Postcard from... Karachi
Monday 26 November 2012
Karachi, Pakistan's largest and most volatile city, has been in lockdown this weekend.
Mobile phone networks were suspended from noon on Friday, not returning until Sunday evening. Motorcycles were restricted, and many roads blocked off.
The reason? The religious month of Muharram. The peak of the festival comes on the ninth and tenth days, when Shia Muslims turn out onto the streets in their thousands for processions to commemorate the death of Hussein ibn Ali in the seventh century.
Shias are a target for Sunni extremist groups, so there is a high risk of bomb attacks.
The city was tense; the streets strangely deserted – an unusual sight in this metropolis of 18 million people. Saturday came and went peacefully. In the evening, road restrictions were relaxed enough that leaving the house was an option.
That night, there was an explosion at an apartment in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), an upmarket area of Karachi. Within minutes, there was a police siege outside the house and rolling coverage on every news channel.
Sitting in a house in DHA, not far away, we watched coverage of the "suspected terrorist" tensely, unable to call and check in with family members because of the mobile phone outage.
It ended up being a storm in a teacup. No explosives were found in the house. The blast was caused by chemicals used in the production of narcotics.
The residents of the house, who had moved in just days before, had fled the scene.
Perhaps the terror alert is creating some terror of its own.
Newcastle manager taunted again as his side loses to Stoke
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before a character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin wedding: The famous congratulate actor and human rights lawyer after Venice nuptials
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£40 per day + Travel Scheme : Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: Our client ...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...