Ziarat Residency no more

(Originally published in Us Magazine, The News International
July 5, 2013)

Dear Unknown Sadist,


I never thought I would actually be brought to this level of despair and that I would be writing a letter to you and venting out my frustration through a paper but, as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. You really did it this time – You struck gold, you did. I must say, whoever makes the plans in your group regarding where to strike next must be a genius. If your purpose was to make us all feel helpless and destitute, well … you did it all right.


It had been raining that day, the day when you had done what you did and what shattered my heart into a million tiny little auricles and ventricles. I had woken up to the rhythmic sound of rain pattering on leaves, on trees and on the windowsill next to my bed. It seemed a beautiful morning – only it actually was not. I was still under the influence of sleep when I made my way into the T.V lounge; languidly, I saw the TV tuned into one of those news channels which have been lately bringing nothing but bad news to the masses. What bad news was it conveying this time? I had thought.


Well the joke was on me I guess.


I could not believe my eyes; it couldn’t be – it wasn’t possible! But it was true … because you had done it. On the screen, I was looking at what used to be a beautiful building turned into this burnt shambles. The firefighters were spraying water on whatever remained of the building. For reasons which might be beyond your comprehension (but not mine), it hurt. It had hurt too much, so much so that when I went back into my room, I cried. No, not like you would have wanted me to cry of course; I cried silently. I could feel the tears edging their way out of my eyes but they never made it to my cheek; you see, I wasn’t sure if you were viewing me at that instant with those super-advanced devices you people own and if you were, I wanted to give you a clear message that I was strong and resilient. Only that it took a long time to reassure myself that I actually was. Strong, I mean. 


I had always wanted to go there, you know. I wanted to give Ziarat a ziarat, if you know what I mean. But you have made that impossible now, haven’t you? The government has announced that they will rebuild the building in three months, but you and I know that the damage is done. You, Mr. Sadist have, as I have already mentioned, struck gold. Nothing is going to be the same again. I mean, sure they can re-build the building but what about the artifacts that were present inside the building? And I really do not blame the newly elected government for the whole incident which took place either; they’re already distressed as it is, so blaming them would not achieve anything. At least, I think they are and that thought will help me live in my cocoon for a while longer. Back to the incident, well for the next three days I would sulk in misery thinking about the incident and the height of your evilness. I would think the same things over and over again – I would not able to go there now. I would not see the original building, the building where my Quaid, Muhammad Ali Jinnah lived during the last days of his life. I would cry from the inside. I would wail at my helplessness.


And then I went to college the next day. And everything changed.


See, as depressed as I was, I had also become pessimistic (and possessive) regarding the whole event.  I had thought that I was the only one who had been hurt by all of this, and no one really cared about what happened. I am glad I was wrong. Everyone talked about the same thing, about how this was bad, how this shouldn’t have happened and how it hurt when they saw the building blackened by the fire. And it was at that point that I realised we would survive. I mean, sure it hurt, it hurts even now, yet I have a feeling we will wade through this sea of sadness and see the light of happiness.


And that is why I am writing you an open letter. So that you and anyone else who shares the same views as you know that I, for once, don’t care what you do. You burnt his house. You kill his countrymen. You shed blood in his country’s rivers but you can never ever erase his persona from our minds, and from our hearts. Jinnah lives in my heart; he lives in every Pakistani’s heart and will keep on doing so until the Day of Judgment, and that day, my friend, we’ll meet. You will not be unknown anymore. And then God knows what will happen to you because with more than 17 crore people testifying against you, the odds of you surviving a bitter punishment are zero to millions. So, come prepared, because I know what I’ll do.


With this, I end my letter. I hope you change your ways but you and I both know the damage is done. Your soul is tortured and twisted now with the murder of millions of people on your hands.  Still, things can change. You never know. And with this note I part with you my friend, my enemy, hoping that one day you’ll regret what you did. And I hope I get to watch it while you do.


Long live Jinnah. Long Live Pakistan.






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