2021 --- A world in upheaval

2021 --- a year brimming with hope --- to once again see a world not brought to a standstill by the Covid-19 pandemic right on the horizon

Predictions were made, plans were changed, and the hope of a better tomorrow kept us all anxiously awaiting the New Year

However, 2021 turned out to be just as --- if not more --- dramatic as the year before it

On January 10, a massive electricity blackout plunged the entire country into darkness after an engineering fault in the southern part of Pakistan

Karachi, Pakistan’s economic hub, during Saturday night’s power blackout

Photograph: Asif Hassan/AFP The electricity distribution system of more than 210 million people is a complex – and delicate – web, and a problem in one section of the grid can lead to cascading breakdowns countrywide

Homes across the country were plunged into darkness at about midnight

PHOTO: EPA This may have been a foreshadowing for what was yet to come

On January 11, coal miners belonging to the minority Hazara Shia community, who have been targeted time and again by terrorists, were first kidnapped and then killed at the hands of the Islamic State

Mourners chant slogans near the coffins of the miners who were killed in an attack by gunmen in the mountainous Mach area, during a sit-in protest at the eastern bypass, on the outskirts of Quetta on January 4

— AFP The incident spread shockwaves across the country with a slew of vigils and protests held in solidarity with the victims

People mourn their relatives, who were coal miners from the minority Shia Hazara community killed in an attack in Mach area of Bolan district, as they protest demanding justice, in Quetta, January 4

— Reuters To make matters worse, Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has a checkered past of inflaming public sentiment, claimed that the victims’ families were trying to blackmail him into succumbing to their demands

On May 10, the world finally opened its eyes to Israeli atrocities against Palestinians

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepts rockets launched into Tel Aviv from the Gaza Strip, May 16, 2021

(Corinna Kern/The New York Times) In Gaza, for 11 days straight, bombs rained down from the sky with Palestinians huddled wherever they could find sanctuary in fear

A ball of fire engulfing the al-Walid building which was destroyed in an Israeli air attack on Gaza City early on Thursday, the first day of the Eid al-Fitr religious festival, one of the most important dates in the Islamic calendar

PHOTO: AFP A total of 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, were killed with more than 1,900 others wounded in the carnage

No exceptions were made by Tel Aviv with men, women and children alike brutally murdered with thousands also thrown out of their homes to accommodate Jewish settlements

The mother of Palestinian Rasheed Abu Arra, who was killed, mourns her son alongside other women, in the town of Aqaba near Tubas, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank

Photo:Reuters In the United States, history was also made

An insurrection, led by Donald Trump supporters and incited by the then president of the country, took place on Capitol Hill

The chaotic scenes of violence from the bedrock of American democracy left the world in bewilderment with Trump, as a consequence, gaining the dubious honour of becoming the first ever US president to be impeached twice

Crowds of Trump supporters swarmed past barricades and breached the Capitol Building on Wednesday

Photo: Bloomberg In Afghanistan, the winds of change were also at work

Despite the US-backed Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani vowing to crush the incoming Taliban onslaught, the group managed to sweep almost the entire country in less than two weeks

A US soldier points his gun towards an Afghan passenger at the airport

PHOTO: AFP With Taliban fighters at the gates of Kabul, Ghani chose to flee Afghanistan claiming to do so “to avoid bloodshed”

Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 15, 2021

Photo: AP As the Taliban hoisted their white flag from the presidential palace in Kabul, this not only threw the evacuation of thousands of US and Afghan citizens from the country into mayhem but also drew to a close Washington’s --- longest war and most costly war

Afghans climb atop a plane at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul

Photo: AFP Pools of blood strewn with dead bodies, men falling from the sky and babies being thrown over barbed wire all in the hope for an escape from Taliban rule were some of the most everlasting images to come out in the days to come

Hundreds of Afghans packed into a US military cargo plane as they flee Kabul

Photo: US Air Mobility Command Back home in Pakistan the reality of 2021 continued to take over

Lahore was enveloped in smog with the polluted air draping the city as citizens tried their best to just breathe

While cases of violence against women also came to the fore in 2021

A vendor arranges his stall beside a street amid heavy smoggy conditions in Lahore on November 18

Photo: AFP The rape of a woman on the Punjab motorway along with the murder of 28-year-old Noor Mukadam in Islamabad forced introspection into where we have gone wrong as a society

Activists hold placards and candles during a protest rally against the brutal killing of Noor Mukadam, the daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat, who was found murdered at a house in Islamabad in July

Photo: AFP Then came more violence --- in the shape of mass protests by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan in October calling for the release of their head Saad Rizvi as well as the expulsion of the French ambassador

TLP members began their journey on Friday with the goal of reaching the capital Islamabad to pressure the government to release Saad Rizvi, the party's head

Photo: Reuters Seven security officials were killed and dozens more injured in violent clashes over the next 10 days before an agreement was finally reached with the government

Supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan run to cover amid the smoke of tear gas fired by police during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Lahore, Pakistan April 13, 2021

Photo: Reuters Meanwhile in Sialkot, the fans of religious extremism in Pakistan were in full swing as Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara was lynched to death and his body set ablaze by a mob on the pretext of committing blasphemy

Diyawadana's mother grieves at her son's coffin after his body was returned to Sri Lanka

Photo: Eranga Jayawardena/AP The spectre of the delta Covid variant also loomed large as public estates and hospitals were turned into Covid vaccination centres with the young and old coming out to get jabbed

A woman, Basanti, 71, reacts as she receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Karachi, Pakistan, on June 9, 2021

Photo: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro    

Date:08-Jan-2022 Reference:View Original Link