Miscellaneous

Living My Dogma: From the Pen of a Soldier

Over the past 75 years, Pakistan Armed Forces personnel have been exposed to innumerable challenges, protecting their country from internal and external threats at every front, looking valiantly in the eyes of the enemy fearlessly and sacrificing their lives with the spirit of martyrdom with zeal and zest. It is the love for the motherland that keeps a soldier awake at night, eveready to fight against all the odds. 


As it flows down from top to bottom or through years shaping history, it loses its essence. The way it is conceived in the originator’s mind is seldom the way it reaches the last of believers. An idea, a thought or a vision flows through time in words or speech. The one writing or speaking gives voice to the thoughts being generated in the mind by virtue of his own experience or by the requirement of his position in a society. The narratives which are in line with the society’s existing customs are sold better than rebellious imaginings. Ideas are born, expressed and then onwards they are fed to grow stronger or opposed to kill. We are what we believe. We are what we live for and are willing to die for. This is the essence of human race–the belief in something bigger than self.



Few ideas are universal among which one is the ‘’love of motherland’’. One has his own definition for the term and his own ways of expressing it. This love is also believed to be different for different nations. The way they live their years affects their onus to their ideologies and causes of unification. While one nation celebrates a hundred years of independence, prosperity and freedom, another one fights for the survival of its identity. There are flowers on the streets of New York when the streets of Kashmir are spilled with innocent blood. The Australian kid rises to the sound of a bird chirping while another kid of the same age wakes up in fear, listening to the airstrikes in Syria. Not everyone born in the same era has the same fate. What goes in the mind of a war-torn nation is incomprehensible to another with a blossoming life. 
I am a soldier of Pakistan Army, an Army which has been at war for 20 consecutive years besides having fought four wars in the last century. Combat affects soldiers; it is a declared psychological fact. I myself am an affectee, but my nation has seen worse. We sought our identity after a long continuous struggle that began with the War of Independence 1857 and came into existence as an independent state in 1947 after an unjust partition by the then ruling elite, The East India Company. Their sole aim was an inequitable birth of this nation which would soon fall to circumstances and go under Indian control, which, however, as the world saw, didn’t happen, praise to our forefathers. The world not only turned a blind eye to the sufferings of a newly born nation, but most of them played the role of villains, choking our survival. Wars were waged on us, the ones promised to be our friend defied us, and resultantly, we further split into two. This appeared to be a long awaited dream coming true to our adversaries, of wishing us to be their part again, but low in status. This stubborn nation refused to give up, instead it rose again, apparently from ashes just like a phoenix. It rose to become a nuclear power. The world saw it competing in almost every facet of life. We were waged with insurgency. The mercenaries’ mindsets among us were heavily bribed to serve the notorious cause of our foes, who unfortunately fell prey to their evil motives. The financers saw an end to our struggle, which however was met with resilience and undaunted valor. We are still in a state of war which has crept into our cities. We are on our toes to eradicate it from its roots. Consecutive military operations with cohesive national consensus has yielded miracles.


 I am a soldier of Pakistan Army. Ever since I joined this dignified profession, I have seen my fellows and myself engaged in combat. I have been carrying arms and marching into valleys of certain death in the form of Lieutenant Colonel Iftikhar Ahmed Jamil in North Waziristan, Major Shujaat Hussain in South Waziristan, Captain Fahad Khan in Balochistan and in many other faces, bodies and souls. I am ordinary and sometimes as extraordinary as Major Raja Aziz Bhatti shaheed decorated with Nishan-e-Haider. 


