I was returning home from office on Saturday evening, May 7, when I received a call from Khurram Zaki bhai. ‘Where are you’, he asked me. I told him I was on my way back from office. ‘Come and pick me up straightaway’, he said to me. I told him couldn’t see him straightaway and would pick him up only after going home and changing. He insisted that I picked him up right away and I had to relent. ‘You are looking very fresh and smart’, I told him when he came out of his residence. He only smiled. We had covered only a small distance when he said, ‘What are you doing? Don’t you know how to ride a bike?’ ‘The bike doesn’t have breaks and that it what makes it a deadly ride’, I retorted. Once again, he smiled.
While on the road, I started to seek his guidance on a private matter and after he while he asked me to stop by his mother’s house. He had his eldest son Ali’s clothes that he had to drop there. We stood downstairs and called out to his brother and son but no one answered. ‘Make some effort and go drop it upstairs’, he said to me. I went upstairs and handed over the clothes to his brother and we left for a hotel in B-11.
Just when we were about to reach the hotel, he asked me to first take him to the nearby Mustafavi mosque. ‘Wait for me here for 10 minutes, I will go in and offer my prayers’ he said. I told him I was really tired and would go home in the meantime, but he asked me to stay. I gave in once again. He came out of the mosque after 10-15 minutes and we left for the hotel. Khalid Rao was already there when when reached and we joined him. After a while I told Khurram bhai that I had been out since morning and would go home for a while to change. ‘Okay, but where is Marshall?’ he asked. I told him I would send for him.
I returned to the hotel after a while and saw that Khalid Rao had Muzammil’s mobile phone in his hand. ‘Give Muzammil’s phone to me’, Khurram bhai said to Khalid Rao. ‘This is Muzammil’s phone’, Khalid Rao answered him. ‘And you are Muzammil’s father?’, Khurram bhai snapped back at him. Khalid Rao recoiled and we laughed at him. Later, Khalid Rao said that I, Waleed, was stupid because I did not know how to play a game of cards, according to him. Khurram bhai came to my defense.
Khurram bhai was standing on the footpath and talking to me and I was standing on the other side listening when a motorbike stopped behind him. Two boys, dressed in shirts and trousers, shot at him either 2 or 3 times. He fell on me as soon as he was hit and a strange darkness prevailed in front of my eyes. Gunshots echoed in my ears and tried to gather myself and get up. I looked for something, a stone may be, that I could throw at the assailants but I could only find a brick. One of the riders took an aim towards me and fired twice but both the bullets missed me. The brick I tried to throw at them barely covered a few feet. The attackers escaped and I rushed towards Khurram. He was on the ground face down and there was no one near him.
He was still in his senses when I picked him up. He wasn’t answering me and kept repeating the Kalima-e-Shahadah. Probably he didn’t even want to say anything else at that moment. After being in this state for around 15 seconds, he closed his eyes. Some people had gathered around us by that time. Jazib was standing next to me. Jazib and a couple of other people picked him up and kept shouting for a car but no one cared to bring one. We kept running here and there for a cab, a car or a rickshaw with him in our arms but to no avail. In the meantime, a friend ‘Farooq’ shouted and told us to get him to where he was and get his body into a Suzuki pickup. We got Khurram bhai, and also Khalid Rao and Mr. Sultan who were injured into the pickup. Jazib, another friend and I also mounted the vehicle and we left for the hospital. Khalid bhai and Mr. Sultan were were still conscious, but Khurram bhai wasn’t.
We kept checking his pulse and had barely reached 5 Star when we realized that he had stopped breathing. The doctors came to check him when we reached Abbasi Shaheed Hospital but then they stopped back. The number of people at the hospital started to grow and everyone was emotional. They started shouting at the hospital administration and decided to shift Khurram bhai,Khalid bhai and Mr. Sultan to Agha Khan Hospital. Jazib, Zafar Abbas, I and another friend were in the same ambulance as Khurram bhai and we knew the situation. We were devastated with grief. Half an hour after we reached Agha Khan Hospital it was announced that Khurram bhai had left us and Khalid Rao’s condition was critical.
Khurram bhai was a great person. Courage, reasoning, intellect, understanding and erudition were the hallmarks of his personality. In his will, he had asked for his funeral to be held at the CM House and the FIR to be lodged against Aurangzeb Farooqi and that he be hanged. His first two wishes have been fulfilled by the grace of Allah, soon so will be the third.