Comedian Shehzad Ghias calls out ‘classist, bigoted’ take connecting flood affectees’ migration to crime influx

Published 18 Sep, 2022 05:15pm

Images Staff

He highlighted the "mind-numbing lack of empathy" and said the issue has to do with ethnicity as well.

<p>Photo: Shehzad Ghias Shaikh/Instagram and Twitter</p>

Photo: Shehzad Ghias Shaikh/Instagram and Twitter

Standup comedian Shehzad Ghias is standing up against bigoted views on Pakistani Twitter. Some people, drenched heavily in tone-deafness, have voiced their ‘concern’ with the crime rate going up when flood affectees, who have lost their homes, jobs and possessions, migrate to other cities such as Karachi. He called out the lack of empathy and questioned how many Karachiites are originally from this place themselves.

On Saturday, Ghias tweeted, “The idea that flood affectees will come to Karachi and commit crimes is one of the most racist, classist and bigoted takes I’ve ever seen on social media — and it is somehow being widely shared by people as the right thing to say. Heartless doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

Quote-sharing his tweet, he highlighted the extent of damage the flood-affected people have suffered, “People have lost everything. Entire towns and villages are under water. How does one look at that and think ‘now these people will come to Karachi and steal my phone’ — how is that your concern when you look at the devastation? Mind-numbing lack of empathy.”

He received a lot of responses trying to justify the take. One of them referred to flood affectees as the other, saying Karachi is already unable to manage its own and questioning how “this lot” would fare here. The comedian shared the tweet, shocked at the othering of the flood affectees. He brought the attention to people residing in Karachi, questioning how many of them are actually originally from the city themselves. “Is it only September 2022 where we decide that everyone who is already here is a Karachiite and now everyone else is an outsider or do we check everyone’s origins?”

After going through the replies, he observed that a lot of them were discriminatory in terms of ethnicity. “The cold hard truth of the matter is that this issue is as much about ethnicity as it is about class,” he wrote. Ghias expanded on the stereotypes, saying Pashtuns are considered illegal and unwelcome in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. Sindhis and Saraikis are seen as others and are unwelcome in Karachi as well.

The country has been struck with one of the worst calamities in its history, some of our own have been hit hard by it. Empathy should be the go-to response — people have lost everything. It is better to be quiet than to be unkind.

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