Are people becoming too intimate in the public parks of Karachi?

I had the fancy of visiting the Bagh-e-Jinnah Park last Saturday Feb 27 2010 with a friend of mine. We had taken a quick lunch at McDonald’s sea view branch and decided to go for a stroll in the Bagh-e-Jinnah Park to lower the excess calories we had just taken.

If you have ever been to this park then you will know that it can be termed as one of the biggest parks in Karachi. It’s very picturesque and the way it has been developed is really a treat for any visitor. You can enter the park from two places. One way to enter the park is opposite of Park Towers though there is no place to park your car and most of the times the traffic police tow away vehicles should they find anyone breaking the law. The other way to enter the park is from the Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim road which runs parallel to the sea front.

As there is some space for parking on the Ibn-e-Qasim road we parked our car, paid the Rs.20 parking tax and went inside the park. As we entered it was saw families who had come to have an outing in the park. Children were playing about and having fun.

After passing those families and moving forward we started to see couples (I doubt they were married) sitting on benches chatting with each other. However, the more we walked further from the families we had just passed the more intimacy we saw. It was like they wanted to hide from public eyes and just do what they want. Some of them were holding hands, some were sitting awfully close to each other, some were talking face to face and boy were those faces near, some guys had put their arms across the gals, some were semi-lying on the benches, some guys were snapping photos of their gals in different positions and some were looking at video clips on their cell phones. Even when we passed their benches they made no attempt to change their posture. They didn’t give a damn to what others saw.

We went from one side of the park to the other and the scene we saw was the same everywhere. There was one other thing we noticed and that was the hedge just behind the benches had been cut in a way to allow any one to look from behind thereby forcing couples to remain within limits (which some were still trying to cross).

We did a quick calculation and were really surprised by the numbers. If there are over 300 benches in the park then you would have that much number of couples sitting in the park at one time and if an average couple sits in the park for 30 minutes then the number of couples coming there for this purpose from 2PM – 7PM (NOTE: Park is open till 11PM however I doubt if they would stay that long as most of them come from their jobs or colleges) would be around 3000 for a day. Even if we halve it, it is still a big number.

We left the park at 5:30PM thinking that the repercussions of the media and cell phone revolution is showing with full force now and young people in their teens and early twenties have become hostage to emotions which they should not have been exposed to at this point of time.

Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that some sanity prevails otherwise the type of scenes I witnessed with my eyes on that day should be an eye opener for those who cry for more “enlightened moderation” and “tolerance”.

Our young generation are at a stage where they may lose everything and gain nothing.

Click to find out the location of Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim

Terrorism in Karachi on Kashmir Day

I had gone to the office today to work on an urgent project which needed to be completed this week so it could be launched and marketed in the next week to prospective customers in a trade fair. February 5 is Kashmir day in Pakistan and it is public holiday. I decided to go by public transport to the office.

We then went for Juma prayers to a masjid near the office. We continued with our work. Then our lunch from Karachi Food arrived. We sat down to take lunch when all of a sudden we started to hear sirens of ambulances. We first thought that they were heading towards the procession which was passing through MA Jinnah road. However, when the frequency of those sirens start to increase we felt that there may be some problem in the city.

Sure enough one of the guys received a call from his friend and told him of the explosion which happened on Nursery. Now Nursery is 1km away from our office so you could understand that we were a bit apprehensive as we knew from past happenings in the city that these sort of things invite miscreants who go on a rampage burning cars and shops.

So, after discussions with management we set off for home. Now I hadn’t brought my car and I started looking for a taxi. As luck would have it, I got a coach on my route and was home by 5pm.

By that time the details had started coming through on TV. The explosion happened near the Tariq Road flyover. Over 12 people were killed and the injured were taken to JPMC.

A sad day for Karachiites.

Another bomb explosion occurred at the JPMC. Stretchers flew in the air and people were really thrown around. 10 people killed and 40 people injured.

Stocks ride high at the Karachi Stock Exchange

Friday was a fantastic day at the Karachi Stock Exchange. The result season has already started and some blue chip company is announcing its results every other day for the 4th quarter 2009. Expectations in the market are high right now as the 1st quarter 2010 may not be quite rosy for the investors due to the intense power crisis in the country and high interest rates.

The stocks to look out for seem to be the oil refineries (PRL, ATRL, NRL) and oil marketing companies (PSO, SHELL) with banks having an average quarter due to reports of the Non Performing Loans (NPL) keeping on increasing. Insurance companies and investment companies are also having a very tough time and what to say of the textile sector.

Government of Pakistan is to announce the Textile Policy in the coming days and there are expectations of a turnaround in the sector in the next 1 or 2 years provided the power crisis and law and order situation in the country come under control.

The Government has already announced that 2009-2010 would be the year of the industry and with the industrial policy to be announced in the next month we may see some improvement in the industry’s share in the GDP from the disappointing -7% progress in this year.

The rally at the stock exchange may go on till the result season is over so this seems to be the best time to make some profit.

4th quarter corporate results to be announced at the Karachi Stock Exchange

The fourth quarter ended on June 30 2009 and its that time of the year when corporates announce their financial results and shareholders anxiously wait for the amount of dividend that is going to be paid to them. The Karachi Stock Exchange is fluctuating in a specific range as the market is waiting for the quarterly monetary policy to be announced by the State Bank of Pakistan on July 25 2009 and the Trade Policy to be announced in the next week. More will however depend on how many basis points the State Bank of Pakistan cuts the interest rate. The market is expecting a 100 to 150 basis point cut.

There are strong indications that the interest rate will be cut however the exact number is not clear as Pakistan is bound by the IMF and has to keep its budget deficit and inflation in check. The recent cut in the interest rate of the National Savings Scheme also shows that the SBP will be cutting interest rates.

There is all possibility of a short to mid term rally in August 2009 if the interest rate is cut as per market expectations and there is sure profit to be made if leading shares are purchased at current levels. However, stranger things have happened and not all goes as expected so take a good look around and do your homework before buying any share.