Long Island New York - This past week, violence in Karachi left its blood-stained calling card pinned to our family's door. Somebody decided to fulfill an unknown agenda by firing blindly into a crowd of people. I wonder if this heartless assassin smiled as my cousin fell to the ground, a bullet ripping through his body, nicking his spinal cord. If the killer felt satisfied while men lay dead or dying. If he felt a sense of accomplishment for a job well done, a day well spent.
This son, father, beloved husband and darling little brother lay in Agha Khan Hospital, surrounded by a family too shocked by the sudden nature of this random cruelty to even question why. And as always, all hopes were pinned on the Divine and we prayed. Not only did we pray to Allah, we also begged all those around us to pray with us.
In a moment of desperation, I posted my request for prayers and good wishes on Twitter.
The response was overwhelming, but the tone was as unexpected as a slap across the face. The first response reprimanded me that Mohajirs don't follow the law and should be punished. Another responded that the Mohajirs cannot be blamed because the Pathans started it. Another immediately brought out facts and figures of those slain. In all of this, not once did I mention either the shooter’s or my own ethnicity, and not one person offered any kind words or prayers. This is what we have become.
But is this what we want to be? A nation of blame-gamers, for whom any incidence is an opportunity for pointing a finger. I feel especially let down when our party leaders, the people that we look towards for l guidance, add fuel to the fire. When PTI members staged a pro-judiciary rally and were forcefully dispersed, they were ridiculed. Nobody thought to stand with them, which in itself is ridiculous. After all, isn't being pro-judiciary a good thing? When MQM decided to commemorate 15,000 slain Mohajirs with a Yom-i-Siyah (Black Day), on June 19th, not one political party condemned the killings. When rioters in Punjab spilled out into the streets and showed their anger at being deprived of electricity, a PML-N leader claimed on her Twitter feed that they were non-locals. I would like to know what her definition of a non-local is? Is a non-local a non-PML-N member? Is it a non-Punjabi? Or is it a non-Pakistani? What does she think comments like this will do, other than monger more hate in an atmosphere already saturated with hate?
Creating dissension is never the answer. Divided, we will always fall. The man on the street doesn’t care where your father -- or his father, for that matter -- was born, or where your family was living on that fateful day in August of 1947. He just wants to go to work, to make an honest living, to provide for his family and most of all, he wants to grow old and watch his children grow up. He wants a life without mindless violence. In the end, the question is not who started it, but rather, who will end it.