KARACHI: “The dhamal had just begun after the evening prayers. We were moving towards the courtyard to participate in the dhamal when we heard a huge explosion. The next thing I remember is lying on a bed in Sehwan Hospital,” recalls Muhammad Hayat, 55.
He and his seven colleagues, all of them working odd jobs at a rice mill in Shahdadkot, were at the shrine when the blast took place on February 16, 2017, last year.
An Islamic State affiliate later claimed the terrorist act.
Hayat says he still has some pieces of the shell that struck him last year in his back because he had to cut short his treatment for lack of funds.
“Some pieces of the shell that pierced through my skin were taken out, but others remain in my body. I feel severe pain sometimes,” he says.
After the blast, the injured were taken to the Sehwan Hospital for treatment. Since the hospital lacked adequate facilities and doctors, those with severe injuries, including Hayat, were shifted to other hospitals. He was sent to a hospital in Nawabshah.
“I remained under treatment in Nawabshah for a few days but then the hospital discharged me, saying that they couldn’t treat me anymore,” he says.
Later, Hayat received Rs100,000 from the Sindh government, announced as compensation for each of the injured. All of that money was spent on his medical treatment, he says.
Hayat identifies the colleague who died in the blast as Ghulam Akbar Aagani.
Speaking to Daily Times, Agani’s son Ghulam Asghar Aagani says that the family has yet to recover from the trauma on the loss of his father. “We have spent the entire year in grief. It was a national tragedy, but the government has not done enough to track down all the culprits,” he says.
The Jamshoro district police have constituted a special security force to guard the shrine. All, except one, gates remain permanently closed now. A single gate is used for entry and exit purposes.
All visitors now pass through a metal detector gate before security personnel frisk them and let them walk down the multiple pathways, separated with iron railings, leading to the shrine. Women police officials are deputed for frisking women visitors.
Inside the shrine, a male and a female police official remain present for security needs around the clock.
The government has also upgraded medical facilities in the city. Syed Abduallah Shah Institute of Medical Sciences is now operational.