QUETTA: I headed to the Sandeman Provincial Hospital at around 3pm. As I was about to reach there, a heavy contingent of police and Frontier Corps cordoned off the hospital. Those who had been injured in the Mastung bomb blast were being brought to hospitals in the city, particularly at the trauma centre of the Sandeman Hospital.
A policeman standing outside the hospital did not allow me to enter the hospital though I introduced myself as a journalist and showed him my press card. “No one is allowed,” he angrily said.
Besides the Sandeman Provincial Hospital, the injured have also been taken to the Bolan Medical Complex (BMC), the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) situated inside the Quetta cantonment and the Shaikh Zayed Hospital (SZH).
According to hospital sources, there were four injured at the BMC, as many at the SZH and seven at the CMH. Thirteen were being treated at the Sandeman Hospital.
Finally, after several attempts, I was allowed to visit the trauma centre. There was a crowd of people at the gate of the centre, some of them had come to donate blood and others were relatives of the blast victims. A man said he was a cousin of an injured, but he was told by the policeman to wait as government officials were inside to inquire after the health of injured people.
Balochistan Health Secretary Asmat Ullah Kakar was seen claiming in front of a TV camera that they had all facilities at the trauma centre. But relatives of the injured complained of lack of surgeons and medicines.
Anees-ur-Rehman, who had suffered multiple injuries, was lying on a bed. He said, “I was standing over there at the time of the bomb explosion in Mastung. I could see Maulana Ghafoor Haideri going to his vehicle. He was thronged by seminary students.”
After a pause, he resumed, “Suddenly a bomb explosion shook me up. I fell down on the ground. As I opened my eyes, lots of people were lying dead around me.”
He said that he shouted for help and did not know how he was brought to Quetta.
At the ICU lay Abdul Hameed on a bed. He had suffered a severe head injury and could hardly breathe. His two brothers along with doctors and nurses were standing near his bed. His brothers complained that when they brought him there, Hameed was given little attention. However, as his condition deteriorated, doctors gathered around him.
There was another injured in the ICU, a teenager namely Ghulam. His brother said, “Thank God, he is at least talking, but I do not let him speak because he should take rest.”
As I was talking to the injured, health and administration officials were going from one room to another and giving fruit baskets to the injured and their relatives.
I talked to an injured official of the Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF), Mohammad Ali, who said, “Maulana Ghafoor Haideri was coming out of the seminary on foot, and we (12 ATF men) were escorting him. As he (Maulana Haideri) got into his vehicle, we escorted it on foot. Suddenly, an explosion occurred on the other side of the vehicle.
“After coming to our senses, we started firing into the air. One of our seniors died when we were taking him to a hospital in Mastung. Besides, two other ATF men were injured along with me.”
He concluded, “We did not see the attackers, but the security arrangements were not satisfactory.”
As I was leaving, health and administration employees were chatting inside the courtyard of the trauma centre and laughing, while relatives and blood donors were still waiting at the gate to meet their loved ones and donate blood.
Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2017