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Mehzar will live. Maula makes miracles happen -by Sidrah Roghay

There were thirteen bullets; nine killed her father, three hit her, and one punctured the school bag perched on her tiny shoulders. Semi-conscious after the attack, she could only muster enough strength to mumble her phone number to a face in the crowd which had now gathered around her.

It was a sectarian attack, claims the family. “If we knew there were threats, we would have arranged for security beforehand.”

On November 30, Syed Nazar Abbasi, and his daughter, Syeda Mehzar, were heading to the Al-Murtaza School, when two men came on a motorbike and opened fire. The case was initially highlighted by the media, and Mehzar was likened to Malala Yousufzai, for they were both young girls — the first going to school, the second coming back from school — but then it gradually disappeared, mainly because the family was not ready to talk.

When doctors first saw the 12-year-old, they patiently explained to the mother that her daughter would live on a ventilator — for life. The next 38 days were spent rushing her to the Intensive Care Unit thrice, switching on the ventilator, switching it off, waiting for something to happen.

Her condition was serious, a bullet had ruptured both her lungs, another damaged her spinal cord and yet another had skimmed past her wrist. She was still in shock.

“When she woke up she would twist her face in pain, scream, ask for her father. I thought she would lose her mind,” said her ailing mother, who has not left the hospital since that fateful day.

“I did not attend my husband’s funeral. How could I? I had a daughter to take care of.”

The family prayed and asked people to pray. They demanded Mehzar be taken abroad for treatment. But when a team of doctors from the Chief Minister’s House visited her, they claimed her unfit to travel. What if she showed improvement, the mother cried out. The doctors smiled, implying miracles didn’t happen. “But miracles happen, my God and my Maula makes miracles happen,” insisted the mother.

A Facebook page was created, and there were prayers offered in mosques, temples and churches. “I do not know whose prayers were heard, but yesterday we witnessed movement in Mehzar’s leg.”

Criminal investigation

It took three days to register an FIR. “We did not get time for the legal work, with the funeral of my father to organise and Mehzar fighting for life,” said Haider Zaidi, her brother.

A police officer visited the hospital a few weeks later. He wanted to meet Mehzar, but the family did not allow him. “Mehzar does not know her father is dead. She is still in shock, cries when she sees unknown people around her, I could not let a policeman in uniform with a gun visit her,” said Zaidi.

There are questions that she wants answered, but when she opens her eyes, Zaidi shies away. “I can’t face her,” he said helplessly.

It has been a month and the police are yet to make any “tangible progress” in the case. “It is because there are no clues,” said Ghulam Murtaza, DSP Ferozabad.

There were 20 people arrested and interrogated, but “no useful information was gathered”.

“The only closed-circuit camera available was at Jail Chowrangi and that too showed only half the road. There is no one to tell us what the attackers look like so that we can create a sketch. Even if someone could tell us what colour of shirt they were wearing, it will help.”

But Zaidi disagreed. “The incident took place in broad daylight on a main road in front of a huge crowd. There is a mosque nearby with a camera, a Rangers mobile is parked a few steps away.”

The police alleged that banned outfits like the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan were responsible for the act.

Mehzar’s time in the hospital

She cannot talk much. It tires her. But she writes. Last time, she wrote an essay on her father, and attached a passport-size picture with it. “My father is very nice. He cleans the house himself. Sometimes he is strict, but not too much.”

Inside the Intensive Care Unit, she wrote a piece on the ICU. She drew her doctor, a stick figure with big dangling hands. She gave it to him when he made his daily round. He laughed, and told her to get well soon.

But when she asks about her dad, her mother hugs her and tells her, “Baba is very sick; he got hit by lots and lots of bullets.”

Source: The News

About the author

Jehangir Hafsi


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  • `Thus saith the Lord.A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel weeping for her children refusing to be comforted for her children, because they were not.’
    JEREMIAH 31-15

    The greatest horror of all is the lack of horror amongst mainstream Muslims, the absence of lamentation…O for the faintest bat-squeak of condemnation emanating from the spokesmen and apologists of mainstream Islam!

    A highly respectable Lahori `British’ dame, crony of Tahira Mazhar Ali and chums with Alys Faiz, once dismissed my concern over press reports of a bus-load of innocent people shot by Islamist Fundies thus:` voh Shia’ hongay , varna to aisay koi naheen marta Musulmanon ko’; ergo Muslim on Muslim violence is a Zionist fabrication, of course the victims being Shia’, well…

    All this was over fifteen years ago; but this incident brought home to me the extent of cognitive dissonance among the followers of the dominant stream of Islam. This same woman, now well into her 80s, has spent her life fund-raising for Palestinian causes and has seldom missed an anti-Israel rally.And yet she, and others of her ilk are what Western bien-pensant opinion-makers perceive as Anglicised, modern,moderate practitioners of Islam.

    This battle is existential; it is arduous and you are fighting it on the back foot.
    You need to get the truth out over the heads of the Islamist-left liberal juggernaut which is the biggest, best funded game in town. I strongly recommend that you get the Mehzar story into an on-line publication, I have read stuff there by very fair minded young writers like Ghaffar Hussain and Raheem Kassam who do not appear to toe the mandatory Lord Nazeer-Taliban Khan line.My feeling is that your editorial staff should explore this avenue; the journal has a pretty eclectic, off of the beaten track readership and chances are you will at least win a hearing outside of our choir of the converted. Very good luck with your enterprise and blessings.

  • Dear Asma, I love reading your comments on LUBP. You should write something on Mehzar Zehra’s case as you are obviously good at expressing a point of view. Please expose the hypocrisy of Pakistan’s “for hire NGO pseudo liberals” who choose their causes and advocacy based on:

    1. Available funding from donor agencies and foreign consulates

    2. Safety of the cause

    Even now, most of them do not take names of these terrorist organizations like ASWJ that are killing not just Shias but also Sunnis (including my Ahmadi brothers) and Christains.

    Please write this and don’t be like Pakistan’s pseudo liberal class like Ali K. Chishti who was promoting ASWJ chief on TV as a “peaceful moderate”

  • thanks for wriiting such a nice n heart touching aarticle on my doll MEHZER ZEHRA,frm her elder sis…:(
    plz plzzz plzzzzz pray for her health n quick recovery for her lower part as u know she is in shock n not able to walk 🙁 we are requesting to the government through ur platform that plz help us to send her anyy best hospital out of country for better treatment,for example where MALALA YOUSUF was admitted for tretment and mashallah she is well now …we want too to well soon of our little angle MEHZER ZEHRA as she is very lively ..and facing this trouble STOUTHEARTED(bravely)…i dont even know whose prayers heard it is request to keep prayers for MEHZER..:( ;(……

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