A couple of days after that incident in Gilgit, some people attempted to kill my elder brother (Habib R. Sulemani) in Rawalpindi when he was coming home from office at midnight. They tried to hit him and run away. Fortunately, he jumped on the footpath and the speeding car rushed away as, luckily, another vehicle had also appeared on the scene.
After this attack on my brother, at first, I was frightened to go to school, markets and even the nearby playground. Mysterious people had surrounded our neighborhood and they were looking at me awkwardly. Then, gradually, I was ready for anything! At home, I kept a baton below my bed at night to resist a sudden attack. I knew the attackers had sophisticated guns, and they are highly skilled and professional killers—but I didn’t want to bear any direct terror attack on me silently. What was in my mind in those days, I can’t explain it now!
It was a time when I was anxiously waiting for my birthday. Being the youngest sibling of eight brothers and sister, I was expecting some new gifts. I completed fifteen years of my life on April 1, 2010. The continuous attacks on my family members were really a shocking thing not only for me but everyone in the family. I was not feeling safe myself at home and school. I feared the criminals could attack me anytime as members of our family were in Gilgit, and I along with my brother was in Rawalpindi.
Anyway, on my birthday, my brother called my mother at our ancestral home in Gulmit, upper Hunza, and told her to celebrate my birthday at sharp 10PM. He also informed my father and brother (Ghulam Rehman) in Gilgit to make arrangement for a birthday party there as well at the same time.
Amid life-threatening situation, all of my family members had forgotten my birthday. In such a situation my elder brother announced to celebrate my birthday in a unique way: singing "happy birthday to you" at the same time from three different cities of Pakistan – hundreds of kilometers apart from each other – on the phone at night. It was really fascinating!
I can’t forget the words of my elder brother to the younger one on the phone. “In the face of oppression and tyranny,” he said, “we’ll celebrate Karim’s birthday in a unique way this time! We’re not afraid of the coward terrorist group.”
At that night, after the birthday celebrations, I talked on the phone to all family members and relatives gathered at all the three places. “Wishing you a happy birthday,” sounded differently on that night! I felt that those who are involved in acts of terror are coward people no matter how much power and authority they have at hand!
After this all – acts of terror and the continuing mental torture since March 2010 – we will never ever give up! We’ll defeat the criminals according to the laws. We’re destined to win!
(Image by the blogger)