In August last year my parents went to Canada to visit my sister. The whole time they were there they were all praise for the place and every other Skype call had the same lecture for me: Apply for immigration! Why don’t you apply for Canadian immigration? What is it in Pakistan that has you stuck there? Apply for Canadian immigration IMMEDIATELY!
I didn’t. Why you ask? Well for one thing Canadian immigration was closed back then. But the truth is I didn’t want to go to Canada! My life In Karachi was good. I had a good job, a decent car, was making good money, shopping at the best outlets and had the best of friends. What else could I want?!
Yes, there were the uncertainties….
1. The regular bomb blasts: Yes, but there weren’t any close to my neighborhood. In fact, I’ve never even heard the echo of one.
2. The mobile snatching: Oh come on! It’s just a phone. Look on the bright side: this is your chance to get the new iPhone! And actually I was just robbed once and that too was my own fault… I didn’t even know the name of the area I went to.
3. Load shedding: Huh?! What’s that? There’s no load shedding in my area (and no I don’t live in defense or Clifton). The “light” situation in my area (and some other parts of Karachi too) is so good now that my UPS battery died because of not being used and being on-charge all the time.
4. Karachi shuts down: This could be troubling because Karachi can shut down at the drop of a hat. But I worked at a multinational company and if there was any uncertainty we were put up at a 5 star hotel for the night! And even if I didn’t want to stay at the hotel and wanted to be with my daughter, my house was just a “Shar-e-Faisal” away. And looking on the bright side again, you get to leave office early and go to office late the next day or maybe just take the day off!
5. CNG load shedding: the long lines, the unscheduled shut downs. Just another outing with the family is how I looked at it; well I had already decided to shift to petrol, so bye-bye CNG load shedding!
6. “Mehangayee”: like I said, I had a good job that paid me enough money to afford the good life, so the “mehangayee” aspect didn’t bother me that much….Alhamdullillah!
I am not kidding people, all of the above is true! I actually loved my life in Karachi…the late night sheesha, the all-night cards sitting, the visit to Sindbad with friends and family, the latest movies in 3D….
My Life Today…
BUT the fact of the matter is I don’t live in Karachi anymore and don’t plan to go back!
Why? One of the reasons is the call I made to my friend one Wednesday night. He was at the Agha Khan hospital and said he will call me the next day. I was worried and asked if everything was ok. He said yes and that I shouldn’t worry.
The next day my friend came over with his family and we called another friend over too. As soon as they arrived I asked my friend about the previous night and why he was at the hospital. He said that he was there to see a colleague of his who had been shot.
I immediately retorted saying that this is inevitable if you are involved with a political party. He said yes, but the person who was shot was a very decent person and had no affiliation with any political party. He went on to relate his colleague’s story.
The person had left his office in defense at around 8:30 pm and in 5 minutes was at the Creek Club signal. His mistake was that instead of staying on Khayaban-e-Ittehad he turned towards the bypass that runs parallel to it.
As soon as he got onto this road, he was shot. The bullet went through his back and exited through his chest, fortunately missing his organs. The people who had shot him walked up to him and stole his bike. There was no warning or argument or fight for the bike, just one shot in the back.
But wait, the worse is about to come. The person, shot & bleeding, tried to stop around 15-20 cars but no one stopped. He then walked bleeding to the nearest petrol pump, which is around a 200 meters from where he was shot but even at the pump no one bothered to immediately take him to the hospital but only called an ambulance to have him picked up…….
Well, being a husband and a father, this incident had a very deep impact on me. After carefully evaluating the overall situation in Pakistan along with the foreseeable future and also consulting some very close friends and relatives, I decided that it is time for my family and I to leave.
I am not saying that all my Pakistani brothers and sisters should take the same decision, but I know this was the right decision for us.
May Allah protect our beloved homeland… Ameen!
P.S: In case you’re wondering what happened to the guy who was shot. Alhamdullilah, he survived the ordeal as the bullet missed his organs.