Archive for the ‘university’ Category

My Reminiscence of 06 September 1965

September 6, 2013

Monday, 06 September 1965, was a special day for me, the first day of first year in Edwardes College, Peshawar. Ready to be made first year fools of, I cycled to college in a smart and fresh college uniform of white shirt and militia trousers. Apprehensive, a bit fearful, and dreaming of a future that only boys of 17 stepping into college can dream!

We were given a few jumps in the ground and a run round the quadrangle of the hostel, and then herded in to the hall for the principal’s address. Dr. Phil Edmonds strode on stage followed by the faculty, and Titch (his white poodle, that went everywhere he or his wife went); we were awestruck to see he was wearing the same college uniform that we were all wearing. We never saw him wearing any other dress during college hours throughout the four years we studied there.

Regular classes with orientation in each class then started, and at 12 we were let off.

Cycling back, I was surprised that there was no traffic on the roads, an eerie silence as if a calamity was waiting to happen with bated breath!

I reached home, and contrary to the hope that my mother would be standing on the door to receive me, I saw my younger brother rush out of the house and shouted, bhai, come quick, India has attacked Pakistan, President Ayub is about to address the nation. I almost threw the cycle down and ran into the room, surprised to see my father there also. He had come from the office to watch the address and reassure us that things were well, and Pakistan would be safe!

Later that afternoon a ‘fatigue’ party from the unit came to the house, and dug an air raid shelter in the walled compound on the side (the compound was bigger in size than most plots on which we make houses today!). For the next 17 days, every time the sirens went off to warn of an air raid, we would go down into the shelter and wait for the clear siren before coming out again. We even had two big shrapnel’s from bombs on two different occasions fall in our compound (I wonder where these would be now in fathers store, till mother was alive things like these, and other mementos were kept carefully!).

Edwardes College remained open for all the 17 days of the war in September 1965, and after and it was studies as usual!

Some of us friends then decided to become part of the war effort, and our contribution was to go to the Peshawar railway station, just across the road from Edwardes College, and help load stuff, like Jerry cans of petrol, eggs, and etc., in trains which were then taken down country for supplies.

Heady days, the few of us army brats, had a special place in the hearts of all, because our dads were fighting the enemy!

Today, when I see the fragmented and disheveled state of things in Pakistan, I feel sad – not only for the times when the people stood united as a nation, but for the loss, disintegration, insurgency, extremism and what have you, that has divided us into factions, with a loss of Pakistani nationality.


PakTSN Update: A good Interaction with senior students

December 7, 2012

I met Ms. Uzma Yasmeen a student of the National Defense University, Islamabad at the public talk on the subject of “Security architecture for South Asia” by Mr. Farooq Sobhan, Former Foreign Secretary, People’s Republic of Bangladesh organized at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) distinguished lecture series on November 1, 2012.

In the last one month Ms. Yasmeen has become active in promoting PakTSN and she arranged my meeting with other students on December 06, 2012.

It was a wonderful interactive session, which lasted for longer than I had anticipated, but it was worth each minute of it. At the peak there were 6 students (some students were detained by the faculty for other work) round the table while few sitting close by had their ears on our discussion. We talked of terrorism, reason for my becoming an anti-terrorism activist; why I speak for survivors; about PTSD; steps that can be taken to create awareness about the ‘human cost of terrorism; rational for reaching out to youth; role of youth; how we can pool our resources to reach out to other educational institutions in Islamabad / Rawalpindi, and surrounding areas; and generally about issues facing Pakistan.

I cannot appreciate enough the interest and desire of Ms. Uzma Yasmeen to work with us on this important aspect of human interactions post passing away of a loved one in an act of terrorism. May Allah help and guide us in this endeavor. Aamin

I look forward to the participants’ inputs on broadening this undertaking of creating awareness of the human cost of terrorism particularly among the youth of Pakistan, and to our meeting with more people in the future.

