Peshawar stands shocked, the country stands shocked, the sporting fraternity stands shocked and so does national U16 judoka Dawood Ibrahim; alive only because someone got married on Monday night and Dawood’s alarm did not work in the morning.
The judoka would have been another body in the pile – a plus-one in the death toll of the terrorist attack at the Army Public School on Warsak Road in Peshawar – had it not been for an incredible piece of fortune.
Fifteen-year-old Dawood, could not wake up on time and had to skip school. He is the only survivor of his school’s ninth grade class. He has now buried six of his closest friends in one day. The shock has rendered him speechless and he is showing no emotion. “Dawood isn’t talking to anyone, he isn’t talking at all,” his elder brother Sufyan Ibrahim told The Express Tribune. “He is in judo and is a tough child but he is showing no emotion at all right now. He just attended funerals the entire day. No one from his class survived; every single one of them was killed.”
Sufyan also revealed the reason why his brother was not in school that day. “Dawood is lucky. He missed school today because we attended a wedding last night, and he overslept; it was fate.”
Pakistan Judo Federation secretary Masood Ahmed added that Dawood is not the only one affected and all the athletes in the ongoing U16 national camp in Peshawar are ready to donate their blood to the injured.
The silence of an alarm clock saved a life and the silence of Dawood now needs to wake up many.
Aisam condemns attack
Tennis ace Aisamul Haq Qureshi condemned the attack and revealed that three of his cousin’s children were inside the school when the attack took place.
“Luckily, my cousin’s children survived, but what is left of the school is just inexplicable,” said Aisam. “It is the darkest moment in our history, with so many children dead. I can only pray. It is time for the government and the political parties to come together, and as a nation we need to show what we are made of.”
Kaleemullah and football mourn
In Chaman, footballer Kaleemullah said that he has been crying since he heard the news.
“What are we doing? Why we are doing this?” he asked. “We are trying to build Pakistan. These children who died in the attack; their parents were sending them to study so that they can do something for the country in the future, but what is the point? All of these children that I see on television, they were like my brothers and sisters.”
Cricket stands stunned
The world of cricket has also expressed its grief with several players, past and present, taking to social media to condemn the attack.
“Those were our kids. What the hell is happening in this world,” said former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh.
“Cannot believe what I am seeing in Pakistan. Greatest act of cowardice. Killing kids in school,” said former England captain Michael Vaughan.
T20I captain Shahid Afridi also expressed shock and reached out to the victims and their families. “Shocking news, don’t have words to explain this brutality,” said Afridi. “My heart and feelings are with the affected.”
So did former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. “My prayers are with the innocent schoolchildren who have lost their souls today in Peshawar.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2014.