The Unsung Heroes of Pakistan Army by: Ali Faraz Haque (Pakistan Army Officer)

Disclaimer: The ideas and thoughts penned down by the author are his own beliefs and ideas. Readers are free to add and comment. All constructive criticism is welcome.

Episode 1:
My mammon, often tells us an incident which happened when he was a young Captain in the Army Signal Corps and was posted at a high altitude post in the northern areas of Pakistan. He tells that one day he and his troops were sitting in the igloo listening to a programe that used to air from the national radio station Islamabad. One soldier was peeling potatoes for dinner, another one was reading a letter he had received a few days back maybe the hundredth time and two were lying down in their sleeping bags trying to rest as sleep was usually the last thing in their minds. They had numbed themselves with the memories of their homes and families.

It was a programe in which listeners used to call in and asked for their requests to be played along with a small message. After a few calls, he recounts, that the announcer started reading a letter which was probably sent by some soldier’s wife or relative. The letter read that the writer wanted to dedicate a song to a young soldier who had gone to war and was sitting somewhere far away from his home unable to call back as the telecommunication network in Pakistan was not very well spread at that time. The writer said that he wanted this song to go out to this soldier whom all his friends and family missed dearly.

The announcer, without missing a beat added “and we will play this song for your friend and for all our brothers in arms who we don’t know where they are at this very moment, sitting in God knows what conditions away from their families only so that we all can sit safe and sound enjoying the warmth of our homes as well as of our families and for that we owe them our gratitude” and with that Amanat Ali’s voice came up with the song “Aye watan pyare watan” (O’ my home, my beloved motherland)

The reception was weak, the voice quality poor, with each passing moment, the temperature kept falling and falling, but the fire that song lit in the hearts and souls of those few men who sat cramped in that one little igloo in a snow covered wasteland, blazed, and blazed harder with each passing verse the singer sang. No one said a word, the soldier peeling potatoes kept peeling one after the other, the one reading the letter finished it and crept into his sleeping bag, one who was lying in the sleeping bag earlier got up and started getting ready as his shift of the duty was about to begin, and mammon kept smoking and listening to the song. The only thing that changed, were the thoughts. As the rhythm became steady so did the heart beats, the thoughts cleared and everyone’s thoughts, love, spirits and ambitions became focused on one point, on one singular aim, on one unified goal. These men had a great responsibility on their shoulders, the responsibility of guarding the land which had given them an identity, a sense of belonging and a respectable life. They were guarding their country, they were guarding their homeland.

This incident had left a deep impact on me since the first time I heard it. Although I never wanted to join the army and it was more of an only option than a choice, yet, today when I sit in my bunker at night and think of this incident. I always end up mist eyed. Today, to many of my fellow citizens of Pakistan it is just a piece of land where they were born and raised. But to a soldier, this piece of land means much more than what my words can ever explain. For us soldiers, this land is sacred in every meaning of the word. Its soil is dearer to us as our mother’s lap, its winds no matter how cold or how warm they are, they remind us of our mother’s caress, its fragrances, its diversity, its terrain, everything, reminds us of our home and of our mothers. To us soldiers, Pakistan is not only a country, it is our determination to look the enemy in the eye and stand our ground, our will to fight till our last drop of blood for its every inch and for us it is the courage to face an enemy seven times stronger than us, with such valor that he dares not set an evil glance on our borders.

A country where mothers, wives and sisters, happily send off their sons, husbands and brothers to fight for their homeland and pray that they embrace death before dishonor, a country where when a son’s coffin comes home wrapped in the crescent the mother’s eyes swell with tears of thankfulness to the Almighty that her son has died a death of a martyr, a country where the death of a soldier doesn’t lowers the spirits of the nation but breaths new life into it. We, the sons of the soil fight for it till our last breath, as its’ our heritage, our spirit, our pride.

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