CONGRATULATIONS AND BEST WISHES TO ZAFFAR
Unusually, Aijaz Hussain broke the bad news. "Sir he has been shot into head and just rushed to Soura. There's no chance of his survival", Aijaz said. It took us just 10 seconds to charge my Maruti-800 outside Daily Excelsior bureau office. Traffic rush was just half of today's. In the next 17 minutes, we were at his bed in the Emergency ward of SKIMS. Contrary to our wild apprehensions, we found him in full senses. Blood was still gushing out of his wound between his eyes and nostrils. As usual Barkha had reached there before everyone else. She looked traumatised and, for the first time, was not doing interviews, bytes and PTC. For a second, I began pressing myself to believe that he would survive even as, to my knowledge, nobody hit this way, had. We returned only after doctors assured us that the chances of his survival were bright as, they pointed out, his critical tissues and organs had escaped MIRACULOUSLY. Yes, it was a miracle, providential escape, indeed. Post-recovery, however, I felt he fall into a depression, thinking every time that he had been the target and would be hit fatally next time. I just beseeched him to frequently visit my office. He did. It took me around a month to make him believe that he had been shot for mistaken identity. He had done nothing of the sort we did every day. Perhaps a year or two later, we saw him join Barkha's NDTV and doing wonderful stories---initially from Jammu and later from Srinagar. He was a sub editor at daily KASHMIR IMAGES when two youngmen wielding pistols barged into his office, at Lambert Lane in Srinagar, and asked where's Zaffar Iqbal. "I'm Zaffar. How can I help you", he had replied, only to be answered with a bullet in point blank range. That was on May 29, 2002.
Many many congratulations to very dear colleague and a member of my news group KASHMIR FIRSTPOST, Sheikh Zaffar Iqbal, on occasion of his NIKAH today. Wish the couple all the blessings of Almighty and an everlasting partnership.