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Snatching and aftereffects…

Two of my office colleagues went to Karachi for their annual vacations, this Eid-ul-Fitr. After coming back, they told me about some impressive improvements that have taken place in the city; mainly regarding the progress in the basic infrastructure and enhanced law and order situation of Karachi. “Not a single day was wasted”, one of them exclaimed. I was so pumped to hear all this and left for Karachi (for my vacations) after a few days, filled with confidence and enthusiasm.

I mainly use my Motor bike for routine works near my house in Karachi. While alone, I carry an old office bag for keeping the groceries and other items in tact while riding my bike. On the 8th September, 2015 I was returning back after getting some fresh milk for my family and my little son. It was around 10:30pm at night and our entire area was going through the menace of loadshedding. I purchased easy load for my prepaid mobile service and afterwards stopped in front of my house. While I was getting off the bike, 2 bikers quickly stopped beside me and angrily said “Ooaay” and the one seated at the back started to pull something out from under his T-shirt. Straight away, I sensed that I was about to get robbed at gunpoint. Aaah so near to my home, I thought. I calmed them down by saying “Bhai de raha hoon, de raha hooon” and handed over my wallet and mobile phone. Seeing my co-operation, they were much relaxed and thought that it was over. “Bag bhee de..” they ordered. “It’s just milk inside the bag” I muttered. But they snatched the bag anyways and bolted out of sight.

I was so shaken due to all of this, that I just ran into my house and told my family about the whole incident.

“Hurry, bring the bike inside, otherwise it might get stolen as well”, my wife wailed. The boys in the street did come to know about the unfortunate incident and people started visiting me and asking about it. Apart from the color copies of my identity cards, I lost my ATM card inside the wallet. I got it blocked straight away along with the mobile SIM card.

After snatching incident, I was scared and terrified. I and my family observed utmost care after this event inside the house and wherever we went. But the trouble followed me till my last day in Karachi due to all this. I started carrying limited money for shopping and many times I fell short of cash and had to go round and round for purchases; this wasted quite a lot of time and energy. I missed out some documentation formalities few times because of loosing important photocopies inside the wallet that had been stolen.

Colored copy of my motorcycle’s papers were also lost in the robbery. I tried to search for the original papers but could not find it due to the haste and hurry. The fear of getting caught with police snap-checking always alerted my mind whenever I went outside on the bike. At last, a traffic police personnel stopped me just 2 days before my departure from Karachi.  “The photocopy of my bike’s papers were lost in a burglary and I could not find the Original thereafter”, I said straight to the policeman. He took the duplicate of my CNIC and driving license and said “Don’t you know it’s a Rs.500 fine if you do not register FIR for lost papers? We can lift your vehicle now as well”. He was talking with a register in his hand containing list of various drivers. “Sultan Shah jurmana bharo Rs.200 aur apne documents jald pooray karo”, he said in a mechanical way. I gave him Rs.200 without obtaining any paper, receipt or entry whatsoever and ran away for my next important work.

From 8th September till my last day in Karachi, I shared this event with many people who in return told me their stories. I felt thankful to Allah(S.W.T.) who saved me from a bigger loss. I realized that these days, snatching has been limited from the main streets but looters have come inside the residential places. Rangers should keep an eye on this as well. I went to Punjab after Karachi and found out slighter version of fear at nighttime.

Street lighting should be functional all over the country to have better visibility and reducing fear factor due to darkness. Masses need to be educated to take care of light poles and bulbs as means of their own benefits. Along with all other security features and activities, NADRA should also keep record of education and employment status of our people. Measures should be made such that nobody remains idle and purposeless in Pakistan.

I am back to Qatar which proudly states herself as the safest country of the Middle East. People rove and enjoy without fear day and night. Nobody will bother you or your belongings ever. People leave their homes without worry of loosing precious items. We have majority of expatriates here and all over the Gulf but people remain in limits due to strict Laws. At one hand, it’s great to be a resident of such safe country BUT it’s really painful to see contrary conditions in Pakistan. Government and Law enforcing agencies must try to eradicate mugging and theft as part of ongoing reforms/operations in the country.

One brief event of mugging can leave very bad impressions on you with a domino effect giving rise to many other plights. Educating people and providing justice at all levels are in fact key remedies to such tribulations…

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