is written by Zunaira Abdul Ahad, a student of CIMA Strategic level and a housewife. She is passionate to bring some positive change in our surrounding through this medium. She firmly believe if we all perform our responsibilities well as a citizen, Pakistan will be a happy place to life.