The search amid desperate sobs and a few sighs of relief

Published February 24, 2017
LAHORE: People come out of the General Hospital after a blast at Z block defence commercial area.— Online
LAHORE: People come out of the General Hospital after a blast at Z block defence commercial area.— Online

LAHORE: Lines of relatives sit outside the pre-operation room at the National Hospital in Defence. One woman is weeping inconsolably. Her son was injured in the blast.

“He has received some injuries but I still cannot come to terms with what has happened,” she says.

Two siblings – a brother and a sister – search for their father, desperation and worry marking their faces. “My father Parvez is a gardener who was on duty today. His job is to maintain those lawns in the market square.”


Inside the hospitals that treated those injured in DHA blast


Sajjad, who braves his way outside the emergency ward after an x-ray of his hand, says that he worked in an office opposite the location where the blast occurred. “We were working in the basement and then suddenly after a loud explosion, the building started shaking. We rushed outside as fast as we could.”

The blast took place outside a building that was under construction, sandwiched between Tony and Guy Hair Salon and Bombay Chowpatty on one side and a UBL Bank branch on the other.

Adnan Rasheed was working in the under-construction building when the blast happened. He was given relaxants in order to calm him down. His hair was badly burnt and his clothes were bloody from his various injuries. However, despite the relaxants, he was unable to sleep.

“The owner of the building had come to take a look inside and I was there too. The café was meant to be opened after a couple of months, and work was still being done.”

According to one of the doctors in National Hospital, most injuries were because of people being thrown on the ground or against a wall.

Those who were injured and brought into the National Hospital included Adnan Rasheed (21), Anwarul Haq (25), Sarmad Fiaz (22), Azhar Ali (21), Asif Ali (45), Dawood (22), Sunny (19), Razzaq (age unknown), Saima Sajjad (37), Salman Khan (age unknown), Nadia Waseem (age unknown), Babar (27) and Sajjad (28). Salman Khan, Sunny and Razzak were seriously injured with severe burns and were admitted to the ICU ward. Anwarul Haq was also termed serious with severe burns.

At the Lahore General Hospital, security was tighter and police and hospital administration did not allow media to enter the emergency ward. All departments, even those unrelated to the incident had police personnel stationed outside for checking. All people entering the premises of the hospital were also checked.

The DMS Dr Iqbal said that some of the serious patients were taken to the ICU while five had expired. The relatives were being informed.

Inside the emergency ward, patients were being treated for their wounds. Doctors said most injuries were caused by glass shards, but there were no cases of shrapnel injuries.

Two janitors of the UBL Bank which was right next to the building where the blast had occurred were also badly injured.

“Our job is to stand outside mostly, so when the blast happened we were badly injured,” says Aquib Masih whose eye was swollen and head was bandaged. Zeeshan Masih was in pain and could not speak.

About 21 people were received by the General Hospital of which four were received dead. Another one died at the hospital.

Those with injuries included Sunny (40), Nasir (34), Jafar (40), Sunny (26), Hafeez (27), Riaz (35), Waseem (22), Tahir (32), Faisal (41), Ahmed (50), Adeel (28), Aquib (16), Afzal (26), Mansha (50), Zeeshan (16), Asif (25) and Faisal (41).

Five of those dead had succumbed to serious burn injuries. Their names included: Javed son of Peera Bukhsh (40), Imran son of Akram (40), Shabbir s/o Ameer Ahmed (25), Moazzam Paracha and Habib.

Although many people were on location when the blast had taken place none could understand what the exact spot was. Eyewitnesses were confused whether it was a bomb planted in a car or otherwise. “We still do not know what exactly happened, because once the blast happened I lost my bearings and got disoriented.

Some people say it was a planted device. In the beginning I was surprised when they said it was a cylinder blast because the level of destruction and impact was how it is with a bomb,” said a man who had been there at the scene.

The blast site had been enclosed with a black police tent and forensic units had also come to comb the area for any items. The place was heavily guarded by Rangers and police.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2017

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