We are SO going to hell’
By: Sidrah Roghay
Karachi: Yes, we watched Karachi burn. Every bit of it, down went the cinemas, banks and restaurants. And there were lives lost in vain.
We still do not know who the terrorists were, we never do; they looted and plundered at will. Whether they branched out from the numerous ‘peaceful rallies’ which were taken out in the city, or were a mob reaction to the emotional speeches made by leaders during these mass gatherings, we will never know.
The government made a point to make a series of unfortunate decisions. First they decided to close down the whole country on the pretext of observing a ‘Love for Prophet Day’, then they decided to suspend mobile phone services, this time it was done with prior notice.
Television was the public’s main source of information, but it was lashed at openly when a local private channel took the information minister, Qamar Zaman Kaira on the phone line. He found fault with the broadcast media for showing the pitched battles in the city live. Perhaps he wanted the media to encourage civilians to step out of their houses and enjoy the hullabaloo outside.
In times like these for the tech savvy elite, access to the Internet and social media websites becomes a blessing in disguise. The twitterati tweeted, and Facebook status was updated often. As anxiety over violence deepened, people expressed their concerns on Twitter and Facebook and kept one another informed about what was going in the city.
“#Karachi saddar mobile market vandalised and merchandise stolen,” tweeted norbalm.
“Hold on to your memories! Capri, Nishat, Bambino and 2 other cinemas completely gutted after set on fire in Karachi,” tweeted MurtazaSolangi, as incidents of mobs set ablaze one cinema after another.
“They are breaking down KFC below my place. We are SO going to hell..,” updated Mariam Hameedi on Facebook.
“Tear gas on boat basin? Firing? What have we become? Savage i swear,” updated Sumaiya Aidrus.
There were pleas to restore calm. “This is the real statement PM should give: Today, we should be all ashamed of calling ourselves #Muslims,” tweeted GibranAshraf.
Asad Umar of the PTI said: “a friend’s son wrote on FB today “we are pakistan. Mess with us and we will destroy OURSELVES to teach YOU a lesson”.
Daily Times op-ed editor Mehr Tarar suggested: “Abhi bhi time hai.Give #Pakistan lotsa sports,cinema,parks.Let the maniacal energy be channelised in2 smthng positive before it blows in yr face”.
In the age of information there are alternate ways of communication. If it is not mobile phones, it is the Internet and media. It is time the government realised that, and came up with a better way to curb riots and vandalism than shutting off phone services.