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Archive for the ‘Heroes’ Category

There have been very few times when I have not found the right words to express my grief, sorrow, anger or passion for something and today is one of those days as I write for my man, Prem Chand – A Pakistani Hindu, a true patriot, a social worker who spent his life trying to uplift the condition of his fellow countrymen, he gave sweat and tears to this land of pure. An elected member of PILDAT’s Youth Parliament, whose fellow YP’s say the following about him:

He greeted muslims with a warm Assalamo alaikum…he sent msgs of congratulations on shab barat and other holy days…..He used “Allah” hafiz to bid farewell…and he swore by this name…I hv been with him….He was more of a sufi who believed in all religions and the good things in them.

And it doesnt even matter if he was that intolerant about religious beliefs, even if he were a staunch Hindu he didnot deserve what we gave him. He was on board EQ-202 Airbus 321, Airblue’s flight to Islamabad which crashed in Margalla Hills leaving 152 dead and the nation mourned (officially for 01 day). He was not travelling on personal visit, he was meant to be present at Youth Parliaments session the next day.

And like said above, he gave his sweat and tears to this land of pure – and what did he get? Some religious bigot wrote “Kaafir” (English: Infidel) on his coffin. (Link) We are no short of these religious bigots whose favorite pass time is to judge and discriminate on Pakistanis on basis of their faith – but this sad incident, which killed 152 human beings was an opportunity for these religious fanatics to show their true face. The poor guy, who was born in a Hindu family and spent his life trying to work for the people of his country was given the title of “Kaafir” by someone amongst us. This particular segment of our society pounces on every opportunity to exhibit their religious fanaticism from the very beginning, when Quaid e Azam (the founder of Pakistan) was labelled as “Kaafir-e-Azam”.

Bear in mind, Pakistan was made because people of Indo-Pak subcontinent felt they were discriminated upon on the basis of their faith – The same we are doing with our minorities.

I would cross-post some of his words here:

I believe in democratic process, because true democracy can solve all problems of state. – Prem Chand.

Prem Chand’s last status update on Facebook was: “Comments Can Make a Person & Comments Can Break a Person.”So Be Careful and Ethical While Giving Comments for Someone.” – He rightly said so. A single word comment on his coffin has shattered many across Pakistan.

I protest against these religious fanatics and I salute Prem Chand – And all the Prem Chands in the making and I confess to the religious minorities of Pakistan – that just because of our silence, just because of our muted response to injustices done to you – we stand here after 64 years. I dig my head in shame, and I vow to fight for you, for us, for the Pakistan we were supposed to have.

Please join this page on facebook as we try to take it from, to pick it from here and voice out for minorities of Pakistan.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Below is the letter written by Zulqarnain, Prem’s friend:

Its very painful for me to write to defend such gem of a person. But in a society like ours where people are discriminated on the basis of their faith, Its essential to show these religious bigots their real face.

Prem chand was born to a poor family and was its lone feeder. He belonged to Sanghar, Sindh. He was 25 and was married and also had children. He, however, looked younger than his age and we also used to crack jokes on him for this which he thoroughly enjoyed. He certainly was not a “man” and had those boyish looks. He was doing masters from Sindh university, something pertaining to Social work. He not only called himself a social worker but his text messages also bore this signature. The signature was later changed to “YP Minister” when he was made minister for Youth affairs, culture and sports in previous session of YP. This honour was well deserved as he had prepared and presented a comprehensive research report on state of social welfare in Pakistan. He was hardworking, dedicated and sincere. His educational back ground was such that he could not make flowery speeches.
He was not good at speaking English and his Urdu also had that pinch of Sindhi accent but this never deterred him to stand up and speak whenever he wanted. He was a patriot and loved pakistan, worried about it as much as we “muslims” do, brought resolutions, prepared them, asked for help,  tried to pinpoint and resolve all the problems that Pakistan faces, spoke against India on water issue and had no qualms on the prospect of going to war with her. I say all this to show that he was “normal”. He was not alien or “Indian”.

