03/31/2016, 10.08
PAKISTAN
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Survivors of Lahore attack: A sudden flash of light and then flames everywhere

by Kamran Chaudhry

At Jinnah Hospital in Lahore 65 people, including 13 children, are hospitalized in serious condition wounded in the Park attack on Easter Sunday. Kajal is 17 years old and has three serious fractures and four stiches in her right eye: She will never see again and will have difficulty walking, her mother says, "but at least she is here with us". Taj, a 24 year old electrician: "After the explosion they even stole my phone."

Lahore (AsiaNews) - For five seconds after the bomb explosion in the park Gulshan-e-Iqbal, "everyone was on the ground and everything caught fire. I cannot believe that someone would do such a thing for money”, one of the survivors of the terrible attack that last Easter bloodied Lahore, capital of Punjab, tells AsiaNews.

The Taliban claimed the bombing "to attack Christians." But in fact, there are many Muslims among the 72 dead and some 350 wounded.

Kajal Shaukat, 17, lost her right eye during the attack: "A sudden flash of light, and everyone was on the ground. Soon after, I could not see anything anymore". The girl has four stitches to the eye, two fractures to her left leg and another to her right femur. She is at the Jinnah Hospital in Lahore along with 65 other survivors of the attack: 13 of them are children.

There are several bunches of flowers around her bed and on the windows. "She was accompanying some friends from other cities - said the mother as she dries her tears with the dupatta [headscarf ed] - and now the doctors say she will not be able to walk for months. But at least she is still here with us".

A few steps away it is Zaeeshan Taj: he has burns all over his left arm and both legs are broken. One of his friends died during the killing spree, while five others are hospitalized in the same structure: "Every two weeks we played cricket in the park. That evening we were about to leave when the bomb exploded. For five seconds, all I saw was on fire".

However, the tragedy has not stopped petty thieves: "I tried to stand up after the explosion, but my legs were not working. I gave my phone to a passerby, who called my father. But then he left without giving me back my phone. I was helpless and hopeless". Taj is 24 years old, he works as an electrician and today will be operated on his legs: "I cannot believe anyone would kill for money. If you carry out an attack of this level you have to have a very big reason".

Uzma Ashiq is the coordinator of the Salvation Army youth sector of Pakistan. Along with her squad (see photos), she stopped to pray for the injured children admitted to Jinnah: "Theirs was an extremely painful experience. Now they need support also from an emotional point of view, and their families too. They will need a lot of psychological support work to overcome this trauma".

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