LAHORE - It was difficult to understand why he was doing it but one could gauge the pain that he was still going through while standing at the Charing Cross signal the site of tragic blast incident.

The man was Naveed Khan, who runs a shwarma shop on The Mall. He was taking photos and making videos with his cell phone of the site, which was washed sometime in the late afternoon. It was amazing the way he was taking the photos. “It was a tragic incident. It is now part of history and I want to keep record of this tragic chapter of our history. Last night I had seen this place filled with the blood and body parts of the victims of bomb blast.

“It’s heart wrenching as I saw it all personally just few yards from Al-Falah building,” Naveed said. He is no doubt a very brave man who instead of running away from the scene fully participated in relief efforts to shift the injured and dead bodies to hospitals.

“The site has been washed. Nothing reminds you of what happened yesterday. It is black metal surface of the road and a shattered-pole,” he said with a sigh.

The Charing Cross was opened to traffic and public at around five in the evening. Every passerby stood for a moment. Men or women on foot or in their cars slowed down to have a look at the same place where the incident had taken place. There was sadness on everyone’s face and the people hardly talked about what had happened there yesterday. Their solemn faces showed their grief. Their eyes were telling the whole truth.

“It’s unbelievable that how a man with so many explosives came here to conduct the blast. Today, all my fellow traders are very sad for the innocent lives that we have lost,” Naveed said.

A couple on a motorbike stood there for some minutes and started cursing perpetrators of the blast. They also condemned the government for its failure to protect people. “Hell to the attacker and hell to those who gave him birth,” said the lady, with anguish visible on her face. “Baira gharq howay zalma da” (may they rot in hell), the lady said loudly and then they both left for their destination.

Some people who were sitting beside the wall of Al-Habib Bank near Regal Chowk, just in front of Hall Road at the Mall, and were sharing their views about the incident.

Rafiq Ahmed, a man with white beard and wrapped in green shalwar kameez said to another man sitting next to him whom he called Tahir at the tea shop. “Police were targeted because the attacker blew himself up at the moment when all the senior officials had reached there.

“Some days ago, a religious group staged rally but it was all peaceful. There was no terror threat then. But these peaceful pharmacists became target of terrorists,” he said. This scribe also intervened and asked them that “if the IPL was the focus of the perpetrators as some people were saying that India doesn’t want it to be successful” they replied “No, this doesn’t look like, it were police.

Another at the place sipping tea said very quietly that this is a new series of attacks which has begun when the new team of army leadership is in charge now and they want to put pressure on it. They, then started criticizing police saying that how a common man expect peace and safety if police themselves are not secure.

“Yes, you’re right! No security for anyone. May God bless us all. We are at the mercy of God,” Tahir Wadood said.

Though, the traffic was allowed in the evening, no rush was observed. Sadness had descended everywhere. During the visit of old Mozzang Bazaar the shops were open but mostly the people who were sitting at different places were expressing their anger and despair.

“The terrorists have become so strong that they can hit anywhere, anytime,” said Shabbir Maanik who is owner of an eatery at Mozang Bazaar.

“We’re insecure because the attack did not even spare senior police officials. Nothing is safe including schools, hospitals, buses and trains, because our rulers do nothing for the public rather than make hollow slogans. Why they are not ever attacked?” lamented Shabbir while dealing with a consumer who had come there to buy some ‘Naan Channay’.

“We lack the system and we don’t want to improve it. So such incidents can’t stop. The attackers belong to us; we brought them up and now we are reaping what we had sown. The sense of fear and killing will prevail unless serious radical steps are taken to combat this menace,” Zahid Azeem said. Zahid is a teacher who teaches at a private school on Empress Road and lives in Mozang area.