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KARACHI: Memories of a bloodbath survivor

May 17, 2007

KARACHI, May 16: Lying in bed at one of the major public sector hospitals of Karachi, Qamar Zaman, 37, still feels insecure after surviving Saturday’s bloodbath that was played out on Sharea Faisal, one of the city’s major thoroughfares.

Doctors told this reporter that from what they have gathered, Zaman seems to have been the target, and his survival was miraculous. He survived the gunshot as the bullet struck him in the back, piercing his lower chest and damaging his organs.

“We had to remove his spleen and kidney, which were ruptured by a gunshot he had suffered on Saturday,” said a doctor of the department of surgery at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. The doctor added that one of his ribs was also fractured.

Standing at his bedside Zaman’s younger brother, Ali Zaman, naturally appeared concerned about his brother’s condition. Initially, the patient refused to talk to this reporter, but after a little persuasion, he agreed.

Having difficulty in talking with a tube passing through one of his nostrils, Zaman narrated that he was going to have tea at a tea stall in Millat Town when violence erupted on Saturday.

“Suddenly, around 15 to 20 persons on motorcycles approached the area and opened fire. I was hit by a bullet from behind and fell down. There were others who were also injured. Some of them have died, from what I’ve heard,” Zaman said.

“Doctors said that my brother was lucky to have survived. If there had been any further delay in bringing him to hospital, his chances of survival would have been bleak,” added the patient’s brother.

“As the main Sharea Faisal was blocked by the rallies, we used the parallel road, which runs through Al-Falah, Shah Faisal Colony leading to Drigh Road,” he added.

Both the brothers were unanimous in describing Saturday’s situation as one of utter chaos and anarchy, adding that the city was without any semblance of government.

Choosing not to disclose his political affiliation, apparently fearing reprisals, Zaman did add in a very political tone that Saturday’s bloodbath would cost President Musharraf his government.

Zaman is not the only victim of Saturday’s carnage – that saw over 40 people lose their lives -- admitted in the hospital. There are over around two dozen patients admitted in different wards with gunshot wounds.

“We had received around 80 wounded patients, the majority of whom didn’t want to stay at the hospital for treatment.

Those whose treatment could be managed outside the hospital chose to go home,” the doctor in charge of the Accident and Emergency Department of the JPMC, Seemin Jamali, said.