RIP: Aisha Usman who wanted to cure cancer

Usman was a passenger on flight PK-661 which had crashed into a hillside in Havelian while flying from Chitral to Islamabad on December 7 killing all 47 people on board. The 26-year-old researcher had been flying for what would be one of the highlights of her life, collecting a Masters in Philosophy in Biochemistry from the Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU). Aisha, who hailed from Drosh Chitral, was the first person in her family and the first woman in her area to do MPhil. She had been married just two months before the crash. “Aisha and I were working together on curing cancer using nano-technology,” said Ali, his voice breaking as he reminisced about the work they had done. “But it [research] has all gone with her and cannot be published now.” Recalling their time as students at QAU, Ali said Usman was the brightest student in the class who was loved and respected by everyone. “She had the kind of persona that compelled everyone to respect her as she herself was a loving, and caring human being,” he said, adding that, “She was so sensitive that she wept whenever we dissected rats during the research work that we did together.” Recalling an incident from Ramazan, Ali said how she had asked him about his customs for breaking the fast on campus. “I told her that there was no special arrangement and that he just got some tea, biscuits and pakoras but no fruit chaat,” he said. “Thereafter she made it a point to send me fruit chaat daily despite the fact that she also lived in the hostel.” Shagufta, another university fellow and friend of Usman said that the student had lost her father at a very young age. Her brothers supported her and helped her study as she was intelligent. “She was planning to do her Doctor of Philosophy from Canada as her husband was there,” Shagufta said. “We had planned to celebrate the completion of our M.Phil programme by arranging a get-together with all the batch mates,” Shagufta added. “The last conversation we had – a day before the crash – was about receiving the degree on December 9 and to get a treat from her to celebrate her Nikah. But the fate had other plans in store for her,” she said adding that instead of celebrating, she and other friends had to visit the hospital to identify Usman’s remains. Recalling details of her travel, Shagufta said Usman was quite apprehensive of undertaking precarious journey to her hometown and instead used to visit her sister in Lahore instead. “This time, however, she visited her hometown after a long time and even her mother wanted her to stay longer and was not happy about her leaving. Perhaps, her mother had a premonition or her maternal instincts portended ominous forebodings,” Shagufta said,Usmania Sultana, Usman’s elder sister, recalled that she had studied biotechnology at the Forman Christian College in Lahore. “She was the youngest of seven siblings and always got distinctions and was also pampered by everyone at home,” Sultana said, adding that, “She reciprocated her love to all”. “No compensation can replace her and no luxury or worldly pleasures can lessen the pain of losing her,” Sultana sobbed. Her laptop, which contained all her records, degrees and family pictures, was also destroyed in the crash. “She left nothing for us to mourn,” Usman’s sister said. She was buried in her native Chitral on Saturday. Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2016.]]>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *