Muazzam had an older brother who had earlier migrated to Canada. Muazzam lived with his parents and two sisters. His father, Akhtar Saheb, was a very familiar and respected figure around our neighborhood.
Before NED, Muazzam had finished BSc. There was a sense of maturity about him. He was quite frugal and serious. During our second year at NED, he was already thinking of his plans after completing BE. He often expressed his desire about going to Germany. To that end he had alreay started taking classes in German language from Goethe Institute, Karachi.
Final year came and we all got busy. He was quite relieved when the final exams concluded. His final year project was under Prof A T Khan, I believe. The viva for the project was a few weeks away when he and his father headed to the airport on his scooter to bid farewell to someone at the Karachi airport. On the way back from the airport, a bus ran into his scooter. Muazzam, in front, took the brunt and his injuries were more serious than his father's. They were taken to Jinnah Hospital. Muazzam was taken inside right away but the father held off on his own admission. Inspite of his wounds, Akhtar Saheb took a taxi, drove home to inform the family and then returned to the hospital. Muazzam died the same day and the father passed away the following day. Needless to say that it was a huge tragedy for the family. We could hear their grief in our neighborhood. For our class, it was absolutely unbelievable and shocking.
Muazzam did not make it for the viva but, based on the merit of his work, he got through. The day the BE results were announced in the newspapers, his name was part of those who passed with first class. For the family it was a grim reminder of the loss, and their grief was heard again in the neighborhood.
May he rest in peace.
The night before our sceduled viva, our project team met at Mazahirul Islam's residence. We reviewed our project again to be able to field the tough questions expected the following day. Our review continued well past 2:00AM. I felt tired and sleepy and expressed the intent to fold for the night. Muazzam handed me an apple and said: 'Yeh kha lo toh fresh ho jao gae'. ('Eat this and you will feel refreshed'). I so vividly recall those words. I had the apple, we continued for a while and then dispersed. Before leaving, Muazzam commented that he had only a couple of hours to get some sleep before leaving for the airport along with his father to see off some relatives.
I got up the following day feeling tired and sleep-deprived. I got ready and left for NED. When I entered the College I was struck by how quiet and sombre it felt. I was puzzled. One of the professors approached me and informed me that Muazzam had met an accident and had passed away. It felt so unreal. I found the other project members. They all had heard the news and were in tears. Prof Alvi approached us and grimly announced that the scheduled viva was postponed.
We rushed to Muazzam's house located in Block 2, PECHS. Muazzam's elder brother, the only direct male relative left for Muazzam's mother and sisters was on his way home from Canada. We pitched in with our help. Our classmate Hasnain Ahmad (late) took a proactive role in taking over the arrangements involved. I returned to visit Muazzam's home multiple times over the next few days and also attended his janaaza (funeral).
The name 'Muazzam' means 'Respectable' in Urdu and Muazzam truly lived up to his name. He was always very helpful. In our final year, I was preoccupied with where to go for advanced studies. Muazzam allayed my worries with assurances that his elder brother who had earlier migrated to Canada would help me out.
It was such a tragedy. He was so young and so close to realizing his dreams when the hands of fate snatched him. He and his family have always remained in my thoughts and prayers.