Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 12 passes peacefully: Karachiites relieved!

KARACHI: The residents of Karachi heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday as the feared outbreak of violence did not materialise and no untoward incident was reported in any part of the city.

However, routine life remained suspended as shops and markets throughout the city remained closed and traffic remained thin, with public transport largely absent.

Although, mass bloodshed, ethnic clashes and rioting were expected, the day passed peacefully and earned the unique recognition as only the second day after the day of the February 2008 elections when not a single case of street crime was reported.

On Tuesday, roads remained deserted and contingents of Rangers and police staged flag marches. Even the traffic police had been armed and 5,000 additional police personnel were deployed in the city. Petrol pumps remained closed and a strike-like situation was witnessed. Attendance in offices and factories also remained low, as workers could not reach their destinations due to non-availability of public transport. While most industrial concerns too had allowed workers to stay at home, patients at various hospitals faced problems due to the absence of paramedical staff. Many areas faced an acute water shortage, as tanker services remained partially suspended.

It may be recalled that since 2008, several major violent incidents have taken place in the city, claiming hundreds of lives, as law enforcement agencies remained unable to deal with miscreants. However, for the second time since 2008, law enforcers were able to come up with a strategy to combat threats of violence.

On the other hand, Quran Khwanis were separately arranged by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party, while the Jamaat-e-Islami observed a black day in memory of the martyrs of May 12, 2007. On the directives of their respective party leaders, MQM workers hoisted national flags, while ANP workers hoisted black flags.