Karachi: Thousands trapped in ‘war zone’ with no supplies
KARACHI: Hundreds of families are trapped in Qasba Colony and adjoining areas where bullets are flying freely amid no power supply, scant water and quickly running out provisions, residents said on Friday.
Many families are willing to abandon their homes even at the risk of their properties being taken over by miscreants, but cannot do so for fear of life because of the intense firing.
Area residents, connected to their relatives and friends only through telephones, told Dawn that armed attacks on transformers had left many localities without power supply, where fears mount after nightfall.
“We have been without power supply since Tuesday evening,” said Muhammad Farrukh, a resident of Gulfamabad, a settlement neighbouring Qasba Colony. “We are a 13-member family, including women and children. My two younger brothers left for work in SITE on Tuesday morning and have not yet returned home due to the deteriorating law and order situation.”
He said most families in Qasba Colony, Gulfamabad, Islamia Colony, Muslimabad and the adjoining areas were short of food supplies and compelled to spend days indoors without power supply in sweltering heat.
“There were two pickets of Rangers in our area, which were a source of protection and had proved quite effective in this kind of violence.
However, a couple of weeks ago they were removed, adding to fear among the residents.” Nasim Khan of Islamia Colony said the firing turned so intense that most of the time bullets slammed into inner sections of houses in the locality. “The residents of the area have yet to see any movement of the police and Rangers after the violence erupted on Tuesday,” he added.
“A large number of people of our area, mostly women and children, have moved to safer places but male members of the families are staying at homes. There is a strong fear among the residents that abandoning homes would allow miscreants to take over their properties,” he said.
A neighbour of his, Daulat Khan, said his younger brother sustained a gunshot wound in the left arm on Wednesday night while he was on the rooftop. The closure of shops in the area had left many houses without food supplies, he said.
“We are managing daily life with one another’s help in the area but this arrangement can’t last long,” he said, adding that the entire residential block had turned into a war zone.
Residents of Bukhari Colony and Aligarh Colony also had similar views. They said many area youngsters carrying arms were compelled to spend sleepless nights for ‘security duty’.
“Apart from the nonstop firing, rumourmongers are fuelling fear among the residents. Suspicious text messages on cellphones cause more panic among residents while there are frequent unconfirmed and unsubstantiated reports of armed attacks on houses,” said Aftab Malik, a resident of Aligarh Colony.
He said people were scared, and children were more vulnerable to trauma and they were unable to sleep amid the rattle of guns.
“Five members of a relative’s family have been putting up with us since Tuesday. They are the residents of Orangi Town Sector 10, but got trapped here when they came to see us on Tuesday evening. There are several such cases you may find here and in the adjoining areas,” said Nazeer Ahmed, a Bhukhari Colony resident.