The world witnessed a horror on Dec 16th 2014; I witnessed hell. I experienced doomsday as I would call it. To the world it was more than 150 dead bodies, “martyrs”. For me, it was a 150 pieces of my soul.

Some say I was walking the path to becoming an immortal, but this immortality has become my greatest pain. Welcome to my world: broken dreams, lost friends, shattered ambitions – this is me! I am someone the world knows as a hero. Some call me a savior of many, others call me brave, but, in reality, I am a wreck.

That day has become a bloody hallmark and has changed the course of history as Pakistan fights to see the malice of terrorism to its end. However, the price I paid is much, much more than the world realizes. I sacrificed my friends, my peace, my sleep – everything, in order to help everybody see this day.

The more I think about it, the more it seems that Pakistan belonged only to me in the first place. Everybody now enjoys their lives, they celebrate festivals on the roads, and live a life without much fear. Turn around, people, and see where I stand: on the graves of many whom I lost that day. Begging for a place to hide. And then recover...

I was a student of 2nd year back then. Had a good promising future. But then, with ruthless a jolt, I lost whatever little I had: 17 friends, my focus, my ambitions – everything. A couple of months later, when I realized what had actually happened, people started coming to me saying, “You need to move on and try to forget”.  Up till that point I was unable to comprehend all of what had transpired. It was then that I realized that the people of this country still maintain the same theory: to move on and forget.

6 months later I had my board exams. As one can expect, till that point many visited our college and promised us “we are with you in this pain and would help with whatever little we can”. We heard about some reserved seats in medical and engineering universities, and took a sigh of relief that all is not lost. We forgot that we were living in Pakistan. The 13th of August snatched away that very little bit of hope that had surfaced.

A disastrous result which made me think, “It’s all over”. I saw students who used to score 400s, achieving as low as the 200s this year to end up scoring in the 600s out of 1100 in the board exams. It was then that it struck me that all the promises were hollow as always. No universities offered any relaxation in admissions and it was the same old story as before.

From then onward, I kept asking myself just one thing, “Did Pakistan fail me?”

I started using my social media accounts to raise my voice against the odds, and my questions were answered with, “Don’t hide your mistakes in the shroud of what happened back then”.

I simply want to ask, “Do you people consider us as humans?” In this 8-month period there isn’t a day that I slept soundly on my bed without shedding a tear or two. I spend no moment seeing myself all smiles.  There is no end to the misery, no matter which direction I look. And, yet, I see no one standing right next to my shoulder saying, “It’s going to be fine”.

“Why should I suffer?” I ask when everybody enjoys a good life. Why did it have to be me who is at the receiving end of this terrible nightmare, while others benefit from what happened to me? For a good while now I have been attempting to get admission in a university. I wanted to be an astrophysicist, was aiming for foreign scholarships. And all that I get now is tears!

I banged all the doors, from politicians to the army, and there were no answers. We wanted to join the forces. All the anger and rage we had, we wanted to unleash it on those who wrecked us in the first place – and even that did not happen. We don’t want to be recognized, just give us back the life we had, and we can manage it on our own. If you cannot do that, then at least give us the opportunity to prove our mettle.

What bothered me the most was something I kept hearing over and over again: “What more do you want?” I want to ask, apart from the tremendous love the public showered us with, what else do I even have? Don’t give me anything – give me a chance to prove my worth!

“If I have paid a price to ensure the safety of many other people living in this country, I deserve to live a life too. And please recognize the fact that I AM A HUMAN!”