Lived with Grace & Left with Pride

Capt Hina Babar Pens Down Memories of Her Brother, Capt Fasih Babar Amin Shaheed

In May 2012, my brother Capt Fasih Babar Shaheed came home on leave for the last time but his memory is still fresh in my mind. On June 21, 2012, my father lost his strength, my mother lost the apple of her eyes, my bhabi lost her crown jewel, my other brother lost his best friend, we sisters lost our biggest supporter and my nephew lost his father. We went to Lahore on June 20 to attend the first death anniversary of my grandfather, which was to be held on June 23. Fasih planned to join us in Lahore. On the night of June 20, we had our last telephonic conversation with him, eagerly awaiting his arrival. At about 1300 hours on June 21, my father Brig(R) Babar Amin received a call from Col Zahoor (my brother’s ex-CO) who inquired about the family’s well-being and then asked my father if he had any news about Faish. My father, with a still heart, in turn asked if he had any information, to which Col Zahoor replied, “Sir, I don’t have the words to tell you that Fasih has embraced shahadat.” My father’s immediate reply was, “Alhamdulilah.” At about 2130 hours my brother’s body was brought to Lahore in a helicopter. I thought to myself that Fasih indeed had fulfilled his promise.
The day of his shahadat is unforgettable and none of us can ever be able to explain the emotions that we went through that day. Time felt as if it had stopped and we found it hard to breathe. The pain of losing a son, brother, husband and father has no parallel and the world as we knew it changed forever. My parents have never been the same. Our loss is unbearable, it has been nine years and four months but the wound is still fresh in our hearts and sometimes we just want to go back in time to hug him. The grief is almost visible, as if a piece of my parents’ own bodies had been cut out. The world has forever changed for all of us. 
After a week of his shahadat we left for Rawalpindi with very heavy hearts but within three months we moved back to Lahore because we felt closer to my brother there. There is no doubt that Fasih’s shahadat has raised our family’s name but we feel that we have lost a part of ourselves, or at least the version of us that was unscathed by tragedy. 
Capt Fasih Babar was born to my parents Brig(R) Babar Amin and Mrs.Azra Babar on May 7, 1983. He completed his early education from Iqra Academy in Quetta and Presentation Convent School, Murree. After completing his Matriculation from Garrison Academy, Lahore he went to F. G. Sir Syed College in Rawalpindi, where he completed his intermediate. He was an outstanding student throughout his academic career. He excelled in his studies as well as extra-curricular activities and always remained a position holder. He always used to say: “Loosing is never an option.”
He was inducted into 110 PMA Long Course and passed out with distinction as Senior Under Officer. He then joined 23 Cavalry (FF) in 2005. He was a disciplined and hardworking officer because of which he got  Alpha in MCC and was posted as GSO-3 (Ops) in 24 Infantry Brigade (Chawinda Brigade) located in South Waziristan (Kannigoram). In June 2012, after he completed his tenure in operational area he was to be posted as Platoon Commander at PMA. However, before he could move to join PMA, he embraced shahadat during an operation code named Allah Wali Strike-2.

The brief story follows of how my brother, Capt Fasih, fought valiantly and embraced shahadat. On June 21, 2012, orders were passed on to clear the villages of Sena, Narai, Manzai, Gowak, Cheshamwam, Larakai, Sarakai, Spin Kot and Tapi. The operation commenced at 0530 hours. At 0645 hours, Commander 24 Brigade accompanied by Capt Fasih Babar Amin, moved from Brigade Tactical Headquarters at point 6505 Post to the forwardmost blocking position – 12, at Tangi Top to monitor the operation. At 0930 hours, an additional blocking position Ex 41 Punajb was established at a distance of 300 meters from Tangi blocking position to facilitate clearance of Punga Village. Around 0945 hours, intense fire exchange started between terrorists and Punga Village clearance group. Areas around Punga were engaged with mortar, artillery and tank fire. Meanwhile, Capt Fasih along with Commander 24 Brigade spotted four terrorists who were engaging Punga clearance group from a dominating height across a nullah. Capt Fasih along with Capt Hassan, officer Commanding 95 Field Company Engineers and four soldiers rushed to the forward edge of the newly established blocking position. Taking no time, he fired three Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) and seven RPG rockets, which neutralized the target. At 1050 hours, terrorists started firing at Punga blocking position from Barlashtai. Point of origin was engaged with mortar, artillery and tank fire. During the exchange of fire, three soldiers of Ex 41 Punjab and one soldier of Ex 27 Baloch received bullet injuries who were rescued by Capt Fasih. He then directed Lt Abdul Rehman Ex 41 Punjab to further evacuate the soldiers to Regimental Aid Post. Meanwhile, along with Capt Hassan and four soldiers he held Punga blocking position to cover evacuation of the injured soldiers. Capt Fasih, during this intense fire exchange continued directing artillery and tank fire. After evacuating the wounded soldiers,  Commander 24 Brigade instructed him to fall back. However, the bravery, honour and sense of duty in him did not allow my braveheart brother to move back without recovering the light machine gun of an injured soldier. He crawled forward and successfully recovered the gun under uninterrupted fire. Thereafter, he moved back by leapfrog and in the process at about 1145 hours received bullet injuries on lower abdomen and chest. During his evacuation he embraced shahadat at about 1230 hours.
My brother’s act of valour is a remarkable reflection of an officer’s commitment and devotion to his duty, profession and height of rendering self-sacrifice in the line of duty and safeguarding the frontiers of our motherland. I pray that every uniformed officer be it man or woman develop the same kind of esprit-de-corps, leadership traits and sense of sacrifice as my brother Fasih and other martyrs.

The determination with which my brother moved on, the courage under fire with which he fought, the comradeship, that he displayed and the blood he offered will always serve as a source of inspiration. His valour will continue glowing annals of history under the caption of supreme sacrifice. After Fasih’s shahadat, my younger brother now Capt Fahad Babar and I decided to follow his footsteps and join Pakistan Army. It gives us immense satisfaction that we are both serving our country in our respective units and I personally feel that I am a lot closer to Fasih when I’m wearing my uniform. We remind ourselves that Fasih might not be with us but he will always remain alive in our hearts. I can see Fasih in my parents’ eyes and nephew’s smile. I can see him in my younger brother’s reflection and my sister’s stories. His memories will always remain pinned in every corner of our house. And the pride he has given us will forever be his legacy for us.HH


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