Friday, October 30, 2009

Ordeal of the Blast victims at LRH

Syed Inayat Ali and Arshad Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: Victims of the Meena Bazaar bomb blast recovering from injuries at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) were mostly relatives, belonging to poor and middle- class families and are in urgent need of attention from government and philanthropists.

During a visit to the biggest health facility of the province on Friday, it was observed that majority of the blast victims were women and minors, who sustained serious injuries and were writhing in pain in the hospital.

Nazish, 17, along her two sisters Naila and Sania and cousin Nabeela were heading for the women shopping centre --Meena Bazaar--when the bomb ripped through the narrow street.

Naila, 24, was killed on the spot while Nazish, Nabeela and Sania along with her nine-month old daughter Momina sustained serious injuries.

Surrounded by relations, Nazish was lying unconscious in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital.

She was struggling for life as she was uncomfortably breathing through an oxygen pipe, placed inside her throat after surgery.

Her uncle said: “They were out to buy clothes and other things for their father’s Chehlum (40th day of death) due next Tuesday. They wanted to distribute those things among the poor and needy persons.”

20 years old Sania suffered serious injuries as her stomach was ripped by shrapnel. Her life was out of danger but she was unaware of the death of her elder sister Naila and conditions of Nazish. Her 9 months old daughter Momina was also under treatment at the pediatrics unit.

Another victim of the blast, Afshan, wife of Rahim Jan, sustained multiple injuries and lost her two- year-old son and sister-in-law, Sultanat in the blast.

Cleaning Afshan’s injured face, her elderly mother said Afshan along with her minor son and sister-in-law had gone to Meena Bazaar to buy clothes when the blast hit them.

Cursing the perpetrators of the incident, she prayed to Allah to destroy those who destroyed the families of innocent people.

Afshan was unaware of the death of her son and sister-in-law.

Dost Muhammad and his brothers had two shops near the blast site. “As soon as the car-bomb went off, I rushed to save my brother and nephew but the roof of the nearby building collapsed over me and I was injured,” he recalled.

He hadn’t been informed by family members that his brother Ahmad Khan and nephew Sarwar Khan had been killed in the deadly blast.

Dost Muhammad’s younger brother Izzat Khan was also injured and admitted to the nearby hospital ward.

His brother-in-law identified as Baryal was also among the victims. However, his body hadn’t been found.

At the pediatrics’ unit, a 12 year old injured girl, Rabia Shah was finding some peaceful sleep after experiencing horrific scenes at the blast site.

Rabia lost her right leg and sustained several injuries to her left foot as well as, hips, back and neck.

Her mother said that despite being seriously injured, Rabia was holding tight the minor son of her school teacher in her lap while she was buried in the debris for nearly six hours.

Her teacher died on the spot and the minor also suffered a broken leg.

Her grief-stricken mother said she was already devastated as her husband died 10 days before the bombing after protracted illness.

She said: “I am living in abject poverty. I wonder how I would get my daughter treated whose one leg has been amputated and the rest of her body badly injured.”

With tears rolling down her face, she added that she had to change several rented houses in a year due to poverty and limited resources.

She appealed to the philanthropists and the government to support her in the treatment of her daughter.