The besieged Qasba Colony
Karachi: Gunmen opened fire on Fazalul Haq’s house in Qasba Colony all of a sudden and were trying to break open its main gate when his family escaped empty-handed. They are now living with their neighbours.
“They are looting houses and burning them. Three houses have been torched in our area. They had come with petrol cans outside our home,” said Haq through his mobile phone which is the only source for the besieged residents of Qasba Colony to connect to the outside world.
“We want to move out of the area, but we can’t because there is heavy firing everywhere around us,” added Haq, who owns a shop which has been closed for the last three days.
With the city being painted red in the recent spate of target killings, residents of Qasba Colony’s A-1 are confined to their homes since Sunday. Apart from the rattling gunfire, the locality is also deprived of water and electricity.
Gunfire reverberated in the background as a woman, in a voice quivering with fear, asked the police and the government to save them from the reign of terror.
“It has been four days since we have been stranded in our homes and goons are reigning the streets. They fire on anyone who dares to step outside.”
The woman, who did not tell her name, said her children were so terrified that they had stopped talking. “The shops are all closed, and we have nothing to eat. Please help us.”
Another resident of the area, Mehmood Shaikh, is currently housing a number of people from his neighborhood. “We are surviving on Daal alone as we have run out of groceries and food stuff to eat. Children in the house are crying for food,” Shaikh said.
According to him, the police occasionally visit the area but they refuse to take action against the criminals. “The police are silent spectators.”
He thinks they were being targeted because of their ethnicity. “We have been living in this area since 1970s, but now we are being forced to move out.”
He said their first priority was to shift their women and children to a safer place. “There is no light, no water and no food.”
He claimed that the criminals had also occupied a Rangers check-post. Assistant Coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Abdul Hai confirmed that they had received numerous calls for help from the people of Qasba Colony. “We urge the government to restore peace in the area, and arrest those involved in criminal activities.”