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Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 14:57 UK

Scenes of carnage in Peshawar bazaar

By Abdul Hai Kakar
BBC Urdu, Peshawar

Pakistani men mourn the death of their relatives at the site of a suicide car bomb blast in Peshawar on October 9, 2009.
A vehicle laden with explosives was detonated near the bazaar

The Khyber bazaar in Peshawar is one of the busiest and most densely-populated places in the city.

Militants behind the attack will have targeted the market for precisely this reason.

The power of the blast was immediately obvious. Everything within a 400 yard (365m) radius was severely damaged.

Cars, motorcycles and bicycles were completely destroyed.

From their position, it was clear that some of the vehicles had been moving when the blast took place.

A bus had been completely demolished - it was just a charred skeleton lying on its side.

Police and relief workers were collecting body parts from the remains of the bus and other vehicles when I arrived.

It was a site of sheer carnage - and there were more heart-rending scenes at the nearby Lady Reading Hospital.

A line of bodies lay on the morgue floor - all shrouded in white sheets.

Most were so badly disfigured that it was not possible to recognise them. Most were missing limbs.

The emergency ward upstairs was so crowded that it was hard to find space for those needing treatment.

Hospital trauma

Then an acquaintance called out to me: "See this child, he has no-one with him."

Umair - boy who was in bus hit by blast
Umair survived the blast which hit the bus he was travelling in

As I went to the boy's bedside, I saw that he was bandaged from head to foot.

Two bright eyes seemed to cry out - but the child was not able to speak.

I asked him a few questions, but although he tried to answer, he could not speak.

Finally, a man standing close by spoke up for the boy.

"His name is Umair and he is from the Bajaur tribal region.

"We don't know who his parents are, and no-one has come for him as yet.

"He was in the bus with his parents when the explosion took place, and now they are nowhere to be found."

As I left the hospital, the wails of grieving women echoed around me.

Two women were sitting with children outside the trauma centre.

One of them was being consoled by people nearby who told her that her child was not dead.

But she would not listen and kept asking: "Where is he?"

The Khyber bazaar and the historic Qissa Khawani bazaar nearby have been the target of several suicide and car bomb attacks.

There have been at least three recent suicide attacks on Shia mosques in the Qissa Khawani bazaar leaving dozens dead and injured.

In such places, the death toll from a bomb blast is almost guaranteed to be very high.



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