School of International Law – Follow up interaction

December 2, 2012

we had a follow up on 29 Nov, to the 04 Oct, interaction with students at SIL.

well attended, and great interaction session, the students came prepared with the questions i had sent, and their search was in the right direction.

the questions answer session was intense and informative, and i found this group of youth to be fully aware of the ill’s of extremism, and active in “Saying No to Terrorism”


My Talk at School of International Law

October 11, 2012

talking to the students at SIL

Talk at School of International Law

( Islamabad

Thursday 04 October 2010. Tahir Wadood Malik, Founding Director Pakistan Terrorism Survivors Network

MY TALK “Pakistan, Terrorism/Violent Extremism and Us,” at the School of International Law, thanks to an earlier informal interaction with students arranged by Ms. Nida Tareen, the Director / Principal, attracted a good number of students despite the Semi-finals of the T20 Cricket World Cup between Pakistan and Sri Lanka later that evening.

I STARTED the talk with a reference to how we have become so immune to extremism that we ‘change the TV channel’ when this news comes on. I followed this with how Islam prohibits extremism, and suicide. Then highlighted that this narrative was obviously not working because a number of youth still get radicalized, and vulnerable youth were joining the ranks of the extremists. Which gives rise to the question whether this extremist movement is about religion, or some other cause like political, economic, personal etc., is the motivation? For this I reminded them of the recent ‘lone work terrorist’ and how they had operated in random incidents across the globe.

I GAVE the students the following possibilities/actions to ‘Say No to Terrorism”:

  • Be watchfully alert for radicalized / at-risk / vulnerable youth.
  • Be aware of radicalization trends in youth.
  • Based on what they learn, craft a counter narrative which should include religion, politics, economic, or ideological parameters.
  • As they surf the net, use online social media, or other media channels, be watchful for the media used by these groups and suggest counter media hints.
  • If they learn of any survivor in their environs, connect them to us.
  • Read up on PTSD and understand why some people in their surroundings behave as they and not because of any other (insane) factor!
  • Be politically aware, find out about their legislative representatives and try to reach them through letters and other means to make them aware of the feelings and thoughts of the youth in their constituency.
  • Make efforts to improve their physical strength and stamina so in case they are needed to assist in any area of terrorist action they can do so.
  • Impressed upon them that leaving Pakistan is NOT the solution – even if they can and do, what about the kith and kin that will still remain in Pakistan?
  • They should not fear death – because everybody is going to die one day, remove the fear of death from your heart.

WHAT CAN institutions do?

  • Protect the students and the facility physically.
  • Arrange trainings like first-aid (PRCS) and rescue operations (1122).

–      Training for all – the old, the young, the youth, the ladies the disabled, even the peon, cook, driver and more!

  • Inculcate responsibility about life in students so they:

–      Are alert 24 hours a day.

–      More alert when travelling through crowded places.

–      Inform their family about their whereabouts. Also ask the family to inform you about theirs.

–      Look out for & report suspicious objects, persons & bad elements in the surroundings.

FROM HERE we moved on to watch the Global Survivors Network video “Hear our Voices” which created an impact and many students were moved to tears.

A QUESTION/ANSWER/SHARING session followed, with students coming up with probing question, sharing experiences, and generally accepting that they did not care about this issue because it seemed so remote.

One of the students then narrated her story of losing her brother in a horrific incident over five years ago, and the trauma that they family had to undergo and still does, every day due to this. Her emotionally charged tearful narrative was straight from the heart, and even I had trouble remaining composed. She had a valid point to make about how some organizations play on the emotions of the survivors by raising funds through musical concerts and such activities which can hurt the emotions of survivors.

Another student remarked that while she felt emotionally involved but this feeling did not last long, and she had ups and down’s and she felt sullied for not doing anything about this due to her short feeling span.

Another student whose family is running a seminary, narrated the experience of how her husband went missing for a few months and returned to tell how he had been kidnapped by some extremist elements who wanted him to be a part of their network.

Other students talked about the role of the seminary system (madrassas), my response to this is that many actual perpetrators were educated city folks, like those in the audience, so putting the blame on seminaries was ‘scapegoating’ these. And this was supported by the lady mentioned in the previous paragraph.

The students were moved by these narratives and some came up to me and thanked me for giving them the chance to speak, and how it had shown the effects of extremism in their midst. Something they would not have known ever.

