LAHORE - At Charing Cross, it surpassed the state-run rescue agency, at Gulshan-e-Park blast, it left all others behind in its operation, in the Sundar factory incident, it again stood first and now it has given an in-time performance while rescuing people within 12 minutes of the blast that hit a Z-Block market of DHA. A private rescue agency has never achieved such an unprecedented and phenomenal performance.

This is the story of Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) which is on its toes to lead all others in rescue operations. Yes, by doing so, it leads all others literally.

“Smoke was in the air and people were crying on the ground for help when we reached there,” says Muhammad Zubair, FIF Lahore in-charge. “We were the first to respond to the victims at the DHA market.” Broken mirrors of the windows of nearby buildings and cars were seen scattered everywhere, he says, adding that people on the spot were looking in horror and shock and there was no rescuer for their help. Bikes had also been damaged badly, he says further.

It may be surprising for many other contemporary rescue agencies how FIF does respond promptly to such big tragic incidents in the city: It has divided Lahore into two parts; one is south part and the other is north with canal flowing in the middle. 

Only two bikers, 24 hours, stay alert and keep moving in the city to get the first information about any tragic incident or emergency. Not any other agency does so because they respond usually when they are called. As the bikers come to know about any incident, they reach there without delay and report to the head office at Masjid Al-Qadsia as per the situation.

“Within 12 minutes, we reached the blast site at Z-Block of DHA from our centre near Adil Hospital and started the rescue operation,” says Zubair. Five ambulances took part in the operation with a team of 10 workers who shifted five injured to Lahore General Hospital and Adil Hospital.

“No state-run or any other private rescue agency was there on the spot when our workers started the operation for the crying people. They reached there after a man from the same market contacted our patrolling bikers,” he adds.

“We shifted two bodies, one to General Hospital and the other to Adil Hospital, besides carrying three injured from the spot to LGH,” Muhammad Zubair says. Later, the army reached there and the blast site was cordoned off while FIF was stopped from carrying out its rescue operation, he states with a heavy heart. “We are often stopped from carrying out rescue operations for no reason,” Zabair explains.

FIF has 70 ambulances, 34 centres and 28 booths/points in the provincial capital. Each centre has two or three ambulances all the time to respond to any emergency-like situation in the city. It has also established its blood banks for the patients and those who get injured in any incident.

“Our workers donated 70 bags of blood to the injured of Charing Cross. Today, we have donated seven bags to the injured at Lahore General Hospital,” Zubair adds.

Salman, a rescue worker of FIF, explaining the scene right after the blast, says the blast site was full of dust when we reached the spot. “Our ambulances reached the blast site in no time as we have already devised a strategy to response to any emergency-like situation,” he asserted.

Ibrahim, another FIF worker, says, “By the grace of Allah, we were the first ones to help the victims. After that army men took the control and cordoned off the area for the general public.”

Dilawar, who is also a FIF worker, states, “The clouds of dust could easily be seen far from the location as they were heading towards the blast site. The clothes of the dead and injured were lying all over the place.” A footpath just beside the blast site presented a horrifying scene as broken pieces of bikes, cars and human flesh were visible there, says Dilawar.

“The security forces did not allow us to enter the café’s building, so we shifted the injured lying outside the building,” Ibarhim adds.

The FIF shifted bodies of Imran Akram, Habib, Javed Iqbal, Shabbir Ahmad, Moazzam Hayat, Richard Munir and Asif to the homes of the bereaved families.