Pakistani-American Uber Eats driver’s killing renews discussion on gig economy violence

Pakistani-American Uber Eats driver’s killing renews discussion on gig economy violence
The shocking death of Pakistani-American Uber Eats driver Mohammad Anwar has renewed discussions about violence faced by minority-ethnic gig economy workers.
2 min read
29 March, 2021
Mohammad Anwar was killed working for Uber Eats [AFP/Getty]
A 66-year-old Pakistani-American Uber Eats driver was killed at work during a carjacking in Washington D.C. last Tuesday.

His death has led to renewed discussions about the abuse and racism suffered by disproportionately minority-ethnic gig economy workers in the US and UK.

An alarming video shared on social media shows the victim, Mohammad Anwar, 66, desperately trying to regain control of his vehicle as he hangs on from its door.

Anwar was ultimately tossed onto the pavement, where he laid fatally wounded as witnesses called for help.

Two teenage girls have been charged with armed carjacking and felony murder in connection with the case.

Police allege that the suspects, 13 and 15 years old, used a taser to take control of the car.

As juveniles, their names cannot be released, however, Dawn, a Pakistani English-language newspaper, says authorities have claimed they admitted involvement in the carjacking.

Anwar delivered food to support a wife, three children and four grandchildren, who he now leaves behind.

“The family is devastated by this senseless crime.

“Mohammad Anwar was a father, a grandfather, a husband and uncle beloved by many here in the United States and in Pakistan,” his relatives said in a statement reported by Dawn.

News of Anwar’s death has deeply affected Pakistani and broader Asian communities on both sides of the Atlantic.

More than $765,000 (£555,000) has been raised for the bereaved family on GoFundMe, with donations continuing to pour in.

The money will be used to provide Anwar an Islamic burial, and to lessen the family’s financial burden and pain caused by loss of income.

One Twitter user going by the handle “@october23rdd” revealed just how commonplace acts of violence are towards those in Anwar’s industry.

“My dad is an Uber driver [and] every other week he comes home to tell us about [a] bad experience he’s had with customers,” she said.

The incidents mentioned include passengers urinating in his car and, in a worrying parallel, trying to steal his vehicle.

“There is underlying racism towards [U]ber drivers and the treatment of them is horrific,” she continued.

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