KARACHI: A few months ago, two friends, Kumail and Taha, students of Habib University started jogging at odd times during the day from their homes in Gulshan-e-Iqbal to undecided locations. Sometimes as late as midnight or as early as daybreak, the two friends jogged through the streets of Karachi.
They often pondered over how an average Karachiite will interact with others without the fear of being mugged. Fear has become a major barrier disallowing people leading a normal life.
The duo will be holding a mini-marathon on August 14, ‘peace jog’, in an effort to reclaim Karachi’s streets and bring back a sense of normality to life. On Friday, this small group of friends will begin jogging from Habib University to Mazar-e-Quaid at 8am.”We are calling out citizens of Karachi to come out for this peaceful jog and get to know others,” said Syed Kumail Raza.
Raza, a sophomore pursuing Social Development and Policy, said that issues of law and order are omnipresent. “The problem with us is that we have allowed fear to overpower us,” he claims. “Our idea is to boost interaction among people.” What started as running from home to undecided destinations made Taha and Kumail aware of their limited knowledge regarding their own city and its people. Narrating a recent incident when Karachi witnessed its first monsoon downpour, the two encountered a stranded couple in a car. “We approached them and offered help only to be met with awkwardness and distrust,” said Taha. “It delighted us that we were able to do something for them eventually.”
As part and parcel of their jogging experiences, the two friends also plan to start a blog, which will act as a platform for further interaction. “Running gives one a lot of time to think. You tend to identify many things on the road which you don’t under other circumstances,” said Kumail. The blog will be a podium to share these experiences, he added.
The two friends are hoping that around 10 people will join them on their first venture, hoping to attract large groups for future events. “This is only a start. Letting fear overcome you and sitting at home is no way out of the mess we are in,” said Taha.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2015.