VICE Guide to Karachi: Junkies, Scavengers, and Crocodiles (Part 4/5)

Uploaded by vice on 04.06.2012


SUROOSH ALVI: Yesterday, we came here with the police for
the operation that felt like we were on the set of Cops.
We're back here today, much to the chagrin of the cops, who
say that it's too dangerous to be here because this is a
Taliban town, and this is where everyone gets kidnapped
from, and that we shouldn't be here.
But we wanted to find out from the people who live here
exactly what they thought of the operation yesterday.
So let's go see.
Our fixer was very nervous about being a sitting duck in
the middle of Orangi Town, to the point where he refused to
get out of the car.
He said we were asking for trouble.
We promised we'd only ask two quick questions and then get
the hell out of there.






Let's bounce, people are watching and making
calls, so let's go.
As soon as we approached those guys, the vibe suddenly
changed, and I had a sinking feeling that we had overstayed
our welcome.
Let's get the fuck out of here.
Get in, quickly.

The last guys, I think, were Taliban.

The last two people I went up to, they
refused to talk to us.
I looked over at my corner, and there was a guy glaring at
me on the phone, making a call to someone else, which was our
cue to leave.

We didn't get kidnapped in Orangi Town, so we decided to
push our luck by visiting the place where the kidnapped
victims are reportedly held--
the dump.
The air was thick with smoldering rot.
There were millions of flies, and the stench was unbearable.
MALE SPEAKER: God dammit, man.
I think they're up my pants
SUROOSH ALVI: Look at this cute little guy.
Hey, little buddy.
How's life living off garbage?



We're here--
We're here-- hold on.
MALE SPEAKER: Standing still is a problem with the flies,
We're here, an hour outside of Karachi, in the largest waste
dump in Karachi, and some say the largest
waste dump in the world.
It's just like maybe out of a film about the future and
post-apocalypse and this is all that's left.
And when the gangsters kidnap people, the best place to
bring them is just on the other side of this garbage
dump, because no one ever comes out there.
I mean, why would they?
It's brutal.
It's like hell on Earth.

I knew that going to one of the largest garbage dumps in
the world--
70 million square feet and counting--
would be a miserable experience, but I was shocked
at just how miserable it was.
When Pakistan became a nation in 1947, Karachi was home to
about 450,000 people.
Today, there are almost 18 million people producing about
8,000 metric tons of trash every day.
Scavengers here burn that crash, sending god knows what
into the air over Karachi, in order to extract the tiniest
bits of metal that they can sell to recyclers for pennies.
The UNHCR reports that as many as 20,000 children spend their
days here in the dump, most of them refugees from the war in

Another effect of the war in Afghanistan has been a major
increase in the flow of heroin into Pakistan, and at rock
bottom prices.
Come on, let's go.

MALE SPEAKER: All right, we're coming, man.
SUROOSH ALVI: We're going to buy some heroin.
We're going to buy some dope with these guys.
And it's weird, because we're like, hey, can we watch you
guys shoot up and buy some heroin?
They're like, sure, why not?
Sounds like a perfectly good idea.
While one gram of heroin can cost more than $200 in the US,
here in Karachi, it costs about $0.80.
Wow, we just lost them dropping down.
This is the shop for heroin.
Even at these ridiculously low prices, the market for illegal
opiates in Pakistan is more than $1 billion annually, with
roughly 160 metric tons of heroin coming in every year,
feeding the habits of over four million addicts.
We headed back to these guys' favorite place to shoot up--
the middle of a busy street.
Now we've got some heroin zombies on our tail.


SUROOSH ALVI: Since we were having such a heavy day, our
fixer decided to take us someplace that he thought
might cheer us up.
So we're going to see some crocodiles that they say are
hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.

Are those things fake or real?
OK, I don't know what the fuck is going on, dude?
I don't know why I'm here.
Oh, what's in its mouth?
No, thanks.
I am not going in there.
You can go ahead.

BASIM USMANI: These crocodiles are actually disciples of a
famous Punjabi saint named Ganjshakar.
They're famous for eating gulab jamuns and halva.
They're the only crocodiles in the world that eat desserts.
SUROOSH ALVI: That's random.

That's a great sound effect.
Why is there a crocodile farm museum here?

SUROOSH ALVI: After that weird interlude, we headed back to
the hotel to rest up for one of the scariest appointments
we'd ever made--
a meeting with a target killer.