By Lt Col (R) Zafar Iqbal Malik, Ord (40 Long Course)
Back in 1978, I was posted at Bunji, Gilgit, as OC of an IAP (Independent Ammunition Platoon). My Brigade Comd, one of the finest officers of the times, was Brig Zafar Hayat. He had ordered, “Whenever I go to any Brigade unit I should be served only a cup of tea and if it is lunch time then only Daal and roti, strictly nothing else”.
One day I received instructions from the Brigade HQ, that the Brig with his family, on their way from Gillgit to Astore, would break journey for lunch at Bunji and I shall serve Daal and boiled rice to the Brig and his family and nothing else.
When they arrived, after the normal chit-chat I asked him for lunch and took him and his wife to a small dinning hall. The table was laid, on one side of the table was the steaming rice and Daal and on the other, steaming pullao, chicken, trout fish, etc, etc. The smiling Zafar Hayat’s face started turning red, before he could say anything, I quickly gestured to Bhabi towards the chicken side and said, “Bhabi, this is your lunch. And as you are the guest of honour I would join you”.
To the Brig I gestured him towards the Daal side. He stood on that side and mincing his words he said quietly to me,”Major Malik, to hell with you and the instructions, I cannot leave my wife alone, I’m joining her.”
After a few days I received an official ‘Love Letter’ from the Brigade Comd . I leave it to the imagination of the readers about the contents of the ‘Love’ in the letter.
These were the commanders of a different breed and a different stock, a rare commodity now a days. Even when they punished you, it was with style and dignified manner.
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