Aitzaz Hasan was large for his age and was fondly called Motu (fatty) by his friends because of his formidable girth. He was but 15 years old when faced with a dilemma no living person should ever have to face.
He stood alone and unarmed.. with nothing but his bare hands and the sheer strength of his character to stop the dreaded terror outfit Lashkar-e-Jhanvi’s suicide bomber from entering and destroying his school.. From callously murdering his friends and classmates who were standing in neat rows during morning assembly.
We will never know just what was going through the brave teenager’s mind when he ordered his friends to run away saying’ he will deal with the bomber himself’!
Fate had made him late that day which is why he found himself outside the gate with his friends, while the over 2000 students stood at attention during morning assembly.
His friends say, his one great wish in life was to join the army and he often wore military fatigues when he went hiking and picnicking in the woods of his native Hangu.
Suicide attacks and terrorism are part and parcel of everyday life in Hangu where schools have been blown up and teachers and students murdered by fiends masquerading as humans.
The terrorists knew well that an educated youth would sound the death knell for their recruitment drives and struck again and again with beyond bestial savagery against both the teachers and the students they dared to teach.
Spawned and bred in darkness they loathed the light of education. Which is why students and teachers alike saw suicide attacks as a very real threat and used to discuss what they will do under the circumstances.
His friends used to tease him by asking him: “Fatty.. how will you be able to run away when a bomber comes calling”? He answered them.. God! How he answered them! Because you see he never had any inclination of running away!
At an age when kids in Hangu play cricket and dream of the future. He quite literally, embraced death itself.. with open arms.
So that hundreds of other kids may have a tomorrow, he willingly gave away his today. Mujahid Ali, his father said that, “my son made his mother cry but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children.” Yes, His parents, his two sisters and his brother miss him, but they are content that he lives on in the countless innocent lives he saved.
A year ago the when the KPK assembly met on January 11, 2014 after the Hangu incident, lawmaker Nighat Orakzai had raised Hasan’s sacrifice in the house only to be sidelined by a minister belonging to a spineless government, who tried to brush the issue under the carpet, while trying to confuse the topic by ranting about the ‘causes of terrorism’.
However, this time the house had a consensus; As not just Nighat Orakzai, but the lawmakers of all the other parties jointly moved the resolution commemorating the boy’s shahadat..(Martydom)
Today his beloved Ibrahimzai High School has been renamed Aitzaz Hasan Shaheed High School. He has been nominated for Pakistan’s highest civil award the “Sitara-e-Shujaat, while the army chief himself had a floral wreath placed at his graveside. While a biopic named “Salute” is also due to be released later this year. .
The little boy who wanted to grow up to be a soldier.. had died like one.
Yes he may have achieved shahadat, but like all true Shaheeds he lives on. He is part of us.. Part of our collective psyche. And when the time comes, we all of us have the potential of emulating him. And that is why I am convinced that regardless of how many of us they butcher, the terrorists can never .ever beat us. One day we will win this war and where ever he is, he will look down upon us and smile that his sacrifice had not been in vain….