More Mayhem in Lahore; Terrorists Attack Hospital and Kill 12; Then Escape

Posted on May 31, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Religion, Society
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Adil Najam

The details of exactly what happened here are still sketchy. Except that this terrorist attack on the Emergency Ward of Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital was clearly related to the brutal attack of Ahmadis in Lahore earlier this week.

The basic facts of what we do know about this brutal terrorist attack are horrendous enough: four terrorists came in disguised as policemen and took control of the Emergency section of Jinnah Hospital where a number of people who had been injured in the earlier attack on Ahmadis in Lahore were admitted, as was one of the suspects of that attack (Muaz); the ensuing gun battle with the police was not pretty and left twelve people dead, including four policemen; eventually the terrorists were able to flee in safety.

Sketchy as itself is, the best account one can find right now of what happened is in The Express Tribune:

In an audacious attack, four terrorists entered the emergency ward at Jinnah hospital near midnight and began firing indiscriminately, killing 12 people, including four policemen. The terrorists then took patients, attendants and hospital staff hostage. The terrorists later fled.

Eyewitnesses described the terrorist as fair-complexioned and between the ages of 20 and 22. They are said to have entered the hospital premises camouflaged as police and eyewitnesses said they were riding a vehicle with an official number plate. Some police officials say the objective of the attack seems to have been either killing or securing the release of one of the terrorists responsible for Friday’s attack on the Ahmadi ibadatgah in Model Town, Muaz, who had been captured the same day and was under treatment at Jinnah hospital.

Responding to the hospital’s SOS, the police moved in soon after to cordon off the area and secure the hospital. For at least 30 minutes, the two sides traded fire. One of the terrorists is also said to have been shot in the leg.

One of the terrorists is said to have made his way to the rooftop of the hospital and from this vantage point, continued providing covering fire and picking out the policemen assembled in the hospital premises. Shortly after, the police brought in Armoured Personnel Carriers and Elite Forces reinforcements and managed to cordon off the area.

In order to prevent the terrorists from identifying the location of Muaz in the ICU,  police say, they disconnected power supply to the hospital. Panicked by the firing and the dark, patients, their attendants and the hospital staff made for the exits, running for their lives.

In the ensuing melee, police sources say, the four terrorists made good their escape from the rear entrance of the hospital. As the police gave chase, there was a brief encounter between the two sides in the adjoining area of Hanjarwal, before the terrorists fled from there as well.

Initially, eyewitnesses said the terrorists used a police vehicle for their getaway but later, the police contradicted this claim. It is now being thought that since the car the attackers came in had a government number plate, that’s why the eyewitnesses were deceived. From the rounds left behind, the police are surmising that the four were armed with AK 47s as well as other guns.

The IG Punjab and other senior police officials reached the area to supervise the operation and soon after, managed to secure the building. Meanwhile, police sources said, Muaz was shifted to an undisclosed location.

However, independent analysts are dismissing the police’s theory of the terrorists wanting to secure Muaz’s release. Muaz, it is said, is a significant member of the Punjabi Tehreek-e-Taliban, originally from Muzzaffargarh, and the authorities expect him to render a great deal of useful information about terrorist networks in southern Punjab. However, since he was on life support in the ICU, analysts say, it is unlikely that his comrades could have transported him and must have meant to kill him.

Till the filing of this report, there were conflicting reports about the death toll. While the Jinnah hospital administration said 12 had been killed, DCO Lahore Sajjad Bhutta said between six and eight persons had been killed.

Jinnah hospital medical superintendent Dr Javed Akram requisitioned medical staff from other hospitals of the city to treat the injured.

Several of those injured in Friday’s attacks which killed more than 80 Ahmadis were under treatment in Jinnah Hospital.

Meanwhile, the IG Punjab says that Lahore has been put on high alert and all the entry and exit points to the city have been sealed.

Right now there are more questions than there are answers. And even more mayhem, panic and fear. Exactly what the terrorists want. More than that, just as one thought that the tide of public opinion was turning starkly against the Taliban and their violent tactics, it seems the terrorists may have hit a winning formula: Once they start targeting Ahmadis, too many ‘good’ Pakistanis seem willing to either remain just silent, or turn the conversations into a theological debate about who is and is not a ‘real’ Muslim, instead of focusing on the brutality and inhumanity of these terrorists killing Pakistanis. The rest of the world has, of course, never shown interest in Pakistanis being targeted by these terrorists as long as it kept them off their backs; now, it seems that ‘good’ Pakistanis will also look the the other way as long as it is Ahmadis who are targeted!

You know what this makes these ‘good’ Pakistanis who choose to remain either silent or look the other way or try to change the topic by camouflaging it in vague religosity? Bad Pakistanis.

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52 responses to “More Mayhem in Lahore; Terrorists Attack Hospital and Kill 12; Then Escape”

  1. Obaid1 says:

    In a sign of how hatred is propagated, The News newspaper said one of the two surviving gunmen caught by security forces said he had been persuaded that Ahmadis were “blaspheming” Islam.

    Identified as Abdullah, he told investigators that his mentors had him believe that Ahmadis were drawing caricatures of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) during a recent online contest and “so their bloodshed was a great service to Islam”, the newspaper said.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-l ibrary/dawn/news/pakistan/03-Pakistans-mosques-med ia-and-intolerance-ss-09

  2. Ch. Aslam says:

    What has been the followup on this horrible incident? Who has been caught? Who has been punished?

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