Karachi’s most famous dead body lives to tell the tale

Published: May 12, 2012

Iqbal is one of the men lying in this photo, presumed to be left for dead, by the armed men at Malir Halt on May 12, 2007. Iqbal was shot six times but miraculously survived. PHOTO: FILE

Iqbal is one of the men lying in this photo, presumed to be left for dead, by the armed men at Malir Halt on May 12, 2007. Iqbal was shot six times but miraculously survived. PHOTO: FILE Iqbal faces a wall that says, ‘God is watching’. He wanted his identity protected.
KARACHI: 

“You might have seen that picture of May 12 with the bodies of four men lying on a road near a silver car. I am the one in the white shalwar kameez.”

Iqbal H is referring to only the most famous image from that day five years ago. He was shot six times.

“The terrorists left me for dead but I have survived,” said Iqbal. (His name and residence have been withheld as he considers his life still at risk).

He and one of his friends, Umer S, had gone along with hundreds of people from their neighbourhood to welcome the suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry at the airport. However, when they reached Kala Board at Malir, shooters lying in wait unleashed a hail of bullets on the procession. “We got trapped near the railway track.”

“Two wounded men were already lying beside our car and I put them in it, but as we moved forward the shooters opened rapid fire at us and we had to stop. They then came and shot me five times inside the car and shot dead the three outside the car.”

A noted reporter with one of Pakistan’s largest private news channels was filming the violence at the spot. He pointed to Iqbal and told one of the shooters that he was still alive. The man with the gun dragged Iqbal out of the car and fired a sixth bullet into his right arm. “I didn’t flinch even though the bullet was extremely painful,” Iqbal said. “My eyes were open while I was in the car but I just could not close them, which is why when the gunmen kicked me out of the car I tried to cover my face with my shirt to hide my eyes.” Iqbal figured that they would give him away as being alive.

The men with guns left when a vehicle carrying journalists came to take pictures before passing on. “Then a child came to me and shook my head,” recalled Iqbal. “I told the child that I was alive and he needed to ask someone to take me to hospital.” He was taken to a nearby shop by men. There were already three other injured men there. Iqbal lay there for half an hour before he was able to get treatment.

“When they were shooting me, I heard the sound of the Azaan from a mosque,” said Iqbal. “I thought it would be the last Azaan of my life.” He was shot in the legs, right hand and chest. His friend Umer never made it.

After ten days in hospital, Iqbal finally went home. His health has since recovered but he is suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. “After May 12, I forget things, sometimes I even forget the names of my two children. That hurts the most.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.

 

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (29)

  • sana
    May 12, 2012 - 10:20AM

    great story, but the journalist pointed out to the shooters that the guy they had shot 5 times was still alive so they could shoot him a sixth time? i hope he’s not reporting on riots and crime anymore.

    Recommend

  • Abdullah
    May 12, 2012 - 10:24AM

    Sad! Very sad! These are the fruits which Secular Democracy has given us….

    Recommend

  • AD
    May 12, 2012 - 10:25AM

    “A noted reporter with one of Pakistan’s largest private news channels was filming the violence at the spot. He pointed to Iqbal and told one of the shooters that he was still alive.”

    Who was that reporter, has he been arrested and put behind bar?

    Recommend

  • Sickening
    May 12, 2012 - 10:36AM

    A noted reporter with one of Pakistan’s largest private news channels was filming the violence at the spot. He pointed to Iqbal and told one of the shooters that he was still alive.

    I hope he faces the same wrath and Allah do justice. Ameen! ET should expose such “terrorists” – even if they are from media group.

    Recommend

  • Amir
    May 12, 2012 - 11:11AM

    So express tribune knows who the reporter is. NAME HIM!!!!! Expose these yellow journalists.

    Recommend

  • Hafeez
    May 12, 2012 - 11:25AM

    Who is this reporter? Get him. Please expose him ET.That would be a great service to all of us and it is also your duty to do so

    Recommend

  • Imran
    May 12, 2012 - 11:32AM

    Dude you are invincible !!

    Recommend

  • Topak Khan
    May 12, 2012 - 11:43AM

    Who is that noted reporter? please name him, please

    Recommend

  • Rabia A
    May 12, 2012 - 11:47AM

    Sohail, great story :)

    Recommend

  • Asher Mehboob
    May 12, 2012 - 11:54AM

    Ok don’t disclose the name of the “noted journalist” here, but atleast make sure that a case is filled against him in Court of Law.

    Recommend

  • Faraz
    May 12, 2012 - 12:01PM

    Pakistan Zindabad! (ironic)

    Recommend

  • BeNice?
    May 12, 2012 - 12:06PM

    What has gotten into to us? What has turned a civilized society into terrorists? From Religious scholars to Secular leaders all eventually want some reason for brutality___ to be inflicted upon his own countrymen. All Pak communities these days are talking about bloodletting, no matter what their reason is.

