Blinking away tears that welled up in his eyes, Muhammad Ishaq said he lost the joys of hearth and home when one inauspicious night mortar shells rained down on the locality where he lived.
“One of the mortar shells hit our small house with a sickening thud, bringing the side wall down. Pungent smoke reeking of phosphorous filled the entire room, where we’re sleeping, making it almighty difficult for us to breathe.
I rushed out of the house with my family like a bat out of hell before a second hit that would have brought the ceiling crashing down, burying us alive under the rubble.
We groped our way down to a safer area trembling, with the fast currents of air hitting our bodies like bullets. Thanks God, that soon we’re out of danger in one limb,” Ishaq said in a choked voice.
With a reflection of thankfulness in his eyes, he said the PRC rushed to his help when his family was out on a single limb.
“We’re no more exposed to elements and can have a peaceful sleep now, as we have got a temporary shelter, bedding and woollies. I find no words to thank the PRC for the timely help when the chips were down.”
Standing close to a pile of non-food items (NFIs), Muhammad Shafi, a resident of Bhimber in his mid-teens, said firing from the other side of the border was a thorn in their side. He said his family was accustomed to rebuilding their house.
We have been bearing the brunt of firing for decades. We can’t leave our area for good, as we have strong bonds with the area where we live. When the guns go silent and peace prevails, we go back,” he said.
Gulshan Bibi said she had lost a number of relatives living in forward locations. She appealed that at least the civilian population should be spared for they are not part of the war.
A few weeks back we moved down to this area after shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC). The entire area was reverberating with the sound of heavy fire.
The firing was so intense that we’d to leave everything behind and rush to safety. When we got down, we had no woollies on to brave the elements.
“I thank Almighty Allah, the PRC and other international relief agencies for rushing to our help when we needed it the most. The tent, woollies and bedding will cushion us against rain, snow and the cold. I have the PRC to thank for the help.”