By Maj Agha Amir Ahsan, Sigs (2nd SSC)
Editor: Maj Agha Amir Ahsan expired on 28 Nov 2012. This touching article was sent by him via email to his friends a few years back about his course mate and class fellow Maj Shoaib who embraced shahadat in a terrorist attack in the mosque at Parade Lane Rawalpindi Cantt during Jumma prayers on 04 Dec 2009.
“Name?” shouted the senior cadet through his teeth.
“Shoaib” answered my friend.
“Shoaib what?” he shouted again.
“Sirf Shoaib” my friend had got used to this question in life and had a ready answer, “No surname, I am only Shoaib”.
“OK, ‘Sirf Shoaib’, what is your father’s name?”
We both giggled on ‘Sirf Shoaib’.
Now he was really shouting, “You find that funny? OK, go around that tree and come back, on the double, Go…” the tree he pointed was about 300 metres away.
That was my first ragging in Pakistan Military Academy, Shoaib was a class fellow from Government College Lahore, and had shared a taxi with me from the bus stop to PMA, this was our first day and a rude awakening from our sweet dreams of becoming 2nd Lieuts in the Army.
Cadets in PMA are known as Gentleman Cadets, the former word suited Shoaib already, they could work on him to give military training, but he needed no instructions for being a gentleman. He was a down to earth, no-nonsense sort of person with very nice clean habits. In Government College Lahore we shared three classes of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, each consisting of about a hundred students. There were groups of friends in such a large class and Shoaib was not in my group, he belonged to Lahore, and had some old acquaintances and school mates in his group, I had my own company, but we liked each other and would often get together; we had some common friends and would even go out together for lunch or other group excursions.
Friendship during difficult times is always very long-lasting and very close, and after more than six hours of ragging on our first day in PMA, which included a military style crawl through a dirty drain, we became very fast friends, we were both assigned to the same platoon, which means that we were in a group of 30 cadets together in very hard and trying days of our training. In severe freezing cold of Mansehra on the top of a windy mountain with no shelter, hungry with nothing to eat, and after walking for the whole day, he would share his only blanket and a few peanuts with you.
After PMA we were assigned to different units, while I joined Corps of Signals, he was assigned to Corps of Engineers. In the aftermath of the 1971 War and very busy training schedule of young officers, we lost track of each other for a few years, till we met again in a conference in Quetta, I took him home for lunch. He had very recently married and was so excited about his wife, that he did not listen to one word and took me, my wife and daughter in his jeep to Muslim Bagh to meet her. Fauzia was one lovely lady bubbling with life and she made us stay over the weekend in her small temporary military accommodation. They were a couple already full of life and plenty of love between the two of them. We didn’t sleep that night, their beautiful sense of humour and the ready stock of jokes, kept us awake. It was one of the most memorable times of my life.
When they got their only daughter, they found that she had some very serious health problems, instead of feeling dejected, they took it as a challenge. I never heard a word of complaint or self-pity from them, in fact they were most grateful to Allah for such a nice pretty gift of life. They decided that Lozina needed full attention of both of them, and as such they could not afford to have another child. Since then, they were like one body, with three lives. They lived for each other, it seemed they had a purpose in life, and all three of them worked for it. Life has its ups and downs, but it seemed that success and failures worked alike for this team of three. With every painful surgery she had and every achievement in her most enviable educational pursuit in life, their resolve grew stronger and stronger. Their love and support for each other was so confusing, nobody could guess who is supporting whom, life seemed empty and futile without one another. They even professed at times, that they will live and die together. While she needed them to put her in and out of her wheel chair they also needed her to pull them through the difficult phases of life. Both father and daughter would send me the videos through email and CDs of her interviews and other appearances on television, she was turning into a celebrity, and both the parents could never get tired in narrating her achievements. Lozina is now almost a PhD and it’s a pleasure to be in the company of the little genius.
Alas! Shoaib is not with us anymore, and will not be able to rejoice his lifetime achievement. There is nobody to occupy that special chair on Lozina’s convocation. The poor child told me today, “Uncle, I never felt disabled all my life, but I feel helpless today, my life support system is no more”.
Some ignorant bigots, thought that, by killing this God-fearing, pious, kind-hearted person, while he was in a mosque, offering his Friday prayers, will get them the Jannah.
Editor’s Note: Lozina will In Shaa Allah complete her PhD in Computer Science after a few months (info updated on 7 Feb 2015).
The following photo was taken a few months before the Shahadat of Shoaib. How happy the family looked!!
Rest in peace Maj Shoaib and Maj Agha Amir Ahsan. Readers of this Post are also requested to pray for these two fast friends. Thanks.
More Articles by Maj Agha
Rawalpindi, a City of Dreams and Demons (Part I)
Rawalpindi, a City of Dreams and Demons (Part II)
Rawalpindi, a City of Dreams and Demons (Part III)
Rawalpindi, a City of Dreams and Demons (Part IV)
Letter to a Chilean Friend
The Chocolate Fairy
Editor’s Note: Please do write a very brief comment at the end of this page under the heading “Leave a Reply here”.