I have met many people from religious minorities. All of them have that peculiar air about them. they lack confidence, they have fears of the unknown, They are very cautious. Prem Chand also seemed to be the victim of discrimination. Though that did not make him a loner, but it sure taught him to love more. He over tried. tried to be more good to you than u wud expect, tried to make good friends of everyone. Most of the time he lived in the room right next to me during the sessions so he often came over to my room. Thats when I observed this. He would send u text messages just to stay in touch. he wont mind if u didnt reply. I guess, he could not afford to be egotistic.

He was very tolerant in his religious views. We never discussed religion much. Though once I remember a fellow colleague of us talked to him in good faith. He probably wanted to convert him to Islam. Though he never said so. There I came to know that Prem knew much about Islam. He liked Zakir Nayak and comparative studies of different religions. He was interested in Sufism as well. And he wont mind if u asked him questions about hinduism. When interacting with us he would use “muslim” greetings not to prove anything but simply to avoid putting others in a difficult situation.

I still remember the time when we used to hang out. He used to borrow cigarettes from friends and puff away scores of them just for the fun of it. He was not a smoker though. I also remember that prem did not have a FB account. He also did not know how to make one so Hassan Javed (the late youth prime minister) made one for him on his laptop. When the account was made he jokingly asked Hassan to allow him to add Hassan’s female friends as he did not have girlfriends of his own……Thats all I can remember right now hope it helps.

Following is a comment by another colleague of Prem:

I am Muneeb Afzal, a Member of Youth parliament of Pakistan and a Colleague and Friend of Late Prem Chand. An extremely hard-working person he was a symbol of tolerance. My last communication with him was on night before the Air Crash, he gave his greetings to me on ocassion of 15th of Shabaan.
At PIMS fortunately another friend of ours was there when Prem’s Cousin Nanik Das came to search for his body, he quickly hid the tag ‘kafir’ by putting marker lines on it, so that Prem’s family which is already suffering from great grief does not have to bear more hurt. Although later at a memorial session where media was present I criticized the inhumanity and intolerance of those who did this shameful act. I felt this was my duty to my Late friend Prem Chand that i make it clear to the world that we condemn this act of intolerance and Narrow Minded-ness. But a lot of my other colleagues have since objected to my speaking out, believing that my saying this and this news spreading in media would add to hurt of Prem’s family, and in a way they are right too. I would like you all to also keep this in mind as well…
Rest In Peace dear Prem Chand

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I have written on him before, but I want to write more. [click here to read: Daewoo Gang-rape and Pervez Masih]  — To the unsung hero of Pakistan!

Heroes come in different types, heroics vary with the impact they disseminate. In our society, for some Ali Zafar is a hero, for others Atif Aslam and maybe, Ali Azmat with his neo-con story. Some might consider war-heroes of ’65 to be the real heroes of Pakistan and some call Mullah Omar or Osama Bin Laden — heroic personalities par excellence. A particular segment of the society thinks every man in uniform is a hero, and apologizes with the not-so-heroic deeds they do.

To better comprehend what “stuff” heroes are made of it maybe necessary to describe what a hero is not. We see how Television glorifies athletes and celebrities as being heroes, but are they? To me, nada! Possibly role models in their respective fields but not real-time heroes. The title heroic is not given by occupation, rather by achievement — and to me there isn’t a bigger achievement than saving human lives. The icing on the cake, or the crown of heroes should go to the man for whom it wasn’t a call of duty and he acted on his own.

Such a hero was born in Islamabad to a Christian family. [Here, also the point to be kept in mind is the discriminating laws against religious minorities in the country].  He was a janitor by profession and he swept floors for a living. Imagine how sweeping floors would have made him heroic in true sense of the word but like said above, a hero is not dependent on his occupation to be called a hero. This 40 year old saved the lives of hundreds of girls at IIU (Islamic International University) when a suicide bomber tried entering the girls’ cafeteria having over 400 female students.

“There would have been dozens of deaths had the suicide bomber not been blocked by Pervez Masih,” said Saifur Rehman, a senior security official of the IIU.

