“Hate Drugs Not Addicts”

By Col (R) Qaisar Rashid Shaikh (2nd SSC) 

Col (R) Qaisar Rashid ShaikhEditor’s Note: Col (R) Qaisar Rashid Shaikh was commissioned in 14 Baluch Regt in July 1972. After the retirement, he has settled in Lahore.

Ayub was a very competent cycle mechanic whose charges were reasonable. For rectification of any fault he was the first choice of all the cyclists in our locality. He was deadly honest and was the only mechanic who would give a “guarantee” for his spares parts and labour. My three brothers and I, would take our bicycle, the only conveyance we four had, to Ayub for repairs. Since I was the youngest I was always blamed for the defects and was forced to get it repaired. Despite all his pluses, like punctuality, decency, respect for customers and repairing minor defects without charges, I used to hate going to him.

Bicycle shop

Ayub was a totally different person on Sundays. On every Sunday evening he would appear in one of our streets fully drunk, so drunk that he would not be able to even stand on his feet. I saw the children dragging him down the streets and into the fields. Surprisingly I had never seen elders of the area appearing to stop children from this mischief. Once I also joined the children and enjoyed pushing him around. That night when my father was checking my homework I narrated the episode to him without mentioning my part, “I hate him and don’t want to go to his shop”.

P’aajee (We called our father P’aajee) looked into my eyes and advised me: “Hate drugs and not the addicts”.

I didn’t understand anything.

Next day I took my bicycle to Ayub for checking the tyre pressure. As a matter of fact I wanted to see him after  the previous day’s event. He, as usual, was freshly shaven and neatly dressed. He saw me inflating the tyre, left what he was doing, took the pump and started pumping. Over his right shoulder he looked towards me, avoiding looking into my eyes and said;

zz 90b

Without a word I extended my arm to hand him over the coins I was holding.

He pointed towards a Rehri standing across the road and said;

zz 99

After a few months, on a Monday morning, his body was found in a well in the fields where children used to drag and push him.

Cricket matches on Sundays were a regular feature in our college life. We were playing against another college when I was bitten by a dog. Everyone suggested that I must have a course of 14 injections to avoid complications. My father was a railway employee and we were dependent on Cairns Railways Hospital on Allama Iqbal Road (probably old Circular Road).

On every visit to the hospital I longed for lunch from Garhi Shahu. That day, instead of eating at the spot, my father got it packed and we carried on towards the hospital. Close to hospital he stopped his bicycle, held my hand and walked to a man sitting on the roadside. This man was half asleep, wearing very dirty clothes, was bare foot, his unmanaged long hair was full of dirt and straws and it appeared he had never taken a bath.We sat next to him and my father started feeding him with ardour.

I heard him asking my father;

zz 96

My father handed him over a pack of cigarettes and we left.

Poetry of Saghar Siddiqui - "Jiss uhad may lutt jaye faqiroun ki kamaai" - Urdu Poetry

On our way back home my father told me: “He is Saghar Siddiqi a renowned poet, who was the publisher of his own magazine. He wrote the National Anthem which was not selected. He has also written songs for Pakistani films. Because of a series of tragedies he became a drug addict. He is homeless and begs for a living. He still writes but some crooks sell his work under their own names. He is mostly found close to the Shrines and hospitals so that he can find food and drugs for his daily use. I have seen very few people sympathizing or helping him. His poetry is worth reading.”

I read in the newspaper of 20 July 1974 that Saghar Siddiqi was found dead on a footpath on 19 July 1974.

Poetry of Saghar Siddiqui - "Yaad rakhna humari turbat ko, Qarz hai tum pay chaar phooloun ka" - Urdu Poetry

A young boy sniffing Samad Bond glueAfter about fifty years or so, just recently I saw a young boy sniffing “Samad Bond” near Data Darbar. I snatched it from him and threw it away and walked off. I heard him shouting in Punjabi: “If you had seen what I had you would have been doing much more than this”.

