My daddy’s never coming home – by Hayat Umar

LAHORE: Thirteen-year-old Waqar lives with his paternal aunt in Keer Kot, a small dwelling near the Defence Housing Authority. His nine-year-old sister Noor and brother Waqas live with their maternal uncle in Islampura. This scattered family of four, along with their father Idrees, carved out their meagre existence in their one-room house ever since the death of Bushra, the children’s mother, almost seven years ago. Since then, Idrees had been the sole support for his three little angels, loving them, caring for them and supporting them through the roughest of times.

But on Friday, March 12, all that changed. Idrees, a manual labourer, drifted from job to job, and often wandered the whole city in search of wages. But a tragic twist of fate befell him, when he became one of the scores of people who were killed in the RA Bazaar bombing. The March 12 suicide blasts wreaked havoc more with the victims’ families than with the victims themselves, and Idrees’ orphaned children bear testimony to this grim fact.

The children told Daily Times that their father was a hard working man and that they were his whole world. Idrees, who also lived in a one-room house in Keer Kot, visited Waqar everyday. But as Noor and Waqas lived quite far from them, he could only visit them every Friday, and often took gifts, snacks and money for them. On March 12, he went to meet his children; not knowing it would be his last meeting with them.

Waqar recounted the painful memory of this final meeting. “My father came to see me while I was asleep. He woke me up, hugged me and said, ‘I am going to meet your brother and sister.’ I tried to stop him from leaving but he said he had to go. I kept insisting so he promised to bring me gifts next time. I instantly agreed… but he never returned,” he told Daily Times.

Noor, although still very young, is surprisingly candid when asked if she knows what happened to her father. “Last Friday, my father went to RA Bazaar for lunch when the explosions took place, and he died.” Her candour in the face of such sadness is heart-rending.

But Idrees’ favourite was his youngest son, Waqas. The naughtiest of the three siblings, he was the jewel of his father’s eyes. “My father always asked me about my studies and took keen interest in my school’s progress report. But last Friday he did not return as promised. My relatives tell me he is never going to come back as he is in another world now. I have to agree with them because it’s true.”

Source: Daily Times



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