KARACHI: “Don’t ask me what happens now. What other choice do we have but to pick up the pieces from here and get back to work? I will rebuild my little business. We have to stay here and deal with whatever calamity comes our way.
We are not going away anywhere due to this,” said Saeed Ahmad Siddiqui, the owner of Pakeeza Bakery and catering services that became the second unfortunate blast spot at Incholi Society at around 11.30pm on Friday.
At the Golden Paan Shop, the first spot, Mohammad Javed was staring at the ruined shop with glazed eyes. “I left for home at 8pm but our shop is open till 2am every day. This shop has been around here for 20 to 25 years. Most of the residents of this area are our customers. They know us well. In fact, I got a call from one of them informing me about the blast. My father, Mohammad Khalid, and my maternal uncle, Mohammad Yousuf, were at the shop then. Both are in hospital with severe injuries at the moment. Please pray for them,” he requested.
“Blocks 17 and 20 in Federal B Area where the twin blasts occurred are an example of peaceful coexistence between Sunnis and Shias. This is where we gather to take out Rabi-ul-Awwal and Muharram processions,” said Mohammad Imran, a resident of Block 17, who said that he grew up in the neighbourhood. “The blasts are a conspiracy to bring in differences and hatred between the two communities here,” he added.
His uncle, Mohammad Farhan, was of the opinion that the damage could have been far worse. “There could have been more people out in the street at the time. But they were watching the second T20 between Pakistan and South Africa at the time.
“Knowing about the tension in the city on Friday, we had just breathed a sigh of relief as the day almost came to an end without any unfortunate incident. We were so wrong,” he said shaking his head while brushing away tears. “I am only grateful that my family remained safe, but the little boy from up the street wasn’t so lucky,” he said.
The resident was referring to eight-year-old Saleh Rizwan, who lost his life in the attack. “People usually come here to buy things such as eggs, milk and bread for breakfast in the evening. The young boy was here for the same purpose and received fatal injuries as a result of the second blast,” said Javed Akhtar, another elderly resident of the area.
“Another child, who lost her life, was a little girl passing by this area on a motorbike with her father,” he said. “Then there was the poor rickshaw driver, fruit vendor and the other innocent people who had no problems with anyone,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Mian, another resident, said that when he heard the first blast he thought that maybe it was an explosion from a pole-mounted transformer. “But the second one a few seconds later made me realise what had really happened,” he said. “This is such a peaceful place, our minds at first couldn’t readily accept bomb blasts taking place here,” he added.
“The flat right above Pakeeza Bakery is the Nida Beauty Parlour. The fruit vendor’s son injured his leg in the second blast and tried to get away from the scene. He dragged himself upstairs to the beauty parlour and hid himself there behind some cabinets but was discovered there soon enough as the blood flowing from his wounds was noticed by the parlour workers during the chaos. Being Shia the poor man was afraid that he would be killed by the Sunnis, who he thought were behind the attack. But we are all Muslims. This thought only came to his mind because of the differences being created among us by the terrorists who want us to fight among ourselves,” cried Kisa Ali, a housewife in Block 20.