Rushed to hospital in blood-soaked sheets

Click to follow
The Independent Online

At Karachi's Jinnah hospital, one of four dealing with the casualties, they could barely have brought the bodies in faster – the dead, the injured and those somewhere in between.

Wrapped in sheets sodden with blood, the injured were rushed inside the beleaguered casualty unit, where doctors and nurses set about what was often a hopeless task.

At least 32 people were dead on arrival, said one doctor, and at least another 20 had died as the doctors fought to save them. Hundreds more were injured and medics said scores of those were in a critical condition.

At the back of the hospital, a crowd had gathered over the corpse of Inspector Shahab Khetian, a member of Ms Bhutto's security detail. He was a veteran of the city's police force, and the eldest of 10 brothers. "He was very generous. You cannot say that about all policemen," said his brother-in-law Ahmer Umar.

Witnesses said the two blasts happened as Ms Bhutto's convoy passed under the Karsaz Bridge on its way to the tomb of Pakistan's founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. "I was right next to her lorry. I heard the first blast and walked back, and was hit by the second," said Ushad Bhutto, who suffered head injuries. "I saw 25 people splattered in front of me."

In one ambulance near the hospital, a man sat weeping over the body of his brother, his cries of anguish loud enough for everyone to hear. When he climbed from the vehicle, he sat on the kerb-side as a friend hugged him.

On the other side of Karachi, at Bilawal House, Ms Bhutto's family home, supporters had gathered. Khalib Shahsna had flown in with Ms Bhutto and was on the top of her lorry when the blast occurred. "I heard a large blast. To my right and left, people died," he said. "The people who did this don't like moderation. The majority of people like her."

There was similar anger at the hospital. "This is all bullshit. We are all brothers and sisters. Why are we doing this to each other," said one of the doctors, Shaikh Hamid. "This makes no sense."