Walking on mud with reddish hue

Rescuers evacuate a victim from the site of the bomb blast in Karachi on March 3, 2013. — Photo by AFP

KARACHI: The blast occurred as the Maghrib prayer was drawing to a close. So it must be between 6.50 and 6.55pm. Even though the Masjid-i-Bilal is almost two kilometres from Abbas Town, it appeared the bomb had exploded in the mosque’s forecourt. That should give us an idea of the bomb’s killing power.

The main street of Abbas Town presented a scene of devastation. Apartment balconies on both sides had either disappeared or dangled in the form of blocks of plastered cement and twisted iron, as a fire engine tried to control fires raging in at least four flats. Mysteriously, the fires were on the fourth floor. At ground level, fronts of shops and flats bore the brunt of the explosion, with doors blown away from hinges, corrugated sheets and shutters lying broken and mangled and high tension electricity wires hanging loose. The pylon on which the transformer was mounted had bent, and at least half of the transformer had disappeared.

There was no police till I was there at 8pm, and young Shia volunteers controlled the crowd while they said in unison, “Ya Hussein, Ya Hussein”! Surprisingly, there was no panic, and those present – not necessarily all Shias – managed courtesy. It was difficult to walk. The asphalt on the road was not visible, covered as it was with debris, shards of glasses and shrapnel of every imaginable metal, wood and plastic. The fire engine’s water had flooded part of the street, and each time I tripped, stumbled or reeled, someone helped me in that hour of grief, “Uncle take care.”

Suddenly I realised that the mud under my jogger had a reddish hue. Is there some red light around? I asked. There couldn’t be, because, power was off. Then suddenly I became aware of the sacrilege I was guilty of unconsciously. It was mud mixed with blood. Whose blood I guessed – a newly wed’s? Or that of a pregnant woman, who was now in eternal rest with her unborn, or may be a little boy at a candy store? It was too painful to think.

A bearded middle-aged man appeared hysterical and was being managed by a relative; a young man was crying while talking on his cellphone, while two young men were in embrace and were crying. One youth was in tears alone. I probed him, and he said: “All those in these flats are my brothers and sisters.”

I was now suffering from what is known as frontline isolation. I don’t know whether it was a car-bomb blast, a suicide bomber or an IED triggered electronically, or how many had died and had been wounded – facts which can be had by what Robert Fisk calls telephone reporting. But, to go by what Rehman Malik said there was no doubt the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had made its presence felt.

The front of the apartment building known as Rabia Flower was in tatters. Two ladies from that building – who are teachers in the same school where my sister teaches – had come over to us for lunch last week. Their children were preparing for exams. We phoned them, and they said they had escaped unhurt because they were away from the balcony. Those in the balconies precisely at the moment suffered; those on the ground must have been reduced to smithereens. Fires raged in apartments because Sui gas pipes and geysers blew up. Shopkeepers, pushcart owners, their clients and those in the street must have been atomised. A pushcart with vegetables stayed in place – at least it so appeared to me.

A minute extra at a traffic signal or a half a minute of stroll in the other street made the difference between life and death. It is not that the LeJ’s bombs are killing Shias; it is the citizens of Pakistan and it is the human beings who are being murdered in cold blood for reasons that only perverted minds can justify.

