PESHAWAR: Even though Altaf Hussain — who was seriously injured in deadly terrorist attack on Army Public School Peshawar in 2014— considered imparting quality education to his students as an obligation, but now it has become his sole source of survival and his five-member family.
“Following the attack and loss of my daughter, I am still determined to pass on quality education to my students,” Altaf remarked in an interview with Pakistan Today. During the interview, it was observed that healthy, energetic and talented Altaf Hussain was facing severe medical and financial hardships.
Altaf’s medical condition does not allow him to sit on chair; either he is compelled to stand or he has to stay in bed all the time in a straight posture. Either way, it is torture to stay in these postions for several hours a day.
Altaf’s seven-year-old daughter Khola was also killed in the APS attack; she was not even a student at that time but she visited the school with her father to get admission in 1st grade.
In a detailed interview at his rented apartments near the APS on Warsak Road Peshawar, Altaf Hussain narrated the tale of the unfortunate incident, saying, “On hearing sounds of firing, he left his daughter with other female teacher and rushed towards senior administration section which was adjacent to examination hall.” But, he sustained several bullet injuries failing to reach the admin.
Altaf was treated at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar for a couple of months. After four months somewhere near the end of April 2015, he resumed his duties as a teacher. But the incident had turned his life upside down. Despite all the support from his collegues, he was unable to perform like he used to due to his medical condition.
He said he had undergone at least four surgeries and was still facing problems in chest. Altaf said the doctors had referred him to the UK for further treatment but he was unable to afford such expensive medical treatment.
Altaf, while talking about financial condition, said at the moment he is getting Rs 27,000 monthly salary, of which he is paying Rs 10,000 in rent. He is the sole bread-winner of a six-member family including three school-going children.
He recalled that before APS attack he was working for two other private educational institutions as well, so his economic position was stable. But he was forced to spend almost all the compensation money and savings on his treatment and home expenditures, which led him into financial crisis.
Altaf stressed on the promotion of education, which according to him was a suitable tool for eliminating terrorism and extremism. In this connection, he said that establishment of educational institutions in both public and private sectors must be encouraged.