The people who have been known as the most peaceful in Karachi faced the worst form of terror on Tuesday.
“Nothing like this has happened in 45 years since we moved here,” said a Dawoodi Bohra man, whose relative was one of the eight people fatally injured in a bomb blast outside Burhani compound in Hyderi. “I don’t understand why this has occurred. We are a peaceful community.”
Twenty-one people were injured in the explosion and many of them were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where chaos unfolded.
Of the eight people killed in the attack, including a woman and a 12-year-old girl, at least five belong to the community. “An innocent community has been targeted,” health minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed told journalists outside the emergency ward of the hospital. “This goes to show how the city’s security has been compromised.”
The twin explosions occurred outside the compound, where many members of the community manage their shops, including boutiques and eateries. The police have found a large quantity of explosives at another market in Hyderi, where Burhani compound is located.
A sea of people thronged the hospital. Relatives frantically searched for the injured as a large crowd of spectators kept pouring into the emergency ward, trying to get a glimpse of the action. At the other end of the hospital, the mortuary had only two bodies.
Doctors, who have treated many bomb blast victims in the past, were not sure what kinds of explosives were used in the latest attack. “The bodies seem to have shrapnel wounds,” said Dr Yousuf Baig, who had carried out a preliminary check of the bodies. “I didn’t find any ball bearings but it seems as if something sharp pierced the victims.” He added that the wounds could have been caused by objects which had exploded into pieces after the bombs went off. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan typically uses explosives with ball bearings in its attacks.
Azhar Hussain, who had lost his 18-year-old cousin Sajid Mehmood, was too shocked to even cry. Mehmood ran an ice-cream vending machine outside the compound. “What do I do now?” Hussain asked. He had been asked to get a death certificate first. “I have to take my cousin’s body back to his family in Rahim Yar Khan. But how will we open the coffin and let his mother and sister see his face?”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2012.