By Brig Kamran Shariff, 2nd SSC
The year was 1976 as I was deputed to attend Officers Basic Intelligence Course in School of Military Intelligence in Murree. It was early winters and Murree was much colder and living in the student’s quarters was a logistical nightmare. The
Course was short and intense. Captain Mohsin Kamal was among the 40 odd students. While most of us grudged and complained, Mohsin seemed unperturbed, always alert with a friendly smile, and addressed the harsh living environment with his proverbial wit.
He was my classmate of Cadet College Hasanabdal where he excelled in academics and qiraat besides leading the mass physical training display on the Parent’s Day. Yes, he won the coveted C in C Cane of our Course to set the pace for a brilliant career. On qiraat, the 50th Anniversary proceedings of our Entry in the College in 2016 began with Mohsin reciting from the Holy Quran. Now back to 1976 and Murree.
After a hectic day, I saw Mohsin leaving for Murree which was a couple of kilometres away. ‘Kya karne ja rahe ho’, I asked. ‘Kuch nahein bus sair’ he responded with a smile and invited me also. How is it possible with so much work to attend, I thought? He was accompanied by a couple of course mates. This was his way of managing an intense assignment. He spent many evenings on the Murree Mall, would return fresh to attend the Course assignments and be at his usual best next morning.
The much-awaited last day of the Course arrived. Our Chief Instructor asked who, in our view, had topped the Course. The near unanimous response was Mohsin Kamal. He inquired about the most popular student and got the same response. Mohsin did very well to secure the second position. Having served with him twice in the latter years, these very attributes contributed to his professional success, and for being admired and respected.
Fast forward. He was the FCNA Commander in Gilgit and I by then had left the Army. I planned a family vacation in Skardu and got in touch with Mohisn for his support and queried on some aspects. His short response was ‘Aap wahan puhanchain aur in baton par pareshan na hon’. Typical Mohsin, to the point and succinct. We were well received and lodged in the FCNA’s VIP accommodation on the scenic Kachura Lake. The high point was a short heli-ride across upper Desoai and Skardu Valley with Mohsin on one of his official trips to Skardu. My mother and the family excitedly recount the experience and of course the memorable Skardu trip. Thanks, Mohsin.
Mohsin Kamal was reachable by anyone requiring assistance. He remained
connected with his Army course mates, class fellows, friends, and acquaintances. He was helpful, down to earth and an utter pragmatist. Post retirement he contributed towards the capacity building of civil services in AJK, where his roots lay. These valuable bonds will surely transcend his sudden demise. “Indeed, We belong to Allah and indeed we will return to Him.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:156.)
Rest in peace Mohsin.