Chishtia Masjid blast: Victims, relatives pour in at LRH as tragedy strikes

Visitors asked to not enter wards, keep area clear for medical staff.

Asad Zia/Baseer Qalander March 09, 2013
Relative of a victim overcome with grief. PHOTO: SANA

As terror struck the walled city, staff of the Lady Reading Hospital scurried to provide medical attention to more than a score of injured people.

The bomb blast inside Chishtia Masjid in Mohallah Baqir Shah during afternoon prayers on Saturday left six persons dead and 29 others injured.

Briefing the media following the explosion, LRH Chief Executive Dr Arshad Javed said four people lost their lives, while four others were in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU). The death toll, however, rose to six later in the evening as two more persons succumbed to their injuries at the hospital.

Javed said most of those wounded in the blast had sustained injuries on the lower half of their bodies, while one person had a head injury. “The injured are being provided all the facilities and there is no shortage of blood,” he asserted.

However, he said the surge of visitors was hampering the work of medical personnel and relatives of victims had been requested to not enter the wards.

Thirty-year-old Muhammad Asif Khan is one of the injured persons brought to the hospital. A shopkeeper from Meena Bazaar, Khan said there were about 150 worshippers present at the mosque when the blast occurred.

“I was standing in the second row. The prayer leader stood up for the second rakaat and that is when a huge explosion rattled the mosque,” he said, adding the injured started crying for help while others started looking for their relatives.

Khan himself fell unconscious and does not remember who brought him to the hospital. His clothes were charred and both his legs were inflicted with wounds.

A student, Maroof Ali said smoke and dust engulfed the entire area following the blast. “I could not see anyone.”

Iqbal, another shopkeeper from Meena Bazaar, said his legs were fractured while his shop, too, was completely destroyed.

An injured victim’s brother, Amir Rehman said his sibling, Peerzada, had just moved to Peshawar from Charsadda – it was his first day in the city.

“We received a call saying he has been injured in a bomb blast. My uncle and I, along with my other brother, rushed to LRH where Peerzada is in critical condition,” said Rehman, adding that Peerzada is the only source of income for his seven children.

Cleric and prayer leader of the mosque, Shah Hussain, also succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. An emotionally charged crowd started chanting slogans as his body was being carried out of the hospital.

An eyewitness, Sabir maintained no ambulances arrived at the scene following the blast and the injured were rushed to LRH in private cars. Al-Khidmat Foundation’s in-charge Muhammad Gul Sharaf claimed it was difficult to reach the site due to narrow streets and the crowd that had gathered there. Al-Khidmat Foundation provided the coffins and shifted the deceased to their houses from the hospital.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2013.


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