Shrouded in terror: Blast victims burned beyond recognition

Families unable to make positive ID for five of 11 deceased at HMC


Umer Farooq January 20, 2016
PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: Relatives of those who died or were injured in the Jamrud suicide attack ran from pillar to post on Tuesday, scrambling to find their loved ones, hoping to see them alive. Eventually, they faced the horror of having to identify their deceased; some were unable to do so as bodies were burned beyond recognition.

Eleven bodies were shifted to Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), but the identity of five could not be determined. As a result, the administration listed the Jane/John Does as “unidentified”.

“The blast took place and a CNG cylinder installed in a van blew up. The explosion caused the nearby vehicles to catch fire,” Malak Zar Gul, a Kukikhel tribal chief told the media. An emergency was declared at all three tertiary hospitals in the provincial capital.

“The bodies of those pulled out of vehicles were charred beyond recognition,” Rescue 1122 Spokesperson Bilal Faizi told The Express Tribune. At least 36 injured were shifted to Htaken to the orthopaedic wards; some in the neurosurgery ward.

Of the total, 10 had minor injuries and were discharged immediately, whereas 25 others were admitted to different wards. Four among the 25 injured people were in critical condition and being treated at the intensive care unit (ICU).

One patient, Misri Khan, was shifted to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) after the HMC ICU fell short of beds.

Snapshots of horror

“I am a labourer and usually try to find my day’s work at Karkhano Market. I was on my way when the vehicle suddenly caught fire,” recalled Muhammad Kashif Shah, a resident of Doghundai. He did not hear the bang.

“The last thing I remember is people running,” he added. When he regained consciousness, Muhammad Kashif was at HMC.

His brother Muhammad Ishaq Shah said he tried to contact Kashifon the mobile phone when someone else answered and said Kashif was injured, and was at HMC.

Bacha Gul, a resident of Ali Masjid area in Jamrud, said he was driving towards Karkhano Market when the blast occurred. He said he carries passengers to and from Torkham to Jamrud.

“I heard a defeaning bang followed by smoke. I saw blood on my clothes – that’s when I realised I had been hit,” Gul said. He added he drove himself to the hospital and asked his friends to reach HMC.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2016.

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