Remembering Saadia Khan

By Mahvesh Mahmud
April 13, 2024
Agha Hasan Abedi Auditorium building is seen at the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology. — GIKI INSTITUTE website/File

It was the pioneer MBA class at the newly established National Institute of Management Sciences under the auspices of NUST. It was the year 2000 and Ayub Hall and its allied buildings served as a campus of NUST during those days. The classes were run in the evening to enable those students who had jobs and worked during daytime. Saadia was working at the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Islamabad, and we always wondered how she managed to come to Rawalpindi and be on time for the class!


The first time I met Saadia was outside Ayub Hall, it was an orientation day for our class and Saadia confidently introduced herself as a Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI) graduate. That was the day we became friends, I’m so proud to have a brilliant friend to be able to call her my friend - one of the closest throughout the two years’ time we were together at NUST. We were project partners whenever the teachers allowed us to be in the same group. In group assignments her contributions were invariably more than anyone else’s, but she was always inclined to give credit to others. She never looked fatigued after working 9 am to 5 pm in her office in Islamabad, possessed amazing energy, exceptional determination and appeared calm and composed in the class.

We would often commute between NIMS and home together and she was a very careful driver so careful that onetime a lizard crept up the wind screen and Saadia stopped right there. In her very sweet petite style, she let out a scream and urged me to get rid of the lizard. Luckily, we had some class fellows in a car behind ours that helped us shove it away...She dropped me home and then later complained that the lizard reappeared perhaps it knew Saadia was alone and could scare her again. Such were the innocent ways of my beloved and adorable friend whom I remember very dearly and fondly. She was superb in everything, there was something very special and inexplicable in her personality. She was a gifted person and possessed extraordinary attributes. Words are not enough to describe the kind, warm, helpful and friendly person she was. She excelled in everything- from academics to sports, crafts to baking, debates to paintings, she had a long list of expertise she was good at. At the same time she was very modest, humble and unassuming.

The last time I saw her was on March 31, 2002. She had visited me in Lahore for a day. After a hearty ‘gup shup’ at our house, her love for movies drove us to watch one in a nearby theatre.

It does not matter how many years have gone by. What matters is what a person leaves behind. Saadia who suddenly left us 22 years ago has certainly stayed on in our hearts and minds for those whose lives she touched even if it was for a short duration. May she find peace in Jannat ul Fardous.