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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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