By Lt Gen (R) Tahir Mahmud Qazi, Air Def
Recently I received an Obituary written by an officer on the demise of Col Patrick C Tierney from Army Aviation. He praised the officer. There after, a few comments came and one officer had mentioned that he never got a chance to serve under or with a Christian officer. On that, I wrote the following note, which I am sharing with the readers of Native Pakistan.
I have the honour of serving under a Christian officer for about one and half-year (June 1970 – Nov 1971). Lt Col Jabbar Jahan Khan Tajik, known as J J K Tajik, was my first commanding officer (CO) in 35 Heavy Regiment Artillery, way back in 1970. He was a very hard task master and famous in Artillery for that. I did not find a more professional and committed officer than him, in my entire military career spread over 39 years. Just one example to narrate. He was our CO and the Regt was deployed in the operational area in Nov 1971. I was Forward Observation Officer, normally known as OP, with 2 Baluch in Bedian Sector, Lahore. On 27 or 28 Nov 1971, I received a call from our Adjutant (then Capt Masood, later retired as Col) that the CO had been posted out to a Mujahid Battalion in erstwhile East Pakistan, and all of us were required to report to Regiment Headquarters (RHQ) for his lunch out. No one believed this news. That day, in his post lunch speech, Col Tajik said that much that he would have loved to fight the impending war along with the Regt, which he had trained hard, but his posting signal said that the move was to be carried out ‘FORTHWITH’, which implied that he had to move with in 48 hours. (Now-a-days even a clerk does not move so quickly).
He left for Lahore immediately after the lunch, handing over the Regiment to Maj Mushtaq Madni (an Avaitor), who subsequently got promoted. On 30 Nov 1971, Col Tajik moved to Karachi by train and reached there on 1 Dec and flew to East Pakistan on 2 Dec 1971, probably the second or third last flight. By the time he reached Dacca, his Mujahid Battalion had already surrendered to Indians. He was attached with the Eastern Command, remained PW and got settled in Quetta in later part of his life. I met him in 1999, for the first time after Nov 1971. During the meeting, I asked him as to how and why he moved so quickly when every one knew the situation in East Pakistan.
His reply is worth mentioning. He said that in those days, the posting of Artillery officers was managed by Artillery Directorate, rather than MS Branch. Col Tajik called the Director Artillery (would not like to name him, as I don’t want to initiate a controversy) and asked him as to why he (Col Tajik) had been posted out whereas he would have preferred to fight the war with the Regiment (dream of every officer).
The Director Artillery replied, “Tajik,you had been eating our ‘NAMAK’, and now when the time came, you are trying to avoid like a chicken”.
That was it. No further question was asked neither any discussion ensued and Col Tajik moved to Dacca, became PW and all that.
I met Col Tajik twice after my retirement. A man of perfect etiquette and protocol. Every time I felt belittled, when he would address me as “Sir”. I tried my best to stop him embarrassing me, but he would say, “God has bestowed this honour on you to rise to the senior rank and why should I not pay the respect.”
Col Tajik died in 2009 at Lahore. May his soul rest in peace. He was a great soldier and a Commanding Officer par Excellence.
Col Tajik at a Dinner.
Col Tajik during a visit of a senior officer
Col Tajik during Adm Inspection
Another Photo of Col Tajik during Adm Inspection
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