“The attacker clad in a black burka was heading towards the cafeteria for female students at a time when they were having their lunch. I felt something wrong as no girl student, even one who observes veil, wears a head-to-toe burka on the women campus. I intercepted the bomber, who shot me, and I fell down but Pervez, who witnessed the scene, understood the designs of suicide bomber and held him at the entrance of the dining hall where the blast took place.”Mohammad Shaukat [a survivor of the attack who was shot by the bomber]

 “Pervez Masih is now a legend to us,” says 20-year-old Sumaya Ahsan [Student of Int’l Islamic Uni, Islamabad]

Why was Pervez Masih not given the premier award for bravery – Nishan E Haider? Or is it only reserved when you are on sarkari payroll for showing heroism?

Forget recognition in form of a medal like Nishan E Haider or Tamgha E Jurrat/Basalat, the government promised his family 10 lakh Rupees for having lost the only bread-earner in the house . This happened nearly one year ago and not till this date [20th July, 2010] as I have reconfirmed and re-checked, the announced grant has been paid to his family.

Some members of civil society of Islamabad tried to live up to their duty of honoring the real heroes of their country and collected an amount to be distributed to his family but the media doesn’t play videos in his remembrance, nor is there any pressure on the government to at least release the amount they promised. Recognition of what he actually did in saving lives of scores of women is so less that society doesn’t even remember his name.

‘A nation that forgets its heroes is a nation destined to be forgotten’. – Calvin Coolidge.

– Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Masih's daughter with the picture of her father

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Published first on Teeth Maestro’s blog, dated 19th June, 2008

Samad Khurram refuses award from American Ambassador

Reference is the news item, published in the daily news, titled “Pak student refuses to receive award from US envoy“, dated 19th June, 2008 – The News

In this world of hypocrisy, it takes guts to stand up for your beliefs. No one has the courage to challenge the mighty. The nation has become numb. After all that we have suffered, all the chaos that we witnessed, we have become masters of “moving on”. Nothing seems more important than our own selves. The venomous passion and the scintillating love that 60 years ago, infected us and made us believe that we could get what we want, has faded. Love has died. We wear masks and pretend our conscience is dead. But in fact it isn’t, it yearns to be noticed. It yearns to find a voice

Samad Khurram    , a friend, who showed us that it isn’t difficult to notice our conscience, stood up for his beliefs and refused to take an award from the American ambassador. I, being his friend, know what circumstances he is in, studying at Harvard and battling none other then the “usual” society pressures that we, the aspiring youth of this nation face. He just stood there with grace and spoke his heart out at the ceremony. He not only refused to accept the award, but also refused to shake hands with the ambassador because he believes what every Pakistani believes in, but the rest of us don’t have what it takes to take off the mask and be real!

Salutations to the soldier. One just hopes the rest of the “army” learns from it and doesn’t bow before the mighty, when it comes to principles and national prestige.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

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In response to Lieutenant Zaheer’s letter (February 23) on the article “D J Hartman and 2,947 Pakistanis” by Mosharraf Zaidi (February 16), one would like to urge the government to make a monument to honour the brave martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for us. Civilian casualties must not be forgotten as people like Pervez Masih of International Islamic University must also be remembered.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Islamabad

The News – 26th feb, 2010

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Maj Abid Majeed Malik who laid down his life during Operation Rah-i-Rast near Matta, in Swat, on Tuesday, was buried with full military honours at the Cavalry Ground graveyard here on Wednesday.

The major fell while trying to evacuate his injured comrades.

Corps Commander Lt-Gen Ijaz Ahmad Bakhshi, Maj-Gen Shafqat Ahmad, Maj-Gen Raza Muhammad and a large number of other army personnel and civilians attended the funeral prayers.

The corps commander laid on Maj Abid’s grave a floral wreath on behalf of Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

——–

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Unfortunately the Pakistan Army has been the butt of public criticism during the last few years. People forget that the Pakistan Army and its valiant soldiers have always been injecting fresh blood in the national polity by their inimitable sacrifices, be it floods, earthquakes or war against the enemy.

The same spirit of sacrifice and valour is being exhibited in the ongoing operation against militants. The heroic story of Major Abid Majeed bears testimony to this reality. On the fateful morning of May 18, 2009, Major Abid Majeed’s brother Major Khalid was entrusted the task of recurring the area from Shalpalam to Jura whereas Major Abid Majeed’s company was responsible for securing the area from Jura to Nazarabad. Major Khalid’s company successfully secured the area followed by Major Abid Majeed.

Thereafter Major Abid Majeed’s company was ordered to more forward. Thirteen vehicles of the company moved to safety however the last vehicle came under heavy and precise firing, near a ‘nullah’ bend, by militants.

The driver of the vehicle embraced martyrdom there and then. No more movement was possible as the route was blocked. The forward troops tried to move back and rescue the trapped soldiers, however due to accurate and effective firing by militants the movement was not possible. It was then at 1645 hrs that Major Abid Majeed decided to move back himself. He took two soldiers, the first aid kit and a water bottle and ordered his company to engage the militants. In the rain of bullets, he rushed to the site, dragged the two bleeding soldiers Sepoy Tariq and Sepoy Nausherwan to a place of safety. He immediately poured water into their mouths and then started bandaging them to stop the flow of blood.

In the meantime, his shoulder got exposed and he was shot at. Not bothered by it, he kept himself engaged in the task of bandaging. The second bullet hit his ribs, but it too failed to prevent him from completing his task. Unmoved by the blood gushing out of his wounds, he dragged soldiers to a safer place. In the process, he was hit by three bullets and fell down.

While bleeding profusely, he took the wireless to talk to his brother Major Khalid (for the last time), who was 100 metres away. “Brother I have to pay so much to so and so, do not forget it. Take care of the mother and under no circumstances leave the job of eliminating the miscreants incomplete. I wish I could march onto Mingora and see it clear of the militants”. And then he succumbed to his injuries but he managed to save the lives of two soldiers.

Sepoy Tariq and Nowsharwan cannot control their tears at the mention of Major Abid Majeed’s name. The only words they utter are “Why Major Sahib why not us”.

Long Live Pakistan Army!

Long Live Pakistan!

— Brigadier Syed Azmat Ali

Rawalpindi

Maj Abid was commissioned in the Punjab Regiment on Oct 12, 1997. He leaves behind his wife and two children.

——-

Lahore bids farewell to a hero who was fighting a war for Pakistan’s survival
May 21, 2009 · 13 Comments
Daily Times reports:

Major Abid laid to rest

* Lahore corps commander lays floral wreath on behalf of COAS

LAHORE: Major Abid Majeed, who was martyred while fighting the Taliban in Nazarabad area of Matta tehsil, was laid to rest at the Army Ground, Shaudha Graveyard, with full military honours. The body of Major Abid reached Lahore on Tuesday.

His family considered his martyrdom a sacrifice for the country and the will of God. They urged the people to support the army against anti-state elements in the ongoing operation in the country’s north. He was buried with full army protocol. Lahore Corps Commander Lieutenant General Ijaz Ahmed Bakhshi and other civil and military officers attended the funeral prayer. The corps commander laid a floral wreath on the grave on behalf of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani. Abid was supposed to celebrate his 34th birthday on May 25.

Major Abid got commission in Pakistan Army in 1997. He had served in the UN peace mission in Congo and had also been posted to Siachen. Major Abid’s father Abdul Majeed was a colonel, while his grandfather Muhammad Khadim was a subedar in the army.

Talking to the media, Major Abid’s widow Ishrat Abid urged the people to pray for the army officials and support them. She said her husband had brought respect and honour to her and their two children. His uncle Abdul Hafeez said he was happy that his nephew had given his life to save the country. His mother said Abid’s dream to give his life for the country had come true. Major Abid is the second major from Lahore to give his life for the country in the line of duty. On April 19, Major Malik Azhar of Gulshan Ravi was martyred in Hangu in a suicide attack. Major Azhar was buried in Miani Sahib Graveyard with full army protocol.

: Pakistan will never forget you. Pakistanis will always salute you and your family. Because of men like you, in midst of all this fuss, we are sure that no one can touch us!