Related Page:
Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)
Saghar Siddiqui

Editor’s Note: 
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If it’s not inconvenient, please do write your brief comment in the Comment Box.
You are also welcome to contribute any article by sending it on Email of the Editor:nativepakistan@gmail.com


  1. Maj (R) Muhammad Javaid-ul-Hussan, Ord (2nd SSC) says:

    First of all, I am sorry I saw this article today, so I got late in answering due to my sickness and so many other problems. I just want to say one thing you let me know how many great people like Saghar Siddiqui, a great poet, players, other day I saw a photo of a son of soil who didn’t utter a word against Pakistan and sacrificed his tongue and so many others. I also saw a great poet, Writer of NATIONAL ANTHEM sitting in a TANGA in a very deplorable condition. Have we ever remember the person who suggested the name of this country PAKISTAN. What have we done with Dr. AQ Khan.
    I visited mazar of a Shaheed, Nishan-e-Haider, near Rawalpindi in ruined condition. If I start mentioning tragedies, it will be a long list, space on this page will finish and list will not. This is an ERA of people who have no regards except their own interests. We are the nation who forget our Heroes very soon. My DUA is that may Allah Pak give us hidayat & eeman to respect our priceless personalities.

  2. Azmat Nawaz Khan says:

    Great Goshi Bhai!!

  3. Azam Gill, France says:

    Qaisar Jee,
    Excellent technique that would be the envy of any writer: start with a small memory infused with a moral lesson, link it to a well known event and lead readers to draw their own conclusions instead of lecturing them.
    You could as easily have been a psy-warfare ace!

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Azam Gill,
      Let me first thank you for reading the draft and editing it. I am highly grateful.
      You are always very generous in endorsing your comments. A writer of your caliber getting impressed with a novice writer like me……………………….I have no words to thank you.
      I am pampered and will request you to keep doing that. I will be lured into writing on regular basis.
      Thanks Bro,

  4. Lt Col (R) Tariq Rashid Bhatti, Sigs (2nd SSC) says:

    Good one, I liked it.

  5. Brig Zafar Chaudhry says:

    Dear Qaisar,
    A very compassionate narration. Lots of times, one has the capacity to help but it is customary to stand and watch from the sidelines. I am glad you pointed out this weakness of the human spirit and your soft reminder to all and sundry.
    I know a few very unfortunate parents having tons of money yet their sons have fallen into the abyss of drugs. I have plans to build a drug rehab centre. You are an old member of Falah Foundation. We could benefit from your intimate knowledge of the social evil.
    keep the spirit alive.

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Brig Zafar,
      I am grateful for your trust, though I have never been a very active member of your team. You are go getter and I am sure you will definitely do something under the banner of Falah Foundation. Keep the spirit alive Sir,

  6. Maj (R) Rauf Shad (2nd SSC) says:

    Dear Qaisar,
    Thanks a lot for sending us reminder. Please keep doing so.
    This “ho” and “hain” mentioned here is not that small a cultural evil very recently creeped into our society to be taken just as a passing reference. It has come through Indian media. First taken and spread by Mr. Iftikhar of Geo News. While interviewing 85 years respectable person like Sham-ul-Mulk, he will say “Jub aap Kala Bagh Dam ki hamayat kertay HO”. Then the an ex Chief Justice Ch. iftikhar, who while addressing huge gathering of lawyers will say, “Jub aap Qanoon ki baat kertay HO.”
    It has become fashion now and every one is involved, not realizing how much damage we are causing to Urdu and our culture. I joined Islamia High School, Mulan Road, Lahore in class 7 as a khalas Pothowari paindoo boy from Gujar Khan who could not introduce himself in Urdu. Our Urdu teacher Hafiz Mohammad Hussain (An Angel. May ALLAH bless his soul) while teaching most of the time will start defining and praising Urdu, “You see Urdu is not only a language, it is a culture, a Tehzeeb. It is Maashrat, it is ehtaram. It is Nafaasat, it is Terz-e-Zindgi” on and on.
    Urdu language has an inbuilt respect. No other language has separate addressing word for elders. We have “Aap”, now we foolishly have done away with this inbuilt respect and did great harm to Urdu at the call of Hindi speaking Hindu, when a pota says to Dada, “Aap kahan ja rehay Ho?”
    If our Potas can’t end at HAIN then we must prefer they should at least speak correct Urdu and say, “Dada TUM kahan ja rahay HO?” It is also incorrect grammatically. A sentence starting with plural must end at plural. ‘Aap’ though can be used for single as mark of respect but actually it has plural essence. We are now grandfathers, two generations are under our learning. Can’t ignore such deep-rooted negative cultural drift. Nowadays my full time job is to fight against two evils; ONE, Marusi Siasat; TWO, ‘HO’…In my view 2nd is more dangerous virus.

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Rauf,
      Though this is not a right forum to discuss Urdu Grammar/Literature I just want to clarify a few facts.
      a. The dialog from Saghar Sahib is about 50 years old. I was a student of school/college and I never maintained a “diary” of important events with a view to refer it later on. I reproduced what I thought I heard. Saghar Sahib must have said ‘Hain’. Also consider that even in that state he remembered my father’s name. Does that not show the intimacy both the gentlemen had? I think in such a situation ‘Tum’, ‘Too’ or ‘Ho’ become acceptable.
      b. I don’t consider one becomes disrespectful if he replaces ‘Hain’ with ‘Ho’. THERE IS MUCH MORE TO THIS. For example have you ever seen any one leaving his seat in public transport for the elder or the one who is less able to stand? When I go to deposit tax for my car registration/bills I stand in a line. There is no counter for senior citizens anywhere.
      c. By the way, Urdu is our national Language but not of Majority Language. You would remember when Urdu was declared National Language it was not accepted by majority.
      With these clarifications I close the subject, though you have the right to comment.
      One last thing. What a pity, we are discussing Urdu in English and can not do that in Urdu. Bohut teer martay hain to Roman Urdu ka istaymal kar latay HAIN.
      Sincere Regards,

      • Dear Qaisar,
        But I wrote Urdu in Urdu script, and didn’t use Roman Urdu, when I made the above Graphics for your article. :(

        • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

          Dear Editor,
          I commented on Rauf’s obsn incl the last two lines.
          I know you are smarter and have done justice in the layout of my article. Thanks a lot once again.

  7. Maj (R) Khalid Saeed Shah says:

    Dear Qaisar,
    A very good article and touching one, thanks for sharing.

  8. Major Munir Ahmed (2nd SSC) says:

    Dear Qaisar Rashid,
    You have touched a very unfortunate reality of our society. We are in dire need of some organizations who can play their role in creating awareness about the hazards of such drugs to prevent people to refrain from such addictions. Rehabilitation centers are badly needed to bring back the addicts to normal life.
    I have been seeing Sagher Siddiqui lying on a foot path of Anarkali Bazaar in a miserable condition during my college days. Allah knows how many such cases are being ignored by us.
    Goshi, thank you for a heart touching write up. May Allah be pleased with you (Aameen).

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Munir,
      When I was Deputy Log Area Comd, Lahore, we used to monitor CMH Lahore being under comd unit. Visit to the Psychological Ward was always very painful. Had seen drug dependency in young boys on the increase.
      Thanks for the prayers.

  9. Touched my heart and must have for hundreds of others. Do not hate any one, what to talk of drug addicts. They need our help, our attention, and our love not hatred. Not only NGOs every one in the society has a civic/moral duty and responsibility to come forward and do what ever little they can to help drug addicts. http://drugabuse.com/library/how-to-help-a-drug-addict/

    Saghir Siddiqui was a great poet, we all owe him, he should not have died on a foot path, its a matter of shame for the whole of country having no support mechanism and even if we say we have where is that, on papers only. Wake up Pakistan!
    Thanks Col Qaiser for sharing this story.

  10. Compliments for taking us back the memory lane. Had seen the condition of this noted poet. May Allah bless his soul and may you continue to enlighten us with your memoirs. Thank you very much.

    Have a blessed 1436 Hijri year and beyond.

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Maj Shamshad,
      Would like to read your account of meeting Saghar Siddiqui. Please do not deprive us of your account. Will wait for it.

  11. Lt Col (R) Zubair Ahmed (2nd SSC) says:

    Dear Qaisar,
    So well narated …….Khaak mein kya soortain houn gi kay pinha ho gayein!!
    Many more Saghir Siddiques disappearing into oblivion due inattention of the society going materialist each day.

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Col Zubair,
      It is good to see you occasionally on this page. My prayers are always with you.

  12. Lt Col (R) Haque Awan, Punjab (88th PMA) says:

    Sir Qaisar,
    Pahr ker bohut achaa laga…aur aap ki iss koshish ko Allah Pak kamyab karain, Aameen.

