LAHORE: Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at various city hospitals where a number of dead and injured people were shifted by public and private ambulances and other vehicles following the blast at Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park on Sunday.
Jinnah Hospital was the main infirmary where over 20 dead bodies and 70 injured were shifted within an hour of the terrorist attack.
Since there was a rush of visitors in the park due to the weekly holiday and Easter celebrations, there are reports of deaths of many Christians, including children.
“As it was Easter, my brother had gone to the park along with his friend. As soon as we learnt about the blast, we phoned him. But his phone was picked by a stranger who told us that he didn’t know where he was. Later, his cell phone was switched off,” Kashid Maseeh, a resident of Babu Sabu who was inquiring about his brother from a hospital official, told Dawn.
There was an emergency situation at Jinnah, Sheikh Zayed and Lahore General hospitals where ambulances were bringing the injured and the dead. On arrival of an ambulance people would rush to identify their loved ones.
“I have seen many ambulances, but I couldn’t find my brother who had gone to the park,” Shehnaz, a 25-year-old Christian woman, said.
Talking to Dawn, Punjab Food Minister Bilal Yaseen, who was present at the Jinnah Hospital, said: “Though we cannot determine at the moment how many Christians were among those killed and injured in the attack, our main duty is to try hard and save the injured.”
During the first two hours after the tragedy, 38 injured were brought to Jinnah, 34 to LGH, 14 at Ganga Ram and 22 at Sheikh Zayed hospitals. “The injured include 56 children and 73 women,” Lahore DCO retired Capt Muhammad Usman told Dawn at Jinnah Hospital.
Commissioner Abdullah Khan Sumbal confirmed death of 65 people. “It is confirmed that 65 people have died. Over 220 are injured and being treated in various public sector hospitals,” he told Dawn from Jinnah Hospital.
There were continuous appeals for blood donations for the injured at the Jinnah Hospital, resulting in long queues of donors. “We just arrived here to donate blood for the injured,” Ali Hassan, a donor said.
Many among the injured were in a state of trauma while being treated by the doctors in hospital emergencies.
“We reached the park in the evening along with our 10 relatives who came from Sanghar district of Sindh to visit Lahore a couple of days ago. We were a group of 13 people out of which only three survived the attack,” Muhammad Zubair, a 27-year-old injured man told this reporter. He said the blast took place when he was buying tickets for swings. “I witnessed my parents, sisters and relatives dying on the spot. Now everything has finished for me,” he mourned.
Meanwhile, according to Rescue 1122, till 10:30pm 65 people were killed and 340 injured. “There were 39 bodies and 125 injured in Jinnah, five bodies and 48 injured in Shiekh Zayed, six dead and 41 injured at Services, six dead and 33 injured at Farooq Hospital, nine dead and 12 injured at Mayo, 53 injured at LGH, 20 at Ganga Ram and eight at Bajwa Hospital,” a Rescue 1122 spokesman explained.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2016