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Comments (57) Closed

Swaran Singh
Mar 05, 2013 03:42pm
This is extremely cruel to kill innocent children, women & men. Can anybody tell me why? That is too much; please stop it. It seems there is more than what seems to simple mind. Who is trying to threaten whom with this senseless violence. When cruelty crosses a limit, it becomes our human duty to stand with victims. Who knows, tomorrow it could be me & my family. I as a free democratic Indian support my Pakistani brothers & sisters in this moment of inhuman cruelty & injustice. Be strong & patient Pakistan , these moments of senseless violence will pass . Rabh Rakhaa.
Mar 05, 2013 12:54am
Guns are no match for bombs!!!
Mar 04, 2013 11:21am
Indeed the complete land of Pakistan is red with blood of Muslims. May Allah bestow His Reham on us, The main reason for such actions is the lack of responsibility of the educated class in participating to spread the true spirit and message of Islam and naturally the predicament that follows is that religious leadership is in the hands of people who have nothing to do with "reasoning". Unlike our sahaba (ra), our salf and imams, All of whom strongly believed in reasoning...... The educated instead of condemning the situation must step forward and put their part in propagating the true message of Islam.
Mar 04, 2013 01:38pm
So depressed, No reward is going to get killing innocent people doesn't matter what cast they belongs to. Whoever is responsible will see the torment here and hereafter. May Allah give peace ato deceased and strength to the family to bear their loss?
Mar 04, 2013 10:42pm
May god give peace to the innocent people who lost their lives, i hope that the Pakistani Gov will find and punish these monsters.
Mar 04, 2013 05:33pm
The Shia are about 20% of 180 million Pakistanis. Who are they going to hurt? What harm could they do? Islam - the Quran can't possibly agree with this sort of thing, but it's beyond obvious that those who kill innocent people are taught that this is within the bounds of their religion. That belief has to be the product of a truly dumbed down mind - of both the teacher and the killer.
Mar 04, 2013 05:16pm
Pakistan has become a Jurassic park: Justice Markandey Katju
Mar 04, 2013 04:16pm
Why do you all say True msg of Islam. Nothing to do with True msg of Islam. Most of the muslim countries are suffering. Please say right message of safety, Social bonding. Sit togather and think for safety procedures. Army, police and government can not help if we can not help ourselves. Where are the safety guards around the buildings? No parking near the flats. Can we agree for safety? Sunnis come forward to help Shias. Eatablish an example that we are togather.
Dr. Rahman
Mar 04, 2013 01:26pm
Mr Baloch! Believe me and I speak for whole lot of folks your comment is pathetic and has nothing to do with reality and especially at this time you should pray for deceased and for peace.
Mar 05, 2013 12:51pm
A typical Pakistani...living in a world of denial and still believe that it is an handiwork of others!!! Shame..
Mar 04, 2013 01:24pm
Shia Or Sunni.So other communities like Hindu, Sikh Christians , Ahmadi etc are not even human for you.
Mar 04, 2013 07:36am
muslims paying for the bad they have done to non muslims for centuries... may allah punish them even more
Mar 04, 2013 07:33am
cause some have embraced the stagnant ideology of Jihad.
Mar 04, 2013 07:23am
Human being is the best creation of Allah according to Quran. Killing one human (regardless of religion and faith) is killing of whole humanity. This barbaric acts can never be justified in compliance with the teaching of Islam. Therefore I wonder whether any muslim can peform such grusome act or is there any invisible force behind it?
Mar 04, 2013 01:43pm
To be muslim is to be against non muslims. To be human is to be equal regardless of religion. Think about it
sister nafisa
Mar 04, 2013 12:56pm
I am crying! what else I can do.
Mar 04, 2013 08:49am
The leadership was busy attending weddings along with the entire force of public servants. The poor were left to fend for themselves. No words of sympathy and no one visited to console those affected. Even the tv channel owned by this media house was showing marriage ceremonies today, all the death and sectruction forgotten. Their anchors did not have the courage to even name the people whose engagement took precedence over this carnage. Shame on all, may the wrath of Allah fall on them.
Mar 04, 2013 01:14pm
I fail to understand this senseless killings. A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.
Mar 04, 2013 05:58am
and we called our self muslim
Iqbal khan
Mar 04, 2013 10:28am
We need a military dictator to run this country.
Gerry D'Cunha
Mar 04, 2013 08:40am
rahul: your question!!! Why are Muslims killing Muslims in Pakistan ? you need to study your islamic history, down the line, through the centuary - you will get the answer.
Mar 04, 2013 05:13am
We demand operations against LeJ, We demand operations against TTP, we demand operations against all these monsters who are killing our brothers and sisters. Who has given them the damn license to kill any human be it Shia or Sunni!
Sam Kassim
Mar 04, 2013 04:57am
Mar 04, 2013 04:41am
Karachi stock exchange is already booming and making highest records.
Tariq Mehsud
Mar 04, 2013 04:33am
We are reaping the fruits of a fake democracy for five years.
Mar 04, 2013 04:31am
Very sad indeed. Why are Muslims killing Muslims in Pakistan ?
Mar 04, 2013 04:13am
May Allah bless them highest palce in Jannah and take these people to task...and on other side VIPs were enjoying gazals of Rahat Fateh Ali in teh Engagement of Shermila Farooqi...What a shame
Mar 04, 2013 03:56am
Please no more references from holy book or any hadiths. no more claims of peace loving religion and innocence. Lets just come together as human being against these barbarians and make them taste their own dish.
non resident
Mar 04, 2013 03:58am
