Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oh Karachi

Karachi is on a knife’s edge. Or is it?

A friend of mine currently settled in Dubai, had the following to say about his recent trip to Karachi (his hometown) over Eid:

“Karachi used to be called the city of lights, but recently the stench of death and destruction had extinguished these lights. This Eid, it was great to see Karachi being back to its normal self. Apart from the occasional frustrating traffic jams, it was good to see so many people out on the street enjoying the festivities of Eid. It felt like the old Karachi. It gave me hope.”

“Watching the news and reading newspapers from outside Pakistan, I had started to feel that Pakistan had turned into another Iraq or Afghanistan,” writes Mr. Naqvi. “But this Eid, I realized that this wasn’t the case. Watching so many people out and about; visiting parks, malls and other recreation spots, spending money & enjoying themselves. It never felt like these people were depressed about their future. People didn’t seem that worried.  It felt like there was even a hint of optimism. It felt good. It didn’t feel like being in a failed state, things in Karachi have been bad, but we’re still some way away from being a failed state.”

I agree with most of my friend’s conclusions but I would like to challenge the premise of his argument. The Pakistani people turned out in large numbers to celebrate Eid not because we have a lot to celebrate but because we’re a resilient nation. We needed a break from the doom & gloom and that’s exactly what we were trying to do at Eid. Even the terrorists & KESC took three days off from giving us our daily dose of relentless bad news.

But they returned with a vengeance. Twin suicide bombs killed 24 in Quetta today.

My friend correctly notes that we have some way to go before we become a failed state. The question is… are we headed in that direction or away from it?