Monday, December 1, 2014

Heroes die young - the heroic story of a 15 years old hero

'Heroes die young' - so sayeth a famous saying. And it has been proven right since the warriors rose to defend their clans, frontiers and countries. History is replete with stories of such young men who sacrificed their lives to save many others of their colleagues and comrades.  

There are many such tales of sacrifices in our country too, specially since this non-sense war on terror was imposed on us. Many young men both within and without uniform laid down their lives fighting the menace of terrorism and defeating the mercenaries in the garb of religious warriors to disrupt the peaceful environment we once had. 

One of these hero boys was 15 years old Aitazaz Hassan Bangash. From the face of it, he did not look a sportsman or an athlete for he was rather chubby who was often teased by his colleagues and others for his overweight stature.

That was how he was known till January the 6th, 2014. The day was just an ordinary day for countless children across Pakistan and the small village of Ibrahimzai, Hangu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northern Pakistan where Aitazaz lived and like all other school goers, he was happily going towards his school along with his friends - never minding at all how they made fun of his overweight stature.

But unknown to him and all others, this was a special day for Aitazaz Hassan - for he was to go down in the history of the country as a hero and to be revered forever by his friends and family. Nearing the school a 'man' stopped them and asked 'where is the school?' Well this is something that sounded unfamiliar to Aitazaz Hassan since everyone in the village knew where the school was. 

Having read and heard so much of suicide bombers, Aitazaz and his friends instantly realized that this man with a rather heavy bulge around his waist was a killer and suicide bomber. Realizing the reality, all of Aitazaz's friends who mocked him all along ran for their lives. But that chubby young boy of 15 confronted the man and tried his best to stop him from going towards the school gate where almost 2,000 students were present. He first threw a stone to hit the man, which missed him. Then Aitazaz ran towards the person and grabbed him.

And then the everyone heard a big bang as the suicide bomber exploded his suicide jacket while being frustrated by Aitazaz who was trying his best to let him move forward. Unlike all other suicide attacks where scores died previously - only two lost their lives: One the suicide bomber and the other none other than that chubby young boy of 15, Aitazaz Hassan.

While Malala made headlines across the world for an attack on her, unknown to her, this young boy fully knew that he was to be blown up in next few seconds - but stood to his ground and saved the lives of many by being blown up. The world may never know much about him, but he would live in the hearts of many forever - for he was chubby but not coward.

Aitazaz's classmates kept his photo where he sat as mark of reverence

He was awarded with the second highest civil award of Sitara-e-Shujaat (Star of Bravery) posthumously by the government of Pakistan. He was named as the Herald’s Person of the Year for 2014. But it was not the award he laid down his life - he felt it was duty no matter what his age was. It is because of sacrifices of such true Pakistanis and bravehearts that Pakistan is defeating the menace of terrorism and closing on to the fleeing mercenaries.

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