ISLAMABAD: I received an unexpected call from Ahmad Noorani at 11 am on Friday only to get shivers run down my spine. Journalists do not call each other this early in the day and if anyone calls, it has to be an important call and indeed it was an important call and the brave journalist on the other side was to inform me about a brutal attack on him by “unknown” assaulters. His voice was broken and his confidence appeared shattered. He could not explain what had happened to him. “I have been attacked near zero point, a lot of blood has oozed out and I am going to the poly clinic hospital”, said Noorani. I was sitting in a cozy sofa but got goosebumps straightway. Why would someone attack Noorani in broad day light on a busy road in the heart of the capital? I kept on questioning myself as I rushed to the hospital where my dear friend and colleague was being treated.
If he could make a call, then he must be stable and it must be a minor attack, I tried to assess the situation but I felt my spine almost frozen when I first saw Ahmad Noorani lying on a stretcher with five wounds on his head, blood all over his clothes, his driver’s injured arm getting treated by the paramedical staff and the journalist’s eyes stuck to the roof (what must be going through his mind is a question we would ask him some other day).
Being hit five times in head and getting a fracture in the skull and yet having courage to explain his story to everyone who came is typical of Noorani’s style. He would tell his story come what may and he was doing the same on Friday but this time it was his own story that involved gore.
Who is Ahmad Noorani? A gem of a person, a trusted friend, a buddy who is ever ready to lend his shoulder to you whenever you are in need. Indeed, he is a rare breed. He is outspoken. He loves to change his thoughts provided that you convince him with arguments. He never argues until he has read enough to discuss an issue. He has changed his views multiple times during the last 10 years, and still is ready to reshape his thoughts if he is countered with reason and logic. For the last ten years, I have not only known Noorani but I have been with him through his thick and thin, not only that he is one of the best investigative journalists of the country he is the best brother for his siblings; a son of whom his mother is proud of; a husband who matches nobody and a father who is a superhero for his son, like every dad is.
Noorani has the ability to be in the limelight because of his nature of hard work. He was a twitter celebrity until recently when he decided to deactivate his account. He attracts the attention of his audience more frequently than other only because of his grip on the issue he is writing, either for newspaper or for social media. There is a long list of stories filed by Noorani which could have invited the wrath of the persons and institutions he took on but when a journalist is open for engagement and discussion, why would anyone try to intimidate him with such brutal attacks.
Noorani’s attackers did not come for anything else but to frighten him not to think freely after this. Six persons attacking one, with knives, locks, rods and chains and hitting him only in the head, only means to keep a psychological pressure so that the person may not come out of trauma ever in his life.
But, the Ahmad Noorani we know, is not an easy chap to be intimidated so easily. He is a brave soul with free thoughts and excellent investigative journalistic skills. He will come out of the trauma soon only to tell his attackers that journalists can be beaten but can’t be broken. Mere scars on the skin cannot lock the thinking process of the brain because the bravery is engraved in the heart.