Tag Robberies

Armed Apathy

Crime Sceneby Javaria Atiya Waheed

I rush through the hospital corridor. Doors after doors, rooms after rooms. But the passageway doesn’t end. An hour ago, I was at school, and now I am in a hospital, with all my family around. My mind fails to register the situation at all, and as I scuttle through the emergency ward, I silently pray to myself. They lead to me a room and what I see next, is implausible. My mother is in the bed, an oxygen mask on her face, blood oozing out of her hand, doctors moving around. I blink hard and hope for this to be just another nightmare. But it just doesn’t go away. I hear a distant chatter of voices talk about a gunshot. Before I can barely breathe, hands pull me away.

This is exactly how you feel as a 16-year-old, when you see your mother lying in bed, with a gunshot wound to her hand. A gunshot which ripped apart several lives at once. Mama had left on a regular monthly routine, to pay our school fees at the nearest bank, when some bandits had followed her: Followed her, up to our apartment gate and then demanded the money. As she had bent down to hand it over, people around had put up a racket. The bandits fled, leaving my mother wounded with two bullets to her hand. Every single day, we hear about these armed robberies in Karachi. Read the first page of any local newspaper and after every two articles, a narration of these ill-fated events would be given. You skim over it and turn the page over, least bothered about the pain people are going through. Why would you? It is not your business who is getting injured or killed in the city everyday: people are born to die. But when someone close to you, goes through the very same ordeal, the harsh reality has no place but to dawn, upon you.

Armed robberies are a part of the routine life, here in Karachi. The robbers might follow you; they might barge into your house using cunning skills, or the most popular: the “snatching” cases constitute a major part of the list. When Karachiites step out of their houses, the only thought occupying their mind, is whether they will reach their destination in one piece or not. Did my mother know that a regular bank trip would get her back home, two weeks later, with a fixator attached to her hand? No, she didn’t. None of us did. This event shook the very foundation of our lives, of our existences and would have a similar upshot on anyone who went through it. For two years, my mother was under physiotherapy, undergoing depression, trauma and a wide array of problems. Although, her mind would be marred with memories of this incident for the rest of her life, but fortunately, she survived. Many people don’t.

Two-year-old Tariq Abdullah lost his life to a case of armed car snatching in the confines of Jamshed Quarter Police Station. Abdullah’s grandmother, Hajira was left wounded and injured.

An U.S citizen, Syed Mohammad Tariq, 35, was killed by robbers when they barged into his house in PIB colony. Tariq had only come to Karachi recently to attend a family wedding.

According to a recent census, the first two months of 2010 have registered a 23% surge in cases of armed robberies, when compared to the 2009 census. Lives are being lost everyday, and on a far greater scale than before. We are just reading about the fatal incident of Tariq Abdullah and Mohammad Tariq, but their families are each day living with it. A young boy, who had not yet even gotten the idea of the world really is, lives no more. A man returning to his home after 20 years didn’t even get a chance to catch up with his family, before he was made to breathe his last. People are losing their lives for no reason because these robbers are rampant and our government is indifferent. But to those who suffer, the difference is an enormous one.

Lives are shattered everyday because of such events. Families lose their loved ones, Parents lose their children. Every single day, someone or the other does fall victim to such an incurable event. But we carry on our lives as normal. These events are reported in the newspapers on a minuscule section of the front page and where people will thoroughly read the news about Jennifer Lopez right next to it; they would be least bothered to read this one. Why would they? It is such an everyday routine and who likes to read monotonous news? No one. And until 2 years back even I wouldn’t have. If my mother wouldn’t have been a victim I would also have been like those apathetic individuals of Karachi. But now I think: not everyone should wait for such a day in their lives. They shouldn’t wait for such a day, to realize the gravity of the situation. Indifference would only make matters worse. And before such a reality cascades upon you because of such an event: Be concerned. Because trust me, it is not good. If you fall victim to any event such as this, the pain may be lesser, but when a loved one does, the pain is excruciating. . Because that is a glimpse of death. A glimpse so close that it blows apart lives for a long time. Even at this complex stage, it is hard to decide who to blame for such events. The corrupt Government, the indifferent security officials or the odious robbers themselves? We do not know. But what we do know is that the lives which have been lost to this were innocent. The families that have been affected were also blameless.

Although, I think that there may be hardly any, but all of those out there, who have not yet been harmed: Brace Yourself. Protect yourself and your family before this ill gets to you. Our security has disappointed us over and over again so to trust them with our lives would be inane. As for all those, who have lost their loved ones: Get their stories to the world. Maybe, the authorities will realize their mistakes. Maybe, they will look down upon themselves. Maybe, they will realize, that it won’t be before long, that someone close to them falls victim too.


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