Saturday, December 29, 2007

Prayers for Pakistan

As the assassination of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto continues to send shockwaves around the world, we ask that all who read this entry hold the people of Pakistan in their thoughts and prayers. The destabilization of the situation in Pakistan, and the danger that this instability will expand throughout the region, is a concern to us all.

On a personal note, we pass on this email which we received on Thursday night from a Common Tables member in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan (due to the instability in Pakistan we are not releasing the member's name):

To all at Common Tables,

Thank you for the message and prayers. Last night we were in Karachi and heard the news at the office. Members of the family had gone to attend a friend's mother's funeral service, which ended rather abruptly when someone got an sms (from Dubai) about the news...and there was a hasty exit of 70 or so women who had gathered. (This was a ladies only gathering) And my wife and a colleague were in the car and they saw the rising mayhem in the City centre...and while we in the office were worried about them (she was to pick me on the way home) the mobile phones went off the air...which created even more stress... but sms worked...and they arrived at the office where on the TV we watched the unfolding chaos and sadness in the madness.... and then the news and the sheer awfulness of it hit home... all this was 7 pm (local time) ...we stayed till 9 pm when we got word that the roads have eased (a little) and the time to take a quick decision, and a quicker dash home had at 9 :45 pm we decided to do so...and on the way we saw:...burnt cars, trucks, tires, cabs, broken bill boards, and many cars which had been abandoned on the road because they ran out of gas ...and many many stones and broken pieces of glass... but without any incident, or threat of harm, we reached home at 10.35 pm...and heaved a sigh of relief.

My driver lived in an area where he had to just walk to...and sadly he reached home at 2 am. But he was safe and called at that time to say so (as he had been told to do).

The city is quiet today...everyone is watching the Bhutto funeral arrangements on TV. All shops are closed. There is some panic buying of foodstuffs but otherwise, we expect things to creep back to some sort of order in the next few days.

Many many people stayed the night at their offices. or factories, as there was no way any transport could make them reach their homes.But most people are calm...there was no honking or hooting of horns on the entire journey last night... despite the traffic jams of over four hours.

This might give you a view from the ground. For what it is worth.

Thank you for the message...and giving me this opportunity to write all this.

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