Carnage at Wagah: How Pakistani newspapers reported the blast
'Carnage' this is how two of Pakistan's English newspapers described the attack at Wagah border which has left close to 55 people dead and injured over 200 people.
"Carnage" this is how two of Pakistan's English newspapers described the attack at Wagah border which has left close to 55 people dead and injured over 200 people.
According to Dawn, the "Carnage at Wagah" left 60 dead dead which included three officers of the Punjab rangers and 7 family members were killed.
The report adds that after the blast chaos followed at the site, as the weekend sees more people turn up to attend the flag-hoisting ceremony. According to the report, the resulting stampede added to the number of injured people. The report also notes that the bomber was stopped at some 600 metres short of the main parade ceremony area by the Pakistan Rangers officials and this is when he exploded the bombs.
If the attacker had managed to get further in, the extent of casualties would have been far higher, a point that is noted by nearly all newspapers in Pakistan.
According to a report in The Express Tribune, which recounted accounts of survivors from the blast, the attack took place almost immediately after the "national flag had just been lowered and people were queuing up to leave the arena."
One witness told the paper, “[Just then] I heard a deafening blast and there was dense smoke everywhere. I passed out,” said Raza, one of those injured in Sunday’s suicide attack at the Wagah border. “When I came to, there were bodies everywhere and people groaning and crying...I didn’t see a flash or the person who blew himself up. Just a very loud bang and the ground beneath me slipped from under my feet,” he said.
At the Ghurki Trust Hospital, where the injured were first sent off, "heartbreaking scenes" took place, as survivors recounted their horror, adds the report.
For one family of eight who had come from Samundari to see the parade, the outing turned out to be tragic as nearly eight members were killed, including, three women and two children. One family member told the paper that their relatives have bought them to Wagah border. "We didn’t know it was death that brought us here," they said.
According to the latest reports, the bomber appears to have been in his early twenties and was carrying close to 20-25 kgs of explosives strapped to his jacket. The report adds that according to officers, the bomber used "at least 7kg ‘very high quality’ explosive material". Officials say they have "also collected some body parts suspected to be of the bomber."
Punjab Rangers Director General Khan Tahir Khan said: "The suicide bomber failing to enter the main gate leading to the parade lane blew himself up 500 to 600 metres away... Three rangers personnel present at the main gate have been killed while five others suffered critical injuries."
In fact so intense were the blasts, that witnesses told Pakistan's The Nation that it was "like doomsday." The paper quotes Asif Rashid, who was injured in the blast as saying, “It was a huge, very powerful blast. It was like Karbala (episode happening there). It was like doomsday. I saw it with my eyes.”
Meanwhile al-Qaeda affiliated militant group Jandullah, which was behind a suicide bombing that killed at least 78 Christians at a church in Peshawar in September 2013, claimed responsibility for the attack. The spokesman of the splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Ahmed Marwat said the attack was a reaction to Pakistani military's operation Zarb-i-Azb and Waziristan operation against insurgents.
But another militant faction Jamat-ul-Ahrar, which broke away from the main TTP leadership in September, rubbished the claim and said they were behind the blast.
From the reports it is clear that the 'carnage' at Wagah would have claimed more lives, had the bomber managed to get closer to the parade ceremony.
With inputs from PTI