The day the Taliban attacked my father

Published: April 13, 2014
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The Taliban are responsible for leaving thousands of families battered and children orphaned. Imagine losing your father, husband, wife or anyone else in such a way, that all what you see of them are pieces of flesh and bones before they are laid to rest. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Security personnel gather around the car of Maqbool Baqir, a senior judge who was injured in a bomb attack in Karachi on June 26, 2013. PHOTO: AFP The Taliban are responsible for leaving thousands of families battered and children orphaned. Imagine losing your father, husband, wife or anyone else in such a way, that all what you see of them are pieces of flesh and bones before they are laid to rest. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Death is very different from finishing a novel; both symbolise the end of something, the emotional attachment to both is poles apart. One similarity, however, between the death of a good person and the end of a good novel is that both leave a mark on your life.

It’s hard to realise the importance of some people, until one day you wake up to find out that those people are no more in your life. I understood this reality on June 26, 2013.

It was a very strange, sad day for me and my family.

The day started like any other.

My father, a judge by profession, left for work at 8am while I was still sleeping. Almost 20 minutes later, my older brother began banging on my door. Surprised at hearing his voice – he was supposed to have left for work with my father – I got off my bed and ran to open the door. My family was huddled up around the TV, pale as death.

After this, my whole life changed.

My father had been attacked by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a splinter group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. It had been about five or ten minutes since the bulletin had been aired – the longest minutes of our lives. But Baba survived the attack. Glued to the TV screen, we saw the camera shift towards Baba; he was severely injured but alive.

My father, along with a few other injured people (mostly security personnel), were taken to the Civil Hospital. Those who survived were shifted to Agha Khan.

Among the shaheed are two people I will never forget.

One was Saleem bhai, our driver, who was so much more to us and the other was Khalid, my father’s guard.

Both of these men were like family to us and I remember getting into many meaningless arguments with them. They were there for everything; every occasion, good or bad, these two men were always by our side.

Clad in a white shalwar kameez, Khalid bhai looked nothing less than a senior police officer with his Beretta shining in his hands. Saleem bhai, on the other hand, was a brave, selfless person. Long journeys never felt like a burden with him around; he would tell me tales of his childhood and I was so engrossed in the stories that the memory of time would just slip away.

Many a times, on different occasions, both of them told me that if a dangerous situation were to ever arise, they would be the first ones to sacrifice their lives for my father. That is exactly what they did.

It’s strange isn’t it, that you remember the tiniest of details about a person when they have gone? I remember Saleem bhai was never fond of mangoes. While everyone else would fight over the shred of pulp, Saleem bhai would not even touch them. A few days before the incident though, while having lunch, he asked for a bowl of mangoes. He said he had started liking the fruit.

He didn’t even make it to the coming mango season.

Every single day since the attack, I struggle to sleep at night. There are days when all I can think of is them and their faces. I had grown up in front of them and now all I have of them are countless memories.

Both of these men were Muslims and, above all, both were humans.

They were not involved in any sort of activism nor were they corrupt politicians or bureaucrats. And yet, they suffered. They suffered because they were honest brave men doing their jobs.

It is so sad and disturbing that there are still people among us who support the peace talks with the Taliban. It is a known fact that the Taliban is responsible for the killing of numerous Pakistanis, mostly Muslims. It is because of barbarians like them, who slaughter our army men and bomb our police officers, that today the youth of Pakistan is fleeing.

They are responsible for leaving thousands of women widowed, children orphaned, parents childless and families broken.

Just close your eyes and imagine for one second.

Do it earnestly!

Imagine losing your father, husband, brother, wife, sister, daughter, friend or even an acquaintance. Imagine them having been slaughtered or being blown up into pieces. Imagine the fear in their hearts and minds before the brutal killing takes place. All you have left are pieces of flesh and bone to signify their existence.

Open your eyes and tell me now, would you want to negotiate with these people?

I, for one, do not want any other Saleem or Khalid to die for no reason; I do not want anyone to go through multiple strings of surgeries, like my father did, and I do not want anyone to be confined to the four walls of their homes, like my family is now, out of fear.

It is high time we realise that the Taliban are extremists, they do not represent Islam, they cannot be trusted and we should not negotiate.

Hussain Baqer

Hussain Baqer

A learner, studying Political Sciences at York University Canada. He believes in a liberal, secular Pakistan and hopes to become a lawyer one day to impact lives. He tweets as @hussainbaqer (twitter.com/hussainbaqer)

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

  • Salman

    As unfortunate as it may sound but the situation of Pakistan cannot be redeemed. I for that matter gave up my plans to settle back in Pakistan. In fact have even asked my cousins to immigrate to UK and join my business here. Everything has a tipping point and i believe unfortunately Pakistani society has gone beyond it.Recommend

  • indian

    Finally karma seems to have caught up with pakistanRecommend

  • U.M Sadiq

    Those barbarians can only be annihilated if we stop caring for the inevitable collateral damage that will result in a mass operation in areas where they are “rumoured” to be situated in.

