From his house burnt by militants to being this year's batch topper of Kashmir Administrative Service - the journey of Anjum Bashir Khan Khattak is an inspiration for young people in Jammu and Kashmir as he defied all odds to realize his dream.
Khattak is proud to have cleared the exams in his first attempt on merit despite facing challenges during his childhood.
"The decade of 1990s was disturbed in the entire Jammu and Kashmir, but Pir Panjal, Rajouri and Poonch areas were badly affected because of insurgency and terrorism. The area was not developed, and secondly, there was a threat of insurgency - it was a double trouble for us. We received our primary education there, but when our parents found it difficult to keep us in those circumstances, we migrated from that area and I received rest of my education in Jammu", said Anjum.
He added, "There (in Surankote) we suffered because of violence, but my message to the youth is not to indulge in violence as it is not the solution to any cause. We should be away from such things. If we do something positive, it will benefit us. And, if we opt violence and hurt anybody, we will also suffer, If not today, may be tomorrow. So, my parents were having a positive attitude and our intent was clear which made me reach this stage".
Coming from an academic background, Khattak was in Class 8 or Class 9 when he started harbouring dreams of cracking the state civil services exams.
He asks the youth to explore their potential in the areas of their interest and contribute towards peace and development.
"The youth, be it from the state or outside, I believe, should have their own potential which is graced by God. It is significant for them to identify their potential and work accordingly. It is not necessary that everybody becomes civil servants, as they must try to excel as per their capabilities. They should choose the field of their interest and excel in it. Do not use your potential in a negative movement which harms the others as it is not going to benefit anybody," he said.
Anjum chose to opt for the Kashmir Administrative Service as he wishes to work for the people of his state and remain with his parents.