Akash Bashir — a forgotten hero


After a blast rattled the Christchurch in Youhanabad, the volunteer security guards at Saint John’s Catholic Church began trying to secure the area. When a suicide bomber tried to run into St. John’s, Akash Bashir, a 20-year-old security volunteer challenged the terrorist.

“Let me go, I have a bomb and you will die,” the suicide bomber reportedly threatened, and Akash only held on tighter before responding, “Do what you will, I will die, but I will never let you go.” Despite the bravery Akash had shown, no one was prepared to pick up his dead body from the blast site.

“When I heard the blast I was waiting for him to come running to me. I headed over to see what had happened and I kept looking for him and eventually my younger son pointed to Akash’s dead body on the ground. I begged people to help lift him and bring him home but no one wanted to touch his body,” the boy’s mother, Naz Bano told Pakistan Today at her home.

It took a while before Akash’s brother Arslan reached the scene.

“No one was willing to even touch his body because parts of it had been blown to bits. I had to beg one of the men there to help me move his body. Till the point that I loaded him into the ambulance I had hope that he might still be alive, but the paramedics told me he was gone,” he said.

“I don’t know what was happening when the two men were burned. I was running around trying to get him to the hospital. The two men that died shouldn’t have been killed, but no one remembers the sacrifice my brother and others like him made that day.”

The lack of empathy from people gets to the family every time.

“I was travelling on the bus the other day and some passengers were talking about how it was a good thing that Christians had been attacked… all I could do was just sit there and weep in my heart,” Arslan said.

There is a massive social boycott happening in Youhanabad as a result of the two men’s lynching. It has affected everyone.

Komash, Akash’s sister, talked about a Christian friend who was left without a job after his coworkers refused to continue working with him.

Some people have fled Youhanabad for their own safety and security. “Where can we go though?” Arslan asked. “And if we did run away it would undo the bravery that Akash showed the world,” his mother tearfully added.

For the family Akash was the one who had a bright spark. Ever the optimist, he didn’t see his position with the security team as a risk or a threat.

“He was a kind-hearted simpleton. He would talk all day long. He would say things that made me think he was childish… things like protecting people and doing something great. He would tell our parents that one day he would make them proud, that people might forget his name but they would forever remember our parents who gave birth to him,” Komash recalled. “My mother would then say no one would care because he wasn’t even educated. We all thought he was silly, but the things he said all came true,” she added.

The Bashir family was extremely against Akash’s position at the church. They did not see why he needed to put his life in harm’s way. But Akash saw the world through a different lens. He had been working as a permanent part of the security team since December 2014.

“He would leave for security duty in the early hours of the morning at around 5am at times, mostly he would go at 7-7:30am and then stay for five hours to ensure the safety of the people in and around the church. I wasn’t happy about him joining the security team but it would have been hell on earth if he hadn’t done what he did,” Naz Bano said. “Even if I die wouldn’t it make you proud if I die saving a lot of lives?” Akash would often ask his mother half-jokingly.

The idea of being a soldier, a protector, is what kept Akash going.

“He only studied till class eight because he was weak in maths. He was obsessed with the army but couldn’t do anything about it because he wasn’t educated. Joining the security force as a volunteer was his way of fulfilling that dream. Before he died he wanted nothing more than a pair of commando boots, just like the ones they wear in the army,” his mother grimly recalled.

The Bashir family has lived in a compound with several other families for seven years. The entire family has crammed itself into a small rented room at Rs 3,000 a month, shared by seven people.

The family doesn’t know what to do with their lives right now. Despite the government’s assistance they have no idea of what the future holds, their lives are strangled with fear. “Akash managed to disrupt the terrorists’ plan and we’re all living in fear that they might return. It isn’t just that, the police keep abducting Christian men in the middle of the night. They break down doors and use ladders to climb into locked houses. We can’t sleep at night, we have to sit and keep watch,” Arslan said. “We don’t know what the future holds for us,” says Bashir, Akash’s father.

Akash’s sacrifice is very similar to that of Aitzaz Hasan, another youngster who died tackling a suicide bomber in Hangu. In the face of grave danger neither of the two cared for what happened to them, they only saw the people they had to protect. Both the boys demonstrated remarkable courage, but one is decorated because his faith doesn’t upset the masses, and the other is forgotten because of the actions of a few.


  1. Akash Bashir stood in front of Taliban and saved thousands people which were present in church hall. He was really a brave man.No one can forget his sacrifice.
    He is a Hero of Christianity.

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