PESHAWAR: Malik Mohammad Saad, the CCPO Peshawar who was killed in a suicide bombing on Jan 27, 2007, had been something of an enigma. Six years since his death in a suicide bombing in Peshawar on the eve of Ashura, those who knew him still wonder who he actually was. A brave police officer, a tough cop who would send shivers down the spine of his subordinates and hardened criminals, a good friend full of humour and drama who would love to play music or as we may learn from the following piece written in the form of a letter by his son Qasim, a loving father. He is no more but his memory lives on.
Dear Ajee, I put pen to paper tonight because it feels like that night. That night when the heavens were pitch black instead of Peshawar’s usual navy blue night sky. That night, when you came home from work, you had a quick bite and a shower, donned your laundered police officer’s uniform and left. You didn’t stay for long, but that’s okay. You were Malik Saad, the country’s honest, courageous, and beloved chief police officer. You were Malik Saad, the lifeblood that sustained the volatile province of Pakhtunkhwa.
You had to do your duty, you had to ensure the Shi’ites could commemorate the 7th of Muharram according to their constitutional rights in a violence free environment. It’s okay that you left Ajee, I just wish “they” had not made you the target of a senseless suicide bombing attack. I just wish you had come back home that night.
The year that followed was a blur. I cried privately, but many cried publicly. Everyone was in tears, it was said an entire nation was orphaned. The government awarded you the highest award for bravery posthumously and Mama accepted it for you.
As I watched Mama, my heart plummeted to my stomach because the future was now so uncertain. But in that moment of uncertainty, I resolved to be the strongest I could be, come what may. Mama decided to take advantage of her Fulbright scholarship and I supported her decision. We had to move to the US, for our safety and for her peace of mind.
But don’t worry Ajee, I grew up fast. I began to work even harder, I became more determined, persevering and positive. I helped Mama out in your absence too. I did all the accounts and budgeting. Our math sessions next to the Hitachi gas heater proved useful. You used to pit your sharp engineer wits against my passionate grade school ones. Do you know I finally mastered factorisation? It was like a rut I couldn’t dig my way out of.
It took time and relentless hard work but I have never had to look back since. Challenging topics – like linear algebra – don’t seem nearly as difficult. I finally realised that anything is possible with the right frame of mind. That is why today I am one of the top 50 math finalists in Pakistan and was taught by renowned professors at an International Math Olympiad Training Camp.
Ajee, you were born to die a martyr; I have accepted that. Your death has given me profound clarity – a unique perspective on life. I believe life – though fragile and short – is a bliss and I appreciate all it has to offer. Whether it is embracing scary new situations, like studying in foreign lands like the US or finding my feet back again in Pakistan.
Although at first I felt weak, scared, and angry, I found solace in following your examples, the examples of bravery, optimism, and integrity that you set for me. Your absence has taught me that no matter what life throws at me, favourable outcomes are most nearly certain so long as I remain positive and true.
Thank you for moulding me in your life and even in your death. Thank you for being the best father ever.