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Fizza Malik: Beyond the death toll

Updated Mar 05, 2014 01:41pm


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-File Photo of Fizza Malik
-File Photo of Fizza Malik

For the first time in my life today, the number 11 felt greater than what I had ever been taught. Larger than a mere numeral, much heavier than just a statistic.

I went back to the news story I had read earlier in the morning. This time, reading it slowly, I weighed in each and every word.

At least 11 people, including additional sessions judge Rafaqat Awan, were killed and 29 others wounded on Monday during a gun and bomb attack in a court in the capital city’s F-8 area.

Once the knowledge that Fizza, a former colleague and friend, was at work at the F-8 court when the attack happened was no longer an incoherent thought, the next few lines of the news story grew deafening, word after word.

Two blasts took place inside the court's premises, one near the lawyers' chambers and the second office.

Lawyers fled from their chambers seeking shelter from bullets as fear and panic gripped the premises.

That is never how you want to remember a friend’s last living moments: Gripped in fear.

Shaking my head, I tried to replace the image with that of how I have always known Fizza Malik: A soft voice, a large smile and always full of life.

Her petite frame animated with unbounded energy; conversations with Fizza were a mix of hugely varying issues.

From being a cricket fan to passionately talking about the social ills of Pakistan, Fizza was never one to shy away from voicing her opinions.

For all those who know Fizza, our souls are dim today. We are one with the families and friends of all of those who lose a Fizza every day in this country. Fizzas, who are not just death toll numbers, but realities that ring louder than the hollow words of our leaders.

From the daily oblivion that we have all inherently become a part of, Fizza’s death is yet another reminder of how close the war is. We can now touch it, smell it. It has flowed from other cities, into ours.

The war is in our homes, in our hearts. We sleep and awaken in its fold every day, knowing that today, someone we know has been irreversibly damaged because of it.

But the question is, what do we all, those who are silently watching the unraveling of this war, do about it?

In a world where men play God, do we stay indifferent enough to let them continue? Are we exhausted from being angry? Or are we just waiting for ‘one of our own’ to be killed next?


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Zeresh John is the Blogs Editor at

She tweets @zeresh_john.

Comments (49) Closed

Shahpur Mar 04, 2014 09:58pm

Sad situation. What can we do?

khaled Mar 04, 2014 10:19pm

A very sad commentary on the current state of affairs, this should be an eye opener for those who are talking of peace talk.

May Allah rest her soul in peace and give strength to the bereaved family for this irreparable loss. Amen.

Zeeshan Mar 04, 2014 10:31pm

This is extremely sad; I pray for Pakistan.

Aslam Butt Mar 04, 2014 10:34pm

@Shahpur, People should raise their voice together at every forum. It is a matter of everyone's survival.

Md Imran Mar 04, 2014 10:44pm

Sorry for your loss. The talks should go on. That's the only solution.

GM Mar 04, 2014 11:01pm

We need a revolution. A revolution against terrorism and friends of terrorists in our political system.

syed baqar ahsan Mar 04, 2014 11:06pm

Fizza you lost your life for us, you will be in our prayers always. Hundreds of terrorist will be killed to avenge your blood.

M. Ahmed Mar 04, 2014 11:34pm

My heart goes out to Fizza, her family, all love ones and countless other innocent lives taken. I pray to Allah to grand her family and all of us sabira-jameel. These cowards need to be dealt with an iron hand, no mercy until we get rid of each one of them no matter who they are and where ever they are.

Aviator Mar 04, 2014 11:36pm

Sad indeed

Zafar Mar 04, 2014 11:42pm

We are way past the point of introspection on this. Criminals have to be dealt with as criminals. And these are crimes against humanity.

Kevin Mar 04, 2014 11:58pm

@Shahpur: People need to rise up and take a stand, until then, innocent people will continue to die. RIP FIZZA

Nadeem Chaudhry Mar 05, 2014 12:25am

Not a word of sympathy or empathy from the proponents of peace talks with these criminals. An FIR should be lodged against ALL who proposed and continue to propose peace talks with TTP.

AHA Mar 05, 2014 12:28am

@Aslam Butt: This is Pakistan. Peoples' voices have no meaning.

Moreover, we collectively, through our beliefs and faiths and our ideologies, are responsible for all this. We are all guilty.

