Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Peshawar blast’s legacy

Monday, December 08, 2008
By by Tauseef-ur-Rahman
PESHAWAR: The horrible details of the Koocha Risaldar tragedy continue to unfold as the miseries and agonies of the victims are increasing with every passing day due to their complex injuries and trauma. Various wards of the Lady Reading Hospital, the biggest public sector hospital, gave the look of gloom, despair and trauma because the victims were writhing in agony in beds and their grief-stricken families gathered around them. Syed Hussain Ali Shah, 38, hailing from Parachinar, was lying unconscious in the Surgical Ward of the hospital. He suffered multiple injuries to his head, chest and legs. The ill-fated Ali had his flight to Qatar on Saturday last and was staying at the Pak Hotel, situated near the blast site. His cousin Arif Husain informed this scribe that he (Ali) was leaving for Qatar. He said that he spent over seven lakh rupees to obtain the visa. A driver by profession, Ali had four minor children. Arif said Ali was very happy and eager to go abroad and had drawn up long plans for himself as well as for his family. He expressed satisfaction at the facilities provided by the hospital authorities. The nurses and doctors generally cooperate, however, sometime paramedical staff members do not attend to our complaints, he added. Another victim, Mohsin, 16, was severely injured in the blast. A resident of Nisataa, Charsadda district, the boy was whitewashing the Orakzai Hotel when the blast went off. His throat, face and abdomen were badly damaged by pieces of windowpanes. Though he had regained senses, still pain is writ large on his face. His shell-shocked brother, Mehran, who was quite worried about his brother’s condition, said he was busy in doing work at Al-Ain Hotel while his brother Mohsin was busy whitewashing the Orakzai Hotel-the most damaged hotel in the blast. “I was standing on scaffolding, doing whitewash and after the bang of the blast I fell down,” he recalled, adding, “Soon after that I rushed to the other hotel to inquire about my brother,” he said. The scene of the blast was horrible. People were crying for help while other where shouting names of their relatives in a desperate bid to get a response, he added. Mehran went on to say that till midnight he could not find his brother, nevertheless, at early hours of Saturday a friend informed him that his brother was lying in the Trauma Centre of the LRH. About the condition of his brother, he said that Mohsin spent a very restless night, as he could not breathe properly due to his wounded throat. As his upper respiratory system was badly damaged, the doctors fixed an artificial tube to ensure his smooth breathing. When asked whom he saw behind such brutal attacks, Mehran said, “I don’t know but I am sure they are not Muslims. How can a Muslim be so cruel and heartless?” Another person, Mushtaq Hussain of Parachinar, who had come to the hospital to inquire after his friends, said he was a taxi driver and had come from Parachinar after hired by the customers. He said that he had gone to a nearby hotel to bring luggage of customers and the moment he reached the hotel the blast occurred. Mushtaq said the blast plunged the entire area into darkness. “I personally took out four charred bodies from a plastic utensil shop,” he said.

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