    Personally, I have very little faith from the Govt/Army that hid OBL from the world.

    This does not seem like an ideological war though. And even if it is, we should be busy following the money!Recommend

  • A J Khan

    Thousands of families have been devastated by the terrorists. Every person falls in some category to be a potential victim of these uncouth creatures. Hussain Baqer father appears to be victim of sectarian violence.

    Despite all these facts, Pakistan as a nation has failed to stand up against terrorists. The very Judiciary to which the victim belongs is responsible for releasing 3500 terrorists. Every terrorist find a willing Lawyer to get his terrorist client acquitted. Bench & Bar should have a new look at the problem. They should prefer justice over money & stand with victims.Recommend

  • deep

    Sincerest condolences. But should you have mentioned the word -muslim twice. I do believe religion mixed with politics is at the root of all these problems.Recommend

  • Soha

    “Taliban are extremists, they do not represent Islam, they cannot be trusted and we should not negotiate.”
    That is true.
    You and I are a part of that really small group which is against this but the people who can actually make a difference are the ones involved.Recommend

  • Soha

    “It is high time we realise that the Taliban are extremists, they do not represent Islam, they cannot be trusted and we should not negotiate.”
    That is true. Taliban can’t be ones to represent Muslims nor Islam, but that is the way it is. People are afraid of standing up for their right.
    You and I are the part of that small group which is against Taliban but the problem is that the people who can make a difference are either involved or scared.Recommend

  • Soha

    “It is high time we realise that the Taliban are extremists, they do not represent Islam, they cannot be trusted and we should not negotiate.”
    That is true. Taliban can’t be ones to represent Muslims nor Islam, but that is the way it is. People are afraid of standing up for their right.
    You and I are the part of that small group which is against Taliban but the problem is that the people who can make a difference are either involved or scared.Recommend

  • Realist

    What would help is if people like you who have family members injured or killed by the Taliban would come together to form a pressure group or party of your own. Not sure why no one has taken the lead on that. But I can assure you, you would have many supporters from the common people. Best of luckRecommend

  • Salman

    Impressive article, totally support the author’s idea.Recommend

  • Faiz

    Damn Hussain, reading this reminded me of Khalid and Saleem. They were always around when we were kids and such a large part of our lives was spent just hanging out with them at the house and just having them tell us stories.

    Bloody Taliban should be bombed out of existence.Recommend

  • Kanwl

    This blog is not about imran khan or some india pakistan cricket match or even about flashy drama serials. So dont expect comments here. All the trolls will be absent, silent as death and the infamous “silent majority” will choose to look away. They wont comment here. Recommend

  • fze

    I, for my own self, firmly believe that we should not talk with terrorists but perhaps PML(N), specially NS & Ch.Nisar, need to lose somebody close to them to wake up to the fact.Recommend

  • Shahid

    Best of luck for ur father. Hope he recovers soonRecommend

  • a resident of block 6

    Hasnain please ask your dad to release the water of the area…the line men say that the first the huge tanks of Judge Sahab’s home will get filled and only then the water will be released to the rest of the area…. and by the time the tanks get filled…. the water supplu gets finished from the source and no water left for the remaining area…. that is almost most the most of the block 6. we are tired of spending money on water tankers….:(Recommend

  • Ali

    i am also the staff member of Hon’ble Court and i saw all the situation after the blast on the very next minutes & i also can’t forget the scene and blood of my friends/elders, i didnt sleep 2 nights after this scene, and after the reading of your blog the voice of both men are in my ears, their jokes, their smiling, and eyes are tearing.
    Allah protect you and your familyRecommend

  • Teesra Haath

    This society just leaves me speechless at times. When one lets emotion cloud the judgement, this is what we end up getting. To hold talks with the people whom you know have killed over 50,000 Pakistanis is just mind baffling. You know the person sitting in front of you is responsible for destroying so many homes and is a murderer. In any sane society, such a person would have been arrested immediately. But no, we’re too scared to take action against our so called ‘brothers.’ I’m afraid sanity left this country a long time ago. And we’ll reap what we sow. This decision will come back to bite everyone (although I hope not).Recommend

  • Parvez

    Excellent comment…… and it says a lot.Recommend

  • Hussain

    Dear sir,

    First of all the line man is lying, secondly my father has always had a crystal clear reputation not that I need to emphasis on that here. I am deeply saddened by your water crisis but it is often that we also have to call a water tanker to fulfill our water needs. We have always been a decent middle class family with principles and dignity and all what you have written is definitely heart breaking but I am not surprised. If some one has a government car it is not necessary that the person or his family is corrupt and unjust. Although i dont feel the need here to justify my father as a just man because actions and decisions speak louder than words and the fact that he still carried on with his job even after after threats from Taliban etc etc says alot about him. Again I am sorry about your water crisis but please before throwing dirt on any one do your research.

