LAHORE: For some passengers of the Lahore Metro Bus, the week began in anguish as two buses they were travelling by collided with each other at Dallukhurd stop near Gajjumatta – the last Metro station in Lahore.

Thirty-five-year-old Shahida Khalil is lying on a bed in the Lahore General Hospital’s Surgical Emergency Ward. With her face twisted in pain, she puts her hand under her rib cage.

She had been visiting her sister in Kasur, and was returning her home in Shahdara when the accident occurred.

“When the bus lurched forward I went flying from my place and landed on top of another seat – its steel rail dug hard into my stomach,” she said.

“We have been told that it is nothing serious,” says Shahida’s sister who came rushing to hospital as soon as she was informed about the accident. “She (Shahida) may even be allowed to go home soon.”

Several others have been discharged as well.

But one of the drivers of the two buses -- 32-year-old Naveed Shareef – is himself badly injured and was still lying unconscious in the hospital’s ICU.

Shareef has suffered severe head injuries what doctors have described as ‘bent laceration’ – a rupture of his intestines.

While inside Shareef lies supposedly oblivious to his surroundings, his family, their faces taut with fear, mill around outside in the lobby.

His aunt Mumtaz says she was the first to arrive at the scene, since she too is a regular passenger of the Metro Bus.

“I was wondering why the bus hadn’t turned up when someone told me of the accident,” she said. “Instantly, I thought of my nephew’s safety and I sat in the next Speedo bus and reached the site. By that time, the Rescue services had arrived at the spot and I only managed to see his mangled body being put on a stretcher.”

Shareef is a resident of Kasur – and his parents had to rush to the hospital from there.

His mother’s eyes are red rimmed and she is impatient to go inside to see her son, but his father, who himself is a driver, looks stoic, as if expecting the worst.

“He had been driving for the last 20 years,” he said. “His skills should not be questioned.”

“Papa,” Shareef ‘s two-year-old son cries, setting the women crying again. He is whisked away downstairs by his mother in order to distract him.

The family says that they feel more distraught because they have ‘no idea’ about how their patient is doing.

“We have not been told about the results of the CT scan, nor what the doctors expect. The family should not be kept in darkness,” says Shareef’s mother.

Meanwhile, Deputy Medical Superintendent Dr Umar Ijaz says there have been only one casualty – Ammara Mobeen (25)- said to be a medical student - who was received dead on arrival.

In total there are 14 injured passengers who were taken to the hospital, including Naveed Shareef, 32, Razia Nazar, 40, Shahida Khalil, 35, Shahid Rehmat Ali, 25, Ghulam Fareed Hussain, 60, Manzoor Ahmed, 35, Rehana Rafiq, 45, Waqas Rehmat, 30, Maryam Farooq, 28, Naheed Riaz, 40, Nawaz Yar Muhammad, 38, Mushtaq Ahmed, 35, Riaz Noor Ahmed, 30, and Ayesha Khalid Javed 23. Three of them were in Surgical Emergency, while eight others were discharged. Two of the injured left against medical advice (LAMA). Shareef is the only one in Neuro – ICU.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2019