The sunrise of March 3, 2014 was usual for everyone but not for the few families of Islamabad whose dear ones had left homes for routine work but were destined to leave this world forever. Tariq Nasrullah Malik and his family were one of them. The family could not even think of receiving the shocking news about the sudden death of their daughter, Advocate Fizza Malik, who had left home for the court to carry out her routine law practice. When she had woken up on March 3, she was an aspiring junior lawyer and in a couple of hours, she became the “breaking news” all over the world. “We were praying for her safety after hearing the news of the blast but it was hard to accept that my angel who said goodbye a few minutes before with the promise to come back soon, had left forever,” shared Mrs Tariq who lost her only daughter Fizza Malik when the terrorists attacked the District Courts in Islamabad, killing 12 innocent citizens and injuring over 30.

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“She was the asset of my life and much of my dreams and hopes were associated with her. After losing her, I have questions to ask from these terrorists and religious extremists. She never harmed anyone and did not deserve such kind of death,” added Mrs Tariq with tears running down her face. Fizza Tariq Malik, 23, was the youngest and the only sister of Saad and Ali. A law graduate (LL.B) from UK, she wanted to pursue her career in Pakistan. She had an option to start her practice in Dubai but she was devoted to work in Pakistan and was often heard saying, “the quality of leadership skills and cultural diversity I have learnt and experienced through my degree has provided me a platform to become an agent of optimism for change in my society.” “It's high time that we need to put an end to the barbaric acts of the terrorists. For how long will people keep losing their loved ones? What future do girls have who get foreign education and wish to serve their country? Will they ever be provided adequate security in a society where terrorists roam around with licence to kill anyone at any time? If these questions are not answered now, time will never forgive us,” said Saad, Fizza Shaheed's elder brother.

Fizza’s elder brother, Ali, was equally sad. He also expressed his sentiments, “Being Muslims we believe that martyrs are alive, so I want to tell Fizza that we love you and we miss you so much. We feel like a part of our heart and soul is lost.” Her family recalls her excitement and at the same time nervousness, at the time of the interview for obtaining practice licence as a lawyer. She wanted to be a criminal lawyer, not knowing that before stepping into her field of choice, she will become its prey one day.

Fizza was the first one who received bullets; one in neck and the other on chest. This visibly proves her valour that even in the time of mayhem, she was daringly facing it. President Islamabad High Court Bar Association Mohsin Kayani while recollecting his memories about Fizza tells that she was full of energy and wisdom; she lost her life in an attack by the malicious elements working against Pakistan. I wish I could go back in the past and take Fizza along to the High Court that day, Kayani sighed with whom she worked since November 2013.

Madiha, another victim of the attack who saw Fizza alive for the last time told, “I will never forget the very first day of my professional life, that started with great fervour and ended dreadfully, the day when I found and lost forever, a friend, a colleague to be, with whom I had just started to move around in the court.”

Fizza was ready to go to obtain the degree of LL.M from UK. While applying for the programme, she wrote about herself: “My struggle became my strength to strive for success. I wanted to diversify and practise law to be able to implement changes. But challenges came my way yet made me tough and I fought through my medical problem of Retrobulbar Optic Neuritis. I wasn't one of those who are born with a golden spoon but I was definitely one with the outlook to achieve one. I continue to learn to the best of my abilities and pursue for higher education to attain my goals, high quality of education, diverse culture and skills that will make a difference.”

“My daughter was very gentle, loving and caring…have always been very supportive to everyone. I can't say anything about the people who snatched our pleasure from us, they are also children of someone,” said Mr Malik in a low bewailing voice. I ask the government and concerned authorities to take action against her assassins and bring them to justice. She was the youngest in the company with a lot of positivity, energy and ambitions evident through her sparkling eyes, one of her former colleagues told, with whom Fizza worked in a UK based customer service firm.

The Malik family broke down in tears several times while sharing their daughter’s memories and it was really very difficult for us to console them with mere words of condolence. To glorify the sacrifice rendered by their daughter, the family has decided to form “Fizza Trust” with the theme, “Every Life Counts”, aiming to help educate Pakistani women in the field of law.

Pakistan is passing through challenging times. Hundreds of Fizza(s), Aitazaz(s), and Talib Hussain(s) have become victim of terrorism and religious extremism. I don't know how much more bloodsheds we have to see, but if we stand together against these terrorists and start calling spade a spade, we may see our motherland free of the radical elements and extremism.