In Memory of Pakistani-American Hero Tariq Khanzada
By Riaz Haq

My friend Tariq Khanzada died in a tragic accident in the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 12, 2011. He is survived by his wife Ruby, two sons and a daughter.
I knew Tariq to be a genuinely friendly and helpful individual. I will always remember his beautiful smile. His death is a real shock to me and the rest of the Pakistani-American community in Silicon Valley. May his soul rest in peace. Amen!
Here is how San Jose Mercury, the local Silicon Valley newspaper, reported the unfortunate road accident that took Tariq away from us:
"Tariq Khanzada had just left the hospital after cuddling for hours with his newborn granddaughter, Minnah, when he saw the BMW crash in front of him and come to a stop on the right shoulder of Highway 237.
"It was about 2 a.m. Wednesday, with hardly a soul around on the dark Sunnyvale freeway. But with a stranger in distress, anybody who knew anything about Khanzada isn't surprised about what he did next: He climbed out of his Mercedes and walked across the highway, according to the California Highway Patrol.
"Khanzada didn't know the driver and most likely stopped to help, his family members speculate.
"In the seconds that followed, two other cars traveling in the fast lane happened upon the darkened accident, crashing into the disabled BMW in a chain reaction wreck that killed Khanzada, a 51-year-old computer engineer and an active Muslim community member who was known for always pitching in to help".
I attended his funeral along with hundreds of other people at the Islamic Society of East Bay mosque in Fremont, CA. There was genuine outpouring of emotions by his friends and family, many of whom recalled Tariq's altruistic nature and lauded him as a genuine Muslim-American hero.
I entirely agree that our friend Tariq Khanzada was a genuine Pakistani-American hero who risked and ultimately sacrificed his own life attempting to help others in need. He was indeed a good Samaritan and a real "shaheed". But let's not ignore the advice of California Highway Patrol to stay in the car when faced with a similar situation.
Here's how the news story puts it:
"After a recent string of accidents in which one accident -- followed by another -- has ended tragically on South Bay roadways, the Mercury News published a story last week in which the CHP offered advice on the safest thing for motorists or passers-by to do: stay in your car, keep your seat belt on, drive to the shoulder, call 911 and wait for police."

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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