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Sharmeen Gangat: Crime and (the Lack of) Punishment in Pakistan

The night of May 10, 2007, was violently nightmarish for us. My husband and I were on a yearly trip from our home in New York to visit family and friends in Pakistan. We arrived in Karachi on the night of May 10, 2007. My family met us at the airport and in just 20 minutes of landing, our car, carrying my sister, brother, and myself, rolled up to the front of my parents' house. Another car, carrying my husband and father, had left the airport bit sooner. We expected to see them removing the luggage as we pulled up. Instead, I saw my father and husband standing outside their car, encircled by four, young, clean-shaven boys brandishing AK-47 assault rifles. Before I could comprehend the situation, there was a burst of rifle shots. In utter confusion, my brother threw the car into reverse. The armed men began spraying bullets at us, and we crashed into a lamppost. Wielding their rifles, they surrounded our car, smashing the windows with their guns and forcing us out into the street. I was convinced that I would not see my loved ones again. My brother was pulled out of the car and beaten up before my eyes, while my husband and father looked on at gunpoint. Meanwhile, another vehicle pulled alongside our car, yelled something at the armed boys, and they all zoomed off, taking only our luggage. We thanked our stars that it had not been worse.

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