Sunday, October 21, 2007

I nearly got suicide bombed!!!!!!11

Wasn't even supposed to be at the scene!

3:00 pm Oct 18 2007
Whole city's shut down, ex premier Benazir Bhutto's plane has landed, she's returning to Karachi after 8 years in exile, she's supposed to board this truck with a stage on top and ride it slowly to her house in the south of the city. She's scheduled to deliver a speach at some museum along the way. There's around 3 MILLION people lining the streets welcoming her therefore her journey's supposed to take 10-15 hours (about 20+ miles). Some would say she was inviting an attack by being in public for that duration of time, moving at a snail's pace.

8:30 pm Oct 18 2007
Was at a mates house, Now i'd been watching the telly on and off all day and the whole thing seemed very peaceful. Decided to go out to eat but my mate jokingly suggests lets go take a look at this malarky. I didn't mind, having never witnessed anything like this. So we meet up with a few of his friends and decide its best going on motorbikes, since cars could get stuck in traffic.

10:30 pm Oct 18 2007
We reach the KARSAZ intersection. Ms Bhutto's convoy is a fair distance to our left (couple of kilometers) but the roads in that direction are blocked. Meanwhile there's a huge street party going on at this intersection. Huge speakers set up on trucks, people dancing and singing. We join in.

10:50 pm Oct 18 2007
One of the blokes dancing in the crowd pulls out a weapon and fires 4 shots in the air, in full view of everyone, and then tucks his gun back in his trousers with a beaming smile. Music stops, guy on microphone tells him off and warns others not to repeat. Firing shots in the air to celebrate something is tradition in these parts. Music starts again.

11:20 pm Oct 18 2007
Just as we decide to make a move, we could see floodlights and cars, including the big BHUTTO truck in the distance, to our left. The street lights on the stretch of road between us and where the truck is, are switched off which we didn't think was unusual, strangely.

11:50 pm Oct 18 2007
The convoy reach where we were, with me among the bystanders just feet away from the police cars surrounding the big truck. No sign on Ms bhutto on the truck, apparently she had gone inside into the bomb-proof room below to rest/prepare for her speech. The whole convoy is moving at an extremely slow pace. you could walk faster.

12:05 am Oct 19 2007
The convoy has just passed us, still only about 10 yards from us though. My mate spots this fit politician bird on the back of the truck with a mic, and starts walking towards her to get a closer look/say hello. The other guys who were with us (10-12) in total start getting their motorbikes out to head home. Just then there's a BANG. Not too loud but enough to feel a gust of air/dust in me face.

Me when the bombs went off:

There were people blocking my view but I could still make out sparks/debris flying into the air. People started running in all directions, I'm looking around bemused, thinking there's no way that was a real bomb. Must've gone wrong I thought cuz it wasn't that loud. Heard someone say it was a generator that exploded. My mate who had gone after the fit politician bird came running back and started his bike. I told him not to worry it wasn't a bomb. Just at that moment there's a big f*ck off BANG! Never heard anything like that in me life!! the sound was earth shattering. Everything around me shook. I jump onto the bike and we sped off with people/cars/bikes running in all directions.

12:10 am Oct 19 2007
An ambulance went past us sirens blaring and I could see people inside covered in blood. We were just behind said ambulance when all of a sudden it comes to a halt on a bridge about 200 yards from the bombing scene. The back door opens and everyone starts jumping out shouting that there's a BOMB in the ambulance. Someone then trew out a black metallic object. All I saw was a light on it which broke/went off on hitting the ground.

Now, I was okay up until that point, thinking that we were safe and getting away from the scene. Seeing this unfold in front of me eyes less than 5 yards away was something else though. I didn't know how many more bombs there were. Every car going past us was suspect! I jumped off the bike and ran. Never ran so fast in me life, jumping over cars and motorbikes and eventually off the railing off the end of the bridge on to the road. I was waiting for the bomb to go off but it never did. Turned out to be a false alarm.. My mate had by then turned round and gotten off the same end of the bridge that I'd run towards. He was on the other side of the road and I didn't know how to cross, as there were ambulances/cars/bikes rushing out. Just then I get a bit of space between the traffic to cross, but I hear this screaming behind me. One of the injured from the ambulance was trying to get off the bridge by climbing the railing. He saw me and goes 'Save me, help me' ('Muje bacha lo, muje kon bachay ga'). His clothes were soaked in blood and it looked like he had a massive head injury to the left of his head/shoulder. I helped him off the railing and luckily some bloke on a bike stopped to help. I helped this guy onto the bike with the other bloke and off they went towards some hospital nearby. I did eventually cross the road and was at me mates house fifteen minutes later.

Flew back to Dubayy the next day.

My prayers are with those who suffered. They were just ordinary people welcoming a political leader home in the hope of a stable, and ironically, secure democratic future for their country. There were a few women and children too

We were the cowardly ones I admit, there were many who stayed behind/went back to help the injured and put them into ambulances/rush them to hospitals in their cars.

138 people died in total. People that I may have shook hands with. People who we joined in the crazy 'sindhi style' dancing. People that we nicked a flag from. May their souls rest in peace.

You'll never walk alone.


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