Muhammad Aashar Mahmood, 11, lost his entire family in a car crash Sunday. Now he wants everyone to know that they were good people.
"My mom and dad were nice people and now that they have gone, I want everybody to know that such nice people have gone," he said on Tuesday.
His parents, Arshad and Shakila, his sisters, Dolly and Mahlaka, and his grandfather, Muhammed Shraif, all died when the Dodge Caravan they were in crossed the centre line of the Trans-Canada Highway near Golden, B.C., and collided head-on with a motorhome.
Muhammad Aashar was with family friends in a vehicle behind the van, after he switched spots with Syeda Alizay Asad, 14, who was the sixth victim of the crash.
His grandfather was paying his first visit to Canada from Pakistan, the family's home until they immigrated in 2006. Arshad Mahmood wanted to show his father more of the country, so the Mahmoods and another family were travelling to Abbotsford, B.C., on holiday.
Muhammad Aashar, who asked to speak to the CBC so he could honour his parents' memory, said he tries not to think about what happened.
"I just try to forget that they're not there. I pretend I'm having a sleepover, so I'm gonna see them again," he said. "That just keeps me up."
Athar Nadeem, an official at the Markaz Ul Islam mosque, which the Mahmoods attended, said six families have already offered to adopt the boy, and donations to a trust fund for him and to pay for funerals are already being made.
"This is our social, religious, humanitarian responsibility. We don't want him to go under any other shock," Nadeem said.
Muhammad Aashar's uncle, who will be coming to Canada from Pakistan, will help decide what his future will hold.
The boy said he's not sure where he'll end up.
"I'm very sad, but this family, I'm very thankful for them to put me up," he said about the family friends he's staying with. "For right now, it's just trying to be strong and live on."