KARACHI: Seven-year-old Aqsa, a student who was injured on Friday by a stray bullet at her school in Saeedabad, lost the battle for life on Sunday.
Expressing his pain, the father of the deceased said the family did not have the courage to send his other four children to school anymore. He questioned why he should send his children to school. "No one is paying attention to the security of educational institutions. The authorities must take steps so that horrific incidents like these do not repeat," he said.
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Aqsa, a student of The Citizens Foundation near Police Training Center in Saeedabad, was critically injured at school after a stray bullet hit her from the back. She was immediately rushed to Civil hospital from where she was referred to the intensive-care unit of the National Institute of Child Health (NICH). According to the NICH doctors, Aqsa was in critical condition.
The incident occured days after a ten-year-old, Amal Umer, lost her life after she was hit by a bullet in the metropolis.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, the police registered case number 386/2018 under Section 337 H2 [aerial firing] of the Pakistan Penal Code against unknown suspects on an application by Aqsa's father, Muhammad Saleem.
According to medico-legal officer Dr Memon Khurshid, the bullet that pierced into Aqsa's spine came from a lightweight weapon, which may be a 9mm pistol.
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She said the bullet recovered from the body has been carefully packed and forwarded to the investigators who will send it for forensic examination. "The bullet was fired from a distance," she said.
The doctors said police arrived at NICH soon after receiving information that the patient's condition was deteriorating. The police requested Aqsa's family to get a postmortem. Complying with the request, Saleem took her body to Jinnah hospital. However, the family was infuriated over the non-availability of doctors at Jinnah hospital and shifted the body to a mortuary in Saddar.
According to Zubair, Aqsa's uncle, the condition of the body did not permit them to wait for long. "There were no doctors at Jinnah hospital while we were standing there with the body with us. The doctors were being called but we could not wait. We later shifted the body to the facility again complying with the police request and got a postmortem examination done," he said.
Saleem told The Express Tribune that he was on duty when the incident took place. "I got a call from the school in which I was told that my daughter had met with an accident," he said, adding that as soon as he left for the school he was informed to reach Civil hospital as Aqsa was being shifted there.
She was kept at Civil hospital for two hours after which she was shifted to NICH for treatment. The schoolgirl stayed at the hospital in critical condition for two days and was undergoing treatment before she breathed her last on Sunday morning. The doctors could not perform surgery to remove the bullet as Aqsa had lost a lot of blood.
"My girl fought bravely against death but God had planned something different for her," said Saleem, lamenting that the incident took place even though the school was surrounded by police and Rangers from all sides.
He said gate no 4 of the Police Training Center was just next to the school. "How can a bullet be fired near a security institution? Everyone heard the shot, but the school administration says it is unaware of any firing," said Saleem.
He demanded the authorities immediately apprehend the perpetrators and ensure punishment so that similar incidents do not occur again. "Who would send their children to school with security like this?" said Saleem in frustration.
According to Investigation Officer Amir, the bullet hit Aqsa from a distance of between 150 and 200 yards. "The area at the back of the school is a residential colony of sector 4C," he said.
Meanwhile, the area residents are of the view that only a single bullet was fired. The police is investigating the incident and there is a 99% chance that the suspect will be apprehended, they said, hoping that the postmortem would reveal more details about the incident, including the type of weapon used.
The recovered bullet will be sent to a forensic lab for further investigation. The residents said that the registered FIR originally included charges of aerial firing but will now include Section 302 [murder] as well. If need be, the case might also include charges of terrorism.
After the postmortem, the body was handed over to the family.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2018.