Monday, October 26, 2009

Surviving a Suicide Blast

It isn't just the dead that count when Muslim fanatics 'martyr' themselves to get to the virgins in paradise. Suffering and heartache is the legacy of Muhammad.

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- His legs and arms are wrapped in bandages. His face, shrouded in a mask of cotton.

Waqar Khalid is one of the latest victims of a war that has now spread to Pakistan's schools. The 24-year-old university student lies in a hospital bed, beneath a small printed sign on the wall that lists his name, age and injury. Sixty percent of his body is covered in burns.

One afternoon last week, Khalid walked out of a classroom straight into the fireball of an exploding suicide bomber.

"I saw a man wearing a sky-blue colored suit. Very close. Maybe the distance [was] two feet ... but I didn't think that it will be a terrorist," Khalid says. "When he pushed the button, right at that time, I saw fire. Very high fire. Very much high fire."

Watch Khalid describe the blast Video

Two suicide bombers were involved in Tuesday's attack on Islamabad's International Islamic University. The first bomber hit the cafeteria on the women's side of the campus, killing a cafeteria worker and four students, and wounding 17 other female students.

Video: Face of Pakistan's victims
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Khalid and his classmates heard that blast but assumed it was a car tire bursting.

Moments later, the second bomber self-detonated in the hallway on the second floor of the Sharia law department, directly in front of the department chairman's office.

The blast sprayed the walls and ceiling with ball bearings and left two male students dead.

"I thought now I will go to Allah," Khalid says. "But after five minutes I saw that I'm completely -- all parts of my body is with me."

Though horrifically burned, Khalid somehow survived the inferno and stumbled down the stairs.

Five days after the attack, workers were covering up the blood-stained, pock-marked walls at the Sharia law department with mortar and paint. In a few weeks, the building may look as good as new.

Khalid, meanwhile, is battling for his life.

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