A SUGGESTED counter narrative was written by a student and given to me (attached).

FINALLY I told them the reason I addressed youth was:

  1. Because youth have unadulterated passion & belief in them, which is a weapon that no act of terror can stand up to
  2. This same unadulterated passion & belief is used by the extremists to recruit youth!
  3. We can no longer afford biased, orthodox ‘adults’ with no regard for new & unconventional ideas to lead the way, we can combat terrorism only if we welcome new ideas and allow the youth to voice their opinions

The students and management decided that we will have another interaction with the students in a months’ time to talk about taking the “Say No to Terrorism” further, and see what the students had done about what we discussed that day.

ENDING ON the Quranic verse, Surely, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change that which is in their hearts (Ch.13 – V 11),I am confident that at SIL we have laid the foundation of a group of young Pakistanis who will be in the forefront to “Say No to Terrorism.”

Pakistan Terrorism Survivors Network:

My blog:

Global Survivors Network:

Against Violent Extremism:

Peace Direct:

Counter Narrative Comment Written by a Student

The person who is committing suicide – if he knows what is he doing, I think then he is to suffer in his afterlife. But, if the suicide bomber doesn’t know what will be the after effects of his action, in my point of view he is innocent. And only because of one reason that is – he is doing what someone else (that of sound mind and age) wanted him to do. That particular person brainwashing other innocent people to kill themselves and others, do it by getting hold of the emotions and sentimental values of those bombers and terrorists. Only if we get hold of a person’s emotional and sentimental side, we can direct the mind of any person at any point.

All we need to do is to build a bridge, have a heart and show others we have it. I think that is all that matters. This is the counter narrative I have.


Everyone needs help. Even the terrorists. Because the cycle has been going on – like you said, it has to be stopped. Terrorism comes in many forms … Silence is one of them.

Be patient.

Life Goes On

September 4, 2012

Life Goes On 6.

best depiction ever!

True Story of a Blast Victim – Sayra Mobeen

February 23, 2012

sara mobeen is a student at the international islamic university at islamabad. she was badly injured in the twin suicide attacks in the university on 20th october 2009.

the extent of trauma can be seen by the fact that it has taken her over two years and lots of persuasion to write her story.
may Allah help us all to overcome this menace of extremism that we are faced with in Pakistan aamin
if you have any comments or want to send her a message these will be passed on to sara mobeen.
thank you sara, our prayers, and support for you and your friends will always be there.

True Story of a Blast Victim

SAYRA MOBEEN – Student BBA (Honors)

Islamic International University Islamabad

The morning of 20 0ctober 2009 was delightful and astonishing for me not for the country; I was happy to go to classes for my studies and be with my friends. Ignoring the years of unending dilemma of Pakistan facing the threat of terrorism; that every face showed pain did not matter to me.

I am not a keen follower of the news, and that is why I could not feel the pain people faced by being in a bomb blast, or of losing a loved one in a terrorist attack.

The twin blasts in my University that day changed my life, as it was the first strike on women students in Islamabad. This incident left deep effect on my life. Bringing me face to face with a disaster which in its wake brought a lot of challenges for me.

Sadly I am a victim of that incident, and have been lucky to survive to tell my story, and look at life in a different perspective.

I remember that day after classes I came back in my hostel room at about 2:45 pm. My friend Umme Kalsoom came to my room and asked me to accompany her to the cafeteria, so I got up and we left.

We went to the cafeteria fruit shop but they had sold out the fruit etc. I don’t know why we were in hurry that day to go in the café, as we both ignored our class fellows who were sitting outside the café asking us to join them, and entered the main hall of the cafeteria.

We bought salad and some other eatables and sat inside the café on the left side of the hall, we still did not join our friends outside! We realized that we had not bought soft drinks so I went and bought these.

As I reached near the fountain in the hall, on my way back to our table, I suddenly heard a dreadful sound, and saw lots of smoke; my ears were deafened. I felt as if I had been hit by something forcefully. I was disoriented and fell down. The pain made me realize I was hurt and I could feel the pain on my body, arms, legs, forehead and chest. Later I found that the major injuries I received were on my chest.

