In Memory of Owais bin Laiq

I didn’t know Owais very well. He wasn’t a very close friend of mine, so perhaps it is inappropriate that I am writing about him. But I grieve for his departure – and it would be even more inappropriate if I did not release my pain in the only way I know. Until 12 hours ago I was only concerned about the fact that a plane had crashed and fell asleep with the relieving news of ’45 injured recovered’ echoing in my mind. Now it’s personal.

Owais was someone to admire – someone who gained lots of respect in IBA, amongst both his peers and seniors, very quickly. For a sophomore to be held in such high esteem in a culture that respects seniority above all might have been remarkable, but then it was fully deserved as well. It was never Owais the person who demanded respect – it was his actions that did. For he engaged not in aimless banter but in constructive activity. He actually made things happen. While I was denouncing the media for doing a bad job of covering Pakistan, he was organizing one of the finest events in recent IBA history – I-MARC – designed to improve the media. Arm-chair politics has long been the country’s national pastime, but Owais was a member of the Youth Parliament and was set to be, quite literally, one of the leaders of the future. With a business degree from one of the finest schools in the country and a stellar extracurricular record, the sky was the limit. Unfortunately that turned out to be literal.

Last night on Twitter I criticized those who immediately blamed Air Blue and Pakistan for the disaster, while the rescuers were still doing their job. This morning I felt bad about it when I heard no one had survived, for being a little heartless, for not mourning. Then I realized that Owais would have approved. It wasn’t his style, as far as I know, to mindlessly criticize, condemn, or complain – he was too wise for that. No, he did his best to fix the problem and had the heart to be sympathetic to those who erred.

Usually we tend to be particularly effusive while remembering a loved one, (appropriately) embellishing the good side of those who have departed. In this case, however, it is absolutely no exaggeration to say that Owais bin Laiq was one of the finest young men in the country. He was the kind of person who everyone is talking about when they say that our youth has great potential. The kind of guy you would point to for evidence that people are indeed doing good in Pakistan and taking long term initiatives to shape the future. Forget about having a great future – here is someone who had a great present.
My only regret is that I cannot use the present tense in the last sentence.

My last words relate to my last conversation with him. I once asked him how he could manage giving exams (in Karachi) and participate in Youth Parliament (in Islamabad) at the same time. He said it was tough, but he managed it. Inwardly I marveled at his stamina and work ethic, thinking that it was impossible for mere mortals to handle a workload like that. (After all, others have been ridiculed for trying to be Superman.)

But…Owais bin Laiq is now immortal, and no kryptonite can dull the brilliance of his life anymore.

Rest in peace, friend.

Note: As mentioned, I was not a close friend of Owais’s and apologize for any mistakes made above. I don’t know everyone who WAS,and thus ask his friends to tag each other and everyone else who needs to see this. Originally posted at Facebook, re-posting here so that it can be shared to those who may not be able to access it there. Deciding not to keep this private so that my tribute lives on.

And, trying not to be preachy, but we would all do well to follow in his example in many ways – for example, try to fulfill our potential, work hard, and be generous.

Additional Note:

Let us not forget the others. Over 150 people passed away. Over 150 families have been affected. That translates to thousands, literally thousands, of people who count amongst the bereaved.

I strongly believe that every loss was irreplaceable. Everyone is special. Everyone will be missed – if not be me or you personally, then by someone, SOMEWHERE.

There were at least four other ‘friends of friends’ on the plane. I did not know them. But I grieve for them and their families. They ALL need our support, understanding, and love.

All of them.



  1. Every person in the incident has been a serious loss!! But as this page reflects to pen about Owais who is one of my heartiest, sweet relative, very intelligent, hardworking and the most conscientious … and the best brother, son, grandson and a friend that can not be replicated with anyone… although we used to hardly get to see each other but when I ever we would met always had a great hob-nob.

    Now as the incident has taken him away from us…. we will really miss him…


  2. I did not know him well either but we were in school together then in IBA and we were also taking the summer course together. This is a big shock and a big loss to Pakistan. . .And I fear that we might have to pay for our carelessness and for our sins in ways that we cant afford to…..

    1. Let’s just try to be good, and let the rest take care of itself. There is no need for fear if you are trying your best – but only you can know what your best is.

  3. I did not know Owais, but I know his father. It is a matter of great shock and grief that so many precious lives were lost in the accident. Ina Lillah He Wa Ina Elehe Rajeoon

  4. Owais Bin Laiq, although I have only spent two years with you but I feel that I have known u since ages. You were a kind, focus action oriented person. I still remember your smiling face when I saw you for the last time. You have gone from a better place to best place- Jannah.

    Love you Owais

    Rest in peace

    Mohtashim Ahmed

  5. beautiful piece! owais bin laiq was my brother! he was the best son. best brother. best friend. he fulfilled all his relations exceptionally! i’ll miss u ovi!

  6. May Allah bless him with eternal peace! I hardly know any of those who died in that crash ,but such brilliant and young ones ‘ death. Sigh! A personal loss it seems.

  7. A great loss. Inna Lillahe Wa inna illaehe R’aajeoon….

    I am from his neighbors and he was a friend of my younger brother. I heard yesterday after Jumma prayer, his Tadfeen held at Jama Masjid… I couldn’t attend it as i am out of country, but i deeply feel for him like many others here. My prayers for him to rest in peace (Ameen) and Sabr for his family, friends and loved ones Insha Allah!


  8. Well,i dont know who he was,but i really mourn with his family and all the bereaved families who lost their dear ones in that tragic incident.Whoever you are,where ever you are, i dont know about the others but i can assure you brother,that you along with my rest of the brothers and sisters who were in that ill-fated flight,will always remain not just in my heart,but in my prayers…because you guys dont want to be remembered in heart now,but the prayers,you see,they simply can change everything!!!
    I pray to Allah Almighty that may He rest the departed souls in peace and grant you all with Jannah.May He forgive all their sins and grant their families the patience and fortitude to bear such an irreparable loss,ameen,summ ameen.
    sincere sister in islam….

  9. dont know what to write … im with crowded mind but no word to express my feelings. I miss him, miss him like a part of my body, my soul. God bless him.

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