US CENTCOM Mar 05, 2014 01:34am

US Central Command joins Ambassador Olson in sending the condolences to the family of Fizza Malik, a young and aspiring attorney, who was on her second day at work. These young people are the future of Pakistan and by cutting their lives short; the terrorists once again show that they do not care for the future of Pakistan. We stand by the people of the region in their quest for lasting peace.

Abdul Quddus DET- United States Central Command

Shahid Rasheed Mar 05, 2014 01:57am

Sad to see so young death. May Allah give her highest place in jannah. Where is the government who is supposed to provide protection to everyone. I guess they are busy filling there banks. What a shame.People need to rise for themselves. Mar 05, 2014 02:07am

This is beyond belief. Did this really happen ? I pray for her and her family and all those who suffer and suffered at the hands of these barbaric criminals who are so bent on justifying their ugly writ. What peace talks is the government talking about ? There are no talks of peace with barbarians. Barbarians only understand the language of barbarianism, there is no diplomacy with them-- they are not diplomats.

Farhan Jafri Mar 05, 2014 02:21am

To Mr. Nawaz Shareef,

Sir we have to answer to the Almighty. Allah has entrusted you with a responsibility. Please act in true spirit this time. We do not need any landmark development projects until and unless the security situation is controlled. Kindly prove your sincerity towards the nation this time. Our first and foremost focus should be peace, whatever way.

Nancy Qureshi Mar 05, 2014 03:26am

My heart cries for the loss of young Fizza and many Fizzas whose life has been cut short by the group of animals. I have no words for her family as it is almost impossible to bear this huge loss. She returned to her country to serve the nation but lost her own life at the hands of heartless killers. Our Government must have stopped these killers from spreading into Pakistan awhile back, but I don't know what is stopping them from taking action against the killer. I hope they stop any further negotiations with killers and treat them with similar force so the souls of the innocents rest in peace, soon.

independentthinker Mar 05, 2014 04:08am

I consider myself pretty strong, when it comes to not getting emotional. But this article brought me to tears. You hear about deaths - the judge died and so did another 10 and you say to yourself - these damn Talibans - they are doing it again and while feeling upset, you really don't do much, because you can't put faces to the victims. But this time, because you actually see the photo of the victim, it hits you hard. Imagine if she was our sister or our daughter and I am sure she is - how would her brother or her father be feeling now? When will our leaders put themselves in the shoes of those relatives, who have lost some loved ones. I am sure the reaction would be quite different, than what we are seeing now. I don't wish anything bad on anyone - but at the same time, I wish our leaders will take charge and destroy evil from our society. If other countries hunt their enemies down, no matter where they are - we can at least do that to our enemies who are living in the same country and really, should not be too hard to locate.

nav Mar 05, 2014 04:26am

RIP Fiza .... This is indeed very sad

Naam Mar 05, 2014 05:51am

Yaar how sad!! future lost.

Akhtar Mar 05, 2014 06:31am

Allah now has the Most Beautiful Angel in His Jannah. RIP little sister. So many hearts are bleeding over your untimely and cruel death. Rest in Peace. May Allah grant peace and sabr to her family and friends.

Kalash wala Mar 05, 2014 07:55am

Not one expression of sympathy from the lion of Punjab.

mustang Mar 05, 2014 08:22am

we just waiting for

Shanzay Mar 05, 2014 08:24am

Why Fiza Malik Mr Prime Minister!!!!

Karachi Wala Mar 05, 2014 08:26am

@Nadeem Chaudhry :

"Not a word of sympathy or empathy from the proponents of peace talks with these criminals. An FIR should be lodged against ALL who proposed and continue to propose peace talks with TTP".

I 2nd your thoughts!

Vote4AAP Mar 05, 2014 10:31am

"what do we all, those who are silently watching the unraveling of this war, do about it?" Answer to this is isn't so simple anymore as this has gradually percolated in the society and has deep roots now. It all started due to following in Pakistan:

  1. Making religion more important than state
  2. Intolerance towards minorities
  3. Unstable political setup.
  4. Arming of citizens, disturbing peaceful co-existence etc. for realizing short term selfish goals of a few leaders.

An example of such shoddy policy is seen through the following link:

Until these above are overcome, which itself may take months & years, Pakistan will continue to be plagued with bloodshed of her bright citizens.

salman Mar 05, 2014 10:55am

"The war is in our homes, in our hearts. We sleep and awaken in its fold every day, knowing that today, someone we know has been irreversibly damaged because of it."

