#NeverForget: The wedding bells that will never ring

Published: May 5, 2015
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Aiman Khan. Photo courtesy: Family

Aiman Khan. Photo courtesy: Family

Aiman Khan. Photo courtesy: Family Aiman’s intricate drawing of a Toyota Supra. PHOTO COURTESY: FAMILY

PESHAWAR: It has been a little over four and a half months since a band of militants stormed Army Public School in Peshawar and mercilessly killed 151 students and teachers. While the incident completely altered the country’s course of action against terrorism, for the bereaved parents, life will never be the same.

Ateeq Akhtar is one such father. The owner of a travel agency named after his slain son, Akhtar says Aiman Khan was a second year pre-engineering student. He was sitting for a school exam when the militants sprayed students with bullets. “I watched the news on TV,” Akhtar tells The Express Tribune.

The bereaved father says he and a cousin rushed to the school on foot because all roads leading to APS had been barricaded by security forces. While en route, they met a student whose green uniform was soaked in blood. “They killed everyone in the hall,” the boy told them. Akhtar’s limbs went numb upon hearing that. Yet, they continued the journey that never seemed to end.

At the school’s entrance, they were told to check with Lady Reading and Combined Military hospitals since all the ambulances emerging from the school were heading there. “We ran from pillar to post all day long. Aiman’s body was handed over to us around 3:30am,” he says on the verge of tears.

The beginning of a new life

Aiman was engaged three years back to his cousin Asma and 2015 was the big year, the year they planned to tie the knot.

“We were waiting for his graduation. His mother had been stocking his wardrobe. She had already made plans to decorate the room with flowers. Who knew Aiman will never need any of those clothes,” says Akhtar, adding the wedding was scheduled for this month.

Seema Ateeq, Aiman’s mother, finds it hard to articulate plans that never took place. Setting aside her initial hesitation, she agrees to talk to The Express Tribune about her loss, Aiman and her preparations for the big day.

“I had already ordered and bought clothes and arranged for so many things for his wedding.” The mother and son were still deciding the final touches of Aiman’s big day.

“He loved wearing white-cotton shirts under a black waistcoat. I had made my mind that I would either make him a black or blue sherwani with golden embroidery, but he died before I could see his happiness, before I could share his joy.”

Seema had also made plans to decorate the house, having already chosen the kind of flowers she would use. “I was going to decorate his room with gifts. We were going to do up the couple’s bedroom, hang garlands from the bedposts and lay rose petals on top.” Seema stopped for a breath; “I never imagined I would be putting roses on his grave instead.”

Dreams so high 

Aiman’s father tells The Express Tribune about his son’s passion for cars. “Whenever a car show would take place in Peshawar, he would participate,” Akhtar recalls, adding his son used to sketch models of different vehicles and show them to his friends and families proudly.

Unlike many young men, Aiman had carefully plotted his trajectory. His passion for machines was not to remain between paper and graphite.

According to Akhtar, Aiman had planned to join the air force after completing his aeronautical engineering degree. “He was a bright boy. We had a lot of expectations. Everything was shattered within hours,” the father says. “His fiancée is devastated. She has not been able to recover from the shock as yet.”

Remembering the fallen

Akhtar tells The Express Tribune, “I started an NGO in his name in Swabi around February this year.” Aiman Khan Shaheed APS Welfare Society will work on education, women’s development, child labour, poverty, and sports welfare.

“My martyred son loved a sport, that’s why I included sports in it,” he explains. Akhtar says he wants Aiman’s NGO to help vulnerable segments of society, spread knowledge and remove poverty.

A shorter version of this story was published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • kulwant singh
    May 5, 2015 - 4:42AM

    The heaviest thing on this Universe for a father is his sons body , I pray no father faces such ciurcumstances. Allah will never forgive those who perpetuated such acts as APS attack. RIP my dear Aiman.Recommend

  • Umer Ihsan
    May 5, 2015 - 5:33PM

    The Name of this Martryr is not Aiman, It’s Aimal Khan. I hope you do re-correct this!
    May ALLAH grant Aimal and every single martyr a high place in Jannah.
    Ameen SummaAmeen. Recommend

  • ASA
    May 5, 2015 - 5:34PM

    I believe the kid’s name is Aimal (as evident in the second pic).. May Allah grant sabar to his family :(Recommend

  • Noor
    May 5, 2015 - 8:41PM

    My beautiful, beautiful people. May you always stay this strong.Recommend

  • Anusha
    May 5, 2015 - 9:46PM

    I lost my love as well a few years ago. Yes we can never come out of this devastating loss :( I will pray for you brother Aiman Recommend

  • Nabeel Ahmed
    May 5, 2015 - 10:03PM

    It’s really hard to imagine the pain of a parents for loosing out their son at such a young age. Lost of a child is the heaviest burden for parents, which remains with them till rest of their lives. RIP SHAHEED AIMAN KHAN. Recommend

  • May 5, 2015 - 10:15PM

    We love all of you brave stars. RIP

    Live NewsRecommend

  • May 5, 2015 - 10:16PM

    Love you all :)Recommend

  • Aamna H. Fasihi
    May 5, 2015 - 10:22PM

    Just today I don’t know why I was recalling that black day and all those martyrs and their bereaved families, now came across this. :'( Recommend

  • Rabia Sheikh
    May 5, 2015 - 10:28PM

    rest in peace dear aiman..may ALLAH pak give sabar to your parents to bear this loss and ALLAH pak protect our generations from such culprits ameenRecommend

  • Rana
    May 5, 2015 - 10:41PM

    Dear Aiman .
    You are always with us in our prayers …..you will remain in our lives as well ForEver . Recommend

  • nimra
    May 5, 2015 - 11:17PM

    May Allah grant Aiman highest place in paradise and may his parents and other family members attain forbearance.
    (Ameen)Recommend

  • Warisha Shaikh
    May 6, 2015 - 12:35AM

    Aiman my bro May ALLAH TALA bless you with heaven and INSHAALLHA TALA you will get your ASMA in the face of HOOR OF JANNAH.. :'( AMEEN WE ALL MISS YOU.. Recommend

  • Ashamed
    May 6, 2015 - 12:57AM

    Shame on you Express Tribune for putting the bereaved parents through such difficulty of talking about their lost son and the wedding that will never happen for them now just so you could get a story out of it. You represent everything unethical that exists in our journalism today. I have no words for the mediocrity that you have stooped down to. Recommend

  • annafridi
    May 6, 2015 - 2:13AM

    May his soul rest in peace . I m speechless I m gona through this pain . I can uunderstand . :(Recommend

  • humaira
    May 6, 2015 - 6:45AM

    Iseee every day pics of our matyer child .I cant,control over my tears lcan,t forget faces of child my throughout life how much a mother can this??Recommend

  • May 6, 2015 - 4:38PM

    Our hearts and prayers go out to parents who have to live with the tragedy of the death of a child due to acts of terrorism. The APS tragedy has been itched onto the memory of a nation. Pakistanis have promised never to forget the death of their 130 innocent school children. And with this determination they stand behind their military establishment who have taken on the enemies of the people head on and are going after them full force. General Raheel Sharif, the army chief said a terror-free Pakistan had now become a national resolve, adding that the sacrifices of Pakistan’s soldiers and civilians will not go waste. “We will take this war to its logical conclusion. The dignity and honor of our country, its people and gallant armed forces will be safeguarded at all cost,” he added.

    Abdul Quddus
    DET – U.S. Central CommandRecommend

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