KARACHI: Unlike the usual chaotic scenes of frantic family members eagerly waiting for word about their wounded relatives or running around looking for them among the dead after a blast or any other incident involving several victims, the atmosphere at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre’s emergency, where eight Pakistan Rangers personnel were brought after the attack, was rather calm on Wednesday evening.
There were no family members of the wounded or dead men around as almost all of them hailed from Punjab or some other city in Sindh. Their colleagues, some in plain clothes, stood aside with solemn expressions.
Almost half an hour after six men were rushed to the JPMC, two more ambulances brought in two other victims. “There was so much traffic on the way here that some of the ambulances were slowed down,” said a Rangers hawaldar, who refused to disclose his name.
About what happened, he said that the wounded were in a better position to answer that question. He had himself only rushed to the spot after hearing a huge explosion at the company headquarters’ gate. “The ill-fated Pakistan Rangers vehicle, a Hino, was returning with the men after duty. We were also returning from our duty at another spot in our pickup truck but were a little behind the one which was attacked,” he said while standing outside the emergency with his pickup.
“We are aware of the threats and are well prepared, usually wearing our helmets and vests at all times. But this time the men were returning from duty and had geared down and relaxed as they reached the barrier before the headquarters gates, where the unfortunate incident occurred,” he said.
Another soldier, also standing by the same vehicle, recognised the two men brought in later as Hayat Baloch, their gatekeeper or sentry, and Naik Saheb Khan, the attacked vehicle’s driver. “They are not that badly injured and have been brought in for checkups as besides the minor injuries they are also complaining of having lost their hearing after the blast,” he said after speaking to them.
Meanwhile, the director of the emergency section at the JPMC, Dr Seemin Jamali, told the media that they had initially received six Rangers men, three of them had died before reaching hospital and had been shifted to the mortuary. “Three others are in surgery. One of them is in a critical condition,” she said. “The men who have expired are listed as Hawaldar Amanat, Sipahi Irfan Jamil and Sipahi Saifullah.”
But some 10 minutes later hospital sources said the man listed as critical, Abdul Majid, also died during surgery.
Another tall Rangers man at the hospital said that he knew some of the men well. “Hawaldar Amanat is from Sialkot, Sipahi Irfan from Chakwal and Sipahi Saifullah hails from Rahim Yar Khan. Hawaldar Amanat was one of our senior most colleagues with 32 years of service with the Pakistan Rangers,” he said. “His children are all grown up and one of his sons has also joined Rangers service. He is with Wing 44. As for the families of the others, God knows if they even know what has befallen their sole breadwinners,” he said with a lump in his throat.