Youth Parliament’s last session, not as they expected

Published: July 30, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The last session of the Youth Parliament was shrouded in a grim ambience as the parliamentarians gathered at Margalla Motel to pay tribute to their fellow members who lost their lives in the Airblue plane crash in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Saleem, a parliamentarian, said, “We had made a promise to make our last session memorable, but not like this.”

The six parliamentarians who were on the plane were Syed Arsalan Ahmad, Oawais Bin Laiq, Bilal Jamaee, Prem Chand, Syeda Rebab Zehra Naqvi and Hassan Javed Khan. During the session, the friends and colleagues of the young parliamentarians expressed their views and shared their experiences.

“The chairs that are empty today in our parliament are of those who we loved,” said Syed Raza, another parliamentarian, during a speech.

Anam Cheema said: “Four of the members were from my own committee. It’s a loss for Pakistan to lose such rising stars at such a tender age. They will be missed and will forever be in our hearts.”

Described as a “true leader”, who put people’s feelings before anything else, Hassan Javed Khan was the Prime Minister of the Youth Parliament. “We had even planned to start our own youth party. I will carry his dream forward,” Fayaz, his friend, resolved, adding, “Hassan once told me that he might not be able to make it to the parliament’s last session because of his admission. He is not here today.”

Ali, another friend of Hassan Khan, said: “Since day one he had decided to become the prime minister and he did; he wanted to get admission in Cambridge and he did; he was a go getter and the glue that kept us all together.”

Hassan’s mother, Yasmeen Javed, was also in attendance. “He was lively, soft spoken and loved by all his cousins and friends. He was brilliant, active and very positive in life,” she sobbed, while talking to The Express Tribune. She added: “We wanted to see him grow, get married and have a family. But everything is lost now.”

Prem Chand’s coffin was marked as “Kafir”, which the parliamentarians “strongly condemned”. “He called himself a social worker. No person has the right to decide who goes to heaven or hell,” said one teary-eyed parliamentarian.

Syed Arsalan was remembered for his ability to keep all the people around him united. “Ahmad was always fond of gathering people together- he believed in unity,” said Raza, a parliamentarian, during his speech.

Raza went on to mention Owais Bin Laiq for his dedication to the youth parliament and its policies. He recalled Laiq as a person who would have gone a long way to promote the missions and policies of the youth parliament.

Bilal Jamaee was known for his excellent Urdu and humour. He had hoped to write his own book one day. “I always thought that I will read Bilal’s book when he writes it,” said Fatima Saleem.

He wanted to fight for the rights of prisoners in Africa and the Middle East. Muhammad Kamil Qudoos, a parliamentarian, recalled: “Bilal had made a resolution for the prisoners in Africa and Middle East and we will carry his mission forward.”

Known for her excellent leadership skills, Syeda Rebab Zehra Naqi had made a resolution for primary schools and bureaucracy. Ali, a participant, recalled her being full of energy during the parliament sessions. Noor, her roommate, added: “She used to stay up the whole night and work on her resolutions.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (31)

    Jul 30, 2010 - 2:47AM

    very touching……..brought tears in my eyesRecommend

  • Anjum Hameed
    Jul 30, 2010 - 12:12PM

    ‘Kafir’??????? this what is left of our country?..the person who decided to have that written on the coffin is probably a bigger ‘kafir’..Recommend

  • Umair Khalid
    Jul 30, 2010 - 12:39PM

    May their souls rest in peace…AMEEN
    This is really sad n touching but we must take it as an opportunity to take their mission forward because the loss of these talented individuals has brought the youth parliament way forward than it ever was and now every youth in Pakistan knows what it stands for…
    I would suggest the members of the youth parliament work out a strategy to channel the newly found energy and will of the young people of Pakistan after this incident. This is going to be the best you can get out this grave loss.
    If there is ever going to be a youth party like Hasan(late) wanted to build i would be privileged to be a part of it.Recommend

  • Imaan H. Mazari
    Jul 30, 2010 - 1:37PM

    A tragic loss for the entire nation. To lose rising leaders like this, in such an unfortunate event, is indeed very painful.
    Someone’s religion is never to be discriminated against, and yet we continue to do so in Pakistan. He was a social worker and all his work doesn’t dsappear just because he happened to be a Hindu. He was still a Pakistani. And a dedicated, young leader who could’ve demarcated a better path for the country.Recommend

  • Husnain Lotia
    Jul 30, 2010 - 4:23PM

    The marking on the Coffin. Perhaps morally and ethically, we all died in some crash many years ago.Recommend

  • mariam amin motiwala
    Jul 30, 2010 - 6:31PM

    while carrying the cofin of a non muslim kalma should not be recited this is the matter of the religion yes but the mistake is this that it should have been written non muslim or hindu wt ever but not kafir i agreeRecommend