    From the killing of Sialkot Brothers by a mob to that young man at a Karachi park by rangers to innocent Shoppers & mosque and shrine attendees by Taliban. Is this because we fought a war against Russia with foreign support or is it because we are failing economically? May be it’s because we got more Cash than we need? Or may be there is no-one talking about Charity & Morality without a hope of any reward.

    Recommend

  • haroon ali
    May 12, 2012 - 12:26PM

    Shocking and sad. Journalists and reporters also do such things? The name of that reporter and news reporting agency should be exposed or else more lives will be in danger in future as well.

    Recommend

  • ali
    May 12, 2012 - 12:39PM

    And the CJP recently praised the MQM as a model party. How shameful!

    Recommend

  • un ami de Paris
    May 12, 2012 - 12:55PM

    This ‘histoire’ narrated by the miraculous survivor of 12th May incident is incredible. I am pleased that he survived and would be a one of the witnesses to tell the courts when and if this weak government gathers courage to expose those who were responsible for the massacre on the 12th May.

    I am really upset to see the chief justice of Pakistan to remain tight lipped about this carnage. It was because him the people of Karachi laid their lives on that fateful day. He is taking actions on and off on many issues faced by Pakistan but for some unknown reasons his conscience is silent on this very important event. If he does not take action now I am sure the party which has kept Karachi hostage for decades will re-enact the drama of much higher magnitude than the 12th May massacre in time to come.Recommend

  • noorilhuda
    May 12, 2012 - 1:01PM

    Great emotional story and write-up. This is more hard hitting than any fact-finding mission ever will achieve. It’s a miracle ‘Iqbal H.’ is still alive. Thank you ET. Journalists don’t look pretty in this do they? Not just the journalist who pointed the poor man out but also the journo van (!) The saddest part though was Iqbal H. having trouble remembering the names of his own kids. God Bless Him.

    Recommend

  • ashar
    May 12, 2012 - 1:46PM

    What a news. And this incident show Allah’s Providence.

    Recommend

  • BeNice?
    May 12, 2012 - 2:33PM

    What is wrong? No one want to do or believe in Charity? It's Crime-time all over Pakistan, may it Religious or Secular there is a thirst for blood! Around such times in past other kings would have run over a land by now.
    Recommend

  • Faisal
    May 12, 2012 - 3:17PM

    My city has been held hostage of tyranny and oppression for the last 25 years and on 12th May 2007 the whole world watched it but it’s quite unfortunate that this scenario became much worst since then. May God have mercy upon us.

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    May 12, 2012 - 3:25PM

    Newsweek wrote for a common Pakistani as the most dangerous nation in the world , then they wrote Pakistan as the most bravest nation in the world.

    Pakistani yellow journalism reaches a point where they say to killers (kill the citizen).

    Does not happens in Israel.

    Recommend

  • Hafiz
    May 12, 2012 - 3:30PM

    I am pretty sure such kind of journalists still working in big groups of electronic and print media, who supports different political parties. To me even photography at that time was not ethical, and he pointed out “He is still alive” what a disgusting.. On the other side the saying is always truth..”Jisay Allah rakhay usay kon chakhay”…..May Allah give us Hidayah…

    Recommend

  • Khalq e Khuda
    May 12, 2012 - 5:57PM

    @Abdullah:

    This happened during a pseudo secular dictatorship! Stop blaming democracy!

    Recommend

  • Lobster
    May 12, 2012 - 6:39PM

    @Abdullah:
    Musharraf explicitly ask Pervaiz Elahi to use such tactics, he denied MQM agreed. His words are on record.

    Recommend

  • sick of this nonsense
    May 12, 2012 - 6:39PM

    @commentators, the wrath pointed towards the reporter is misdirected, it should be at the shooters. We all know who did this and why but we will unfortunately still support them in this city, blindly I might add.

    Recommend

  • Pollack
    May 12, 2012 - 9:28PM

    “A noted reporter with one of Pakistan’s largest private news channels was filming the violence at the spot. He pointed to Iqbal and told one of the shooters that he was still alive”

    This journalist is obviously in league with the shooters. Was he arrested?

    Recommend

  • Syed Faisal
    May 12, 2012 - 11:25PM

    With the sacrifies of 12 May 2007 , Chief is restored but not the justice.

    Recommend

  • May 13, 2012 - 1:25AM

    Re-conciliatory Politics destroyed Karachi as well as Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • ayesha
    May 13, 2012 - 6:59PM

    Great writeup. Such stories make a paper great to read. This is the type of journalism we need to uncover the real face of our ppl and society.Kudos to the reporter for getting hands on this story. Keep it up.

    Recommend

  • mirror
    May 14, 2012 - 2:01AM

    Excellent story. Thumbs up for the reporter and ET. Hundreds of such stories are hidden from our media or the media hides from them. The judiciary is silent on but if the media also acts like the judiciary what would happen with the country and the people.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan