‘Ajji Bhai’

In memory of Ajji Bhai Lt Col Muhammad Ajmal Khan (Late).

Brig (R) Kamran Shariff, Sind (2nd SSC)

Image of Brig Kamran Shariff, 2nd SSC - Photo Brig Kamran ShariffImage of Ajji Bhai Lt Col Muhammad Ajmal Khan, 2nd Special Short CourseEditor’s Note: Brig Kamran Shariff (Retd) was commissioned in 45 Punjab Regt (now 5 Sindh) in July 1972. After the retirement, he has settled in Islamabad.

 He expressed his subtle humour with a hint of mischief and his trade mark close-lipped smile. My association with Lt Col Muhammad Ajmal Khan, lovingly known as Ajji bhai, goes back to the winters of 1971 in Khalid Company of the First Pakistan Battalion, PMA, where we landed as roommates. I knew the family earlier through Ajji’s US based younger brother, Zubair, again with an incredible sense of humour, and my College class mate;

Photo of Ajji Bhai Lt Col Muhammad Ajmal Khan, 2nd SSC, 7 FF

Recreation in those early days in PMA invariably led to some unwanted outcomes. The Adjutant of the First Pakistan Battalion, then Captain Masroor Irfani, decided to punish the new entrants for lacking in the cinema etiquette. We were made to fall-in and the Staff asked us to shout our PMA numbers. While the rest of us were gripped by the proverbial PMA ‘sharfu’, Ajji bhai calmly shouted the personal number of a cadet who till then had not joined the Academy. It required guts and presence of mind. We were impressed;

Ajji managed his personal schedule meticulously, and then bemusedly watched our last minutes frenzies. The 1971 War air raid drills in PMA required us to deploy to the trenches late during the night. While most cadets shouted and shoved in the darkness, Ajji invariably led us calmly to the bunkers. In my case, he once reprimanded that I tended to either over or under react to such situations. A very true characterization. There are many fond memories of PMA and some not so good, like our relegation to the 3rd Pakistan Battalion as a consequence of the ‘bunked week end’ episode;

He joined the illustrious 7 FF Regiment, Coke’s, which for him was an honour to be proud of. My Battalion in those days was deployed in the interior Balochistan and I was once his guest in Multan, en-route to Islamabad. He was all fun, well-informed and was ever ready to share interesting and juicy anecdotes.  The high point, of course, was a ride on Ajji’s Honda 175 motorcycle, which at time was the coolest two-wheeler. He later had the honour of commanding 7 FF. A committed soldier who had as his ideal the illustrious Major Bilal Ahmad Rana Shaheed, SJ, of East Pakistan fame, and his cousin;

Ajji bhai’s human dimension as a friend and well-wisher stood out among his virtues. Through him you became friends with those he served; his unit officers foremost. Ajji’s friends, myself included were frequent visitors to his sprawling family house on the 6th Road in Satellite Town, Rawalpindi. We will always carry fond memories of the hospitality, fun and laughter. Over the years, we also got acquainted with some of his close relatives with whom he was ever respectful. Ajji bhai stood by my family during a trying ordeal for which he gained love and respect of my parents in particular. I am sure we were not the only ones. He would go out of his way to extend more than a helping hand to a friend or a near one;

Post Army employment poses a challenge and it was no different for Ajji. He kept his spirits and sought work through his extended family and friends’ network.  It is nothing but human to draw from the relationships in which one has invested over a life time. A trying experience at times. Ajji bhai was a committed family man, a loving husband and a father;

I never had the chance of interacting with Ajji Bhai Lt Col Muhammad Ajmal Khan in the professional capacity. He, however, seemed to have enjoyed his Army assignments and came out richer in friends and acquaintances. Ajji had the unique ability to reach out to others, and to those who were not well endowed. He had the gift of empathy, and of sharing life with its joys and sorrows. He was a doer and preferred communicating through deeds. Of course he had his share of faults like all mortals; 

About year and a half back a common friend forwarded a message sent by Ajji describing onset of cancer in a very advanced stage. I was out of the country and met him on return. He was in his spirits but confined to the bed. He seemed ready to face the inevitable and advised jokingly for me to remember my Army personal number as it would facilitate in re-connecting in the hereafter. One saw glimpses of pristine Ajji. He left for the eternal abode a few days later;

I have attempted to explain the person behind the name as our remembrances are usually restricted to the ritual uttering. The narration draws from my interaction with Ajji over the years. These few lines, though, can never fully explain the person and his manifold virtues.

Tribute to Ajji Bhai Lt Col Muhammad Ajmal Khan, 2nd SSC, 7 FF

Photo: Ajji Bhai Lt Col Muhammad Ajmal Khan with Platoon Mates

Editor: Please recite Surah Fateha for esal-e-sawab for the soul of Ajji Bhai Lt Col Muhammad Ajmal Khan.

Related Pages
Demise of Lt Col Muhammad Ajmal Khan

Photos of Lt Col Muhammad Ajmal Khan  

Remembering Our Comrades   

Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)

‘Sergeant Ali as I knew him’, by Brig Kamran Shariff

‘Repaying the Debt’, by Brig Kamran Shariff

Editor’s Note:
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  1. I’ve just read this – thank you for writing about Ajji Chacha. He truly was an amazing person. I’ve rarely come across someone with such attention to detail. He often mentioned Bilal Chacha as his reason for joining Pakistan Army. Both shining stars for me to follow.

  2. Brig Zafar Chaudhry says:

    Thank you for a great write up on a mutual friend. Please pardon me for my delayed response. I met Ajji in Kharian in 1979 when I was posted as G-3 in 7 Armd Bde. 7 FF was then in Kharian. He always carried that friendly aura. We continued this love filled relationship till his heavenly departure. He was a great Charity man and I had his whole hearted financial support when Gen Mushtaq Baig (Shaheed) Memorial Hospital was being constructed. May Allah reserve the highest place in Jannah for Ajji. Aameen.

  3. Col Faiz Afridi says:

    Every word of your write up suits the personality of great Ajji. He was my course mate as well my student. A wonderful human being who will be really missed. May Almighty Allah bless his soul in high stations of Jannat ul Firdose, Aameen.

  4. Brig Riaz Ahmed Riaz says:

    Very well written obituary. I do not know anyone in the picture. But the writing compels me to say that I wish I knew the deceased. May Allah bless him eternally. Amen.

  5. Brig Farouk Ahmad Pasha says:

    Thank you dear Brig. Kamran for such lively tribute to Ajji Bhai. I’d like to call him that because l feel we are brothers being part of the army family. Wish l had known and met him for he was such a wonderful person. There are times one reminisces about fellow officers and jawans and enjoys all those lovely, carefree times passed in the company of such loving, caring and delightful colleagues who came in our lives and made things so beautiful.
    If Ajji Bhai was warm hearted and kind to the people around him so are his beautiful friends who are remembering him and writing about him. It shows how precious are these friendships and how valuable is this comradeship. May ALLAH bless all those who care and nurture these bonds. Amen!

  6. Lt Col Sajid Majeed Bhatti (Retd) says:

    I had the honour of meeting and knowing Col Ajmal briefly. Undoubtedly a man with superb qualities. May Allah bless his soul.

  7. Brig (R) Aslam Khan (33rd PMA L/C) says:

    I do not know Late Col Ajmal. But the write up by Brig Kamran Shariff touched me. A befitting tribute by a friend-in-arms. Well done Brig Kamran. God bless the departed soul and reward the Brig. Ameen.
    Best wishes,

  8. Maj Siraj Imam Syed (17th PMA), USA says:

    A wonderful write up. May his soul rest in peace.

    • Sabuha Khan says:

      Very nice article. کس دھج سے کوءی مقتل میں گیا وہ شان سلامت رہتی ہے یہ جان تو آنی جانی ھے اس جاں کی تو کوءی بات نہیں

  9. Tahir Anjum says:

    A befitting tribute to a soldier and brother at arms. His ideal Maj Rana Bilal would be welcoming him in Heaven. I pray for the departed souls of both.

  10. Lt Col Ahmad Yar Bandial (1st SSC) says:

    Wonderful writeup. Ajji and Kamran both very dear to me. May Allah bless Ajmal. Have same feelings for Zubair his US based brother.

  11. Col Sohail Qureshi, EME (USA) says:

    Thank you Brigadier Kamran Shariff.
    Brilliant write up for a friend and comrade who touched the lives of so many that he came across. May the Almighty grant him a place in heaven for his deeds on earth.

    GOD, give us men! A time like this demands
    Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
    Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
    Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
    Men who possess opinions and a will;
    Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
    Men who can stand before a demagogue
    And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
    Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
    In public duty, and in private thinking;
    For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
    Their large professions and their little deeds,
    Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
    Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

    Josiah Gilbert Holland

  12. Shaukat Chandna, Qatar says:

    A very touching narrative that gives many dimensions of a unique personality. We must remember such officers who were brilliant yet humble, displayed humor and elegance in equal measure, and endeared themselves to anyone they met without really trying. God Bless “Ajji Bhai” and God Bless Brigadier Kamran for introducing him to us.

  13. Brig (R) Tahir Saeed Malik says:

    Thank you Kamran for reminding about Ajji. Totally endorse your views. I can also claim to be his very close friend. The way he faced his illness was unbelievable. A very considerate human being and an extremely caring friend.
    May Allah grant him highest place in jannah (Ameen).

  14. Brig Yasub Dogar says:

    I had personally known both Maj Rana Bilal who was my Coy Comd in SSG and Col Ajmal. There is no doubt that both were epitome of gentleman and officer. Ajmal was one of my best officers at AIB Tabuk. His proverbial smile hid a very hard working, meticulous and organised person. One of the best officers I have come across in my 71 years of life.

  15. Thank you, Kamran Jee, for sharing these dimensions to Ajmal’s personality with such passion and befitting penmanship.

  16. Major Munir Ahmed says:

    Dear Kamran,
    Thank you for sharing a beautiful write up about our colleague. I never had a chance to serve with him but your write up depicts that he was friend of friends. May his soul rest in peace & may Allah bless him with His infinite mercy (Aameen).

  17. Lt Col Rashid Zia Cheema says:

    Ajmal, my platoon mate (ABD-1 Platoon), was a very lively person. We were together in Multan Cantt during our initial service; he in 7 FF and I in 75 LAA Regt. I was in contact with him through out the service and after retirement.
    May his soul rest in eternal peace at the choicest station in Jannat-ul-Firdous, Aameen.

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