The final day of the Karachi Eat Festival 2023 on Sunday was marred by chaos and confusion, leaving festivalgoers horrified by the events that took place. As reports of bullying, obscenity and ineffective leadership spread on social media, the once-beloved culinary festival became the latest casualty of Pakistan’s ongoing financial and economic crisis.
The three-day Karachi Eat Festival, which was scheduled from January 6th to 8th, 2023, was attended by approximately 250,000 eager food enthusiasts. However, as the final day drew to a close, social media was flooded with footage of utter anarchy, poor leadership and disturbance.
Images and videos of people scaling walls, busting past barriers, and filling spaces without tickets were widely shared on social media. One participant tweeted a prayer of thanks to God for “making it out” of the chaos, describing how males were attempting to intimidate every lady walking by outside the event. Despite the efforts of police to bring the situation under control, the power suddenly went out, leading to total chaos. Many festivalgoers were forced to scale shattered walls and jump to safety in order to escape the mob.
The Karachi Eat Festival, also known as the Karachi Eat, is one of the most well-known and culturally significant culinary festivals in Pakistan. For the past ten years, the festival has provided a platform for ambitious food entrepreneurs to showcase their talents to a diverse crowd of foodies of all ages.
A Pakistani woman took to Twitter to express her gratitude for having made it out of the festival venue safely. She reported that there were men outside the venue trying to gain entry to harass women, and the police were attempting to keep them under control. However, she described how the situation quickly escalated when the lights went out, with the men hooting and causing chaos. In order to escape the danger, she had to climb over a broken wall to reach her car.
However, following the events of the final day, there are calls on social media for such events to be banned in the city if adequate security measures cannot be put in place. “Stags broke the gates and forcefully entered #KarachiEat today. People are saying that they literally had to leave through spaces between walls and jump off them to get out of the chaos. Please ban such events in the city if security can’t be managed” said @armash on twitter.
It is a bitter disappointment for the organizers and attendees alike, as the Karachi Eat Festival had become a beloved annual tradition, showcasing the best of Pakistani culinary culture. But in the wake of the chaos and disorder, it remains to be seen if the event will be able to recover from this setback.