A Reflection on the Tragedy in Karachi

Editor’s note: For the first time in recent memory, an act of violence and terror was directed against the Ismaili community on Wednesday, August 13, 2013 at two of their Jamatkhanas located in Karachi. Two deaths as well as several dozen injuries were reported by the media in Pakistan. It was indeed a sad day for Ismailis and non-Ismailis alike. Statements of condemnation were issued by numerous sources, and were particularly reported on Pakistan TV networks. A peaceful and generous community had been targeted senselessly by individuals who do not value life, the most precious gift from Allah.

Navyn Naran reflects on the tragedy that has brought profound sadness to countless people. We pray that peace prevails in the entire nation of Pakistan which has seen so much sectarian violence over the past two decades. We also pray for the peace and rest of the departed souls from this tragedy, and wish everyone who was injured from this act of terror quick and complete recovery.

(Following Navyn Naran’s reflection we have provided a few external  links to stories and comments about the tragedy) 

Of Karimabad, A Place of Generosity

By Navyn Naran

it was a place of comfort, a quiet haven in the wood
a cove where a mother fish and her young made home,
by the bank of a trickling brook,
he found solace there in this nook.
hot it became day by day, how shallow the water and nightly he prayed,
would there be rain droplets, just some?
it rained everywhere on earth it seemed, but here in this city,
the brook was drying

the fish drew closer to the bottom.
“Rain! please rain!” his heart implored
taking a few bottles of water, near the fish he poured.
And then the beginning of the end, it came!
Bhoommm!!! Crashh! lightning cracked
the heavens opened and buckets of rain fell
he danced in his shorts, his hair flying wet around his face,
his feet drenched in his sneakers,
soaked from the lovely rain

A mother and a child, many people.
A man finds it not easy to cry
But today men cried as bodies bled
and lives were hurt
What was the sense of the two scenes?
The boy, his heart generous, is a seesaw with yours

His action against yours.
What is the message you were sending?
 A message of good? Of right? Of admiration? Of envy? Of strength?
few on this earth will agree.

People were praying!
Prayers for peace where there is conflict

For health where there is illness
For abundance where there is poverty
in those prayer halls women and men seek to better their world
in Karimabad

The Karachi Bomb Attackes

Cowards!! you are cowards, envisioning bloodshed,
tormenting your fellow-man, with nothing gained,
Just Loss.
Our Loss.
For the mothers and children, the men and women you kill
are still alive within our hearts. That,
you can never take.
‘Do not take a life’ it is said, ‘for it is like taking all mankind’.
and who will you face then, but the Face of God?

Is it fear of peace, of the goodness of humanity which sickens you?
That there could be unity amid the plurality
does that threaten your space?
Is the Aga Khan and his teaching abominable to you?
Is the education and growth despicable to you?
How will you erase the entire goodness in humanity?
How will you bow to Nature’s Hand?

For we are one…have you read ?
From one woman and one man we came, do you know?
The family you cared for is the same one you killed.
What did it benefit you?
It is in ripples, you fearful man.
It is in ripples we send an energy;
and behind us is the force of the world.
Beside us is the force of the Universe.
cast a stone into a quiet pool and see ripples form…
Fight for an ethic
befitting your home

Date posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013.
Date updated: Friday, August 16, 2013 (links to stories on the tragedy, see below)

Copyright: Navyn Naran/Simerg.


The tragedy on external websites:

1. Victims Laid to Rest
2. So then to this now
3. Three killed in bomb blasts on I-Day Eve
4. Consecutive blasts in Karachi Jamaat Khana leaves 2 dead, 28 injured
5. Altaf Hussain condemns attacks on Ismaili Jamaat Khanas
6. Two Ismaili Shias Killed in hand grenade attack
7. Violent evening

Dr. Navyn Naran was born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to Anaar and Badrudin Naran. After beginning her high school in the UK, her family immigrated to the USA where she has lived since. Dr. Naran went to medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently works in Paediatric Critical Care.

16 thoughts on “A Reflection on the Tragedy in Karachi

  1. “Schools with playgrounds and other outdoor facilities are already rare in Karachi. And with the growing incidents of terrorism, especially cracker attacks, even those having these facilities are turning them into no-go areas for students.

    One such example is the Aga Khan campus in Karimabad, situated next to the Ismaili Jamaat Khana, which was the target of a terrorist attack last week.

    At least two people were killed and 28 injured in the August 12 attack when unknown attackers hurled hand grenades inside the Jamaat Khana, raising alarm among the community, which had hitherto remained largely free of any targeted violence. Another Jamaat Khana in the Site area was also attacked less than an hour later.

    As a result, security has been beefed up at the campus, which houses the SMS Aga Khan High School, the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, and the Institute for Educational Development, which also has a number of foreign research scholars.

    Spread over 26 acres the campus has its own cricket and football grounds, a hockey field, as well as basketball and volleyball courts. But following last week’s attack, all these facilities are now out of bounds for the hundreds of students studying there. Independence Day celebrations were also called off following the attack.


    The elders of the community, still puzzled by this unclaimed attack, are trying to get extra security from the government and also trying to conclude what the reason behind the attacks was.“A delegation of the Ismaili community has met the governor and the inspector general of police of to ask for security,” said an elder of the community.”

    Read more at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-196863-Aga-Khan-School-students-suffer-after-a

  2. Very sad news for me. How many times i have visited Karimabad Jamatkhana in about 5 years…This is the closest Jamatkhana to AKU-IED from where i got my Masters in Education and where I had chance to work.
    So sorry for my brothers and sisters in Karachi. May Mawla grant strength and peace to my Ismaili brothers and sisters in Karachi and all over the world.