  • Ghausia
    Jul 30, 2010 - 6:47PM

    I understand the appeal of followups, but this is just crossing the limit. I wish the media would stop exploiting the emotions of the general public. This is not news, its just exploitation on ethical boundaries.Recommend

  • Sultan Ahmed.
    Jul 30, 2010 - 8:54PM

    United Kingdom ,
    not turn its back to Pakistan(news)
    please before see the statement of
    British prime minister
    at the time of visiting India.Recommend

  • zahra
    Jul 30, 2010 - 10:51PM

    I dont believe they have marked his grave as kafir wow people in our country really need to look at themselves before writing such …very good article its such a tragedy..Recommend

  • Noor Muhammad
    Jul 30, 2010 - 11:22PM

    I think it is more of an epistemological error than an attack on Prem Chand’s faith. Usually people confuse the terms Kafir and Hindu in our society. I think just writing Prem Chand on the coffin should have sufficed for the rituals that are part and parcel of deaths.

    Writing one’s religion on one’s coffin is utter stupidity.

    The presence of Prem Chand in the Youth Parliament, as a minister, is proof enough that Pakistani youth appreciate diversity. Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Jul 30, 2010 - 11:53PM

    The leaders of tomorrow are not among us any more.

    Despite the heart breaking incident, youth parliament should move forward for the betterment of the youth. No one knows that some of them may have gone to the Provincials or the Federal Parliament.

    May-Al-Mighty Allah rest their soul in peace. AmeenRecommend

  • shabbir bukhari
    Jul 30, 2010 - 11:53PM

    Writing KAFIR on the coffin of Prem Chand is shame for all of us….In our country we have dehumanized non-Muslims.The first and foremost identity is about being a human then comes the religion.Recommend

  • Faraz Zubair
    Jul 31, 2010 - 12:40AM

    It may have been so as some of them have quoted that he may have been marked as kafir just to identify that he needs to be cremated and not buried, but aren’t there more decent ways to do that. Our Government is probably the most shameless one across the globe. If anyone had dared done such an act, how come it was allowed to pass by. Who has the right to identify anyone as Kafir, I would love to write “Munafiq” on the hands of those who marked him as Kafir. Even if he was one, by hearing what the other Parliamentarians had to say about him, I believe he was better than many self – proclaimed hatred spreading Muslims. May Allah guide us all on the righteous path! Amen!Recommend

  • Syed Waqas Ali
    Jul 31, 2010 - 2:05AM

    Nation has suffered a great loss they were real heroes of tommorow and even today. this gap of intellectuals will never fill up. We love you all and pray to Allah that your soul rest in peace AmmeenRecommend

  • Cal
    Jul 31, 2010 - 6:52AM

    As a Hindu It’s not surprising to go by “kafir”/bania in certain sections of society. Kafir means nothing but non-Muslims in the most part if not all of Pakistan. I remember that I got into argument with the so called “decent” army personnel during national cadet corpse training that I am Hindu with the faith as opposed to kafir. I am not questioning their intentions. However, this word hurt as a nation and make us feel like we are not a part of this country. I think best way to address this ailment is to preach tolerance towered other religions at mass level like in places worship, gatherings etc. God bless this wounded Pakistan!Recommend

  • Irtazaa Afzaal
    Jul 31, 2010 - 1:25PM

    May their soul rest in peace and Allah give them strength & patience to bear this irreparable loss Ameen!

    Syed Arsalan Ahmed, a very thorough gentleman, who happened to be with me in All Pakistan bilingual Declamation Competitions 2-3 times.I had a good interaction with him during the competitions. It was a great shock to hear about the demise of all the people who were on board. It is extremely tragic for all of us and I agree with a comment mentioned hereinabove that we must take it as an opportunity to take their mission forward because the loss of these highly talented individuals has definitely created a vaccuum that can never be filled or compensated.

    After the unfortunate crash of AirBlue plane, the electronic media literally went crazy. It was sickening to watch TV Channels sensationalise the tragic accident in the name of providing information to their viewers. Almost all the anchorpersons became experts on aviation safety all of a sudden. They also dug out “Experts” who had no background of accident investigation. The answers further confused and complicated the issue. Point scoring against the govt, CAA, PAF Pilots and airlines was rampant, even the PIMS doctors were not spared. The experts, depending on their background, defended their line of profession even at the cost of contradicting their own statements and directed the blame somewhere else. Accident investigation is a highly technical subject. Every pilot or aeronautical engineer is not qualified to do this job just like every policeman cannot be a detective.