This journey spanned over 75 years had been tough; it was exhausting, we suffered, we fell but we rose again every time. We bled but we never gave up; we are here after 75 years, alive and kicking. We have so much to be proud of. Who are we indebted to for our freedom? Who else if not the APS martyrs, the ones who lost their lives in the blasts in mosques, churches, etc. and most of all, the soldiers who fought and are fighting against the odds challenging our sovereignty. 
I am a soldier of Pakistan Army. Ever since I joined this dignified profession, I have seen my fellows and myself engaged in combat. I have been carrying arms and marching into valleys of certain death in the form of Lieutenant Colonel Iftikhar Ahmed Jamil in North Waziristan, Major Shujaat Hussain in South Waziristan, Captain Fahad Khan in Balochistan and in many other faces, bodies and souls. I am ordinary and sometimes as extraordinary as Major Raja Aziz Bhatti shaheed decorated with Nishan-e-Haider. At other times, I lack an identity and lay buried under the sacred soil of my motherland with a tombstone engraved as gumnaam shaheed (unknown martyr) whose body was recovered by some of my comrades in the heat of the battle and time didn’t let them offer me a burial at my hometown after identification. I am among the thousands perished in avalanches in Siachen, hundreds buried under snow slides, and others with an unknown destiny who lost their way in glaciers. I am an aged unsung war veteran, drifting through years in my native village, with my son having taken the responsibility to do what I can’t anymore due to ageing. I am the guardian of this beautiful Pakistan. I am the one who is the hero of so many real life stories. I am amongst the first martyrs of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, Captain Aakash Rabbani shaheed. Somewhere I am not a martyr, but the one who is lowering a fellow martyr, Captain Umair Abbasi shaheed to a grave. I am another one, healthy and serving at the frontlines in Shawal Operation, with the memories of the ones we sacrificed in the line of this cause, the ones whom we are truly indebted to for our existence. 


My youth isn't just another person's youth. I am a soldier. I am Captain Bilal Zafar Abbasi shaheed, I am Sepoy Maqbool Hussain, I am Captain Asfandyar Bukhari shaheed, I am Brigadier Tariq Mehmood shaheed, I am Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas shaheed, I am indeed the fortunate one. I am the soldier who stands awake today during perilous nights at the Pak-Afghan border, the name of whom would never be known to the ones who owe their peaceful sleep to my watch tonight. 


The moment one puts on uniform, his self proclaims loudly, Yes I have the guts to face the bullets, I got the courage to beat fear, I got the will to have valour. This is my luxury, I don't enjoy a comfy bed or a relaxing chair. I enjoy the sun in my face on a rugged mountain in the barren valleys of the frontiers of my motherland. I have the privilege to sweat and bleed. I have felt what it takes to be up there at 21,000 feet, far above the clouds in minus 50 degree Celsius, some real cold out there in Siachen. My youth isn't just another person's youth. I am a soldier. I am Captain Bilal Zafar Abbasi shaheed, I am Sepoy Maqbool Hussain, I am Captain Asfandyar Bukhari shaheed, I am Brigadier Tariq Mehmood shaheed, I am Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas shaheed, I am indeed the fortunate one. I am the soldier who stands awake today during perilous nights at the Pak-Afghan border, the name of whom would never be known to the ones who owe their peaceful sleep to my watch tonight. I have lived the time when the one who wasn't my blood relative, my school, college fellow, not even sharing the same province, comes in front of me during an operation in South Waziristan and says, “Sir! being lead by you is an honor, I am going to be the first one to march into what seems to be a certain death I will take the first bullet.”I am the lucky one to lead such brilliant men into battle.


I am a vision, I am an ideology and I am a dogma. I am a conviction, strong enough to offer supreme sacrifice for what I believe in. What I believe in is Pakistan.  I am Pakistan.


When your soldier says this, you can look into his eyes and make out he is stubborn enough to follow through what he says. The response he receives is what he expects, “You do as you feel like, but you are not here to die. You are here to make the ones die who aim to harm our motherland in a way that humanity becomes ashamed of having these creatures, sharing its form. Risk whatever it takes though”. “Roger sir!”, my ears are the privileged ones having heard these courageous words, facing certain death. I am another one holding an assault rifle at watch at the Line of Control when 14th August was being celebrated across my country. I was manning a bunker at 20,000 feet in Siachen when on wireless, I was given the news that I had become a father to a son. I was patrolling Chaman Border as a Frontier Corps Sepoy when everyone else in my country were either travelling, preparing or waiting to celebrate Eid with their loved ones the following day, the day I had to perform the same duty again. 
I am a vision, I am an ideology and I am a dogma. I am a conviction, strong enough to offer supreme sacrifice for what I believe in. What I believe in is Pakistan.  I am Pakistan.


 

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