Twin bombings: As violence continues, so does life in Peshawar

Published: June 13, 2011
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A solitary man walks past a bombed-out restaurant (above); police and civilians immediately after the blast (right). PHOTOS: REUTERS, APP

A solitary man walks past a bombed-out restaurant (above); police and civilians immediately after the blast (right). PHOTOS: REUTERS, APP

A solitary man walks past a bombed-out restaurant (above); police and civilians immediately after the blast (right). PHOTOS: REUTERS, APP
A solitary man walks past a bombed-out restaurant (above); police and civilians immediately after the blast (right). PHOTOS: REUTERS, APP
PESHAWAR: 

It was around 11:46pm when the silence on the sweltering weekend night was shattered by a deafening noise.

Death and destruction have now become part and parcel of life in Peshawar. But the positive thing is that terrorism has not broken the resilience of the residents of the provincial metropolis, it does not worry people much and they rush to the scene either out of curiosity or with the intention of helping those in distress. The same resilience was witnessed at Khyber Super Market, where a suicide bomber killed at least 39 people and injured over 100 others who had gathered at the site following the earlier blast.

Khyber Super Market is a small residential neighbourhood between Qayyum Stadium and armed forces flat on Main Bara Road, close to the office of the Khyber Agency Political Agent. There are numerous residential flats occupied by students and young singles in this area. The area is quite vibrant compared to Peshawar Cantonment, as it remains active till late night and young people can be seen sitting at the many juice shops and restaurants. It also houses the offices of several media organisations and many a journalists hailing from other parts of the province also live around here.

Following the earlier blast, everyone tried to rush to Lala Hujra Restaurant. However, they were told that it was a cylinder explosion and not serious. Some of those rushing to the scene turned around halfway, while the more curious ones gathered at the site. Meanwhile, police, rescue workers and the media had arrived following the earlier blast.

It was 11:55pm.

“When I got to the street, a policeman was unsuccessfully urging onlookers to leave the scene, warning that another blast could take place,” Hanifullah Khan, editor of a local comic magazine told The Express Tribune.

Hanif lives in the building which took the most damage in the attack. However, Hanif left the scene following the warning and went back to his flat. “I had just sat down when the second blast took place-it was more powerful than the previous one and destroyed everything in my apartment,” Hanif recalled.

Hanif’s two-room apartment was a mess, with shattered bits of his computer, airconditioners, furniture and walls strewn around. He was still thankful to have escaped from any injuries in the blast, noting how he came across many injured people on his way down the stairs.

Downstairs, the whole stretch of road was a stomach-turning mess with bodies all around and two electricity transformers engulfed by a raging fire. With the fire as his only source of light, Hanif found his way to relative safety. However, it was only the beginning, as wailing ambulance and police sirens and half-naked injured people were desperately running and crying for help.

For several minutes, the whole area was enveloped by confusion and a sense of disorientation. Fortunately, once people present at the scene realised the gravity of situation, they started helping the injured and volunteered their vehicles to take them to hospital. However, the damage was done, and as at least 39 people, most of them students, lost their lives, while over 100 others including journalists, policemen and students will bear permanent physical and emotional scars from this sad incident.

Almost everyone living in this area had a sleepless night and early on Sunday, the whole area presented a gloomy and deserted look. Almost all the shops and restaurants kept their shutters down and many residents packed their bags early in the morning and left for their hometowns.

More painful perhaps, is the fact that some people here have become so attuned to violence that they had already moved on with their lives. “Whatever happened last night has become a part of life for us, but why are all these shops and restaurants closed today?” Asim, a local resident, asked. “First the blast wracked our nerves and now in this scorching heat, we have to travel to find an open restaurant,” he added.

Instead of killing and dying in order to produce the being that we are not, we have to live and let live in order to create what we are.

-Albert Camus

Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Jun 13, 2011 - 10:54AM

    Pakistan entered into a black hole. After loosing every war with India, Army budget is alarmingly increased every year because of its blackmail but without any output. This is only one country where Army eats away the large chunks of money meant for poor people for their food, shelter, health and education. Mr. Kayani, even if you offer our country to a neighbour, nobody is willing to accept this extra headache. Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Jun 13, 2011 - 11:00AM

    I was really distressed to read this article. The brave people of Peshawar are bearing the brunt of continues attacks by these shaitan cowards who claim to be jihadis. True religious warriors donot kill innocent people but rather protect them from atrocities of their rulers. Those who support these fake jihadis will regret through-out their lives if they manage to rule one day.Recommend

  • zahid khan
    Jun 13, 2011 - 12:05PM

    Our pakhtun brothers have got to realise that their obsession with islamic fascism has only led to their own destruction.The islamic fanatics are targetting KP to show the govt. they have the ability to wreak havoc. The pakhtuns have to give up islamic extremism if they want to have a civilised,peaceful society.The religious savages will not stop until they have imposed their medieval,barbaric ideology on all of pakistan.

    The more these religious terrorists are admired and called mujahideen the more motivation and confidence they get to carry out their terrorist activities.They will not stop until they have a society where women are stoned to death,where women are whipped in public,where the hands and feet of people are hacked off barbarically.Recommend

  • fahad zaki
    Jun 13, 2011 - 12:42PM

    The people of khyber pakhtunkwa have got to realise that these people are not jihadis but are fasadees and they are destroying peshawar as they want to take us back to the dark ages as the mentality of these jihadi terrorists belongs to that time period.

    The sooner our people realise that this is not jihad but is fasaad,the sooner we can set about finishing these people off.Recommend

  • bilal feroze
    Jun 13, 2011 - 1:05PM

    As long as our media continues to use words like ‘shaheed’ , ‘mujahideen’ ,’jihad’ for these religious terrorists till then these attacks will continue.These islamic fascists even after killing 40000 of our people continue to get the support and good wishes of most of our anchorpersons.They never come out and say ‘mazhabi deshatgard’ or ‘mazhabi intehapasand’ ,no it is always ‘intehapasand’ or ‘deshatgard’ .i mean,why not call a spade a spade,these are not just simply terrorists but islamic fanatics who murder because they see motivation to kill others in the holy book. why doesn’t anybody talk about the elephant in the room instead of tiptoeing around it?Recommend

  • Arslan
    Jun 13, 2011 - 2:20PM

    @Subhan Babu:
    ‘Loosing every war with India’ – typical Indian self-appreciating delusional comment, ‘Subhan Babu’ Singh, talking like there are no poor peoples in India, everyone being a healthy, well-educated, in form rich individual living in a castle.
    The black hole is in some Indians head; we, too, don’t need the headache that you give us in form of your eternal anti-Pakistan comments. Don’t feel that important.Recommend

  • hanif ullah khan
    Jun 24, 2011 - 6:34PM

    nice effort manzoor bhai keep it upRecommend

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