The love of football took three teenagers, Haji Ibrahim, Khalil Ahmed and Abdul Basit, to the Bazinjo Chowk ground early Wednesday morning but a powerful blast that ripped through the area around 2:20am cut short the lives of three friends.
The mothers of the deceased boys sat grief-stricken in their homes, trying to come to terms with the tragedy that had struck their families only days before Eidul Fitr. “Who will wear Ibrahim’s [eid] clothes?” cried Saeeda, mother of the 13-year-old boy.
The mourning mother said that her son would excel in all his classes. “He was such an obedient child. I can’t believe that he is no more.”
The youngest of his siblings, Ibrahim was known to be a happy child. “He was full of life and so excited about eid. He had bought five pairs of kameez shalwar and one pair of jeans. Who will wear them now,” said the frail woman.
The three friends were among the seven boys who lost their lives in a powerful blast in Lyari on Wednesday morning. The blast took place right after a football match between two local teams of Lyari ended and just as the players were leaving the premises. The other four who lost their lives were identified as Jamshed, Pervez, Basit and Wasif.
Basit, a 17-year-old mechanic and the youngest in his family, was one such enthusiast who went to see the match. “He went to see the final without knowing that this would be the last match he would ever see,” said his mother. “He would sleep next to me every night, but now he’ll have to sleep alone.”
The family told The Express Tribune that during the match, Basit came to his house for dinner and then left again. His brother Altaf was also among the spectators but had no idea that his younger brother was at the match.
“I was watching [the match] with my friends from the rooftop and was coming down the stairs of the building when the blast took place. I was busy trying to save a friend’s life and shifting him into an ambulance,” said Altaf. Within 20 minutes, he was told that his brother was among the deceased. “I wish I had known that Basit was also there - I would have done everything in my power to save him.”
Farida, Ahmed’s mother, felt uneasy when her 13-year-old left to see the match. “I told him not to go as blasts were taking place everywhere - but he did not listen.” In reply, Ahmed told his mother to save some fish rice for him for when he gets back. “I had three sons. Now I have only two.”
The three mothers shared no hopes of getting any support or justice. “They [the government] never caught Benazir Bhutto’s murderers. How will they catch my son’s?” said Saeeda. “How many children will we sacrifice? When will the situation improve?” asked a frustrated Farida. “Why don’t they do anything about the situation in Lyari?”
Luck it appears was on Amaan’s side as he was sleeping in his house when the blast occurred.
A mutual friend of the deceased boys, Amaan had been following the matches but skipped the final. “My friends had invited me but I was too sleepy to go,” said the teenager. “If I had gone, I would have probably been in my grave right now.”
Amaan said that all three friends were crazy about football and had been enthusiastically watching the tournament since the first day of Ramazan. They weren’t professional players but played in the streets and loved watching football on the television. Ibrahim’s mother said that his son’s favourite team was Real Madrid and his favourite player was Cristiano Ronaldo.
Wearing a foorball jersey, Basit’s brother said that football was in their blood. The same sentiments were shared by Farida said that poor, football is the only entertainment in the locality. “Our children’s fault was that they only wanted to have fun. It’s only the poor who suffer.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2013.
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