    Regards
    Hussain.Recommend

  • Hussain B

    Its a mutual feeling Ali.Recommend

  • Bharat

    Dear Hussain, its very sad to read about the state of affairs in Pakistan. It seems no one is even bothered to stop this menace. I can only pray that you and your family along with millions of Pakistanis at least have some safety in day to day lifeRecommend

  • a resident of block 6

    i also live in the same area, I have never felt as if I am living near a high official. Yes there is a lot of security outside his house and no body should have any doubts why. He is a very pleasant and courteous person. Throwing dirt on someone is very easy but before doing that look at the person his struggle and his sacrifices. Also the water problem has been there even before he came in the neighbourhood an year agoRecommend

  • Ali B Jafri

    Hello Block 6 Resident,

    Absolutely feel your pain as we face the same problem of having to procure through tankers several times a week (if you haven’t noticed) in addition to drawing sub-soil saline water through boring (the pump for which is quite possibly visible from your window).

    Also curious to know how it’s possible to withhold water supply to “most of the block 6” (let alone even a single house) while a home fills its “huge tanks”. It is completely ridiculous to suggest that the water distribution system can even have this scope. I suspect that you are aware of this which is why you did not have the integrity to state your name.

    However, if you are naive enough to sincerely believe the above, you may come over for an inspection at your convenience directly, or through anybody you like. We would be happy to facilitate this at any point of the water supply system outside or inside of our house.

    Regards
    Your neighbor
    AliRecommend

  • Noshin Haq

    “today, the youth of pakistan is fleeing”? No. They are not. You are the only fortunate one who has gone to Canada fearing your life. Just because you have means to do that and you did. If you were not the son of Judge sahab or be a son of a sabzi wala killed, you would still be here. If the kids of all the people killed by Taliban have fleed pakistan, then your statement would have meant something true.Recommend

  • another resident of block 6

    I also happen to live in the same area, very close to judge sahabs house the line man has also told me that if the water supply to Judge Sahabs residence is less then a direct call is made to the MD KWSB and he is there on his door step. I have never seen a water tanker at Judge sahabs residence for 2 reasons. 1. the road blocks cannot allow a tanker to reach there and 2. Judge sahab has water connections from 2 pumping stations :p. We have a very bitter example in our islamic history when the water of Imam Hussain was withheld.

    Please Hasnain your father is the CHIEF JUSTICE and the justice by him in terms of the water distribution being done to the your neighboring streets is pitiful and how much longer will he be on this position he will retire one day! aur phir Allah ko bhi tou jawab daina hai!Recommend

  • anonymous

    It is sad to see how people can leave such a comment to an emotional and courageous writing of a son. Although I am very well aware of Justice Baqer’s reputation and his honest character as I am myself a practicing lawyer at the Sindh High court. I also reside in block 6 PECHS and have never encountered any such problem. But even if this was true I would not even think of writing such a comment to this article. Its sad to see our emotionless society.Recommend

  • Parvez

    The attack on the good Judge was an act of cowardice apart from being a heinous crime, that has to be condemned in the strongest terms.
    Having said that let us not lose sight of the fact that the judiciary as a whole have failed to do what they have sworn to do, dispense justice even-handedly without fear, so that it is seen that justice has been done. By releasing hard criminals under the flimsy excuse of insufficient evidence and blaming the prosecution for this, is just one instance of abject failure and this what we see, is a spin off of this apathy.Recommend

  • sfarooq

    Unfortunately, we do it all the time… we have and continue to negotiate with terrorist groups such as JSQM, MQM, BLA, etc.Recommend

  • Seemi Saeed

    what a shame, salute the family to be still living in Pakistan in-spite of all the means and the opportunities in the last several decades to move out of Pakistan, if they had moved this unfortunate incident would not have happened. Shame on us for criticizing in the negative at someone who has been a first hand victim of this barbaric act.Recommend

  • Zubair

    Resident of Block 6 its a shame that you can write such a reply to this article I completely agree with anonymous.Recommend

  • Zubair

    Resident of Block 6 its a shame that you can write such a reply to this article I completely agree with anonymous.Recommend