Sofia Yasin // May 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Reply

Major Abid was my first cousin, (khalas son), he was more then just a cousin, an older brother, a friend and above all a very down to earth human being for whom everyone else was more important than his own being. He was always there to bring joy in others life. I would kindly like to request you all to offer prayer for my lovely cousin, that Allah may grant him paradise and the status of Shaheed and also sabr and strength to his wife, mother, brother and sisters. Please could you also pray for my cousin Major Khalid Majeed who was also injured during the fight.
Thank you, may Allah grant you peace and happiness, Ameen

Sofia Yasin [urf fofo as bhai use to call me]

Waseem Malik // May 21, 2009 at 9:04 pm | Reply

Abid we will miss you a lot brother, your shahdat has really changed the way we think and see things. Alongwith all our family members i am so proud of you, I would lke to correct few things here, Abid’s Grand Fathers name is Mohammad Fazil and he belongs to a village called Khalaspur near Jhelum. Our khalu Col. Abdul Majeed was the commanding officer of 19th Punjab and both brothers decided to join their fathers unit. As Sofia said brother Kaild was injured inthe same fight but he told us that he will join his unit again as soon as he is well enough. We Salute Khald and Abid for their bravery and thanks you for making us all so proud of you and your family. I would request all our brothers and sisters to support our troops and forget our diferences to save our country, and also pray for all the Shuhda’s in this war.

Waseem

Sania Malik // May 22, 2009 at 9:10 am | Reply

Major Abid was my best friends husband. I feel honoured to have known him in the short time he was apart of our lives. My prayers are with him, Khalid bhai and all our brothers fighting this gorilla war who are sacrificing their today for our tomorrow.
I salute you Abid Bahi!

Simab Abdullah // May 22, 2009 at 10:13 am | Reply

The beloved husband of my dear friend Ishrat, Major Abid Majeed Malik Shaheed, may your soul rest in eternal peace, and may blessings shower you in abundance. Amin. May Allah give your family the strength and determination to overcome this difficult time, until the day you reunite. InshaAllah.

You and your family will always be in my prayers.

Amar Ul Haq // May 22, 2009 at 11:08 am | Reply

I had never met Major Abid (Shaheed) but he was my Sister in laws best friends husband yet I do feel I got to know him in the last few days by hearing stories about his bravery and the sacrifice he has made.

He was a true soldier who was Martyred with honour by saving the lives of others and so that Pakistan would be free from its enemies.

You are an example to us all and may Allah give strength to your brave widow, children and family and may Allah bestow his blessings upon you all.

Shahrukh Slatch // May 23, 2009 at 10:56 pm | Reply

Major Khalid is a Great Man.
I Meet Major Khalid in the Mirrage of her Sister Aisha (Baji) She Marry with My Very Good Friend (Saqib Malik) Younger Brother.

(Jab Tak Na Jala Charag Shahid Ka Laho Sa)
(Kahta Hein Janat Ma Chiraga Nahi Hota)

Afraz Liaquat // May 24, 2009 at 10:09 pm | Reply

Inna Lillahe Wa Inna iLeyhe Rajeon

I have spent few years with Abid bhai when his father Col. Majeed was in Rangers with my father back in early 90’s. Abid bhai was a great charm of the family and been of great demand to everyone due to his attractive and jolly personality.

Sad to loos such a great man but heartily glad he left this dunya with honour of shahdat.

May Allah bless his soul with peace and Janna.

Yasir Javed // May 24, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Reply

May Allah accept his greatest sacrifice and give patience to his family! Ameen.

Maj Liaquat retd // May 25, 2009 at 5:49 am | Reply

May Allah accepts Khalids Shadat and gives family patience, composure, health and wealth help bringing up children to natural stature ameen.col Majeed and myself served together in Rangers HQ Lahore a wonderful person who will always look after the people.After his retirement he especially travelled to Peshawar to obtain signatures from me on proceedings which were to benifit his subordinate who was crippled in accident .such a person left behind a family on which nation is proud of

Muhammad Ali // May 25, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Reply

I knew Abid from PMA and was told about him yesterday by friend of mine. I have not seen him since 1997 but all his memories came rushing back to me, He was a very kind hear ted, Brave and courageous man. May Allah bless his soul. Ameen.

