Silicon Valley Mourns Victims of Airblue Crash
By Riaz Haq
Truly! To Allâh we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.
My dear friend Farooq Nadeem died in the Airblue flight 202 air disaster in Islamabad...Inna Lillaha Wa Inna Elaihe Rajeoon!
The early morning call from Pakistan came as a big shock. Farooq was a dear friend of mine who I had known for over 30 years. He was a frequent business traveler on Airblue within and outside Pakistan. He is survived by his wife and his only son. After the first false reports of survivors among 152 passengers and crew, they both rushed from Karachi to Islamabad in the hope of finding him among the survivors. Now they are waiting to hear of the news of identification of Farooq's remains amidst the wreckage in Margala Hills. Let's hope and pray that they can bear this tremendous loss.
Farooq and I graduated from NED University in Electrical Engineering, and he was the spirit behind a website and email list of our fellow graduates that has helped the NEDians' class of 1974 stay in touch with each other. Thanks to his efforts, I have reconnected and met with a number of fellow NED alums in various parts of the world.
My family and I had the good fortune of spending some time with Farooq and his wife and son during our Karachi visit last year. Since we had gone to attend my nephew's wedding and my sister's house was full with extended family members staying with her, we decided to book a hotel suite during our stay in Karachi. Farooq advised against it and made arrangements for us to stay in a nice suite at a private club near his home. We met several times for breakfast, lunch or dinner at common friends' homes, restaurants and private clubs, and his wife and son drove us around during our stay in Karachi. I still remember when one of my daughters fell ill and Farooq, Annie and Faraz accompanied us to the Agha Khan Hospital's emergency room and stayed for hours until she was treated and released.
Though I was lucky enough to be counted among Farooq's friends, I was not alone as a recipient of his sincere friendship and generosity. It was felt by all of his friends and acquaintances who came in contact with him over the years. The outpouring of deep emotions of sadness and sympathy upon his untimely death are a testimony to the lasting impression he made on many people who knew him. His unique sense of humor and the jokes he shared via email will be missed by all of us.
The other gentleman, Naseem Aftab from California, was in Pakistan in connection with his daughter's engagement. Now his wife Samina, his newly-engaged daughter, and his son are devastated by their sudden tragic loss.
I did not know Naseem well, but we shared many common friends. Naseem worked for Vertical Systems Inc, a Silicon Valley hospitality company founded and run by fellow NEDians Idris Kothari and Saeed Kazmi. Naseem was well liked and he and his wife Samina were often invited to many of the same parties as my wife and I. Naseem will definitely be missed by Silicon Valley's Pakistani-American community at large.
May their souls rest in peace and may Allah's blessings be upon their bereaved families.