Attack in Islamabad: Where did the Pakistan I grew up in go?

Published: March 9, 2014
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Policemen inspect a local court building after a gun and bomb attack in Islamabad on March 3. PHOTO: AFP

The recent attack in Islamabad sent shivers down my spine. My wife used to go to the kachari (lower/district court) regularly to get documents attested just a few months ago. PHOTO: AFP Policemen inspect a local court building after a gun and bomb attack in Islamabad on March 3. PHOTO: AFP

How many deaths will it take for our government to wake up and realise that our country is doomed if they don’t wipe out these terrorist groups once and for all?

The recent attack in Islamabad sent shivers down my spine.

My wife used to go to the katcheri (lower/district court) regularly to get documents attested just a few months ago. My younger sibling’s school is in F-8, not too far away from where the blast took place.

I know I sound selfish at the moment thinking about what could have been, considering the dozen lives that were lost the other day. My heart goes out to the families of the departed. It’s devastating to think that what started off as just another day at the office, ended in tragedy.

All these years, we considered Islamabad a safe haven, as compared to my hometown Karachi. My family has lived in Islamabad for three years and we considered ourselves secure. It pains me to realise that what was once thought of as the safest city in the country, and by safest I mean safest by Pakistani standards, has now opened its doors to terrorism.

I miss living in the Pakistan I grew up in and I wish I could give that to my children. I’m an 80’s and 90’s child – which doesn’t seem too long ago. I remember biking with friends on the streets of Karachi; walking to Mr Burger which was few minutes away from school; being overly excited when Pizza Hut came to town – one of the first foreign chains to hit our market. Those were simpler times, happier times, more secure times.

Now, getting out in Karachi is a task.

Moving around from point A to point B is a dilemma. I’ve had my cell phone snatched more times than I can remember, my house broken into, my car stolen, my best friend kidnapped – need I go on?

What has happened to our once ever so beautiful country?

What have we become?

We kill each other under the pretence of religion. We are making dinner plans with the terrorists. We are decorating garlands on the Mumtaz Qadri’s of the world and putting the innocent six feet under. We were once a strong nation – proud of our Army; now our Army stays quite and lets the terrorists take over.

Does our government actually think peace talks will be fruitful?

Are we that naive?

Have we not learnt from the past?

Pakistan is a country with so much talent. Talent that goes unrecognised and gets suppressed as all people can see is the bloodshed and we live in constant fear for our lives, along with the lives of our loved ones.

I can see the terrorism spread. I’ve seen it spread slowly at first and then taking bigger steps as time goes by. It has grown bigger, which brings us to today, when terrorism has taken over our lives and we dwell in fear. Terrorism doesn’t only include the usual suspects and the suicide bombings; it also includes the robberies – big or small, and the current state of almost every city in the country we call home.

We need a miracle to get us out of our current state of affair.

Let’s take a moment to pray for all those who have lost their lives over the years. Let’s pray for their families and end with the hope that one day Pakistan will return to the simpler times we remember so well; times we all remember and associate ourselves with but times that are slowly being erased…

Mohammad Aly Khan

Mohammad Aly Khan

A communications specialist from Karachi. He tweets as @Mohdalykhan (twitter.com/Mohdalykhan) and blogs at baribatein.wordpress.com/

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.