The real housewives of Karachi


Thousands of girlfriends and wives were arrested by paramilitary troops in a string operation this week to deweaponise the violence-hit city of Karachi.

Several hundred people have died in the recent unrest in the port city, and a law-enforcement operation was expected after Interior Minister Rehman Malik said girlfriends and wives were responsible for 70 percent of the killings. It is pertinent to mention here that love is a crime under the Pakistani common law.

Stocks plunged as share prices of mobile phone companies declined steeply after the government announced it would cleanse the city of girlfriends and wives.

Television business was also hurt by falling ratings of talk shows featuring Imran Khan. Several cooking shows were shut down. Approximately, one million women in Karachi are regular viewers of cooking shows, according to a recent report. About 73.4 percent of them host their own cooking show. Among them is an elderly mastermind made popular by SMS jokes. She is now on the government’s most wanted list.

Civil rights groups are furious. “It is unacceptable and irrational,” a women’s leader said in a press conference, “to have feelings of affection towards the male gender. These women deserve no mercy.”

Police reported no reaction from husbands over the weekend. But hundreds of men from all walks of life took to the streets early Monday to protest the arrests. They were holding placards and banners asking for breakfast.

Jail officials said the arrested women mostly slept or gossiped in their free time. Riots were reported after the new inmates declined to eat food that they said was not cooked according to their liking. Three inmates fought after one was irritated by others repeatedly asking how long she was going to take in the toilet. Backed with supporters among the inmates and some jail officials, they are now fighting over control of the toilets, kitchens and common areas. Jail officials said most of them refuse to clean their cells and a majority forces other inmates to clean for them. Accusations of stealing are rampant. Many women come out of their cells only when they have to eat. “We are very happy with these developments,” a jail official said on condition of anonymity. “It is a clear sign that these women are being rehabilitated and will come out of the prison ready to act like men.”

Religious groups hailed the move and went on to ask the government to end all soap operas, music shows and other obscene programmes on TV. “There should be more programmes on TV that feature our renowned and popular religious leaders,” they said in a statement sent to the press earlier this week. The government thanked the clerics for the support and announced it had accepted their demand. In a notification, TV channels were asked to give more air time to crime and terrorism.

Imran Khan agreed to support the operation after he was assured during a meeting with representatives of the establishment that his key supporters would not be categorised as women.

Representatives of his party met with other political leaders yesterday to announce support for the operation. “We will fight terror with terror,” a spokesman said. “We can negotiate with terrorists,” he said while elaborating Pakistan’s policy on dealing with violence, “but we will not negotiate with our wives and girlfriends.”

The writer is a media critic and the News Editor, The Friday Times. He may be contacted at [email protected]


  1. Oh Lord. I just wasted 2 good minutes of my life after reading this article. Absurd. Is Pakistan today really so desperate to have a writer like you?

  2. the minister make these absurd claims because they don't have the guts to name mqm and its army of target kilers.everyone in karachi knows that the mqm rules by terror and fear.its unit in charges and sector in charges are more powerful than SHO's in karachi but since the media is scared to death of them they choose to remain quiet about mqm's true face. these double standards of the journalists and our otherwise brave anchors is contributing to the sense of desperation in karachi as people see the media present the killers on tv as some heroes.

  3. @ waqar, the bhai log party uses terror as a weapon against the media but it's not just that only.if you take a look most of pakistan's media houses are owned by karachi based muhajir families.these muhajir owners now take care of their party mqm because of ethnic loyalty.they will never tell the truth about mqm's criminal atrocities because these media group owners and their relatives have to live in karachi also.

  4. when zulfiqar mirza said something about the muhajirs the media created hype by showing it again and again but when altaf hussain called sindhis 'the ghulams of hindu baniyas' the media remained quiet and never showed the clip to hide altaf's real face from the pakistani people.
    the same thing happened when wasim akhtar said there are 'mujras in every house in punjab' the biased media didn't condemn him,our anchors kept deadly quiet,there were no calls for wasim's resignations by our anchors,no nothing at all.if punjabis or sindhis get abused our media remains quiet but if someone even whispers someting about muhajirs all hell breaks loose on our media.

  5. There should be some mechanism to not allow such pathetic posts innitiated by sick minds like him. The looser created the worst bullshit ever.

  6. As mentioned by some ,, this is a pathetic piece of writing and thought ! I dont know why Pakistan today would go ahead and let you post this. Your writing skills are way under standard for a national newspaper and so is your sense of humour.

  7. I'm feeling sad for all those negative comments been given by so called literate people. Harris Bhai love your work and humor… 😉

  8. Nice piece. But looks like even the People of Pakistan have lost their sense of humour(if they ever had one). Not surprising at all, looking at the sad state of affairs there !
    I think next time u should write about how laughing at jokes is a crime under Pakistan Common law. Then maybe the above commentators would like your work, and maybe start believing it too.

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