“Look out for the dead bodies; girls take some men with you to lift them up. Some of you go and find out who is still alive behind the bushes, trees and the burning buildings.” These were the call of men and women volunteers who were looking for survivors on the routes through which Muslim migrants crossed the border to Lahore. My late grandma Kalsoom Begum Qureshi always sobbed with sorrow while telling me these stories. She was among the freedom fighters and volunteers who looked after refugees and migrants and was an eye witness to the atrocities.Many lost family members while migrating to Lahore. No they were not lost, but were viciously killed, robbed, and their body parts were chopped off. Those who did not use the trains and ran to this side on the announcement that Muslims should immediately leave as riots would begin soon, were torn to shreds by murdering mobs. It was not a peaceful migration! My dear readers let me tell you that achieving the independent state of Pakistan was not a piece of cake! It has taken the lives of our ancestors, whose blood is still running inside us. Today, I will tell you how families were treated while migrating to Pakistan and how hundreds of people both male and female, vanished. Fearless women stood with men and fought for this country. We need to appreciate the efforts, fearlessness and valor of those people because of whom we are here today. It was not just the process of independence that caused all this havoc. No doubt Pakistan was one of the most painful births in modern history.Whatever I am writing is what I heard from my late father Dr Abid Hussain Qureshi, who migrated from Jalandhar (India) to Lahore. My grandmother was already living in Lahore and was a part of the freedom movement. I feel extremely lucky to have this information firsthand and want to pass it on to the younger generation so that they can treasure their country. This is a painful true tale told to me by my father. Every time he told this story, his eyes would become filled with sorrow. He was only twelve when he witnessed this.When the news of Pakistan’s independence was announced, Muslims were told to immediately migrate as atrocious and dreadful riots were expected to begin soon. My father was living in a joint family system then. He said that they were almost 72 members who decided to leave Jalandhar and cross the border (Wahgha Border) to enter the newly created Pakistan. They did not have much time to gather their things and collected only important belongings. My father always had tears in his eyes while narrating this. Only 20 out of the 72 survived. The rest were heartlessly killed, mostly by Sikhs and Hindus, hiding behind bushes and trees waiting to ambush migrants. Most of the men were murdered by poisoned arrows and others by swords and knives. Their body parts were chopped off and thrown away. My father saw the attackers slice the throats of his family members. Blood erupted from their wounds and the ground turned red.That was all done in front of the eyes of rest of the family members and the attackers would shout at them “run as fast as you can and we shall see how you get to your land.” My father, while trying to control his tears remembering his slaughtered brothers, cousins, uncles and other elders told me that he ran until he was breathless. This was the story of the men of the family, but what about the women. They were captured by attackers, their clothes torn and they were callously raped and killed. I feel awful when I think of the brutalities which my father had seen when he was only twelve. Only 20 out of 72 survived and a whole family was shattered.My grandma always endorsed those stories and asked me to be a patriotic person because this land is soaked with my ancestors’ blood.She would tell me that the female family members were “cherry” for the attackers as Muslims always take pride in their womens’ dignity. That was the reason the attackers victimised the females most. Tens of thousands of women were raped and kidnapped, they were made to strip naked in front of their fathers, brothers and sons. Homes were plundered and entire villages set on fire.Let me tell you the instructions given to women in case they were captured. This is another tear-jerking story!All the females who could not escape were asked to jump into a nearby well rather than being raped. Dying was preferable for them to save the family’s esteem and honor. The females were then also given knifes to stab themselves if or whenever they were kidnapped or caught.My grandma said that many wells inside Lahore were full of dead bodies which were then taken out and buried.I learnt that while Muslims were running away from India, Hindus and Sikhs were looking for an escape route from Pakistan. The menace was on both sides. Who was killing who is unknown but the most conformist estimates of the casualties during the partition is around 250,000. Almost 12 to 24 million refugees came and settled here.This country was made after many sacrifices of blood, sweat and tears and it is our ethical obligation to pay tribute and respect to the efforts of every single Pakistani who made this country what it is today. I love Pakistan and so should you, follow the footsteps of your forefathers and stand for Pakistan as a strong shield defending it from every evil eye! Long live Pakistan.Published in Daily Times, August 12th 2018.