Fourteen-year-old Noor Hayat woke up on Monday (March 31) in good spirits. It was result day at school and he was confident that he had passed the sixth- grade examinations, which he had to repeat for a third time because he failed for two consecutive years.
He joined his fellow sixth-graders at Government High School-I Sakhakot, Malakand and waited patiently for the results to be announced and for the school day to end so he could share the good news with his mother.
However, when Noor returned home from school, what happened next will haunt his mother for years to come. When asked about his result, he smiled and told his mother he cleared the exams. Then, the teenager went to a room and came back with a pistol in his hand.
According to Noor’s mother, she assumed he was happy and wanted to use the weapon for aerial firing, which she urged her son not to do. She had no clue what was to follow. Her son aimed the pistol at his chest and pulled the trigger.
His family learned later that Noor had failed his exams, again.
Noor’s maternal uncle, Muhammad Fayyaz, told The Express Tribune he hurried to his sister’s side when he heard the shocking news. Neighbours and relatives had rushed him to Dargai hospital but doctors referred him to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. The wounded teenager didn’t make it to the second hospital alive.
Noor was the second of five children. His father has been working in Malaysia for the past 10 years and would only visit during holidays, leaving his mother to care for the children on her own.
“He was a bit different compared to other boys his age. He wasn’t an exceptional student but he was passionate about pursuing his studies,” said his uncle Fayyaz, adding the teenager was a regular boy who liked mobile phones and wanted to have his own motorbike.
“The education department should formulate a strategy for those students who show a keen interest to learn despite exam results, as it shows their dedication, which should be appreciated,” said Fayyaz.
Noor’s class fellow, Israr, told The Express Tribune that the deceased was a good friend. “Sometimes he would get punished in class but he never gave up on his studies. He was also a regular student, only taking a leave from school if he was sick,” Israr said.
Government High School-I Sakhakot Principal Abdul Halim said the school’s students and staff were saddened over Noor’s death and several of them attended the funeral.
He added the school’s teachers were quite lenient in their marking and Noor’s depression over failing was rare among students.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2014.