Obituary: A life’s lessons on drawing strength from adversity

Published: May 1, 2014
Quadriplegic life coach Sarmad Tariq passes away.

Quadriplegic life coach Sarmad Tariq passes away.


I hope after I die, I leave a legacy and whoever comes to meet me, realises that life should be lived to the fullest, Sarmad Tariq is reported to have said.

The life coach, motivational speaker, athlete and writer passed away following illness at the Combined Military Hospital in Rawalpindi on Wednesday. He was 38.

Known fondly as “Chairman,” Tariq was the most free-spirited individual you would chance upon in a wheelchair. The physical limitation was but only another challenge that he turned around into his greatest strength.

Tariq authored a book and had an active online presence. He held an MBA in Marketing and Human Resource Management and was on the panel of various organisations, including multinationals as a speaker and trainer.

In 2004, he drove 1,847 kilometres non-stop from Khyber to Karachi in a hand-controlled car. He set a world record by being the first ever quadriplegic to cover the distance in 33 hours. The drive aimed at raising awareness on the latent potential of physically-challenged.

He was the first-ever Pakistani wheelchair-bound athlete to complete a full marathon in Lahore, a distance of 42.192 kilometres and he was the only wheelchair-bound athlete to represent Pakistan and complete the New York City Marathon in November 2005.

On May 21, it would have been exactly 23 years since the fateful accident that left him paralysed neck down. “But there was no looking back for him,” said his brother-in-law Faisal. “He was truly inspirational and left a legacy for all of us to follow. It is an irreparable loss.”

Photojournalist Mobeen Ansari said, “He was a friend and he was a part of my book too. I have challenges as well and seeing him inspired me.”

Meanwhile, condolence messages have started pouring in on social media. Louis J Pinto better known as Gumby, musician, posted on his Facebook page, “A sad day for all of those who were friends, relatives, associates and well-wishers of Sarmad Tariq. He was a friend, an inspiration to me and a lot of people and will always continue to be.”

Speaking to The Express Tribune, he said, “People like him are a perfect example of social awareness in the country.”

Zainab Omar, friend and private art gallery owner, said “Although it wasn’t a surprise since I found out that he was critical yesterday (it is still tragic news.) He has been released.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2014.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (8)

  • azhar
    May 1, 2014 - 4:46AM

    you have changed my mindset


  • Aziz
    May 1, 2014 - 10:26AM

    Sarmad, we are missing you already. May you rest in peace. Aameen.

    You have shown to many of us the way to deal with personal tragedy and adversity.


  • SAdest
    May 1, 2014 - 1:51PM

    So sad to hear about his demise.
    May his motivational words keep leading our country men and may his soul rest in peace!


  • tjd
    May 1, 2014 - 2:12PM

    Wow! Just wow


  • Jewish conspirator
    May 1, 2014 - 2:13PM

    I listened to him in Karachi few years back. Still remember how he changed the mood of that large auditorium filled with IBA students.

    With tears in eyes, I don’t have words to say thanks to you for inspiring so many people around you. May Allah rest your soul in peace. You will live forever among us.


  • Aslam Butt
    May 1, 2014 - 5:51PM

    I wish that those who have power get 10% of his abilities and take on the zalimeens. In reality Sarmad was able and our govt, politician and institutions are disabled… diasable infront of zulm by terrorist.. unable to lift hand to do some work… unable to think clearly.

    May you rest in peace Sarmad inshahAllah


  • ughani
    May 1, 2014 - 6:51PM

    very sad


  • Syeda
    Jun 1, 2014 - 9:41PM

    We are missing u a lot.May Allah rest your soul in peace.You will live forever in our Prayers.


More in Pakistan