Orphaned by militants: Anas fights to keep his father’s memory alive

Nine-year-old boy reminisces over the tragic deaths of his father and cousin.

Fazal Khaliq November 19, 2011


As the nine-year-old Anas Khan waited for his father to return home after dusk, he heard a deafening blast. His mother woefully exclaimed, “Yet another house has been destroyed.”

In retrospect, Anas can’t seem to forget his mother’s words as he suffered an irreparable loss that day.

“After the blast, my uncle started calling my father’s cellphone. It rang but no one answered. My father was killed in the suicide bomb attack,” Anas told The Express Tribune. “He had gone for an outing with his friends and on return went to attend the funeral procession of a police officer who was killed by the Taliban,” he said.  “The next morning we received his head, the rest of his body was never recovered.”

Anas’s father, Anwar Ali Khan, made ends meet by being a bookbinder. He was killed in a deadly suicide attack on February 28, 2008, along with 54 others at the funeral procession of DSP Javed Iqbal. They raised two funerals that day, as one of Khan’s nephews was also killed in the suicide attack.

“In the funeral, we were not allowed to see my father since [there was no body],” Anas said with his face towards the ground. “My mother tried frantically to see his face, but was held back as well.”

Anas is now amongst the thousands of children who have lost their fathers in attacks carried out by militants.

His loss may not be easily consoled but he is determined to do more to keep the memory of his father alive. He tries not to cry. “My father was fond of education and wanted us to live an educated and civilised life. I will complete my education and fulfil his dream.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2011. 


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