This morning Nadeem is getting ready to leave for the UK. Zulfiqar and Zakia Abbassi call by to drive Nadeem to Benazir Bhutto airport in Islamabad. The airport is actually situated in Rawalpindi, but as the city adjoins the Capital they raise the airport’s profile by naming it after the former President and the Capital’s namesake.
Over breakfast I talk with Zulfiqar about his invitation to Washington to receive an award for promoting peace. He will meet President Obama but he plays down the importance of the event as he will be one of a few hundred guests.
I decide to go with Nadeem to see him off at the airport and convey my thanks. We wait with the Abbasis in the Rawal Lounge and enjoy chai and biscuits. I am really very gratelful for this unique experience he’s given me and I hope I can live up to his expectations. He says he wants me to finish this work and become, by doing so, a more organised and sharp individual, focused on my goals and ready to achieve anything I set my heart on.
On the way home Waheed buys me a sim card, finally I can call home and I do. Although I’ve only been away for a week it feels I have been gone for far longer and the cultural differences make it obvious how far from home I am. My morale is boosted when I get to speak with my parents and my friends in Yorkshire. Its one thirty in the morning and I finally get up to date with my journal and emails. On Monday I am off to buy sharwal kameez and provisions for Noon Bagla. Its bed time, and almost fittingly, in the distance, I hear another gunshot.