Articles of the year 2005

The KFC Carnage
Published on June 02nd, 2005

I am haunted by the images of the attack and burning down of the KFC outlet in Gulshan. The most shocking part was the deliberate burning of the 6 employees who were trapped inside, and the mob knowingly burned them alive. Karachi is a large city with all the problems that go with burgeoning size, and with a daily influx of immigrants from all over the country, coming here to eke out a living, drawn by the bright lights and the promise of a brighter future. Pathans,Punjabis,Baluch, Afgahanis,Bengalis, legal—some not so legal, are all here to make Karachi a truly Cosmopolitan city, and turn it into a thriving pulsating economic hub, home to all ethnic groups. It is this population mix that sets Karachi apart from the other Pakistani cities, and is the cause of its success and many of its problems. The 6 employees were youngsters who were living the Karachi dream, working in a MN franchise hoping to move up the economic ladder.

It was triggered by a Suicide bomb attack on the Madressah in Gulshan which luckily for the students at prayer was thwarted by the vigilance of the guards, and the result was the death of the bomber himself and injuries to some others.

The retaliation was swift and almost as if it had been planned well in advance, was executed quickly and efficiently. When the attack came they first evacuated the customers and were themselves trapped by the mob, and burnt in full view of the Law enforcement agencies, who were powerless to stop them. The Provincial Govt had been caught unawares by the savagery of the assault, by the time they moved it was all over, and the perpetrators had vanished.The barbaric and cold blooded style shows the raised level of escalation in the ongoing political tussle, a tussle for power. The targeting of a prominent franchise such as KFC was political in message to the US to bring the war closer to American interests.

This horrific act was not that of a single misguided brainwashed individual, who would pay with his life, but part of a well orchestrated and well trained machine with a political agenda, whose main aim is the removal of Gen PM. At the present rate of escalation one cannot possibly forecast the next steps or the direction. This is desecration of Islam. The burning of innocent employees in full view of the killers ----is desecration.No God will condone such an act. This is Blasphemy. The perpetrators are not Muslims, and the Ulema should join together in condemning this atrocity. The silence on behalf of the Ulema is deafening. Pakistan is at the forefront of Nations that are targeted by the West as being the harbourers of religious bigots. How are these killers religious, or of any religion? They have no fear of God, for no God would allow such an act against fellow man, let alone fellow Muslim. I, as Karachiite am ashamed that this atrocity was committed here in our city, and to Muslims by people who have the temerity to call themselves Muslims.

The damage being done to Pakistan cannot be calculated just in terms of lost production hours, or loss of exports. We have just been labeled as the worst kind of bigots imaginable. We as a Nation are marching because our Holy Koran was desecrated, and apologies are demanded from the perpetrators. Who will apologize to those 6 innocents who were killed in such a brutal way? Who will apologize to those Karachiites who are now reviled by the other city dwellers for allowing such a crime to have been committed in our City limits? The Law and order situation is worsening by the day, but for the religion card to now be played here, shows that the gauntlet thrown by the MMA in Gujrat over the Mini Marathon, is now being escalated to an increasingly dangerous level. The time to act is now. The political games being played can go out of control with disastrous consequences for all concerned.