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Lahore tragedy – an eyewitness account

I am grateful to Khurram Siddiqi for his timely and rather chilling account of what Lahore underwent this evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Lahore tragedy. Raza Rumi

Today, two bombs struck Allama Iqbal Town’s ‘Moon Market’- a place that I remember from my childhood when our family used to visit Lahore- many members of which, at the time, lived close to. My cousin Usman was actually at a store in the market when the blast went off, and survived by some miracle. He came home shocked and changed from a full grown man- into a tepid young boy again; he said that he had just witnessed hell itself. I was taking a nap since I’ve been sick over the last few days- and woke to the sound of a cacophony of ambulance sirens; I now live almost across Jinnah Hospital. The bomb went off in Iqbal Town; I’ve tried to illustrate where all of this happened on the map here:
View Moon Market Blasts in a larger map

I walked across to Jinnah Hospital’s emergency ward- not that I condone people amassing together when they shouldn’t be there- but I wanted to capture some of the sounds of the aftermath of mass murder. What you’ll hear in the audio linked below is police officers trying to get people to clear out (I was standing clear of the entrance)- and make way for an ambulance that was about to pull in. Audio Link

I watched like a voyeur- observing death first hand. The Edhi ambulance that pulled in had a child’s body wrapped in blood stained sheets. You can actually hear the stretcher being wheeled out towards the ambulance. The emergency staff judged this victim to be a casualty, and wheeled it to the side for the morgue, as they waited for the next ambulance to come in.

What we witness now in our developed, urban centers, is what I assume with high probability, the parts of the country on the forefront of the war on terror, have been witnessing for ages now: death. While we hang our heads and wonder what kind of barbaric enemy would do such a thing to such innocent people, I am sure all people who have become collateral damage in the biggest shame on military actions we’ve ever seen- the World’s War on Terror (everyone included- everyone guilty)- thought the same as they picked relatives’ charred limbs from Pakistan army shells gone astray but unwritten about, or Predator missiles gone ‘on target’ as we’re told.

I hate the Taliban as much as you do, but what you can’t hate- is the desire for justice. What’s happening now, is a rude awakening- I call it The Great Equalization, in which city dwellers; the haves of Pakistan, will slowly but surely come to taste, in some form or another, what life means for the have-nots. It’s an internal, self generated shock-and-awe campaign with really no one at the controls- it’s become a free-for-all playground for what not to do in the precarious field of nation-building.

I really don’t have many answers- the truth is: no one does. At least Pakistanis now have more questions than ever, more than we’ve ever, ever had in the past. And all that tells me, is that we are still alive, and growing even more alive with each seemingly pointless death- as the quest for accountability and equality gathers steam, regardless of race, religion and creed.

Pakistan Zindabad.

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51 Responses to "Lahore tragedy – an eyewitness account"

  1. yasserlatifhamdani United Kingdom Unknow Browser Unknow Os says:

    Let me just add my two cents to Ali Abbas’s points which I have only received partially. This is also the last word and no more posts debating Jinnah or the Ahmaddiya issue
    (both my favorite topics mind you) will be entertained as per Raza Rumi’s post above.

    However I am going to have the last word on the issue:

    That Jinnah appealed ambiguously to Islamic principles is well known to us and we should and must criticize him but we should understand why we are criticizing him.

    We are doing so because it abundantly clear from the nitty gritty, and several speeches, statements, interviews and actions that the Pakistan he envisaged was based on individual freedom, rule of law and equality of citizenship. His ambiguous use of Islamic rhetoric few and far between has given his opponents a bogey …and a chance to de-construct his ideal of a state.

    At the forefront of every Islamization campaign (such as anti-Ahmaddiya movement) are people who opposed Jinnah vociferously. There is no question, there can never be any question that Mr. Jinnah who refused to oust the Ahmadis from the League and appointed Zafrulla as his foreign minister and a Hindu as a law minister …would ever agree to something as ridiculous and disgusting as the second amendment to our constitution. This is why there is remarkable convergence in the anti-Jinnah camp and the anti-Ahmadiyya camp in Pakistan.

    Unless and untill people like Ali Abbas realize that the only chance secularism has in Pakistan is through Jinnah and Jinnah alone, and stop misinterpretting Jinnah’s ambiguous references to Islam as a blank cheque to the Mullahs who opposed him, there can never be progress on this issue.

    Historically it would be an untenable view in the balance. I think Hoodbhoy showed the inadequacy of the spurious argument “Jinnah wanted an Islamic state” very clearly.

    Bhutto was responsible for the betrayal. He did so as I pointed out above because he was not a very balanced person. And I think Mubashir Hassan’s comments show exactly how the whole thing happened.