Hasan Askari gardezi // May 26, 2009 at 1:12 am | Reply

Major Abid_May Allah rest your soul in peace, and shower His blessings on your sacrifice. “Aap ki Shahadat, rang lai gi aur in taliban ko Gharat kare gi_Insha Allah, Ameen”

2/Lt Uxair 50 Fd Regt, Arty. // May 26, 2009 at 4:41 am | Reply

I know Maj. Abid since the day I joined PMA. He was PTSO with 119L/C. He was the one with calm and cool personality. 119 ki jan thay wo. Here I am going to write a message from major abid.

“I never bothered to stand with you in blood freezing cold in PMA PT ground. I never let you feel the cold of the snow covered ground. I felt my feet like freezing, I even cried with pain but never let you know. I taught you how to be “ROUGH AND TOUGH.” Gave you personally demonstration of assault course and waited. Got you Raw and waited till you were pruned and nurtured. Once I felt that you can stand at the Test of Time, I left you and waited for the time where I can teach you something even more dignified. I did it and 119 I have led you once again. I am the first one to reach heaven. Please don’t let me down. I have showed you the path. I am waiting on the never ending tracks of heaven for someone from 119 to come and join me. I am waiting and I am still waiting.”

Your’s Forever
PTSO ABID.

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By Maj Gen. (retd) Syed Ali Hamid.
 
 

 
This is not an obituary. It is to honor a brother officer and one of the outstanding shaheeds of the Pakistan Army. Maj. Gen. Amir Faisal Alavi was not slain on the battlefield neither was he in service when died but in this war on terror that the nation is fighting, there is no battlefront and soldiers and civilians all are fighting it daily; at risk in traveling to their work places, in the bazaars and on the roads. Gen. Alavi embraced shahadat just a kilometer from his home, one early morning on his way to office and fully conscious of the threat that confronted him each day. But Gen. Alavi was not the sort of person or soldier who could be intimidated.
 
I was a young Squadron Commander when Alavi joined our regiment and it was obvious from those initial days of his career that he was a very different breed. We all played sports with our soldiers like hockey and basketball but Alavi was one of the few who challenged them in Kabaddi, a game that was traditionally soldiers only. Dark by complexion but extremely well built and muscular, he was an intimidating sight in the arena and earned the nickname of ‘Gorilla’. Those were the days of the boxer Mohammad Ali and his famous bout in the Philippines. So, along with ‘Gorilla’, Alavi was awarded the acronym of ‘Thriller in Manila’.
 
Alavi was an extrovert and got along extremely well with all of us. He was confident but willing to learn, strong but gentle and with energy that infected those around him. He was extremely frank with the soldiers but always commanded respect through the qualities of leadership that he naturally inherited from a good upbringing. In spite of his strong personality Alavi was a good team member fitting in both with officers and soldiers alike. 
 
It was fortunate for Alavi to have been commissioned in the Armored Corps. Because the close relationship that is bred between officers and soldiers in this Corps; it provided a strong foundation for him to be such a successful officer in Pakistan’s elite Special Services Group. I didnot see much of Gen. Alavi for the next few years as he transferred to SSG and I went off on staff and courses, but we met up again in the Staff College, Quetta; I as an instructor, and he as a student. For the first time I became aware that there was a lot more to him that muscle and brawn. He did well on the staff course as also in his tenure as a Brigade Major and subsequent command of a tank regiment which I had commanded earlier. Those who served in the regiment under Alavi’s command to this day we speak of him with fondness and respect. At regimental reunions I recollect Alavi surrounded by serving and veteran soldiers, sharing banter and recounting past experiences and episodes. What the rank and file greatly admired in Alavi was his quality to lead from the front, something which he carried with him right through his service up to his command of the SSG.
 
