Peshawar lands into an intense festival of ambulance siren, as soon as a bomb blast strikes a security convoy near Kohat Road on 6th September, 2013. There is no terror or fear on the faces of people. Most shops remain open, cars and bikes glide on the main artery, the GT Road.

— Photos and text by Saad Sarfraz Sheikh, edited by Hammad Ahmed Abbasi

As if immunised the people of Peshawar go on with their lives.   The cacophony concludes at the city’s Lady Reading Hospital, where the actual activity takes place, right behind the strikingly high walls of the FC headquarters Bala Hisaar Fort.
As if immunised the people of Peshawar go on with their lives. The cacophony concludes at the city’s Lady Reading Hospital, where the actual activity takes place, right behind the strikingly high walls of the FC headquarters Bala Hisaar Fort.
The Lady Reading hospital was established by the jewish Lord Reading’s wife, who realised the absence of proper medical treatment in the province, when she suffered an injury.
The Lady Reading hospital was established by the jewish Lord Reading’s wife, who realised the absence of proper medical treatment in the province, when she suffered an injury.
Little did Lady Reading know that almost a hundred years later, her hospital would become sole facility to provide treatment to victims of bomb blasts, traumatic incidents and tribal clashes that occur in KP, FATA, & Afghanistan.
Little did Lady Reading know that almost a hundred years later, her hospital would become sole facility to provide treatment to victims of bomb blasts, traumatic incidents and tribal clashes that occur in KP, FATA, & Afghanistan.
During the last decade, the Lady Reading Hospital has helped thousands of named and un-named victims of bomb blasts and terror attacks, win the battle of life and death.
During the last decade, the Lady Reading Hospital has helped thousands of named and un-named victims of bomb blasts and terror attacks, win the battle of life and death.
Here too like most Peshawarites, if you ask for directions people will say "take a right from where there were blast victims last week”.
Here too like most Peshawarites, if you ask for directions people will say "take a right from where there were blast victims last week”.
An emergency meeting underway, headed by Medical Superintendent, Dr Afridi.
An emergency meeting underway, headed by Medical Superintendent, Dr Afridi.
The traumatologist, Dr Jamal, and staff of the Accidents and Emergency (A&E) department quickly update the MS on those who have died, and those in critical condition, in a quick flurry of pashto. They are well-trained and the meeting ends after two minutes.
The traumatologist, Dr Jamal, and staff of the Accidents and Emergency (A&E) department quickly update the MS on those who have died, and those in critical condition, in a quick flurry of pashto. They are well-trained and the meeting ends after two minutes.
As we run towards the A&E department, the passageway is an ugly amalgamation of old blood and mud. Stretchers fly in from almost every direction, as inside the department, every corner is now a small operation theatre. As the emergency staff administer first aid, there are people crying, screaming.
As we run towards the A&E department, the passageway is an ugly amalgamation of old blood and mud. Stretchers fly in from almost every direction, as inside the department, every corner is now a small operation theatre. As the emergency staff administer first aid, there are people crying, screaming.
The traumatologist says that often the emergency ward itself resembles a battlefield, as suicide bombers are also known to follow politicians and policemen who come to visit the injured. Moreover, the sudden barrage of TV news teams, who assemble their fortress of wires and cameras, battling for the “right angle” further complicate and add stress to the situation.
The traumatologist says that often the emergency ward itself resembles a battlefield, as suicide bombers are also known to follow politicians and policemen who come to visit the injured. Moreover, the sudden barrage of TV news teams, who assemble their fortress of wires and cameras, battling for the “right angle” further complicate and add stress to the situation.
With most terrorist attacks, the dead are left for identification at the morgue, while the injured are discharged after treatment or forwarded to Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) to cater to their specific injuries in the only hospital to treat terror victims of the entire province and its adjoining region.
With most terrorist attacks, the dead are left for identification at the morgue, while the injured are discharged after treatment or forwarded to Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) to cater to their specific injuries in the only hospital to treat terror victims of the entire province and its adjoining region.
Noorah, a refugee from the Afghan province of Kunar whose husband died on the long journey to the hospital, spreads her veil and sits on the floor of the hospital's main building. Her two young sons play, while she begs for food and money.  Most refugees do not possess National ID cards, and prefer costlier private clinics in Peshawar to escape detection. But the refugees who are poor like Noorah have no option but to go to the LRH.
Noorah, a refugee from the Afghan province of Kunar whose husband died on the long journey to the hospital, spreads her veil and sits on the floor of the hospital's main building. Her two young sons play, while she begs for food and money. Most refugees do not possess National ID cards, and prefer costlier private clinics in Peshawar to escape detection. But the refugees who are poor like Noorah have no option but to go to the LRH.
Noorah’s desolate eyes look up to Lord and Lady Reading's paintings on the wall, as if expecting them to come out and help her. Under the pair's watchful eyes, Lady Reading Hospital has witnessed wars, invasions, bomb blasts and terrorist attacks.
Noorah’s desolate eyes look up to Lord and Lady Reading's paintings on the wall, as if expecting them to come out and help her. Under the pair's watchful eyes, Lady Reading Hospital has witnessed wars, invasions, bomb blasts and terrorist attacks.
In 2014, the hospital will spectate the withdrawal of Allied Forces from Afghanistan, and the expected increased in conflict is likely to put the hospital under further stress.
In 2014, the hospital will spectate the withdrawal of Allied Forces from Afghanistan, and the expected increased in conflict is likely to put the hospital under further stress.

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Comments (3) Closed

Nizamuddin Ali Ahmad
Sep 20, 2013 04:31am

Thank you Lady Reading for the gift to humanity is there any one from us who can build a hospital half of this magnificent hospital. The Prime Minister of this country can wear a 6.5 million dollars (72 crore rupees ) wrist watch and never built a room for the needy people.

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Ally Adnan
Sep 20, 2013 09:01am

A wonderful piece.

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Dr ZENAB
Sep 20, 2013 09:55am

Amazing work saad and lovely capture. Keep it up!!

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