When a bomb exploded outside Saleh Masjid, a Bohri mosque, on Friday afternoon at 1:50pm in Aram Bagh, the men and women of this tight knit community assembled together and rushed their family, friends and acquaintances to the hospital.
Two people lost their lives while over half a dozen other were injured in the blast. The injured were taken to Burhani Hospital and when the welfare association’s reached the blast site, they moved the victims to Civil Hospital, Karachi (CHK).
Relatives and members of the community reached the mosque to help in whatever way they could. Many others later went searching for the injured members of their community at CHK and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, to make sure they were being looked after or if they needed anything or to inform their family.
When Muslim, a young man in his 20s, and his friends reached CHK, they split up in different wards to find who was admitted there or being treated for serious or minor injuries. At first, he had difficulty finding the injured. The gatekeeper of the hospital had no idea if the men injured in the mosque blast were taken to the emergency ward.
While his friends were looking for the injured in other wards and the operation theatre, Muslim went to the receptionist to confirm if any men from the Bohra community were there. The receptionist informed him that some of the injured had been discharged while others were shifted to another hospital. Muslim asked four hospital employees to reconfirm, they repeated what the receptionist had said earlier.
“Where do we go now?” he said, confused at what to do next. He left the hospital feeling determined to help his community but the question was how.
“No one from my family was hurt in the blast,” he said, while talking to The Express Tribune. “I am here to help the injured. I’ll be the first to give blood if they need blood.” He added that most of his friends, who were also Bohri, had left to find the injured at other hospitals. “I have to go and search for my people.”
Like Muslim, Juser, a man in his 50s, was actively participating in the rescue work. He was one of the first men at the blast site who started taking the injured to the Burhani Hospital near Pakistan Chowk.
“I was inside the mosque when the blast took place,” said Juser. “People were running everywhere. It was not an experience I would want to live through again.” He added that the residents and those who were at the mosque for Friday prayers were taken to the hospital. His own clothes, a white shalwar kameez, were covered in blood.
The brave men and women of the Bohra community rushed to the blast site and hospitals to help their brothers. “My job is to help my people,” said a man standing at the main entrance of the mosque.
Muder was among those who left the mosque early. He was about to walk out of the door when the bomb exploded. “It hit me from the side,” he said. “I ran to a corner. An elderly man brought me to the hospital for treatment.” The 22-year-old is being treated for head injuries and is currently in stable condition. He said that there were around a dozen men outside the mosque when the bomb detonated. “The mosque was almost full as it was prayer time,” he said. “I don’t know how it happened.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2015.