Senseless killings of innocent Shias by extremists
Mar 04, 2013 03:03pm
Its important to remain objective. Pakistanis are not killing Pakistanis here. This has happened before. we have signed two big agreements which are not acceptable by certain countries, Giving port to China and Iran gas pipeline. This was bound to happen. Be vigilant and remain strong. This too shall pass.
Goga Nalaik
Mar 04, 2013 09:12am
My sincere sympathies to the families of all those who got killed or injured in this inhuman and barbaric terrorist attack. Seeds of hatred sown during the regime Zia ul Haq have already destroyed 2 generations of Pakistanis. The slogan
zaidi tayyab
Mar 04, 2013 09:12am
Their is no dought that without the help of law and enforcement agencies this could not had happen.Shia of Pakistan are paying heavy price and state of Pakistan is doing nothing. Now it is time for us to moblise all communities and start long-march towards Islamabad.remain in the capital untill this solve.All political and religious parties blame each other but solution is nowhere.
Mar 04, 2013 03:52am
In tears reading this. Its madness. Utter madness. May these criminals be punished in this world and the next and may the families of the deceased be blessed with patience.
Mar 04, 2013 08:44am
pakistan needs to be secular
salma hasan
Mar 04, 2013 03:47am
i think we cannot do anything with these barbarians but we can recognize their companions like fazulrahman.we should stop calling these people maulana or ulema. discover some other suitable words for them or if urdu does not have any proper word for these animals make up some words. but alas these so called maualnas have their followers who think that killing shias is not a sin.
Mar 04, 2013 03:03am
Sir, I have no words to express my sorrow to you or the affected from this senseless carnage. May the winds of peace touch upon the cheeks of the the killed or affected.
Mar 04, 2013 08:56am
To be Muslim is to be human.
Mar 04, 2013 08:56am
what is going on? where we are heading? do we deserve this? despite shia and sunni ... are we nation ... people are laughing and enjoying despite the tragedy ... no one cares only for a minute or so .... our government is so corrupt ???? no we are corrupt ? IF these people elected again than we really deserve this??? we should be killed if we elected these criminals again... i think its time ... or otherwise we could be the next one in the news ?????
Goga Nalaik
Mar 04, 2013 02:36pm
I think Rahul is not muslim and not interesting in reading our history. Number of traitors that our religion Islam has produced is far more Superior than those produced by other religions. It is to be noted that Islam is the youngest most religion ... Root cause is : illiteracy or education. Education open all doors of hearts and minds whereas illiteracy closes them all.
Mar 04, 2013 08:55am
"It is not that the LeJ
Cyrus Howell
Mar 04, 2013 12:38pm
Islam is a good hiding place.
Mar 04, 2013 12:39pm
Bhatti just because it is written in quran doesn't mean muslims are following it. WAKE UP It is time to catch the criminals who exist within the society and get over the "invisible force" that has given these people sheild for ages.
Mar 04, 2013 03:48pm
My dear this is the wrath of a military dictator, Zia ul Haq
Cyrus Howell
Mar 04, 2013 12:29pm
The things you see when you don't have your gun with you.
Cyrus Howell
Mar 04, 2013 12:35pm
Everybody wants to be somebody important.
Mar 04, 2013 08:13am
It is time.terrorists like Hafeez Sayeed,be handed over to India to meet the goal of justice.One such step will show determination of Pakistan state to eradicate terrorism
Mar 04, 2013 08:07am
This is very unbearable situation in Pakistan. I am from india and when i listen this news then i was shocked because recently terrorists hit Shia Muslims in Quetta and now they are success to made another attempt. People said right that "Pakistan is the heaven of Terrorists". Govt completely fail to take actions against terrorists. very sad.........
Mar 05, 2013 02:31am
Will never happen. We will just keep burning in the fire of religious hate. No other outcome is possible.
Mar 05, 2013 02:34am
Five years??? Exactly when were you born???
Mar 05, 2013 04:26pm
And we call ourselves Humans?? To be a Muslim you've to be a human first.
Mar 05, 2013 04:44am
He is no Baloch. Just trying to spread more hate against them.
Mar 05, 2013 03:31pm
It is about time we open debate on Islam and clarify the core isuues these extreme fanatics believe in so blindly.
Mar 05, 2013 08:21am
This is the approach which need to be changed. Every religion is good when you follow it with your mind open. So many people(mostly non Muslims) from red cross are dying in such terrorist attack just because they care for humanity. But sad part is, the people they are dying for does not consider them human because their parameter of humanity is religion.
Mar 05, 2013 11:22am
Speak the same against these guys in open and soon you ll be part of their hit list.
Mar 05, 2013 02:20pm
Ummati: What according to you came in existence first? Humans or religion? Or you think that non-Muslims are not humans? You are programmed to such an extent that you cannot think anything beyond religion.
Mar 05, 2013 02:31pm
Being a Sunni it shames me to be even associated with these barbarians. All people in Pakistan need to wake up and realize that extremeism is consuming our country. Let's stop this madness.
Mar 05, 2013 03:20pm
" we should stop calling these people maulana or ulema. discover some other suitable words for them----". Here are suggestions for the names of some of these groups: LeJ as Lashkar-e-Jahanumi. TTP as Tehrik-e-Tabahi-e-Pakistan. Sipah-e-Sahabah as Sipah-e-Shiateen. This will not even require them to change their acronyms. As a matter of fact Urdu language is rich with words that would very appropriately define these segments of our society. However, manners and etiquette bar one from addressing them as such in a family newspaper like 'Dawn'.