  13. Maj (R) Rehmat Elahi says:

    A beautiful & interesting episode of love & affection. Please continue helping the affected to overcome their miseries politely & nicely. Reward is with ALMIGHTY ALLAH.

  14. Dr. Bashir Ahmad (Bahria University, Islamabad) says:

    The awakened inner is gifted virtue, the one who fed Saghar knew, but the problem is that the one finds seldom shares, only those who can see understand and those who understand become mum. Such people are so open and obvious that those with open eyes cannot see them, those who see, shut their eyes and become part of higher intellect, the drop of water becomes river when it lands inside, their was one way of hiding when became part of the ocean, one does not look at the drop, but the ocean.

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Dr. Bashir,
      I am in total agreement with you. Its pitty some become part of it and some run away. Very few will come out to help. I am more enlightened with your comments. Thank you very much.

  15. Col (R) Azhar Khwaja says:

    Yes, there are many such cases in Pakistan, some from rags to riches (Riaz Malik) and some from riches to rags.
    Just try to be a good human being i.e. don’t hurt any one by your words or hands.

  16. Maj Gen (R) Waqar Ahmad Kingravi (50th PMA) says:

    A very interesting and touching article. Thanks for sharing. It is a pity that instead of showing compassion towards the odd people in our lives and trying to rehabilitate them, we throw stones and tease them to fulfill our sadistic instincts.

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Gen Waqar Kingravi,
      Thank you very much for sparing your time to go through the article.

  17. Wow! what a wonderful narrative! And what a powerful lesson for us all. Both the writer and the Editor deserve our (readers) gratitude for sharing this inspirational piece.
    Thank you, kind Sir(s).

  18. Col (R) Ejaz Nazim (15th PMA) says:

    Remarkable article! Only marred by the editor’s Urdu Graphics (no offence is intended).
    Saghar was among the very best of Urdu poets. A poet of his stature could not have phrased a sentence like ” Rasheed Saheb, aap kaise ho?” He must have said,” Rasheed Saheb, aap kaise hain?

    • Sir,
      Being a painter and landscape designer, you have rightly pointed out the wrongly designed Urdu Graphics (less the Graphics depicting poetry of Saghar Siddiqui).
      I am just waiting for a green signal from the writer (who also happens to be my dear Course mate) and will delete those, if he so desires. :)

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Col Ejaz,
      My this encounter with Saghar Siddiqui was in 1969. I had not pointed out that my father had tears in his eyes while he was feeding him. I do not remember my father replying him. You are absolutely right in assuming that he must have said “hain”. A literary person like him would not have said “ho”. Since he knew my father’s name and asked his welfare shows the intimacy he had with my father.
      Thanks for reading my article so minutely.

  19. Capt (R) Rana M Sadiq, Bahawalpur says:

    Thanks for sharing such old good memories.

  20. Maj (R) Amjid Quamber says:

    I fully agree with your father. Hate drugs and cigarettes, and pity the people who use them. Have a soft spot to those who get drunk, and despise not the mad men and women on the roads.

  21. Capt Rizwan Naqvi says:


  22. Lt Col (R) Qadeer A Chaudhry says:

    Dear Goshi,
    Well done. We must learn lesson from such articles.

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Chaudhry Sahib,
      Thanks for calling me by my nickname. I must tell you as to why was I called GOSHI. When I was a child people say I had big ears like Khargosh (rabbit). Instead of calling me Khargosh my brothers and sisters started calling me Goshi.
      Stay happy.

  23. Maj (r) Mushtaq ur Rehman says:

    Dear Col Qaiser,
    A very good article, it proves the saying ” Hate the drugs not the addicts”. Well done and keep writing.

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Dear Maj Mushtaq,
      I am thankful and pray for your health and happiness. Just a clarification. Are you from Fasilabad and from Baloch Regt?.

  24. Dear Qaisar,
    A very inspirational article. Please write more and more.
    How do you like Urdu Graphics added by me?
    By the way, I like your nickname, GOSHI, because it rhymes with my nickname, ROSHI. :)

    • Col (R) Qaisar Rashid says:

      Respected Editor,
      I am grateful for your efforts and your input. I feel you have taken extra trouble. The two dialogues would have appeared without the graphics.
      Another commonality of nicknames rhyming………………………how many will we have?
      Thanks Boss.

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