Saima, a teenager, had jumped in the river to commit suicide, while Idrees, Ahmed’s neighbour had followed in an attempt to rescue her near Zulfiqarabad in cantonment, where Kamran Ahmed runs a small hotel.
Strong currents had washed both of them away by the time Ahmed reached the spot. Ahmed said he was informed by a passerby who had seen Saima by the river bank. “I rushed to the site and saw that the girl was trying to jump in the river.”
Apparently she was mustering up courage, Ahmed recalled. Idrees was closer to her, but not close enough to stop her. When she jumped, Idrees followed without wasting a moment and the waves washed both of them away.
Ahmed went in as deep in the river as he could and threw a rope towards Idrees who luckily got hold of it, enabling Ahmed to pull them to safety. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to rescue them but I managed with God’s help.”
The girl was upset she was rescued, he recalled. She wanted to die to be rid of the torture meted out to her by her brothers. She couldn’t bear the biting wind and fell unconscious, he said. “We lit a fire to warm them.”
The temperature in Gilgit usually drops about 10 degrees Celsius below freezing point in December and January and that day was no different. Afterwards Ahmed hoisted the girl onto his shoulder and brought her to the hotel. One of his friends, Ahsan informed the police who took custody of the girl.
Ahmed’s daring act won him applause in Gilgit-Baltistan but failed to impress officials. His father, Ghulam, said he was proud of his son who had just fulfilled his duty as a Muslim and as a human being. Locals have demanded the government reward the hero for his bravery.
In 2010, the government had awarded Abrar Ahmed Ghazi another young man from Gilgit with a Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and a job in PIA for rescuing two children who had fallen in the river from a bridge.