I still remember!
"Hey, I will call you in a while when I get back home, I think my workers are having fireworks in the rally. Bubye."
I remember when my mom left home and I turned on the television to see a RED ALERT NEWS BULLETIN saying: A bomb blast on the rally of a candidate for elections for Member of National Assembly in the area of Parachinar.
I was thinking it couldnt be. Not possible. We just talked to my dad. His rally was over and they were having fireworks. But then the The News Bulletin said: Bomb blast on the election rally of Dr. Syed Riaz Hussain Shah NA-37.
This was enough to sweep me off my feet. The rest was history. 61 people dead and 232 injured in the Suicide Bom Blast on my father's rally after he was done with his speech. His closest workers were among the martyrs. My dad cried. He cried because he is such a guy who cannot even see an insect dead.
We all mourned for the dead but I remember what happened two weeks later. I still remember:
"Shehroz! Were you asleep? I am so sorry to hear about your dad!"
"What? What happened to him? Must be a mistake my friend."
"No No, turn on the television and watch the news. There was an attack on his life."
"I will talk to you later!"
News Bulletin: A roadside, remote-controlled bomb blew up the SUV of Dr. Syed Riaz Hussain, candidate for Member of National Assembly from NA-37. No further details.
This time I felt like I was dreaming. No one in my family knew about it as it was morning and everyone was busy with their house chores. I call on the cellphone of my father and a voice tells me that the number is powered off. I was shocked, scared, shitty, and could not even cry. I took out the power cable of the television so that no one should see the news. My mom was not home. I call her just to hear her crying because someone had told her already.
"Mamma, I saw the news. It cannot be. It is a lie. It is a mistake."
"Shehroz, then why isn't your father picking up his damn cellphone?"
"Mamma, relax, mamma we need to be careful, he must be busy. I will call his workers and ask them. Mamma, don't cry. Please mamma, I cannot handle this alone. Please mamma, keep it a secret from others till we contatct Baba. Mamma, for me, please stay strong, I am coming for you, stay there. I am coming right now!"
It took us another four hours before we talked to my father who was in the Operation Theatre after the incident. In a caravan of SUVs of my father and his workers plus guards, no one knew in which SUV my father was sitting and yet the enemy had the information. The SUVs in front had passed by the bomb and when my father's SUV approached the spot, someone with a remote control blew up the bomb. My father's guards and driver were severely injured and the SUV became a pile of rubble. They were taken to the hospital. Who could be so merciless to do such a thing to my father who never meant harm to anyone? He never even meant harm to his own enemies!
My father was injured and so were his closest workers. As one worker gave the account, he said "when we reached to the spot and were looking for your father, we saw a body full of blood. The head and face was so bloody that we thought that your father's body got separated from his head and one of the guys started screaming LOOK FOR THE HEAD LOOK FOR THE HEAD!"
Before we could get in touch with my father, people started pouring in our house. All worried. All waiting for the news. Prayers were answered and myf ather survived the second attempt on his life. But those four hours before the phone call from dad were the most difficult moments of my life. My mom crying, my brothers crying.
"I am okay son. I am okay. I am perfectly fine. I will talk to you later, right now I am going to an undisclosed location to rest. I will call you in a while again."
I will never forget that one month full of election excitement and then full of bloody depression. The memory still haunts me! Haunts me every second of my life, yet I can do nothing. You cannot even imagine!!!
When I say I HAVE SEEN THINGS AND I HAVE EXPERIENCED THINGS, I am not lying. All this changed me. Made me stronger, harder and WIERDER. I may have a friendly mask on me but I am different from inside.