    On the other hand it was very painful to see the body parts of the crash victims dangling from helicopters. To show some respect to the deceased and their relatives watching these cruel scenes on televisions, the least the rescue personnel could have done was to use rescue hoist to winch the remains into helicopter cabin.Recommend

  • Maha Mussadaq
    Jul 31, 2010 - 1:35PM

    I would like to add something for the readers, that Ehsan Naveed Irfan is a member of the youth parliament and he is a 4th year medical student. Ehsan was present at pims voluntarily helping out the doctors. He is the one who identified prem chand’s body. However, He told me that they saw his grave marked as “Kafir” first with black and outlined it with red to make it more prominent. He told me that him and his friends removed it with a marker and wrote “we love you from the youth parliament”.Its a tragedy I had seen their potential with my own eyes during their sessions and how passionate they were towards building a better Pakistan. May Allah bless their souls. Ameen.Recommend

  • Sumaira Asif
    Jul 31, 2010 - 2:00PM

    The air blue plane crash is a very sad tragedy that has hit this nation but more of a tragedy is the fact of how media and other so called informative resources are playing with sentiments of the people, specially the ones who have lost their loved ones in this sad incident.
    Labelling of Mr. Premchand’s coffin is one of the worst acts that one can do. who has given you the right to label ones religion. At present the number of practising muslims in this country might be the lowest. In this country religion is also being cashed upon. Islam teaches us to respect other religion and also respect the dead ones. who are you to label dem. Shame less n disgusting act!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Naheed Mooraj
    Jul 31, 2010 - 3:49PM

    Shameful, shameful, shameful, no other words….!!!!Recommend

  • Muhammad Saim
    Jul 31, 2010 - 5:47PM

    May the souls of all the departed people rest in peace and may Allah give strength to their near and dear ones. As for labeling Prem Chand’s coffin as kafir, this may be an unintentional mistake however this shows how ignorant we are towards our non Muslim Pakistani brothers. Our school books show Hindus in negative light and most of the time the word Hindu and kafir are used interchangeably without thinking even once that our country is home to a large number of Hindus. This should be an eye opener to all of us and we should take step to stop this hatred before it spreads even further.

    P.S: I would want to apologize to Prem Chand, his family and my other fellow hindu countrymen on behalf of that so called muslim who committed such a mistake.Recommend

  • Aug 1, 2010 - 11:18AM

    I am highly depressed to know about the incident of writing kafir on Prem Chand’s coffin. This is the reason why we Pakistanis are facing hatred from all over the world. Shame on those who showed this STUPID attitude for a person who lost his life in an accident…..Recommend

  • rawalpindi
    Aug 1, 2010 - 11:58AM

    unfortunately its a big lose of pakistan unbeable.young leadership of our countary we loose .my condolences are with him.may there souls rest in peaceRecommend

  • Angleos
    Aug 1, 2010 - 3:22PM

    Kafir is an arabic word meaning non-beleiver.

    If your are sure, that he dosnt believes in Allah being one God and Prophet Muhammad as last Prophet then you can call him kafir, this is not a big deal. But also first read the penalty of calling someone kaffir in case you are not sure about his/her belief, as in the words of Prophet it is the fastest way of leaving Islam. Recommend

  • Asif Shar
    Aug 1, 2010 - 3:22PM

    Its indeed a great loss for the entire nation, and writing KAFIR on Mr. Prem Chand’s coffin is highly condemned. I met these all six superb Pakistani youth at Youth Parliament interviews last August and realized on that very moment that these people have potential to turn Pakistan into a Great Pakistan. But future is unpredictable no one knows that this would happen…… i eyes are filled with tears and i don’t why bad things happen to good people!Recommend

  • Nawaf
    Aug 1, 2010 - 11:31PM

    Indeed, we have lost brilliant, intelligent and hard working individuals who could have changed our country and above all they were honest young generation of Pakistan. They had the caliber to take their ideas to new heights. They were well educated and knew the facts of our country from the grass root level. No matter if he/she was a Muslim or non-Muslim, most importantly he/she was a Pakistani born and raised amongst us. Prem Chand was One of us, Pakistani who dedicated his life to change and bring prosperity in our lands.
    Its a great lost for all of us to lose such great and young people. My prayers are with them and their families. May Allah bless them heaven and give strength to their families. Recommend

  • Basit Abbasi
    Aug 2, 2010 - 12:09AM

    may Allah rest their soul in peace.. in few words “great loss for Pakistan Future”.Recommend

  • Lala Hassan
    Aug 5, 2010 - 10:02AM

    I’ve been following this issue, if it had happened then its really shameful act but i contacted relatives/friends of Prem Chand at Sanghar district, who did not confirm it even the person who received coffin of Prem denied it. The source mentioned by reporter Maha is also weak. kindly confirm it first. I wud b grateful if truth must be brought before us with evidence.

    Lala Hassan,

  • Lala Hassan
    Aug 5, 2010 - 10:12AM

    Sorry I just Saw Maha’s additional information.

    thanx Maha.

    Lala HassanRecommend

  • Huzefa
    Aug 15, 2010 - 2:26AM

    I think the end result “his friends removed it with a marker and wrote “we love you from the youth parliament” is a far more important act than the initial labeling.

    As long as the youth has heart, we have hope.

    Pakistan ZindabadRecommend

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