In a feat of unprecedented bravery, two young Ahmedi men overwhelmed and helped capture two armed terrorists from Baitul Noor in Model Town.
Nabeel, just 25-years-old, told The Express Tribune that he entered the building at 1:30 pm before the Friday sermon had started. He recalled that the number of worshipers started to swell around 1:45 pm just before the first few gunshots were heard.
“Immediately after I heard gunfire, I saw the back of the head of one of the terrorists who was attempting to shoot Anwer, the security guard. I understood that he would try to enter the facility next and rushed to close the gate at the entrance. To buy us some time, I asked everyone inside the building to rush towards the basement. Most of the people who were killed were older men because they were not too quick on their feet,” said Nabeel.
“One terrorist who appeared to be in his mid-twenties entered the main hall and started firing indiscriminately at doors, windows and worshippers.
Then he hurled hand grenades and the resulting explosion injured almost everyone who had not made it to the basement.
We had a clear view of the injured people in the hall from where we were hiding. Immediately after the grenade explosion, the terrorist started shooting the injured people who were crying and screaming for help,” he added.
“I could see that the terrorist was injured and bleeding from the head.
He shot at least a dozen people before he fell to the ground. I used the opportunity to seize the man, still wearing his suicide vest. Two other men helped me remove his jacket and disarm him. I held him in that position for nearly 35 minutes waiting for police officials so I could hand him over to them,” said Nabeel.
“I had placed a foot just over the man’s neck to make sure he could not move. He kept telling me that he was in a lot of pain and wanted me to remove my foot.
I removed some pressure and asked him why he had killed so many innocent people. He replied that it was his mission to eradicate all infidels from Pakistan. I could not converse with him further after hearing him say that,” stated Nabeel.
Bilal, who is 21-years-old helped capture another terrorist. He was standing on the second floor of the building and had a clear view of the front entrance when he saw armed men walk into the facility.
“The terrorist looked like he was only seventeen. He threw the hand grenade that killed our patron Lt General (retd) Chaudhary Naasir Ahmad. Then he barged through the front door and made his way up the stairs to the second floor. I was hiding behind a couch. The young man was constantly firing. I had a clear view of everything that was happening. Luckily the terrorist did not see me,” said Bilal.
“I knew I had a brief window of opportunity to act. When the terrorist had his back to the place where I was hiding behind, I pounced and grabbed him and yelled to other people to help me overpower him.
The young man was talking in Seraiki, constantly pleading with us to give him a glass of water. I removed the suicide jacket from his torso with the help of a few people,” added Bilal.
“I understand a little Seraiki. I could tell that the boy was constantly abusing and cursing us for capturing him. I had to wait for half an hour before police officials arrived and arrested the young terrorist,” he said.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 29th, 2010.