Lahore: Most of the victims of August 8 Quetta blast, where over 70 persons including 53 lawyers were killed, are of the view that had there been appropriate health facilities, at least to administer first aid to the injured persons, the rate of fatalities would have been much lower.

The blast at Quetta Civil Hospital wiped out the top leadership of Balochistan’s lawyers’ community.

Dr Abdul Malik lost his son Daood Kasi in the blast. Kasi was a lawyer and former President of Balochistan Bar Council. He had gone to the hospital to show solidarity with Bilal Kasi who had been shot dead a few hours earlier to the blast at the Quetta Civil Hospital.

“We had to rush my son to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) because there was not enough space and facilities at the Civil Hospital. Even at CMH, some victims had to be overlooked to take care of others,” said Malik.

A survivor, Attaullah Langove, while talking to News Lens Pakistan from Karachi where he was under treatment, reaffirmed that the victims had been left unattended. He stated that many fatalities were the result of the absence of first aid at the scene of the blast.

According to Langove 84 blast victims were getting treatment in Karachi.

“The civil hospital and CMH both are unequipped and unprepared to handle such a massive causality,” said Langove.

On the morning of August 8, Bilal Kasi, President Balochistan Bar Council, was killed in an ambush in Quetta at Mano Jan Road, as he was going to work from home. When his body was taken to Civil Hospital, a large number of lawyers gathered to mourn Kasi’s death. Just as the crowd swelled at the emergency ward that included lawyers, members from civil society and media persons, a suicide bomber wearing an eight-kilogram explosive laden vest exploded himself in front of the emergency ward.

“I was inside Gynae Operation Theatre when blast occurred and it shattered the window panes of our OT-C,” said Dr Shehla Sami, a senior doctor at Civil Hospital Quetta. “The smoke, explosives’ smell, burnt flesh odour and dust were seen at bomb blast site where I reached there running, within one minute.”

She told News Lens Pakistan in a telephonic conversation that she was the only one on the spot, rescuing wounded persons. “”I could not see any doctor or paramedic at the blast scene when I was providing the first aid and shifting the injured to wards”

She further said that the lawyers who were not injured helped her carry their wounded colleagues to the surgical department. “Besides, stopping bleeding by tying tourniquets on limbs, correcting positions of injured victims who were bleeding from noses and mouths, and applying pressures over body wounds, I also kept shouting at the lawyers to support the head and necks of the injured lawyers to avoid aggravating injuries and blocking their airways”.

It was after 10 to 15 minutes of the blast that the ambulances from Edhi Center began pouring in, Sami added.

“We had five ambulances at the civil hospital. According to the drivers present at the hospital, the ambulances were shifting patients to other hospitals. Though I still cannot understand if the ambulances were out, what the drivers were doing at the hospital,” Sami said

Area wise Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan has been a troubled region for almost forty years. Five military operations have been conducted to tackle low-level insurgency in the area. So far, 1400 incidents of targeting the minority Shia and Hazara community have taken place in the last 15 years.

Other than the insurgency, Balochistan is the poorest and most neglected province in the country. Every government in the center has been promising and allocating Balochistan package to bring the region out of poverty. None has shown any result.

During the fiscal year 2014-15, the federal government provided Rs 15 billion for development projects in Balochistan. The funds were never utilized by the provincial government and were subsequently returned to the federal government.

Additional Secretary Health Balochistan, Abdul Rauf told News Lens Pakistan that the trauma center at the Civil Hospital is still under-equipped due to the paucity of funds. He, however, disagreed with Dr Sami’s statement that the doctors and paramedic staff at the hospital were not present during the initial forty minutes of the blast. “I rushed to the hospital as soon as the news reached us, and took charge of the situation,” said Rauf.

The attack has been claimed by Jamaat ul Ahrar, a splinter group of Tahreek-e- Taliban Pakistan. No one from the security agencies though took the responsibility of their negligence. A raft of blame game ensued in the wake of the blast in the country.

Dr Malik who had lost his son and at least six other family members in the explosion, said, “Instead of indulging in blame game, our leaders should sit together and form a national policy to cope with this kind of situation. I would only pray that the sacrifice our people are giving would wake the nation from the slumbers of ignorance.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here