In Karachi, learning to live life the hard way

By Shilpa Raina, IANS
Monday, November 15, 2010

KARACHI - A bomb explodes in Pakistan’s largest metropolis, ending 19 lives and wounding over 100. The customary dose of panic, grief and agony over, people pick up the lost threads and normalcy takes over — life never stops in Karachi.

“These things happen every day. Firing is very normal here. Yes, it’s a very sad situation but we have got used to it. We can’t just sit and sulk at the situation; we have to earn,” Bina Ahmad, who works in a beauty salon here, told a visiting IANS correspondent.

“Prices are soaring high. Gone are the days when only men would work. To have a balanced lifestyle, women too are working; so life never stops here,” she adds with a touch of wisdom.

As the country’s financial capital, home to 13 million people, was hosting the Pakistan Fashion Design Council-Sunsilk Fashion Week Nov 11, a blast was triggered near Hotel Sheraton, where international media, organisers and designers were put up.

Even though the venue of the event was on the other side of the city, shadows of uncertainty loomed in the air. But the designers and organisers put up a brave front and decided to continue the event, though with extra security.

“The show had to go on. Because if we had decided to kill the remaining two days of the event, it would have meant the victory of evil,” said Sehyr Saigol, chairperson of the fashion week that took place from Nov 10-13.

Lahore-based designer Sahar Atif of label Saai, who showcased her collection a day before the blast, says the people of Pakistan have become numb to such situations.

“It is extremely sad, but life has to go on. If we don’t continue with our work, it will be the victory of all those people who want us to stop,” Atif told IANS.

“We know how to manage, we have learnt to live life the hard way. You can’t just pack your bags and go away; I love my country and I will always be here,” she added.

Out on the streets, you can’t miss the popular sentiment.

“Such are the times that a man doesn’t even care for his brother. Food is very important. And if you are desperate for food and money, you won’t even shy away from killing someone,” says Kamran Abdul Mazid, an autorickshaw driver.

“When I leave my house in the morning, I don’t know whether I will be able to see the face of my family again. But it is not because of blasts and instability; I feel if I have to die, it might even be a road accident. Yes, life is difficult here, but we all have got used to it,” says Mazid, who juggles between three odd jobs a day to makes ends meet.

“If I don’t go to work, how will my kids go to school? I spend Rs.5,000 on their education every month. If I don’t educate them, tomorrow they too might take to the wrong path and kill anyone for money. That is why we are having problems in this country, if we educate our kids, things will change,” he adds optimistically.

Ali Yousuf, a college student, said, “Yes, these blasts make us feel sad, but actually a lot also depends on the area you inhabit. The area after you pass Carlton Bridge is very much safe, you can roam there with ease.

“You have cafes, a normal crowd there; we too live a normal life!”

(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at

Filed under: Terrorism

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