Lahore­ - Story of victims of suicide bombings often begins and ends with the TV channels, police and photographers rushing to the spot scrambling for snaps, footage and recording quick interviews and hurriedly airing it while the politicians announce compensation packages. That is where the story ends.

What the victims have to go through in terms of treatment and trauma and how their lives are affected, a UK based charity Action on Armed Violence has an interesting story to tell.

In a research titled Anatomy of a Suicide Bombing carried out by investigative journalist Ian Overton and Henry Dod with the help a local journalist Umair Aziz, lives of 130 survivors and victims’ families from twin Moon market bombings of 2009 have been reviewed. AOAV interviewed, survivors, doctors and police and government officers. 

For these 130 people, not including the 60 killed, life has been miserable, research shows. On an average, victims had to spend 25 days in a hospital, while the governmental compensation was inconsistent and insufficient. Worse still, very little psychological support was given. According to the findings, only 6 percent of the victims received psychological support.

The study found that compensation given to the victims from the federal government was inconsistent. Many of the victims complained that the compensation was inadequate in terms of medical treatment they had to undergo.

According to the study, 74pc of the survivors including those who had a family member killed said that financially they were now worse off. For a major injury, the survivors were given Rs200,00 while for a minor injury, Rs50,000 were given, though the treatment for a broken leg is around Rs600,000. Worse, still, the government did not allocate extra funding to allow the hospitals to meet the costs. The research also focused on how government gave away the cheques publicly while not caring for the feelings of the victims.

“Many victims receiving compensation were concerned that the cheques were given publicly. A recipient of a cheque mourning the loss of a loved one was faced with the stigma of profiting from injury,” said Policy and Research Director Iain Overton of the AOAV.  

At present, there is no trauma centre in Punjab, while Ian Overton is striving to set up one. Post Traumatic stress Disorder has been a negative influence on the lives of the survivors and preventing them from living normal lives.

“We recommend that hospitals receive extra funding when major events of trauma occur and that survivors of armed violence receive proper psychological and discreet financial assistance.” Overton said. A significant part of the research has been devoted to the psychological impact and trauma the survivors have now to face.

A third of the people AVOA interviewed said that they had not been back to the market ever since the bombings.

 “When I hear any news now, I feel very bad, I am very disturbed. I used to take it lightly. But now, oh my God, I can’t sleep now. I recall everything in my mind,” Said one of the victims while talking to the AOAV. 

The study also found that nobody was convicted for organising the terrible attack. “This feeds into a wider story. In Punjab, 74 percent of the terrorists suspects were acquitted in 2012. Impunity feeds violence and violence begets more violence” Overton said.

Overton said that Pakistan is among the top three violence-riddled countries coming just after Iraq and Syria. Between, 2008 to 2013, over 11000 civilians were killed and injured in more than 4250 explosions, which works to about two explosions per day and five civilian casualties killed or injured, Overton said.