Archive for December, 2010

20th October 2009, a day that changed our lives

December 28, 2010

This is the story of Khadija Khan, a student of the Bachelors Program at the International Islamic University, Islamabad, as written by her. She was grievously injured in the 20th October 2009 suicide bombing at the University, and is now back at studies. Vivacious and with a smiling face, she is a beacon of light for her friends.

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20th October 2009, a day that changed our lives.

A suicide attack at our university and we became the victims.

I am a student at the International Islamic University, Islamabad. 20th of October 2009, started as a normal day but ended as a dreadful one, my friends Gohar, Amber, Aleena, Asma, Aqsa, Kanwal, and I, were sitting in the café having a chit chat and preparing for our assignment presentation, we had our lunch and I asked Gohar to bring ice-cream. She and my two friends went to the counter, when suddenly I felt heat, just heat no sound – and I recalled the scene in Terminator movie when the girl imagines a nuclear bomb hit the country and heat coming towards her I felt the same, I saw Amber shake her head as she heard the noise as a reflex.

I didn’t fall from my chair but was sitting in it with my mind thinking what had happened, when I heard Gohar shouting “Khadija! stand up look at the blood.” She lifted a metal frame from me, I recall that I stood up and walked one or two steps and fell at Gohar’s feet, I saw nails and broken pieces of glass on the floor, soon afterwards I heard another sound of a blast, lying on the floor helplessly I just felt that I was dying. I looked up at Gohar thinking I was seeing her for the last time, and I fainted.

I opened my eyes in a taxi and saw that there was another girl lying dead in the taxi next to me. Suddenly I heard Gohar calling me; she jumped into the taxi saying “I am with her.” I saw my hand bleeding a lot and swollen, I told Gohar to call my mother, we told her that I just had hand and arm injuries, and we are going to NESCOM hospital which was the nearest to the university. I was wearing black clothes that day and as my hand injury was the only visible one so we just told that, on the way to hospital we saw ambulances and media vans heading towards our university. I just felt uncomfortable and told Gohar that I couldn’t breath properly, she replied “You just have a hand injury don’t worry.”

We reached the hospital gate the security guards stared at us because at that time nobody knew about the blast, Gohar started shouting at the guards “Cant you see blood?? Just let us go inside.” They allowed us in. When the taxi stopped the driver told us to get out Gohar stepped out and at that instant I felt I could not walk, they brought a stretcher and I was put on it, I opened my eyes in a noisy room. Doctors and nurses standing around patients while I lay quietly on the bed, I heard another girl of our university yelling at all the doctors surrounding her because of pain.

After some time somebody came and I was put on a drip, I just felt drowsy watched the scenario I lost consciousness. When I opened my eyes I was lying on the operation theatre table with three or four doctors surrounding me, one washing my hand and I heard my broken bones making a sound, the other one cutting my clothes with a scissor, it wasn’t painful, I again and again asked the doctors to call my father.

I fainted again, when I regained my senses I was brought out of the OT wearing a blue uniform lying on the bed of ICU. My brother came in and I asked the doctor when would my hand be ok? He started crying, a nurse told him to go out. I just came to know that I had multiple injuries, bones of my hand were broken in small pieces, I had fractured ribs, my lung had collapsed because of being hit by a pallet, my knee and leg had pallets in it, a pallet had passed through my chin into the neck and I was in a serious condition because of the lung.

The doctors later told us that if we had reached the hospital five minutes late, I would have died as I couldn’t breathe properly and the doctors inserted a chest tube which was really painful to keep up with. If the pallets in my knee had gone a little further they would have cut my leg, and had the pellet in my neck covered some more distance it would have cut my jugular vein, everybody says that my life is a miracle – no doubt that really is and I am thankful to Allah.

I stayed in the ICU for a month, it was really irritating, painful and noisy, I couldn’t even sit without a support; walking again was a dream at that time. After the operation I had a chest tube inserted in my left lung, had six stitches in my hand, ten in my knee and the other pallet in my leg is still in it because it is embedded in the bone.

After a long suffering of 30 days I was shifted to a room. I started walking with a stick. The room was so much better than the ICU, because the ICU had machines which were noisy and everybody there was over sixty years of age, and I was the only young one there. Also my parents were not allowed to stay there for long. So moving to a room was a big relief for me, and my friends came there to visit me. On the other hand pain started increasing day by day because I wasn’t on sedation any more.

The day I was discharged I felt happy because I missed my home, I still couldn’t walk properly. A few days later while watching the television I heard that my dear friend Aqsa had died. It came as a great shock I and cried a lot, because I was told that Aqsa’s was getting better day by day, and her sudden death was a tragic loss.

Finally the day came when I returned to the university, I went to that café, and saw the holes caused by those ball bearings in the floor and pillars. I got the flashbacks of that day.

Nothing is like before, nothing can be like before. I still forgive them who did this blast, and because of whom I suffered, May ALLAH GIVE STRENGTH TO EVERYONE WHO lost their dear ones.

Life does not stop, we have to move with the time; and as it is said – time is a big healer.

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60 percent burns – story of Waqar Khalid

December 11, 2010

I met with Waqar Khalid, on December 04, 2010, more than a year after the IIUI blast in which he was critically burnt, and miraculously recovered. His story is given below.

20th of October 2009 was a routine day for the students of the IIUI, as they went about the campus going from class to class.

