Bindu Shajan Perappadan

NEW DELHI: Seven of the 10 Pakistani nationals, injured in the Samjhauta Express blasts and admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital here, began their journey home on Thursday afternoon.

Dropped at the Palam Technical Area in hospital ambulances, the patients were accompanied by their relatives and a team of Indian doctors. A Pakistani medical team had flown in to receive them.

"Pakistan Embassy officials had held talks on Wednesday with doctors at the Safdarjung Hospital to look into the feasibility of shifting the patients to Pakistan. Most of the patients had been shifted to a step-down intensive care unit on Wednesday and are fit to undertake the journey. We were, however, worried about nine-year-old Samim Mohammed who was in a critical condition," said a hospital source.

The first patient to be wheeled out of the hospital's burns unit amid heavy police presence was 60-year-old Kamruddin Ahmed who like all the other patients was gifted a small note by the hospital staff that read: `Staff of Safdarjung Hospital and V.M. Medical College, New Delhi, wish you a speedy recovery. Bon Voyage.'

However, Rana Shaukat Ali with his wife Rukhshana and one-year-old child Aksa reportedly did not undertake the trip.

Instead they went to Panipat to try and reclaim the bodies of five of their six children who died in the blasts.

Shaukat with his family left the hospital nearly two hours after the first batch of seven people were discharged. A very emotional Shaukat said, "The fate of my children has left me very sad."

Speaking about Shaukat's decision to go to Panipat his relative Jinnat Ali from Uttar Pradesh, who along with his family has been staying outside the burns unit since Monday morning, said, "Shaukat said that he does not want to join the group going to Pakistan and would like to go to Panipat to reclaim the bodies of his children. We are here to help him undertake this very emotional journey."

Still in hospital is 37-year-old Mohammed Zakir from Uttar Pradesh, brought in with 20 per cent burns and inhalation injuries.

Emotional scenes were witnessed at the exit of the burns unit as survivors of the blasts were brought out. Mohammed Shakeel (25), who was brought to the hospital on Monday as a very critical patient, got up from his wheelchair and tried to walk to the ambulance.

"I am fine now, the Indian doctors have helped me get well. I don't need to be wheeled out. I can now walk out on my own. I am grateful for the care that they have given me and wish them well," he said.