Monday, December 01, 2008
By Abid Hussain
The city was rife with tension on Saturday, with word spreading on the streets about violence, killings and riots. While the violence was confined to certain areas of the city, fear reigned supreme across Karachi.
I was meant to attend a concert scheduled to take place on Saturday night at a hotel near the airport where rock band Noori was to perform. Unsure if the event would take place given the violence, I confirmed with the organisers, who replied in the affirmative. Despite the prevelence of fear, I decided to attend.
The distance to the hotel from my workplace was a good 10-12 kms and, during the drive, I observed that a few petrol pumps along the way had been closed.
Upon reaching the venue, it turned out that the concert, which was supposed to start at 9.30 p.m., was delayed for an hour due to lack of audience. Yet, as things were looking glum, within half an hour the venue started filling up with people.
The band themselves were quite keen on performing to counter the fear and panic and to provide the audience with much needed entertainment. As the concert kicked-off, the crowd responded in a remarkable manner.
Ali Noor, the vocalist, wearing a red shirt reading “Not Terrorised Enough”, was a bundle of energy along with his band members, belting out their famous numbers one after another, keeping the crowd mesmerised, almost leading them to forget the violence and fear outside.
The concert lasted for at least two hours, and, when it finished past midnight, the feeling of fright, present earlier, had dissipated to a large extent.
Honestly speaking, it was good to see a fair number of people turn out at the event and showing that Karachiites know how to have a good time and would not allow dread to dictate their lives.
This feeling was corroborated when, on my way back home after 1 a.m., I saw kids playing night cricket matches at various places, which brought a smile to my face. I thought back to Ali Noor’s T-shirt. “Not terrorised enough” indeed.