When terrorists fired indiscriminate shots on a bus navigating sharp turns in the mountains near Chilas on Saturday, chaos ensued inside the vehicle. Some of the passengers quickly took to the floor to escape bullets whizzing past them. However, Roshan Bibi, a mother, did something only a mother could do.
Instead of lying low, she threw her children on the floor and covered them with her body to protect them from flying bullets. One after another, six pieces of lead hit her, leaving her critically wounded, but she made sure her young children remained unhurt.
Roshan Bibi, one of the 25 survivors of Chilas bus attack is now fighting for her life in a Gilgit hospital.
Bibi, her husband Syed Ahmed Shah, and her two children were travelling to Karachi in search of better jobs and education facilities.
Four of the six bullets hit her in the spinal cord and two were lodged in liver and stomach.
The driver tried to speed away as terrorists fired at the bus and ended up hitting a truck on the road but his efforts saved many lives.
Roshan Bibi remains conscious despite her wounds. She can recall the scenes after the firing ended.
“The bus came under attack when it reached Chilas. I bent over my children in an effort to protect them. In the meantime bullets hit me,” Bibi said as she shared her ordeal.
“We were panicking. There were also other wounded persons. Everyone was moaning with pain and anguish. It was shocking,” Roshan Bibi told Aaj News correspondent in Gilgit.
Bibi is undergoing medical treatment at Gilgit city’s Shaheed Saifur Rehman Government Hospital.
Her children, husband, and other family members are among her attendants at the infirmary. Syed Ahmed Shah remained unhurt in the firing.
Bibi said that the firing stopped when their bus hit the truck coming from the opposite direction. The truck caught fire.
According to Bibi, it was like “an disaster inside” the bus when they were moved out of the vehicle. She recounts blood stains, bodies, and the injured lying inside the bus. “It was a very painful situation.”
At least nine people were killed and 25 injured when terrorists opened fire on a bus travelling on the Karakoram Highway in GB’s Chilas area, reminding the people of older terrorist incidents.
The land route is preferred among the locals for its cheap fare as compared to the airplane. But the weather is also a reason why many passengers opt for buses.
Bibi, her husband and children were on K2 Movers—a passenger bus service used frequently by the residents of GB for travelling to and from the mountainous region.
Like many families in the mountainous region, they were en route to Karachi for better livelihood and quality education for their children.
Chilas is the first stop for buses when they leave from Gilgit in winter since the Babusar Top route is closed due to snowfall. One of the survivors told the media that the bus left Gilgit at 2pm and it came under attack at 6:00pm.
Despite the dreadful incident, Bibi was satisfied with her decision to serve as a “shield” to save her children and husband. But she demanded that the government should provide better opportunities at their doorstep.
“If possible, the government should provide job opportunities at their doorstep for their family,” Bibi said.
Diamer has seen militant activities in the past. In 2012, at least 18 people were pulled off buses and massacred in a sectarian attack in Kohistan.
Last year, unidentified men set fire to a girl’s school in Diamer as the incident reminded the people of the horrors of the 2018 mysterious incident when around 15 schools were burnt down in the district. But it just took five days for the community to rebuild the school.
Moreover, a senior minister in GB and other people were released on October 8, 2022 after “successful” negotiations with the protesters, including some “militants”, who had blocked the road between Babusar Top and Chilas.