We cancelled our evening classes in the city last night (14 Feb) after we heard reports that the riots had escalated and two people had died due to police firing. It was strange going home and watching all the violence on TV. We saw the Punjab Assembly burning and mobs of angry rioters in the streets holding signs that said “Curse the Danish.”Cars Over 500 cars were vandalized and many properties destroyed. If I hadn’t watched the news I’d never have known, things in Defence and Cantt were going on as normal. The shops below our office had opened back up by evening. Apparently some bigger companies had come around in the morning threatening them to stay closed for the strike. In a city of 8 million people, it’s really like I’m living in a different world than those in the city centre. Literally, the army has been having a boxing championship right in front of the house I’m staying in, so there’s no question about the order being maintained in our area.
It seems the people in the city were shot by security guards. Here all the security guards have guns and every business has a security guard. Duiii and I were quite amused walking into shoe stores and having to walk buy an ex-army man with strings of bullets across his chest and his gun ready at any moment. Think what it would be like if you walked into payless and there was an armed guard. That’s what it’s like. Our office has a guard too. His name is Altaf and he has a really sweet smile, but he’s also armed and I’ve been told there are real bullets in his gun. He’s sitting about three feet away from me right now, ready to greet the students as they come up the stairs.
You can read the local news about the protests here:
Arson, violence on day of mob rule in Lahore: Two rioters dead; slow police response alleged -DAWN - Top Stories; February 15, 2006