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

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