PESHAWAR: Death and destruction again descended on the provincial capital, leaving 18 innocent people killed including three teenage brothers.
It was gruesome to see charred and mutilated bodies and scores of injured persons scattered around and the place, situated near the Badbher police station on Kohat Road, strewn with human blood, damaged vehicles and destroyed shops.
Eyewitnesses said that the horrible scene could not be explained in words. As the place of occurrence was away from the city, the injured and bodies were mostly shifted in private vehicles to Lady Reading Hospital, a major public sector hospital bearing the load of militancy-related emergencies.
It was gloom and sorrow spread across the hospital as people were trying to locate their relatives among the dead and injured persons. The relatives of the killed were wailing and crying whereas health professionals were busy in dealing with the injured .
The volunteers of Al-Khidmat Foundation, a relief organisation, were busy in putting the bodies of the deceased persons including six teenagers into coffins and placing them in private ambulances for transportation to their residences.
Ijaz Khan, himself a teenager, was standing in a corner and crying as he had lost four of his cousins, three of whom were brothers. They were small time vendors selling naswar (snuff) and boiled corncobs on the main road. Zar Saz, their father, has gone to Saudi Arabia only a month ago for labour work.
Sadarat, the elder of the three brothers was around 18, whereas the younger, Tariq Shah, was 13. The faces of two of the brothers were half blown.
“What was the crime of these children? How I am going to carry these four bodies home and face their mothers,” Ijaz said with tears rolling down his cheeks. He said that in the unfortunate family of five siblings only a brother and a sister were left.
A cousin of the three brothers, Intizar, who was also around 18, was killed and his father Sher Zaman was injured in the blast.
Gul Janab, 15, was another victim who worked as labourer in the nearby market. A strange twist of fate brought this ill-fated family from Tirah, Khyber Agency, to Badbher. “We left Tirah for our safety and rented a house here, but we were not aware that death would chase us here,” said Usman Jan, the father of the deceased boy.
Sitting beside his coffin in an ambulance, the elderly man said that the deceased was second among his six children.
The abdomen of the deceased boy was torn apart and one of his relatives was requesting the volunteers at the hospital if they could stitch it so that the body could be given bath before burial. The health professionals and other people told him that he was a martyr and there was no need of giving him a bath as the body was mutilated.
Another unfortunate family was that of Bakht Bibi, who lost her grandson Luqman, 13. The woman, a resident of Speena Thana near Dara Death and destruction descends on Peshawar again Adamkhel, was going to Rawalpindi to visit her son Sher Ali, a tractor mechanic. She was accompanied by her son Yaqoob and Sher Ali’s son Luqman. They were boarding a passenger vehicle passing through the area when the explosion took place.
The old woman, whose clothes were splattered with the blood of her grandson, was profusely crying while accompanying the coffin of Luqman from hospital. “I did not know that instead of reaching Rawalpindi I will carry this coffin,” she said.
Yaqoob, around 15, also received injuries and was admitted to the hospital. “I heard a deafening blast and soon the atmosphere was filled with dust and nothing was visible,” Yaqoob said, adding that the personnel of law enforcement agencies also opened firing that instilled more fear among the people. He said that he saw his nephew Luqman killed in the blast.
Following the blast, Provincial Minister Shah Farman visited the place of the incident as it is in his constituency. He appeared with the Pakistan Tehrik-s-Insaaf’s (PTI's) old mantra that all the destruction was because of US-led war against terrorism and drone strikes which had been creating hundreds of suicide bombers.
With no words of condemnation for the perpetrators of the brutal act of terrorism, the minister said that they had to pull out of the war to stop such incidents.