Jawaid Lodhi was eagerly getting dressed at home to receive his wife and children at the Hyderabad bus terminal when the 8am news came on television.
The Sunday morning news reported that the passenger coach from Dera Ghazi Khan had collided with a trailer near Pannu Aqil, killing 42 passengers – including women and children – and injuring the remaining passengers.
Jawaid’s brother, Abid Lodhi told The Express Tribune that they rushed to the taluka hospital in Pannu Aqil after hearing about the accident. “What we saw there was enough to stop our heart beats,” he said in a shaky voice. “The bodies of my brother’s wife Salma, and her three children Minhal, Nafal and Sania were lying there.” Jawaid’s son, Uzair, who fractured his leg in the accident, was taken to the civil hospital in Sukkur.
Abid’s own wife, Kausar Lodhi, two sons, Abdul Hadi Lodhi and Raza Hussain Lodhi, and daughter, Horeen Lodhi, were also injured and admitted to Civil Hospital.
Kausar was sleeping when the coach pummeled into the trailer and when she gained consciousness, she found herself in the hospital. “I don’t know who was at fault,” she said. “However, one thing is certain that minor mistakes and recklessness has cost many people their lives and left all of us others injured.”
“Most of the passengers were sleeping at the time therefore nobody knows the actual reason for the accident,” she added. “We had gone to see my parents in Dera Ghazi Khan since my children’s exams had ended. Nobody knows right now what is going to happen to my children.”
Zulqarnain hails from Jhang and makes bodies of buses for a living. He was travelling to Hyderabad to attend his friend’s wedding. He was talking to a fellow passenger on the bus and fell asleep around 3am. “The only thing I heard was a huge bang and then I blacked out,” he said.
Shahid Imran – who suffered a fractured leg in the incident – also belonged to Jhang and was going to Karachi for business. “I was sleeping and when I opened my eyes, I was in a hospital bed,” he said.
The ill-fated passenger coach was on its way to Karachi from Dera Ghazi Khan, when in an attempt to overtake a trailer near Pano Akil, the driver banged the coach into it and as a result 42 passengers – including women and children – were killed and 27 others were injured. Those killed include Salma, Minhal, Nafal, Sania, Mariam, Fatima, Abdul Wahid, Ghulam Mohammad, Wahid Bux, Mukhtiar Ahmed, Bashir Ahmed, Shahid Mari, Hafeez Lashari, Ehsan, Mohammad Irshad, Shakeela, Ali Raza, Ghulam Farid, Wali Mohammad and Tahira Bibi. While those injured include, Kausar, Horeen, Abdul Hadi, Raza Hussain, Uzair, Tabinda, Mohammad Ismail, Bakhtawar, Mohammad Hashim, Waseem, Mohammad Yameen, Shahid, Busree, Rana Rasheed, Mehboob, Shahzad, Zulqarnain, Masood, Abdul Majeed and Mohammad Amjad.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2014.