  3. Ebad Praises Contributions Of Ismaili Community

    KARACHI: Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan has lauded the contributions of the Ismaili community under the leadership of Prince Karim Aga Khan.

    He was talking to a two-member delegation of the Ismaili community which called on him at the Governor House here yesterday.

    The delegation consisted of the community’s chief in Pakistan, Iqbal Wulji, and Director of the Aga Khan Funds for Economic Development, Sultan Ali Allana.

    The Governor appreciated the social and welfare projects undertaken by the Ismaili community and said that service to the humanity rendered without any distinction especially in the realms of education and health is laudable. He said that a recent act of terrorism aimed at the Ismaili community was a cause of concern for the entire nation.

    Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan said that every Pakistani vehemently condemned this dastardly act. –APP


  4. I Heartfully Pray For The Deceased Ismaili Souls And Condemn The Heinous And Barbaric Act Of The Fanatic Religious Bigots Mislead By Those Who Least Understand ISLAM And ISMAILISM ; Forget About 73 Firquas Of ISLAM. All Of Them Meet To The Same Place –The Place Of ALLAH. Multiculturism And Pluralism Along With Tolerance Is The Need Of The Time. As For The Solution To The Problem–Wait And Watch And PRAY For The Best.

  5. The out-of-control and rampaging terrorists are now down to attacking the Jamaat Khanas of the most peaceful, philanthropic, tax-paying, law-abiding community of Pakistan: the Ismailis. Just a day after Eid, 38-year-old Shirin and her four-year-old son Sharmil died in an attack on the Karimabad Jamaat Khana and 44 others sustained injuries, some surely life-threatening. A standing ovation to the brave warriors who target innocent women and children.

    Recall those of you who want to face facts that His Highness Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III, after whom we have named roads in Lahore and Karachi, was a founder-member and then first president of the All-India Muslim League and was one of the first to petition the British government to consider Muslims as a distinct nation in India.

    His grandson, the elegant Prince Karim Aga Khan has done more philanthropic work in Pakistan than any other single person or institution, setting up the peerless Aga Khan University, which among other institutions, runs the Aga Khan Hospital and Medical College in Karachi, extending his work to the Northern Areas, including Chitral, which has brought much prosperity to those backward parts of our country.

  6. I pray that Allah rest the souls of the deceased in the Karimabad incident in peace. The incident gives a bad name to all Muslims. Shias and Sunnies have been fighting for years not only in Pakistan but also elsewhere. There are sections of the population in Pakistan who are forgetting how much His Highness the Aga Khan, his father and his grandfather, born in Karachi, have done for Pakistan. The present Aga Khan could have built the internationally-renowned Aga Khan University & Hospital any where in the world but he chose Pakistan.

  7. Sorrows, deep sorrows and sadness has overwhelmed our hearts, all that we pray is may Allah protect our world from the darkness and ignorance of those who commit acts of violence against the teachings of Quran and our last prophet Muhammad (SWT).

    Regardless of faith, all human lives are to be respected and all of us owe thanks to Allah for His infinite blessings. With thanks and love for Him and his prophet Muhammad (SWT) in the muslim hearts, how could anybody even think of this satanic violence. Imagine if all muslims were to act like these individuals who found justification for this hate crime and killings of unknown human lives; this world will not have a world war ever, since just a dislike to differences of another human is sufficient license to kill.

    Let’s pray for our brother and sisters at this very special time.

  8. “The out-of-control and rampaging terrorists are now down to attacking the Jamaat Khanas of the most peaceful, philanthropic, tax-paying, law-abiding community of Pakistan: the Ismailis. ”

    “Recall those of you who want to face facts that His Highness Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan … His various generosities to the country were great and unbounden, and this is what we do to his followers? Kill a woman and her child in a Jamaat Khana, which also serves as a community centre. Shame on us …”

    Read more of what the writer has to say – Kamran Shafi – a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto.


  9. These are ignorant idiots who commit such acts of violence. This is no way to show gratitude to the community that helped profusely in the creation of Pakistan and has since contributed handsomely.
    I have no words to express my anger at this heinous act.

  10. I have no words to express my sorrow at this tragedy. Inshallah! The Ismailies are a resilient community and will come out of this. However, we also need to be aware of our surroundings and conduct our daily lives accordingly.

  11. Our Hearts and Prayers throughout the Muslim World are offered for the unfortunate individuals who were sacrificed without a valid reason. Dr. Navyn with the poem in Simerg has spoken for all Muslims who want peace for everyone. May Allah spread His benevolence and rehmat on all who are misled into believing they are doing any good at all. They will have plenty of time now to repent and pray for forgiveness and learn that their act of merciless killing serves no one and hurts the whole Ummah.

  12. A nice piece which articulates our thoughts and feelings about the terrible happenings in Karachi. God bless you Navyn.

  13. Shias or Sunnis, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or Atheists. none whosoever has a right to kill a fellow human being as commanded by GOD. No religion preaches that one should kill the other person. REMEMBER that we ALL were borne of ADAM and HAWA (EVE). It is the work of Shaytan (Satan) and our fellow brothers and sisters in religion are attracted to such hideous acts. We pray that such humans be cleansed of the Devil from their hearts. Foremost let all Shias and Sunnis embrace each other as we all are from ONE GOD and to HIM shall we return. Nabi Mohammed didn’t preach that we should kill each other, then under whose guidance do we do so. Is it some fanatical individuals to whom we should listen to? Did ALLAH give them such guidance/commands? ALLAH has given us AKAL so use it my MUSLIM brothers and sisters.

  14. Dr Navyn you have wrote such a thoughtful and reflective piece… Hats off. I shall share share it with all my friends.

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