Gen. Alavi was not just a good field officer; he was also strong in theory. He not only graduated from the National Defense College in Pakistan but also graduated from National Defense University at Beijing. There were occasions that we discussed operational aspects and I found his views were a good balance between theory and practice. It was a period that a larger role was being considered for the SSG and Alavi’s promotion to General Officer to command this fledging formation was an obvious and natural choice. The circumstances of his dismissal from the service cannot detract from the fact that the Gen. Alavi had a most successful and enviable command and led the SSG through one of its challenging periods, both operationally and organizationally. It was his personal example asking no more from his men than what he himself was willing and to be able to face. In the early days of the Waziristan Operation, he was frequently under direct fire and was instrumental in eliminating a number of militants. Unfortunately this made him an assassin’s target.
 
His tragic death was overshadowed by a wave of speculations and theories. But as this wave crested and disappeared into oblivion what reappeared at the surface like a jewel from the sea was the Alavi we knew – strong of heart, a kindred soul, a soldiers General.
 
I would conclude this ode to a brother officer with an extract from a tribute on Gen. Alavi written by Brig. Samson Simon Sharaf, who was his contemporary and probably knew better than I did. He says, “It is the destiny of every professional soldier to lie in wait for a day that may never come and yet be prepared if it does even at the peril of his life. Soldiering for me and my friends like Alavi spans those romantic expanses of military life through all its peaks and valleys, which none other than soldiers grasp; and always leading towards a horizon of ideals that no other profession can rival.
 
I consider it a privilege to have known this officer. May his soul rest in peace and may the Almighty give courage to his family. He giveth and He taketh away.

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Story of a brave FC soldier who died fighting in Swat

“I am dying, take my gun and deliver it to General sahib,” were the last words of Sepoy Gul Farosh as he lay critically injured near Manglawar village in Swat on October 28, 2007.

His surviving colleagues from the Frontier Corps conveyed his words and delivered his gun to their officers. Maj General Mohammad Alam Khattak, Inspector General of the Frontier Corps, was subsequently informed about Sepoy Gul Farosh’s dying words. In his meetings with FC soldiers and visitors, the general often mentions the brave Jawan as someone who fought till the end and didn’t lose control of his gun even after being fatally wounded.

There was a background as to why Gul Farosh uttered those memorable last words. He had heard Maj General Alam Khattak, himself a Pashtun from Nowshera, telling a darbar, or soldiersí meeting, that losing one’s gun amounted to abandoning oneís wife. There cannot be a greater insult to a Pashtun than to lose his wife. And it is common to hear the Pashtuns telling each other that abandoning one’s gun was just as dishonourable as losing a wife.

Gul Farosh, a typical Pashto name meaning flower seller, later succumbed to his injuries. It took time to retrieve his body and transport it to his village, Shamozai, in Mardan district for burial. Three days after his death, the young bearded soldier was buried in his ancestral graveyard.

His death shocked his old father, Dervesh Khan. The tragedy made him ill and one could see that life was slowly ebbing away from this frail and poor farmer. He had spent almost all his life tilling other people’s land as tenant and fetching firewood from the mountains to sell to villagers. Like his name, he was a Dervesh in the real life. Simple and honest, he couldn’t even properly count the currency notes. And even though he was desperately poor, Dervesh Khan always carried sweets in his pocket to give to children. One does come across sweet persons in life and he definitely was amongst them.

About two and a half months after Gul Farosh’s death, Dervesh Khan quietly bid farewell to the world. On January 10, 2008 he was buried close to the grave of his dear son. It was a double tragedy, which deprived the family of its breadwinners.

Gul Farosh’s mother and wife would have coped better with the grief of his death if he had children. The couple remained issueless during the seven years of marriage. In August 2007, Gul Farosh was injured in action in Thall. But he recovered and continued to serve the FC with distinction. He had also qualified an anti-terrorism course at the FC training centre at Mir Ali in North Waziristan.

After his recruitment in FC Khyber Rifles wing on April 1, 1997, he served at a number of places, including Ali Masjid in Khyber Agency, Ghallanai in Mohmand Agency, Thall, Regi Lalma, Peshawar and Torkham. He also took part in rescue and rehabilitation activities for the earthquake-affected communities at Battagram in Hazara. That was the kind of work in which the deeply religious and kind-hearted Gul Farosh found satisfaction.

‘Take my gun and deliver it to General Sahib’

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