Raffay Tariq- a dear departed

Remembering the Lost Soul, Shahina Maqbool writes about the tragic incident in The News and explains her concern :" Parents are generally too preoccupied to critically monitor their children s activities".


What greater tragedy can befall parents who lose a 17-year-old son in a road accident? Their pain intensifies from the realisation that he could have survived if his accompanying classmates had not panicked and promptly asked for an ambulance; if the hospital where he was shifted had a CT scan to enable instant diagnosis; and if an ambulance equipped with a ventilator was available to shift him to a better emergency response health facility.

The plight of Colonel (r) Tariq Chaudhry and his wife Yasmeen is hard to describe. It has been over a month since they lost their beloved son Rafay, an affectionate brother of four sisters, a trusted friend, and a charmer for the entire Askari XI neighbourhood. Born on May 8, 1994, Rafay was a student of 1st year. Unlike a majority of boys his age, he was docile and sober, well dressed, had a penchant for perfumes and shampoos, and was known for his sharp aesthetics. My son was very obedient, and regularly went to the mosque. In fact, his personality was more prominent than mine. His departure has saddened everyone who knew him, Tariq shared a day ahead of his son s chehlum here on Wednesday.

It was August 14, 2011. Rafay was riding behind one of his friends on a motorbike when they were hit by a car on the road between Khanpur Dam and Taxila. The boys were accompanied by two other classmates on another motorbike. Rafay sustained serious injuries while his friend in the front was unhurt. Seeing Rafay in a critical condition, all the three boys panicked because they had told their parents that they were going to Ayub Park, when they had actually planned a trip to Khanpur Dam.

Rafay vomited blood and eventually fell unconscious. He was recovered by the driver of the vehicle, which had hit the motorbike and was rushed to the POF Hospital, Taxila. His family reached the hospital only after being informed by the hospital management; Rafay s classmates as well as the driver of the vehicle had already fled the hospital, leaving him unattended. Ironically, they did not even inform Rafay s parents about the accident. After remaining in coma for two days, Rafay died on August 16, which was the 15th of Ramazan, without breaking his fast.

I was reading the newspaper at 11.30 a.m. when he came to me and sought permission to visit a classmate in the tuition centre that he attended. I nodded and advised him to return by 3 p.m. It was 4.45 p.m. when I received a call from the hospital, informing me about his critical condition, Tariq recollected.

It was only after his parents read messages on Rafay s mobile phone that they learnt about the friends who had persuaded him to accompany them to the trip. In one of his messages, he tried to dismiss the idea on the pretext that his father was asleep and he required his consent, but they ridiculed him for being a coward. It is not known whether Rafay was privy to the actual plan.

The one bitter lesson learnt from Rafay s death is that people met in passing should not be trusted straightaway. Rafay befriended these three boys at the tuition academy; I never counted them among his friends, Tariq remarked. He regretted that today, parents are generally too preoccupied to critically monitor their children s activities. This generation unfortunately lacks moral values and ethics, and takes pride in being known for wrong reasons. Sadly, children showing obedience and a religious bent are a laughing stock often, he added.

Additionally, what has added to the misery of the parents is that they were unable to have their son shifted to a better-equipped hospital in Rawalpindi or Islamabad for a variety of reasons. While the absence of a CT scan at the POF Hospital was a factor that kept doctors from determining his exact condition, the non-availability of an ambulance equipped with a ventilator stood in way of having him moved to Rawalpindi or Islamabad for standard emergency care, Tariq informed. The only such ambulance is with AFIC and that too is reserved to provide cover during VVIP movements. Had it not been for the criminal lack of standard medical facilities, Tariq believes, his son might still have been alive.

The vacuum of Rafay s enterprising personality is hard to bear. His family is now trying to find solace by exploring various options to perpetuate his memory; one of them is to establish a Trust from the funds they had actually been saving for his studies abroad, as Rafay had intended to become an orthodontist. (May Allah rest his soul in peace)


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!