Never forget: Two phone calls from hell

College topper Zain Iqbal’s father was busy at work when a couple of phone calls changed his life.

Riaz Ahmad January 15, 2015
Iqbal is of the belief that the APS attack has drawn the decisive line and that the perpetrators will soon meet their fate. PHOTO: ZAIN IQBAL SHAHEED COMMUNITY PAGE FACEBOOK

PESHAWAR: Muhammad Iqbal, a dental technician, was engrossed in his work on December 16, 2014, when his mobile phone rang.

“I received a phone call saying a shoot-out was taking place at the Army Public School (APS) campus,” said Iqbal, adding he was informed some people had opened fire at each other over a personal feud. “The first thought that came to my mind was of Zain. I scurried to the school on my bike and saw children from the kindergarten section being evacuated from the campus,” he said.

Iqbal remembered not seeing a single college student amongst the lot—a sight that instilled fear in his heart. With constant gunfire rattling his senses, there was absolutely no news of his beloved son Zain.

“A phone call from Combined Military Hospital (CMH) informed him that Zain had sustained minor injuries and was at the hospital,” Iqbal recalled. But the relief the news brought was only short-lived. Upon reaching CMH, Iqbal was handed over the body of his progeny.

Muhammad Zain Iqbal, a resident of Gulberg, was a second year college student at APS. An accomplished squash player, Zain was also a consistent academic achiever and had topped school in the first year of college.

“He maintained a record of the countless certificates he received over the years,” shared Iqbal. His son was at the physics laboratory for an exam when his world was torn apart. “They shot him and his classmates in the lab,” Iqbal said, adding he had three children—two boys and a girl. Zain was the youngest.

“The school reopened on Monday. I attended the morning assembly and stood where only until a few weeks ago Zain used to,” said the bereaved father. “What threat could innocent children possibly pose to anyone?” he questioned.

Iqbal is of the belief that the APS attack has drawn the decisive line and that the perpetrators will soon meet their fate. “No one has ever butchered harmless children this way. It is Karbala for us,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2015.


batman | 9 years ago | Reply

I can never forget one interview where a father was crying for his son and with all the effort he was only able to say. 'he had so much potential but its all gone. he had so much potential but its all gone'. Burns my heart every time when I think of the agony that is being felt by the parents.

batman | 9 years ago | Reply

@miandad. No words to describe all those mentally sick people like you we have in Pakistan. How killing of madrasas would lessen the pain of parents of children who lost there lives in aps. These children had no role in any way in what ever suffering is in rest of the world and had no merit to be killed like this. Either mourn on the situation or get lost. If these parents come and kill your children then tell you story. Oh well our children were killed too then what will you say. Such a dumb argument from people who have no humanity and try to down play any little bit of humanity shown by others in our country.

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