By Josh Dye
May 5, 2021
Mourners at the funeral of the Sydney student who died trapped inside his car during the floods in March have remembered him as a kind and caring man dedicated to serving his community.
Ayaz Younus, 25, died on March 24 when his car became submerged in a flooded creek at Glenorie in Sydney’s north-west as he was driving to his first day of his new job as a truck driver.
The funeral was delayed for six weeks until his parents could secure visas and travel exemptions to attend from Pakistan.
His three siblings – two older brothers and a younger sister – were not given permission to attend and watched the service virtually from Karachi.
He was farewelled on Wednesday by about 300 friends and members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community at the Baitul Huda mosque in Marsden Park.
The man’s parents, Muhammad Younus and Maqsooda Bibi, arrived on Sunday and were granted a brief respite from hotel quarantine to attend the funeral.
The strict conditions meant they were only allowed to leave the car briefly to view their son’s body alone before the funeral service, which they could not attend.
In a pre-recorded message played to mourners, Mr Younus expressed his sorrow that he never got to visit his son in Australia.Advertisementhttps://747c2ca841cbfefcc40328469d9fd9e7.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
“When I stepped out of Sydney Airport, my eyes were looking for him,” he said. “I wished he would have been there to welcome his parents.
“I wished we could have hugged him once more. I wished we could have embraced him and kissed his forehead.”
Mr Younus recalled the words his son said every time they spoke: “‘Australia is a beautiful country and once you come here, Dad, I will show you around.’”
“I wished my children could have been here with me also, to say goodbye to their beloved brother. I still hope and pray that one day they will be here to pay their respect and pray, standing at his grave,” he said.
At the graveside, the grief-stricken couple were forced to remain inside the car except a brief moment where Mr Younus shovelled some sand on his son’s coffin.
Ayaz’s grieving housemates Atta Sharifi and Imran Ahmad fought back tears as they described their sadness at losing their friend. They have since moved house because the pain of losing Ayaz was too great.
“It’s unbelievable for us,” Mr Sharifi said. “We can’t believe that this could happen. It’s really devastating. The pain and the grief can’t be described in words.”
Mr Ahmad said Ayaz enjoyed travelling and playing sport, but those memories are bittersweet now.
“I sold a lot of things related to him because now that hurts emotionally, so I’m trying to get rid of them,” he said.
A cornerstone of Ayaz’s faith was serving his community. Just prior to his death he had signed up to help with the flood clean-up the following weekend.
He was in Australia studying a master’s degree in engineering and was saving up to bring his family to Australia, his father said.
Dozens of police officers gave the funeral procession a motorcade, blocking off several intersections to allow smooth transit.
Funeral attendees included local councillors and former immigration minister Philip Ruddock who said he felt a connection to the Ahmadiyya community who he claimed credit for settling as refugees during his time in Parliament.