Humble thanks to Almighty Allah that I was in my senses and tried to walk away from the cafeteria to save myself, but could not. I then saw my friends coming back to look for me; my shirt was full of blood which was coming from the wounds on my head and chest; when Umme Kulsoom  she saw me in this critical condition she started crying.

I asked Umme Kulsoom to look for my cell phone which I lost in this melee so I could call my family, she asked a female employee of café to look after me while she went to look for help.

I was feeling afraid because of the blast not for the pain or my injuries. The café staff told me I had severe injuries so I should go to the hospital, and tried to put me in a taxi, I refused because I did not want to go alone by taxi. The staff then left me and walked away, which hurt me more. I missed my family and friends and started to cry.

In the meanwhile my friends came looking for me, and picked me up, I was in great pain, and they took me to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences. The doctors decided to undertake surgery because of the nature of my injuries. I was very afraid because I knew my family was not with me, and I did not know what would be the result of the operation. But that is perhaps what saved my life.

After initial treatment in the PIMS and in view of the nature of my injuries, I was sent to the Combined Military Hospital at Mangla Cantonment for treatment. I underwent treatment at Mangla and suffered lots of pain and surgical interventions, for approximately four months. During this period my family and I suffered a lot, as they had to arrange for a place to live at Mangla, and commute from Abbottabad to Mangla regularly.

My injuries were similar to the injuries that soldiers receive in the battle field. The doctors at Mangla took great pains to remove the pieces of shrapnel and other stuff in my body, but even then, they could not remove all, and some non-life-threatening pieces of the material that was used in the suicide jacket, are still in my body and will remain in me for my life. It hurts at times, but at least I am alive.

As I said I did not pay attention to news of bomb blasts when I saw it on television or read about this in the newspapers, therefore I could not assess the pain of others; especially those who suffered during terrorist or suicide attacks.

Since my ordeal, I can recognize the pain and difficulties of survivors and victims’ like me, and Allahmdolliah I can empathize with them and help them in their recovery from trauma.

This unpleasant incident did not close the door of life on me; it showed me the other and pleasant direction of life. I am happy, and grateful to Allah that I am passing my life normally, thanks to my family, friends, and many other people who helped me recover, and this has strengthened my belief in the saying that, “obstacles come in life to polish one, or make one like a diamond”.

thought for the day

November 13, 2011

right but irrelevant – interesting combination!

Osama bin Laden is dead

May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden is dead, justice has been done, i called president Zardari. Obama on TV a short while back.
That he was killed in a ground and gunship assault on his house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by US Forces, 20 others were killed, and the American have his body. is of no consequence.
For now i am sad, and numb.

for those who missed it, here is obama’s speech (with transcript).

20th October 2009, a day that changed our lives

December 28, 2010

This is the story of Khadija Khan, a student of the Bachelors Program at the International Islamic University, Islamabad, as written by her. She was grievously injured in the 20th October 2009 suicide bombing at the University, and is now back at studies. Vivacious and with a smiling face, she is a beacon of light for her friends.


20th October 2009, a day that changed our lives.

A suicide attack at our university and we became the victims.

I am a student at the International Islamic University, Islamabad. 20th of October 2009, started as a normal day but ended as a dreadful one, my friends Gohar, Amber, Aleena, Asma, Aqsa, Kanwal, and I, were sitting in the café having a chit chat and preparing for our assignment presentation, we had our lunch and I asked Gohar to bring ice-cream. She and my two friends went to the counter, when suddenly I felt heat, just heat no sound – and I recalled the scene in Terminator movie when the girl imagines a nuclear bomb hit the country and heat coming towards her I felt the same, I saw Amber shake her head as she heard the noise as a reflex.

I didn’t fall from my chair but was sitting in it with my mind thinking what had happened, when I heard Gohar shouting “Khadija! stand up look at the blood.” She lifted a metal frame from me, I recall that I stood up and walked one or two steps and fell at Gohar’s feet, I saw nails and broken pieces of glass on the floor, soon afterwards I heard another sound of a blast, lying on the floor helplessly I just felt that I was dying. I looked up at Gohar thinking I was seeing her for the last time, and I fainted.

