It was a cat, not a bomb, parents tell their children in Landhi

Published: January 26, 2013

Saeed holds his son Ayan. He told him that the bomb was actually just a cat being beaten on the roof. They stand in their alleyway in Sherpao Colony, Landhi. PHOTO: MAHIM MAHER/EXPRESS

Someone beat a cat on the roof. This was the explanation Saeed gave his tiny son on Thursday night.

“Billi ko kisi ne mara.”

(Somebody hit a cat.)

Ayaan, who prefers chewing the handle of his rattle to the rattle itself, was one of the hundreds of children who heard or saw the bombs that went off just a stone’s throw from their Landhi homes in Sherpao Colony. Saeed came back from work as a part-time cook in DHA to find the three year old clinging to his mother and running a fever.

“It was just a cat. Just a cat,” he kept repeating.

Ayaan’s four-year-old cousin, however, has been begging her mother to take them some place far away. She doesn’t care if it was a cat.

The double bombing which killed three people isn’t much news the day after. The grenade happened first, and when people rushed to the spot, an IED went off. It was hidden in a ground covered by smoldering garbage at the edge of the neighbourhood that borders a graveyard.

This is the mini landfill site where the bombs went off, one a grenade and one an IED, hidden in the garbage. On Friday, the ground next to it was filled with kids from the colony playing cricket.

At two separate points the graveyard’s boundary wall is peppered with marks from the shrapnel. Most of the pieces have been since removed and some people have already packed dirt into the crevices.

The wall of the graveyard next to the garbage dump which took the brunt of the first or second explosion in Landhi’s Sherpao Colony on Thursday

The garbage dump was a good place to put the bomb. A large craggy pit is being slowly filled with the garbage, which according to one resident will be used to level it so they can build over. The only problem is that the pir of a mazaar at the end of the depression claims one acre and doesn’t want the settlement to spread right up to his doorstep.

A cricket ball flies over from one of the dozen or so games being played and lands in the pit. Two young men go after it. It is a day off for Eid Miladun Nabi and everyone is out to play.

“Yeah, you’re CID, you tell her who planted the bomb,” says one of the boys to take a jab at a buddy.

His friend sidles away from the group that has gathered around, keen to recount what happened.

The children skip ahead to show the way to Humair’s house. He lives just a stone’s throw from the crime scene and was injured in the second explosion. The Landhi neighbourhood is mostly filled with Pashto speaking families from Abbottabad, Hazaaras, from Battgram.

A rickshaw weaves through the wickets to stop at a doorway in the nearest alley. Humair has come home from the hospital. He was caught in the second bombing.

The nine-year-old has a canulla taped to his wrist and a dazed look in his eye.

Humair was injured in the second IED explosion on Rehri Road near Sherpao Colony. He just returned from the hospital on Friday.

He was walking down the slope of the graveyard’s wall with 2kg of sugar and 1kg of flour when the second bomb went off.

In this neighbourhood most of the men are out during the day at work and only the more aware young boys go out to get the groceries because the women observe purdah.

“I’m never going to get groceries again,” he says.


Read more by Mahim here or follow her on Twitter @Mahim_Maher 


Mahim Maher

A journalist based in Karachi, Pakistan. She has worked as the city editor at The Express Tribune and Daily Times, and now writes long form investigative and explanatory pieces on Karachi’s civic and urban infrastructure with a focus on transport, public spaces and water.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.