Wake up writer the war is on for so many years 4000 lost there life in the time of PPP last govt are you sleeping at time that you only realized that war have entered your home .

Please elaborate is Islamabad only your home ,the whole dam Pakistan belongs two some other Alliance living here .

IlKhan Mar 05, 2014 11:19am

people killing would not why they have killed and people who have been killed do not know why they have been killed

Sahih Bukhari

Durreshawar Mahmood Mar 05, 2014 11:37am

I was studying in the library when I heard the news , since then I can't seem to focus! We the young Pakistani women who are studying in the best universities of the world, working day and night , with the promise to return back after the degree for the love of our homeland , can get millions of options but decide to serve our land, which is in desperate need of professionals ,graduated from foreign universities! Is this our fate? That's how we get treated ? Even in the heart of capital ? Is this the change we were all talking about ? Negotiating with the terrorists? The government should take immediate action ! May the soul rest in eternal peace ! May Allah save our motherland and her daughters ! Who are dying for the love of their country!

nadeem Mar 05, 2014 12:44pm

very sad

Satish.S Mar 05, 2014 01:03pm

@Durreshawar Mahmood: Pretty simple solution actually...wake up from your delusion... Stop being selective on terrorism and erradicate them all. Close the terror heavens indside Pakistan. Focus 100% on development. Only then all will end. Else whole country will be burning like this till there is no one left in Pakistan!!!

Liberal Mar 05, 2014 02:11pm

Wake up call to Punjab.

Saddened Mar 05, 2014 02:48pm

Very well written. I have tears in my eyes after reading this. Wake up politicians and read this blog, and please please stop making excuses for the barbarians who took away Fizza and thousands like her. Please I beg you.

meela Mar 05, 2014 04:27pm

It is time we must all unite against the terrorists and destroy them from our homeland. It is the only solution to eliminate them on a grass root level. They have killed thousands of innocent people, including children and women, finish them before they finish us.

Aslam Butt Mar 05, 2014 07:02pm


Mayousi gunah hay. Think of yourself as performing your duty to the best of your ability and make prayer for the increase in your capabilities... think of youself like that bird who was just dropping drops of water on the fire of namrood just to perform her duty and answer on the day of judgement. I agree that collectively we are guilty but now we should come to realization that all or our survival is at real risk and there is no other option but to rise up

Nizamuddin Ahmad Mar 05, 2014 08:09pm

Wake up call to entire Pakistan, you narrow minded. Fizza was a native daughter of Pakistan and not a Punjabi.

Aman Mar 05, 2014 08:10pm

@meela: Try negotiation channels open and show courage to embrace truthful conversation of "Peace". Include and engage more elder members of public for negotiations instead of people who measure negotiations in a business fashion. An amicable solution to the demands of either sides can be achieved. Yes I do agree it will take a reasonable time but it worth experimenting definitely. It will also allow to understand each others perspectives better and put a full stop to blind killings of innocent lives. A measured approach like PM propose is good for Pakistan's future. Wish Pakistan have a lot of blessings of Peace and Unity.

Nasir Jaffri Mar 05, 2014 08:56pm

Very sad and our thoughts and prayers are very much with Fizza`s family. Another victim of this hideous and evil carnage of Islamabads courts was Syed Tanvir Haider, an advocate in his mid fifties married with four children. Tanvir left his practice and home in Sarai Alamgir many years ago and moved to Islamabad for he felt his children would get a better education in the Capital. He was an epitome of a hard working humble modest and an honest gentleman who never charged an excessive fees to his clients and on many occasions did the work for free as the the client was too poor or simply could not afford to pay. He sacrificed all luxuries of life to provide a good education to his children and half way through evil strikes at his work. Six shots to his head and one in his chest! Is that it? Is that how it ends in the land of terror. can someone go and explain to hi s teenage daughter what happened and why and what will happen to her future or her studies? No nobody will or can or perhaps have time to for they will br too be celebrating the win or Bangladesh or India!!! Such is life in our motherland and dread to say nothing will change. There will never be peace. They say you can sometimes cut a deal with the devilbut you can not negtiate peace with the devils father!! Fizza or Tnavir or many others like them are mere numbers who will be forgotten by the next day by the nation. Only their families and friends will remember them as individuals who had a lot to live for and give to society. Fizza beta and Tanvir bhai Rip...

