–Of a town in mourning

For the last two days, I have imagined myself inside PK-661. I am tormented by the thought of the few minutes that the ones we lost must have gone through before the crash. It has been haunting me. I close my eyes and I imagine Ayesha frantically trying to make a last phone call, Osama hugging his infant daughter tight and Farhat Aziz pressing his daughter’s hand hoping for a last minute miracle. I almost hate myself for these graphic images but the human mind seems to be capable of most imaginative when it is least needed. I am going to write today, attempt at putting into words the last two days of constant agony and piercing pain. I lost no ‘immediate’ family as they say here but found myself crying with not one but 47 families.  So I am going to write for that is the only thing that seems to lighten my heart tonight.

I am mourning for Ayesha binte Usman; a new bride with dreams in her eyes of meeting her beloved in Canada and pursuing a Ph.D. Ayesha prided on being the first M.Phil in her family and her mourning sister wants her to keep the title even in death. Her beauty and her smile will continue to be imprinted on my mind for a long time.  Salman Zain ul Abedin, the living picture of his great father, MPA Zain ul Abedin and ‘baba’ to many of us has made even those cry who had never met him. He leaves behind his young children and while I know that they will be taken care of in the best manner, they remind me of the raw pain of losing a father.  I mourn for Farhat Aziz, a loved teacher and a believer in living your life and dreams; who knew he will go down in a ‘flight’, a man who knew how to tame the winds.  Taiba Aziz, who has left behind a whole life to be lived to the fullest.  I imagine Osama Warraich, a young fellow brimming with the energy to make a difference, with an accomplished career many dream for and old parents waiting at the Islamabad airport. I fail to imagine the fairness of nature in wiping out an entire family of six, leaving behind only a 15 year old to carry the load on her fragile shoulders.

Forty seven lives have come to a stop today. With them, forty seven families will forget how it means to have a complete family picture. As a daughter who lost her father early in life, I feel you. I know and have gone through the kind of pain that seems to explode through your heart. I know nothing will bring you comfort for a long time. But let me try with these words; it does goes better. You may shake your head and absolutely reject this now  with all right but you will see what I mean sometime down the road. Till that time, allow yourself to cry, to mourn and go through the natural healing process. Dont rush through it. Don’t try too hard to forget because you will crave the memories later. I open my heart and door to each one of you tonight and pray that Allah does the same and gives you the courage and patience to bear it without losing yourself in the process  — Bakhtawar Salik, 09 Dec 2016.