Time Magazine: Karachi

Time magazine has an extermely sobering “article”:http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/article/0,13673,501030616-457408,00.html on Karachi:

bq. Kidnappings, bombings, assassinations, extortion, bribery? Just another week in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest and most populous city.

“Karachi today,” says Tariq Amin, a fashion stylist and prominent social commentator, “is like Chicago in the days of Al Capone mixed in with the Middle Ages.”

You know things are really wrong when Time magazine is writing about them. General Musharaff is none too pleased about it. This article is in many ways better written and covers more ground then almost all of the stuff which I have read in the local magazines and newspapers. A must read to understand where Pakistan is going.

Along with the article is a “Photo Essay: To Live & Die in Karachi”:http://www.time.com/time/asia/photoessays/karachi/index.html.

bq. Karachi, a port city of 14 million on the Pakistani coast, where the Pab mountain range and the Sindh Desert gather into a brick-and dust-hued urban sprawl before tumbling into the Arabian Sea, is the battlefield in which an assassin like M.R. thrives. In Karachi you have ethnic feuds: gangs of Indian migrants versus the Pathans, Baluchis and Sindhis; you have extremists from rival Sunni and Shi’ite sects battling each other (lately, radical Sunnis are gunning down Shi’ite doctors and lawyers at random); and, of course, there are the radical Islamic groups that shelter al-Qaeda fugitives and are, according to Karachi police officers, helping them plan their next terrorist strikes.

>> “To Have & Have Not”:http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/article/0,13673,501030616-457408,00.html

The below cannot be emphasized enough. “The rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer” is a tired cliche now what with every group/ngo/whatever applying it to everything from global warming to to the WTO/IMF/White men, but here in Karachi you can see it working. Every few months more cracks appear and the twain drift further. Soon it will be at the point where you flourish your ID [Yes I belong here] before entering the more well off areas. In India a shopping mall for entry requires you to have an expensive cell phone. A plebian one will just not do. I am positive we will soon be doing the same here.

bq. The rich and influential live in the Defence and Clifton suburbs, in the latter along a wide, crescent shore, in faux Grecian- or Californian-style mansions. Every few years their walls grow taller, concrete evidence of the rising tide of instability that engulfs Karachi. The latest fad among the very wealthy is to have a lion cub or a Siberian crane (an endangered species), which clacks loudly when a stranger approaches, roaming in the garden. In a country where more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line, many of the wealthy believe in enhancing their status by importing Filipina maids. The spoiled kids hang out at Karachi’s single mall, listen to heavy metal, and some of them form gangs with cry-tough names such as 9mm, Kryptonite and Outsiders. Every so often, they’ll rumble over a girl and arrange for their bodyguards to trade a few punches in the KFC parking lot. There are no burqas here: the girls wear tight jeans; their mothers prefer designer salwar kameez of watered silk and diamant� Chanel sunglasses.

>> “To Have & Have Not”:http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/article/0,13673,501030616-457408,00.html

3 thoughts on “Time Magazine: Karachi”

  1. Salamz to all the readers,

    Having read your views I could not stop my self writing back. I do agree with some of the aspects of your work but I certainly don’t agree with the intense observation you made. First I would to make one thing clear, all those people whole live in posh locality like Defense and Clifton are may be rich not influential. I know people who had worked hard for all of their lives just to earn good respect and dignity and to see their children live well with the touch of lifestyle. I have lived 6 yrs of my life away from Karachi, my home city and I miss every moment of it and soon I’ll rejoin them. You are right about the spoiled teens, the sluts and the so called students with a sense of adventure (dragging car races, looting and alcohol abuse, gangs ). I must say these are the outcomes of needless money lending by the parents and exposure to westernization, but there are people and families who still know their religious norms and their identity as Muslims and Pakistanis.

  2. It´s a pity that we have made a big fuss out of our religion. Way back, when I used to be in Karachi some considerable numbers of years ago, we didn´t have all these negative aspects as in this day and age. We had our faith in our hearts and with due respect too. Nowadays, we just overdo the nice name and concept of our faith. It has taken a form of madness, if I may put it so. It seems as if there´s one and only only aspect left in life, and that´s to carry our religion on our heads. All this show- off has driven us to nowhere, as it was all artificial. The outcome is devastating, accordingly. So much so that we`ve started to kill our own brothers and country men, with whom we lived ages happily together and without any complaints. What we need for happiness and properity is to go with the time, with honesty and sincerity. We should educate ourselves, respect our partners family members and all human beings alike. Our dear faith has made us forget all our social values, not only within our country , but equally and far worse ouside our boundaries. Unless we educate ourselves by going with the flow of time, we won´t ever be able to find our inner values. We need to give our faith it´s due respect back and place it in our hearts, rather than carry it on our heads. place the religion where it belongs, and find values in everyday life out of humanity. Unless we did that, we won´t be happy, and such depiction, as above, would take no end. One should be optimistic, but this being here consequence based on reality.

  3. “Our dear faith has made us forget all our social values, not only within our country , but equally and far worse ouside our boundaries.”

    >>I think you meant it is the fallacy from certain peoples hands that have damaged the image of Muslims.

    “We need to give our faith it´s due respect back and place it in our hearts, rather than carry it on our heads. place the religion where it belongs, and find values in everyday life out of humanity.”

    >>Islam is a religion that requires active participation and it is complete in all respects. If only I and you would follow the actual teachings and implement them in our lives it would make us the best of all people.

    Jazakallahu Khair.

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