Waqar Khalid, Nafees, and Khalil, three friends were happy that the class they were in had ended ten minutes early, and the next class had been cancelled due to the teachers commitment elsewhere, which gave them time to attend to some errands in the time available.

As they stood and packed their Laptops to come put of class, they heard a loud bang, there was a collective shout of bomb blast, followed by no, not possible,

The three came out of class and joined the students coming out of the department to see what had caused the blast. Suddenly Waqar heard a bang and was thrown to the ground. He felt his entire body in pain, and the smell of burning flesh was in his nostrils.

As he lay on the floor, he closed his eyes, and felt the heat all over him, he thought his head had been severed from his body and he shut his eyes tight, for a few seconds he did not understand what had happened, then he thought maybe there had been a bomb blast, and recited the kalmia, and prayed for a peaceful death. Then he remembered ad recited the darood. Opening his eyes he saw fire all round, and realized that that pain and burning smell were his own, he called out to Allah, and felt himself lifted up, unsure un steady he started to walk, and came down the stairs to the ground level and came out of the building, he looked through hurting eyes, the left one seemed to have melted in the fire, and shouted for help.

Hundreds of students stood outside the building, most of them clicking away with their cell phone cameras, but no one came forward to help him, he shouted again, ‘help,’ and two students came forward and held him, taking him to the hospital. (Picture attached).

He has little recollection of the journey from the university to the hospital or of the time spent in the emergency, he learnt later from his friends who took him to the hospital that the emergency department doctors told his friends after examining him to take him home as his had 60% burns and that made him critically injured with negative survival chances. Luckily for him, in the meanwhile other students came to the hospital and when they heard what the doctors had said they forced their way into the emergency and told the doctors how Waqar can be that bad as he had walked down the stairs on his own and called for help before collapsing.

In the meanwhile between periods of waking and unconsciousness, Waqar felt a pain on his chest, which was a diversion from the pain he was feeling from the burns, later he was told that the doctors had stitched a wound on him, and he says that the pain of being stitched was a diversion, and much less than the pain of the burns.

On the insistence of the student’s there, to give Waqar a fighting chance, the doctors in the emergency passed him on t the burn unit, sure that soon he would be dead, and that the wrath of the students better be in another area of the hospital.

In the burn unit, the doctors tried t o put him on ventilator, but had difficulty as most of he skin on is body was peeling off, when the senior doctor, Dr. Tariq came round and stopped them and told them to go for dressing his burns which were exposed and go for the ventilator after that. This was done and Waqar was placed on a bed duly dressed in gauze and almost his entire body bandaged. And thus began a wait for the 60% statistics to be become reality.

All this time Waqar has one recollection, he kept on reciting the darood, later on a doctor in the hospital (Dr. Shamuna) told him that when she had a hard time attending to him in the emergency when he was brought in on 20th October, all burnt, she would ask him to recite the darood, because that made his body relaxed, and made it easier for her to attend to his injuries.

Soon his family arrived, and the care started, the hospital staff worked on him, and the daily change of dressing was an ordeal he dreaded, once the dressing was changed, he would relax and stop worrying for a few hours, and then the wait for the next round of painful change of dressing. 6 month to eight, that too if he is lucky, was what the family was told, 60 percent burns meant that till he is completely out of the woods he will remain critical, we cannot promise you anything. Dua and dawa (prayers and medicines) are needed.

He remembers the evening of the day, when one of his teachers visited him; Waqar asked about his friends Nafees and Khalil, the teacher was surprised and quickly left. Returning to the university they were able to identify the remains of the two, who had till then been declared unidentified dead foreigner students.

Three weeks after almost not being admitted and given up as critical with no hope for survival, Waqar surprised everyone by walking out of the burn unit. A miracle if the hospital staff is to be believed.

Now a year on, he bears the scars of burning on his hands and body, his eye is safe, but the scars inside remain. Why and who, the lingering doubts, some anger at friends, the university, and people. But on the whole life goes on. Studies are as usual, and the media attention is almost gone.

I believe that all this was possible because of faith, and the fact that so many people prayed for me, and stood with me and the family in our hours of trial, pain, and uncertainty.

Waqar has four semesters to go before he finishes his Arabic translation Bachelors degree. He hopes to get a good job that will be both professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling. He also hopes to join hands with people who are working to create awareness and understanding of the pain for the victims, families and survivors of terrorism in Pakistan.

Gill Hicks Dailymail UK article

December 7, 2010

i am privileged to have met and know gill hicks, she is having a bit of a bad spell right now, hope she comes out of it giver her indomitable will, and Allah’s help.
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Indomitable 7/7 blast victim who saved her own life after legs were blown off by tying a tourniquet around thigh is hailed ‘amazing’

Gill Hicks was on board the Piccadilly line Tube that Jermaine Lindsay, 19, blew up between King’s Cross and Russell Square stations.

Full Story:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1334941/7-7-victim-Gill-Hicks-hailed-amazing-lost-legs-save-life.html

06 December 2010
http://www.dailymail.co.uk

City if Fear – Channel 4 documentary

December 3, 2010

for friends in the UK, you can watch the documentary here (19 days left):

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od#3141163

related links can be seen here, by all:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/articles/city-of-fear-related-links

http://tv.sky.com/dispatches-city-of-fear

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-76/episode-1

http://www.bigissueinthenorth.com/2010/11/in-the-shadow-of-terror/

http://uk.oneworld.net/article/view/166319/1/5889?PrintableVersion=enabled