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The wounds time can’t heal

KARACHI:

It has been 11 years since police officer Stella Sadiq came face to face with a suicide bomber, but she remembers every moment of the encounter. The physical wounds she suffered ultimately healed; it is perhaps the mental scars of that fateful day at Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s mausoleum that will last a lifetime.
“He refused to let me search him and began moving forward. I pushed him back and the moment I realised the danger, all those in close proximity ran to the other end. Nonetheless, he detonated his explosives and I suffered injuries as a result of the explosion,” she recalls.
On October 7, 2010, there were two explosions at the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Clifton. Eight people were killed and more than 75 were injured.
Stella intercepted the first of the suicide bombers and the blast, which he caused, left her with injuries to various parts of the body. However, her heroics on that day prevented the suicide bomber from entering the crowded shrine, saving many lives.
She is the first female police officer to receive the “Quaid-e-Azam Police Medal” for this achievement.
Speaking to Express, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Stella Sadiq recalls the day that will forever stay in her memory. She remembers being deputed to the Clifton police station. As usual, she was stationed at the mausoleum of Abdullah Shah Ghazi for duty.
As Stella’s shift was coming to an end, she waited for her brother to take her home. There was a rush of Ghazi baba’s followers, she says.
Due to the overall security situation in the country, visitors were only allowed to enter after a search However, the rows of males and females were separate and a boy tried to enter through women’s line. “I kept him at bay, but he did not stop. He started cursing me. I immediately grabbed him by the collar and pushed him back with all my strength.”
That is when the crowd saw the boy trying to read out or mutter something under his breath. “Everyone else, including me, immediately realised the grave danger we were in. All the people ran to the other side and the chaos was soon followed by an explosion and I also got injured as well.
Talking about the physical wounds from the incident, Stella says there were wounds to various parts of her body, apart from the shrapnel that entered her skin. At the time, she had been hospitalised for several days. Despite being injured, she tried to climb the stairs to the shrine. However, moments later, another blast ripped through the site and this caused her to faint.
Once back on her feet, she was awarded Rs 50,000 by the Sindh governor for her bravery. Meanwhile, the police department awarded her with the Quaid-e-Azam Police Medal (QPM).
Having recently joined the force before suffering injuries in the blast, Stella was a police constable (PC) at the time of the incident. Thanks to her dedication and strong work ethic, she has climbed the ranks in a male-dominated force and is currently serving as an assistant sub inspector.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2021.

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