A Pakistani village where New Year is mourned

Saturday, January 1, 2011

ISLAMABAD - It was once a place full of cheer and laughter. But exactly a year after a New Year suicide bombing, Shah Hassan Khel in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has turned into a ghost village with nearly every family having lost a family member or a friend.

A suicide bomber blew himself in Shah Hassan Khel village Jan 1, 2010 when many had gathered to watch a local volleyball match in a field, leaving over 100 dead.

The village was earlier known for its volleyball players but now this game is no longer played as most of the village’s players perished in the attack.

We have been robbed of our laughter, said a villager.

Express Tribune reported Saturday that every family in the village has lost a son, a brother or friend.

It has now turned into a ghost village and there is a tight security cordon of the army and the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary (FC) with local police guarding it round the clock.

Entry is allowed to locals after producing identity cards.

The village has been dead for a year now, Saleem Mohammad, a resident, was quoted as saying. Saleem lost a son and two nephews in the bombing.

It was barbarism against the people of this village, said Qudratullah, whose brother a volleyball player was killed in the attack.

The village has 500 households with a population of around 4,000.

Mushtaq Ahmed, another local, told the daily that it was lively village before the militants took it over.

They had money and all the bad elements of the village joined them. Soon after they started their moral policing across the village.

It was village of cheerful people, but after that attack the children and women are fearful of any loud sound, he said.

We live in fear of everything.

Filed under: Terrorism

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