It was the 9th of June, 2014. Me and my wife, Maryam, were coming back from a holiday in Switzerland. It was our first holiday after we got married two months back. Our minds were full of the beautiful moments we had spent in Switzerland. Finally, my dream of a happy family was shaping into reality. Our plane was about to land at the Karachi International Airport and we prepared ourselvesto get off the plane.The plane's wheels touched the runway and it came to a standstill in few minutes.
We got off the plane and started moving towards the exit counter. I heard a loud sound which appeared to come from a gun.
Suddenly a group of Airport staff came to us with shades of horror clearly visible on their faces.
"I am sorry sir but you people cannot make an exit from the airport right now. A group of terrorists have attacked this area. You'll have to come with us immediately!" an airport official said.
"Terrorists? What?" I inquired, trying to realize the situation we were in.
"Yes sir! The military has been called. Currently the airport security team is trying to combat."
They took all the passengers in a room nearby.
"Please don't try to get out of the room unless somebody comes to the rescue," they said and went away.
For the next few hours, we could hear the sounds of gunfire and explosions. As every new explosion occurred the faces of the passengers shrank, with drops of sweat clearly visible on their foreheads as if they had seen the ghastly figure of death standing before them.
Every single face in the room had the mixed expression of horror and hope on it.
"Will everything be fine?" Maryam asked while reciting some aayaats from the Qur'an.
"Yes, my love," I replied, trying to give her the hope which I myself was not confident of, but a word of support from another person is always a mountain of hope.After few hours of horror the explosions seemed to have come to a halt.
We thought that this was the end to the chaos but waited for two more hours before making an attempt to go out.A few army men came to our rescue and we started to move out ofthe room with them. No sooner did we come out of the door than an explosion occurred again. We were confronted by a group of three militants, all of them wearing Islamic symbols.
It was ironic to see them, they were destroying the name of the same religion of which they claimed to be 'the warriors'.
Firing resumed from both the sides.The army men tried to cover us from the ongoing rain of bullets. The sparks were blinding everyone's eyes and the sounds were deafening.
A bullet was fired from the enemy side which would have hit my wife in her heart had not a soldier dashed forward and pushed her to the ground. The soldier himself was not that lucky though, another bullet hit him on his forehead and he was immediately reduced to a corpse.
Call it fate or chance but my wife could also not live of that miraculous save for much time. Another bullet hit her, blood gushed out of her body and I saw her precious soul leaving me, forever. I couldn't bear it any more and fainted. I still faint at times when I remember that scene.I woke up in a hospital after few hours. I knew that all my dreams of happiness have been shattered by this hellish incident.
"Why Allah? Why! Why did you do this to me?" I shouted at the top of my voice.I fainted again.
~ Few Days Later ~
I knew that I had suffered the greatest loss in the incident until I heard on the news, "Many soldiers have sacrificed their lives while saving the Karachi International Airport but one of the stories is the most tragic.
Soldier Zubair got martyred in the violent struggle with the terrorists. He got married just an year back and her wife just gave birth to a baby girl. The girl will never be able to see her father's face. The tragedy however did not end here. Her mother could not survive the delivery and the baby is left alone in this world, an orphan.
"I fell upon my face and asked God to forgive me whenever I whined.
~ 5 days later ~
"So, Mr. Muhammad, are you sure you're going to take this step of adoption? I mean you've just lost your wife, will you be able to take up such a great task all alone?" the manager of the orphanage asked me.
"Yes, indeed. I've no one else in the world and on top of that her father died saving us.
"You may sign here sir. I wish that you both remain happy for the rest of your lives."
"Before you take her I must tell you that she has not yet been named. What name shall we put on the papers so that we can go on with the official process?"
"Maryam," I replied.