The charred Toyota Hiace van stood where it was halted in its tracks at the entrance of the Confucius Institute at Karachi University, just a little distance from IBA campus, due to the blast. Its front grille mostly disintegrated with a portion of it lying behind the vehicle.
The driver’s door was ajar and broken. Only the metal frames of the seats were left, the foam, the covers all gone.
Pieces of window glass lay shattered all around though the front and back windscreens also lay on the road, one at the back of the van and another near the smouldering motorcycle of the Rangers officer, who was riding behind the van for security purposes.The windscreen glass was not shattered, but burnt black and stuck to the road like a shiny layer of coal tar.
“The bomber must have been carrying five to 10kg of explosives,” a Bomb Disposal Squad official, investigating on the spot.
The strong impact of the explosion, said to be carried out by a female suicide bomber waiting for the van to appear at the institute’s gate before the afternoon class, had also shattered all the windows of the Department of Commerce that also houses the Confucius Institute on its second floor.
Chaudhry Hadi, a private guard posted at the Confucius Institute, was found praying for his colleague, the injured guard who used to accompany the Chinese staff from their living quarters to the Institute.
He was injured badly in the blast.“The van driver Khalid Bhai couldn’t make it but please pray for Hamid Chachu,” he said. “He is not just a senior colleague, but also our supervisor.
He used to ride in the van with the Chinese with a gun to protect them. Still, who would have known that he wouldn’t even get the time to take out his gun or get them all to a safe place? It was all so sudden, so unexpected.
No gun can save you from a bomb blast,” said the gate guard.Asked where he was at the time of the blast, Mr Hadi said that he was upstairs in the institute. “The entire building shook. The windowpanes also broke.
The shattered glass from there fell on the feet of some girl students below who were screaming as they got cuts on their feet and toes,” he said.Getting over our shock, we helped vacate the building, though there were not many there as yet. The staff used to arrive around 2pm after leaving for lunch following their morning 11am sessions.
The afternoon class would commence at 2.30pm and that’s when most of the students in that session would reach here, too. Thankfully, they had not arrived as yet, otherwise there would have been many more casualties,” he added.
“Still as soon as he could, one student, though not from the Confucius Institute as we would have recognised him then, jumped into the flames to break open the driver’s door to pull him out. But seeing that it was futile and all in vain, he backed off to save himself from getting engulfed in the fire too,” he added.