  • Zubair

    Very well said beta.Recommend

  • Zubair

    Very well said beta.Recommend

  • a resident of block 6

    Hi Ali, first of all, i would have kept any name. but i chose to be anonymous. u never know what can hit u in khi even the top notch are not safe!. secondly, regarding the water distribution system. every street has a valve at its corner and it is operated by the line men. have a look when you have some time. so when the water comes every alternate day, the valves are for other streets are closed for a considerable time and opened only for and hour or two. I never faced any problem my self and it only emerged in the past 1-2 years.
    and Block 6 is big with multiple pumping stations. residents getting water from other pumps are not facing any problem. and thirdly, why would i lie about this? its a problem i faced and on inquiry this is what i was told!Recommend

  • a resident of block 6

    Hi Ali, first of all, i would have kept any name. but i chose to be anonymous. u never know what can hit u in khi even the top notch are not safe!. secondly, regarding the water distribution system. every street has a valve at its corner and it is operated by the line men. have a look when you have some time. so when the water comes every alternate day, the valves are for other streets are closed for a considerable time and opened only for and hour or two. I never faced any problem my self and it only emerged in the past 1-2 years.
    and Block 6 is big with multiple pumping stations. residents getting water from other pumps are not facing any problem. and thirdly, why would i lie about this? its a problem i faced and on inquiry this is what i was told!Recommend

  • a resident of block 6

    Anonymous bro,
    try spending 2800 every week on a tanker! :)Recommend

  • a resident of block 6

    Anonymous bro,
    try spending 2800 every week on a tanker! :)Recommend

  • a resident of block 6

    Hi Hussain,
    its a problem i faced and many others faced…and i tried my level best to reach to its cause. but if you believe i am wrong… then why is negative/false statements are being spread! i apologize if what i wrote is not true! cause thats what i was told on my inquiries!.
    apologize once again!Recommend

  • M Aness

    I would like to share one of my incidence that happened aprox 2 years back. One of Justice sahabs security personal misbehaved with me to that not only both of his sons apologized to me but even Judge sahab him self called me up for tea. He is a very very humble and a kind hearted person. His old house was known to be the house of cats and often his guards would tell me how kind and close he is to them. Please refrain from slandering people u dont even know personally I have met him just once but at times you can judge a person in one meeting.Recommend

  • Older resident of block 6

    The water problem has been here since long, long before Justice Baqer moved to the locality… And it is not just just block 6 which is suffering, the whole belt from SMCHS to PAF Society and KAECHS is faced with similar problemRecommend

  • Older resident of block 6

    Son, you don’t need to explain anything, may God be with you and your family. The comments about water were simply ridiculous to believe in first place, and i know you are suffering from the same problem like all of us.Recommend

  • Jheel Park resident

    Sir, this is a highly inappropriate comment, water problem is a common issue and what you are saying is simply not possible! The water is first delivered at the colony head and there is no way it can be controlled by you, me or Justice sahibRecommend

  • Syed Akbar Abbas Shah

    May ALLAH give him more strength our prayers are with him all the time, May ALLAH Give worst than worse punishment to those who attacked him and thier organisation our prayers are always with your family Baqir Shab…….Recommend

  • Syed Akbar Abbas Shah

    His name is Hussain you called him Hasnain before to when you commented as “a resident of block 6”. As far as Imam Hussain (AS) is concerned I think Judge sahab is following his sunnat more than anyone here on this blog, He stood for what was right. Stop criticizing for the sake and thrill of criticizing. !!Recommend

  • Sajid Baboonwala

    Isn’t is a damn shame that despite all this incivility, people like you still expect the youth of pakistan to stay quiet. Husain obviously is observing and experiencing factors that are pushing him away from his native country. Now tell me, if all citizens of pakistan, like yourself, condemned these barbaric acts (instead of questing the veracity of his claim) then the country may potentially become a safer place for youth like Husain to acquire education and play important roles to aid society.

