“I was already feeling a bit tensed while returning home from a neighbouring village when the news of a suicide attack at a nearby mosque reached me,” narrates Ranra Khan, a resident of Mohmand Agency.
When Khan got home, he was met with the most heart-wrenching sight a father could imagine — the graves of his four sons being prepared in front of his house.
The suicide attack on September 16 shattered the life of Ranra Khan, as he had to offer funeral prayers of four of his sons on that ill-fated day.
A suicide bomber had blown himself up at a mosque during Friday prayers in the Butmaina village of Anbar tehsil in Mohmand, killing at least 36 people. Jamaatul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility of the attack.
“I saw people were digging graves in front of my house. When I reached home, I found the bodies of three of my sons, while the body of the fourth one was about to be transported there,” said Ranra Khan.
“Terrorism took away my four sons. My family has been ruined and my home turned into a place of mourning.”
The sudden demise of four young sons was shocking for the entire family. Today, Ranra Khan is thankful to Allah for his two remaining children, besides three daughters, whom he terms as his only aspiration for living after the dreadful incident.
He says their mosque was targeted just because they were making efforts to bring peace in their area. Two of his slain sons, 25-year-old Wahab and 22-year-old Naeem worked as labourers in Rawalpindi.
Wahab was father to a minor girl and Naeem was busy in preparations for his marriage. The attack happened two days prior to Naeem’s wedding. Their younger brothers, Mushtaq and Shahab, who were also massacred in the brutal attack, were just 16 and 12 years old respectively.
“Mushtaq and Shahab loved playing cricket in the veranda and were a source of joy and calm for me. Their demise has left me broken,” says a teary-eyed Ranra Khan. “Their mother often stands by the door, weeping, waiting for them to come back. But they don’t return and she continues to go through pain and agony.”
Since the day the area’s mosque was bombed, it has been all too tensed for the residents of the district. The area’s peace committee was most strong and active against Taliban militants. More or less 200 committee members have died fighting the militants.
The heirs of each victim were said to be given Rs0.3 million under Shuhuda package but several families revealed that they have been facing hurdles in claiming what was promised to them. They say officials ask them to pay “kickbacks” if they want the money to be released.