Area called “Dhanni” around Chakwal has been a breeding ground of soldiers for centuries. Every household has at least either a young man serving or an old soul retired from armed forces. From village Maghiyal in the area Subedar Sahib Khan served in “Bawinja” an elite Piffer Regiment; for thirty years. As he retired, his son Faiz Sultan join the regiment as second lieutenant to carry the baton of martial tradition to the next generation. Sahib Khan is a very proud man. As a JCO with limited means, he educated and trained his son to join Military College Jhelum in 8th grade. The son stood true to the hard work and efforts of his father’s regiment. He would constantly remain in communication with his father on all aspects of his life, especially once he moved with his unit to FATA. Last he talked to his father on 10 June 2010 that he would be thereto see the family after three days. He did come back after three days but wrapped in the green flag with twenty two bullets in his chest at age of twenty two, making a LANDMARK-22. He was martyred on 11 June 2010.
As a young boy Faiz Sultan started writing his diaries in Military College. His continued scribbling for wight years since class 8th, gathered into a huge volume of written material. Going through these diaries reveal his process of constant growth from age thirteen to twenty two. The language and thought process is seen maturing with passing days and years. His diaries reveal his constant concern for his family including his father, mother brother Habib Sultan and sisters; Sonia, Hajra, and Amna. He was always worried for their education, well being, health and future. Once on leave he would spend most of his time with his sisters and mother, hugging and cajoling them. When his father retired in 2002, he compelled him to hire a house in Okara to continue education of siblings in compelling circumstances. His diaries are full of his endorsements about his family, college and professional life. He hada strict habit of self reappraisal. He would write every folly committed, every lapse made and every correction sought.
Operation Sherdil was launched in Mohamand Agency in June 2010 to clear the area of miscreants. It was spearheaded by “Bawinja” with its traditional spirit, meeting success on every resistance the face. In the of Zaray Sar, the battalion faced stiff resistance, Lieutenant Faiz Sultan alongwith his commando platoon was attached with a company commanded by Major Ahmed. At critical point on the steep Major Ahmed got injured. Command of company and commando platoon both fell on the shoulders of Faiz Sultan. Alongwith his elite NCOs he charged at the peak facing all calibers of fire ranging from notorious Kalashnikovs to 12.7mm heavy machine guns. In his last rush to the stronghold faiz lobbed at least six grenades and kept firing in a running assault on the terrorists. They killed more than thirty five terrorists before he succumbed to heavy lead of twenty two bullets in his chest. He had met his landmark at the age of twenty two.
Back home his younger brother, Gentleman Cadet (GC) Habib Sultan had cleared his preliminary examination for Pakistan Military Academy to join 124 PMA Long Course on 11 June 2010, the day elder brother had fallen in the line of duty. He had followed the rich tradition of “Dhanni” and “Bawinja”, the proud battalion of his brother and father. He will inherit a rich tradition of thirty years of dedication by his father and footprints soaked in blood by his brother Faiz.
Subedar Sahib Khan is a very strong man. He lost his five brothers one after the other in young age and now survives the fathomless grief of a son lost at the prime age, With deep perseverance, he is pursuing a case.
He is making efforts to establish a trust in the name of his son to look after the children of people killed in terrorist attacks and sucide bombings. He considers all these people killed for a great patriotic cause and wants to contribute in more enduring manner.
Simultaneously, he is not oblivious of his responsibilities as father thus continuing education of his three daughters Sonia, Hajra and Amna, who miss their brother so much but have the courage to offer yet the other one for greatest cause to ensure safety and security of the motherland.
Mostly families of the officers and men employed on the front are people of limited means but abundant hearts. They offer their sons one after the other for the most sacred duty. They hold on to a tradition of sacrifice that is continuing for generations.
Till the time we have fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives and children of such abundant hearts; this nation need not to fear any adversity. We shall come out succeeding always!
by: Col. Arshad Amin (ISPR/Monthly Hilal)