    Wouldn’t that be a solution to help all youth (privileged or underprivileged)?Recommend

  • Muzaffar Jafri

    Two observations on the article written by Hussain
    It is true that we often feel the pain of those we care for when they are not around however our religion and beliefs provide us an opportunity to give the departed souls they need most – our fateha. Hussain do recite that whenever you think of them. This is the most we all can do.
    Second observation is about the string of comments. It is ironic that how a single person can digress your attention to totally different point intentionally or otherwise. We may have point of views about individuals however the article was not about an individual. It is about a menace we need to address. Unfortunately majority of the comments have focused around water delivery to a certain area. This precisely is our national dilemma. We spend hours and hours on issues which are important but not critical. Pakistani’s especially Karachites have been surviving without water and electricity for almost now two decades and we do not see any respite in foreseeable future as the mercury rises. However addressing the menace of talibanization is CRITICAL for the existence of a free and fair society. Tolerance is becoming a scarce commodity and our petty issues are taking precedence over issues which have far reaching impact on our future. It is high time that we, as a nation, set our priorities right only then we will be able to see the issues in their right perspective. Obviously if you are dead you do not need water. Only the grave is watered.Recommend

  • Muzaffar Jafri

    Two observations on the article written by Hussain
    It is true that we often feel the pain of those we care for when they are not around however our religion and beliefs provide us an opportunity to give the departed souls they need most – our fateha. Hussain do recite that whenever you think of them. This is the most we all can do.
    Second observation is about the string of comments. It is ironic that how a single person can digress your attention to totally different point intentionally or otherwise. We may have point of views about individuals however the article was not about an individual. It is about a menace we need to address. Unfortunately majority of the comments have focused around water delivery to a certain area. This precisely is our national dilemma. We spend hours and hours on issues which are important but not critical. Pakistani’s especially Karachites have been surviving without water and electricity for almost now two decades and we do not see any respite in foreseeable future as the mercury rises. However addressing the menace of talibanization is CRITICAL for the existence of a free and fair society. Tolerance is becoming a scarce commodity and our petty issues are taking precedence over issues which have far reaching impact on our future. It is high time that we, as a nation, set our priorities right only then we will be able to see the issues in their right perspective. Obviously if you are dead you do not need water. Only the grave is watered.Recommend

  • Concern Citizen

    Dear resident of block 6:

    I very much understand and relate to the water shortage problem in Karachi and this has been an issue for years in this city of ours. however, using this forum to blame Judge saab without an verification sounds very stupid and specially using this article which is actually a eulogy for two brave man who worked with Judge saab who is also a victim of a major crime and terror. There is another aspect to this and that these men who had been with Judge saab must have felt that they fairly treated by the judge saab and his family and were ready to sacrifice there live(which they did).

    I would suggest you read the article again and this time use some sensitivity and still if you believe you have the same opinion. may be use a forum to launch your complain if you have enough evidence.Recommend

  • Concern Citizen

    But how can you justify blaming this on anyone without any evidence or verification… you should have reached out to the family as neighbor to raise this concern, instead you choice this article which is infect eulogy for two brave men who lost there lives and an expression of son who’s father stood on prinicple’s and suffered….Recommend

  • Concern Citizen

    Than does not justify blaming it on someone…Recommend

  • Concern Citizen

    Dear another resident of block 6:

    Have you stood for anything, have you made any scarifies based on Principle, it seems that you are not sure of yourself and for that reason hiding your identify… grow up and may it is time for you to shed your venom and learn some sensitivity and honesty…Recommend

  • Concern Citizen

    What have you contributed? please share… did you dare to condemn and stand for any wrong… may be before you judge someone try something different… I believe Judge saab and his family still lives in Pakistan…

    What would you have done, if you were attacked and were a target?

    What a Shame….Recommend

  • Just another ordinary guy

    Beta

    Don’t be discouraged by the negative comments here… i believe insensitivity has become prevalent and some of the comment are reflection of that. If people were sensitive to the prevailing situation, we would not had to mourn for so many people, who were slaughtered by the terrorist. I believe someone people find there action justifiable and would do anything to either discredit or disrupt the discourse. May Allah keep you safe and give us strength to fight these barbarians, who have create havoc in our society…. BTW.. great Article….Recommend

  • anonymous

    I realise that paying for water tanker every week is a financial burden and is a genuine problem. But what I don’t seem to understand, which is why I replied to your comment, is that while reading the above article all that was going through your mind was water problem rather than the extremely serious problem of militancy which this article is addressing to. That is just cold and disrespectful. This is not the place you should be raising such issues.

    Second, how could a reasonable sound-minded person believe that one household could consume the same amount of water as the whole area? That’s a question of common sense.

    Bro, instead of blindly believing what others say, try using your mind and think whether if a statement could possibly be true or not.Recommend

  • Sane

    I am amazed by the most comments that instead of the issue or subject of the blog post, it turned into water scarcity discussion. This shows the mind set of the nation. The educated and learner ones. This is what which has carried us to hell-like situation.Recommend

  • Sane

    I am amazed by the most comments that instead of the issue or subject of the blog post, it turned into water scarcity discussion. This shows the mind set of the nation. The educated and learner ones. This is what which has carried us to hell-like situation.Recommend

  • Ali

    agree :)Recommend