I opened my eyes in a taxi and saw that there was another girl lying dead in the taxi next to me. Suddenly I heard Gohar calling me; she jumped into the taxi saying “I am with her.” I saw my hand bleeding a lot and swollen, I told Gohar to call my mother, we told her that I just had hand and arm injuries, and we are going to NESCOM hospital which was the nearest to the university. I was wearing black clothes that day and as my hand injury was the only visible one so we just told that, on the way to hospital we saw ambulances and media vans heading towards our university. I just felt uncomfortable and told Gohar that I couldn’t breath properly, she replied “You just have a hand injury don’t worry.”

We reached the hospital gate the security guards stared at us because at that time nobody knew about the blast, Gohar started shouting at the guards “Cant you see blood?? Just let us go inside.” They allowed us in. When the taxi stopped the driver told us to get out Gohar stepped out and at that instant I felt I could not walk, they brought a stretcher and I was put on it, I opened my eyes in a noisy room. Doctors and nurses standing around patients while I lay quietly on the bed, I heard another girl of our university yelling at all the doctors surrounding her because of pain.

After some time somebody came and I was put on a drip, I just felt drowsy watched the scenario I lost consciousness. When I opened my eyes I was lying on the operation theatre table with three or four doctors surrounding me, one washing my hand and I heard my broken bones making a sound, the other one cutting my clothes with a scissor, it wasn’t painful, I again and again asked the doctors to call my father.

I fainted again, when I regained my senses I was brought out of the OT wearing a blue uniform lying on the bed of ICU. My brother came in and I asked the doctor when would my hand be ok? He started crying, a nurse told him to go out. I just came to know that I had multiple injuries, bones of my hand were broken in small pieces, I had fractured ribs, my lung had collapsed because of being hit by a pallet, my knee and leg had pallets in it, a pallet had passed through my chin into the neck and I was in a serious condition because of the lung.

The doctors later told us that if we had reached the hospital five minutes late, I would have died as I couldn’t breathe properly and the doctors inserted a chest tube which was really painful to keep up with. If the pallets in my knee had gone a little further they would have cut my leg, and had the pellet in my neck covered some more distance it would have cut my jugular vein, everybody says that my life is a miracle – no doubt that really is and I am thankful to Allah.

I stayed in the ICU for a month, it was really irritating, painful and noisy, I couldn’t even sit without a support; walking again was a dream at that time. After the operation I had a chest tube inserted in my left lung, had six stitches in my hand, ten in my knee and the other pallet in my leg is still in it because it is embedded in the bone.

After a long suffering of 30 days I was shifted to a room. I started walking with a stick. The room was so much better than the ICU, because the ICU had machines which were noisy and everybody there was over sixty years of age, and I was the only young one there. Also my parents were not allowed to stay there for long. So moving to a room was a big relief for me, and my friends came there to visit me. On the other hand pain started increasing day by day because I wasn’t on sedation any more.

The day I was discharged I felt happy because I missed my home, I still couldn’t walk properly. A few days later while watching the television I heard that my dear friend Aqsa had died. It came as a great shock I and cried a lot, because I was told that Aqsa’s was getting better day by day, and her sudden death was a tragic loss.

Finally the day came when I returned to the university, I went to that café, and saw the holes caused by those ball bearings in the floor and pillars. I got the flashbacks of that day.

Nothing is like before, nothing can be like before. I still forgive them who did this blast, and because of whom I suffered, May ALLAH GIVE STRENGTH TO EVERYONE WHO lost their dear ones.

Life does not stop, we have to move with the time; and as it is said – time is a big healer.

“KILLING IN THE NAME” wins Best Documentary at LA Shorts Fest’10

August 3, 2010

Killing in the Name
follows Ashraf’s quest to speak with victims and perpetrators and expose the true cost of terrorism. From an Al-Qaeda recruiter, to a militant behind one of the world’s worst terrorist attacks, to a madrassa full of boys ready for jihad, Ashraf takes us on a journey around the world to see if one man can speak truth to terror, and begin to turn the tide.