mazhar sultan Mar 06, 2014 03:33am

@Saddened: Do not beg they don't deserve it "Offence is the best Defence"' strike Hard with full force counter terror force in major cities Artillary and Airforce in open areas and mountains

Sids Mar 06, 2014 04:18am

@salman: FYi, the writer did not even once mention 'Islamabad' as their 'home, their 'heart'. Read close n you'd notice the term 'nation' which obviously means the whole of Pakistan, the 'heart' to be precise! The dilemma here is that we are benumbed by these rampant killings that we remain in this state every day even while learning of deaths n killings all around us. The only time we are actually jolted out of it, is when 'one of our own' is the victim OR when children like Fizza are killed. Having said that, reading such remarks as ur own, makes me actually realize one of the reasons why we as a nation fail to stand up n grow: instead of focusing in what th real issue is, we start pointing fingers n get 'personal' without realizing that this IS why today we sand divided! Tolerance! Patience and empathy - if we can't even have these while reading an article, we are definitely doomed.

Shaista Mar 06, 2014 09:21am

We cant stay indifferent to all this happening for so long.And this strange war has started affecting each one of us at our own door step.No one is safe.Who are we fighting with??? those who wear no Uniform,follows no rule and has no respect for religion,state and law.They have just become addicted of killing innocent citizens.Its really sad when things are not identified and controlled at the begining and their magnitude grows to such level.

asim Mar 06, 2014 09:39am

as ahmad nadeem qasmi said! dekhay gai hum beh daikhy gai

Khanzada Mar 06, 2014 12:37pm

How many more young and bright minds like Fizza Malik will be killed before our cowardly and gutless leaders take action against Taliban terrorists to protect the people of Pakistan from their murderous attacks? Talibans are traitors. Massive military action throughout Pakistan is a must to save the nation!

Aslam Butt Mar 06, 2014 06:30pm

@Nasir Jaffri: Very well said Nasir sahib. We must realize that it is a matter of our survival and fight as one voice, apply pressure and give them power on the state to save itself as no one is safe and will be safe. Those who are their apologist will also face their wrath if left unchecked

Manish Kumar Mar 07, 2014 03:31pm

@Nasir Jaffri: Really sad. We should come together to torment this evil. God give much strength to victim's family, friends and loved one.

Haroon Mar 07, 2014 04:38pm

Someone should go and ask that mother who kept that child in her womb for nine months. Then heard her first scream........ We have all died from inside when first Pakistani became victim of terrorism....... I don't know about my fellow countrymen but my heart is dead I feel so heavy ...... I have so many questions to ask but no one has answers...... I have lost my smile.....I am walking dead......every now and then brother looses his sister, mother looses her child and list matter what happens in future but the people who have lost their loved ones will never come back........ there would always be a hole in hearts...... which will never be filled.......... there is no hope left but only Allah

nasir jaffri Mar 07, 2014 07:48pm

Ye kis ne hum se lahoo ka khiraj phir manga....? Abi toh soye thay maqtal ko surkhroo kar ke. Mohsin Naqvi What more does a nation, which has been sacrificing everything since its birth, have to give????

Sohrab Mar 07, 2014 08:52pm

So poignant my friend and the pain is not going to go away so easily, if at all. You said every word I said a year back when I lost a friend and his son. Life goes on but a bastardized version, in which you are a mere spectator. I rant more rubbish than I have ever before.....indifferent, exhausted, are right, all of them. Waiting for 'one of ours' to be killed next. Are you kidding. You just lost one of yours but you do not want to admit it otherwise you would not have written what you did. I lost so many of mine that I cannot pen them down all anymore....the serenity on Ali's face, the innocent face of Murtaza, this pretty bubbling face with her graduation cap and gown, my governor who spoke for the most downtrodden, my minority minister, my general, my sepoy, the guards at Marriot, my daring senior police chief, those rangers whose heads were ridiculed for me to see, my military men, my policemen, the countless faces, the judge, the Jew, the Ahmedi, the Shia, the Sunni, the Christian ... all of mine who represented my hopes, my wishes, my dreams. I will but wait. I know there will be justice to my loss one day even if I am not here to witness it. Those who have played with mine will answer in the books of history. That is one thing I can promise you with certainty, my friend. If that brings any consolation to you.