PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN — The rain of sadness dropped in Peshawar last week when a suicide bomber struck a busy market across town from where I live.
Twenty seven people were killed in the carnage and many more seriously injured at the scene, where body parts were scattered in a business hub of Peshawar, a city in the northwest part of Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan.
“Instead of a reunion with her husband in England – and a bright future for their child – the poor woman’s head was blown from her body while she shopped in preparation for her trip.”
The market included the Marhaba Hotel, run by Afghan citizens. Famous for its delicious Afghan foods, including a chicken and rice dish called kabuli palow, this popular restaurant regularly drew shoppers from surrounding markets to the area for lunch.
This terrorist act is believed to be in response to the death of a key Taliban leader, Mullah Dadullah, at the hands of Afghan and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Here in Peshawar, locals also believe that one of Dadullah’s close relatives, probably his son, was captured by Pakistani officials from the Marhaba Hotel few days ago.
A voice on the audio tape found from the discarded feet of the suicide bomber said, “Those who spy for America will face this same fate.”
But the bombing claimed innocent lives.
The restaurant owner, Sardar Uddin, an Afghan citizen of Uzbek ethnicity, had just arrived with two of his guests before the blast.
Now they are all dead, as are Uddin’s two sons who were serving customers during the busy hour of the day.
Among others, the bombing also killed two women and a five-year-old boy.
The two women, a mother and daughter, lived a few streets away from me, and the sad story of their deaths crushed their friends and neighbors, who shared in the sorrow.
The daughter, who was pregnant, was to leave within days to meet her husband in the United Kingdom. Their enormous hopes and wishes for a splendid future – secure and free from fear and threats – exploded in the blast.
Nowadays, living in Europe in order to have security and a better life is a favorable achievement, especially for a couple. But their dreams remained unaccomplished, with the difference of only a few days.
I am sad for this family.
The mother and daughter were walking in the busiest area, near the targeted restaurant, when the bomb exploded and left them dead on the spot. So indeed, three people died from the same family.
Instead of a reunion with her husband in England – and a bright future for their child – the poor woman’s head was blown from her body while she shopped in preparation for her trip. A major part of the bomb struck her neck.
The situation in Peshawar for more than a month now – following political issues and demonstrations – is terrible, and locals are appealing to the government for more security in hopes of preventing such tragedies.
In Pakistan, extreme insecurity and instability continue, following the sacking of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry by President General Prevez Musharraf.
The justice is increasingly trying to induce people against the president, and he seems more successful with the full support of all opposing political parties.
Peshawar’s bombing last week is second to Karachi’s, in which 35 people were killed this month in the nation’s financial hub in clashes between Chaudry’s supporters and the government forces.
It was a lucky day for me and my family last week, because we weren’t anywhere near the bombing that day.
But it was a sad day for the whole city, and a scary time for me and many people who live here.
Edrees Kakar is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.
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