“Tribute to Gen Ehtasham Zamir, a son of Rawalpindi”

By Brig (R) Hashim Khan, AC/Avn (47 PMA)

Brig Hashim Khan, Avn, 47 Long CourseEditor’s Note: Brig (R) Hashim Khan was commissioned in 19 Lancers in 1971. He later joined Avn in 1975. After his retirement, he has settled in DHA Phase 1, Islamabad.

Maj Gen (R) Syed Ehtasham Zamir expired early morning on 4th May 2015 in Army Burn Centre CMH Kharian and was buried in Bahria Graveyard Rawalpindi in the same evening.

Four days before his death some repairs were going in his house. The gas lever was accidentally turned on by a worker. At the same time Gen’s servant had sprayed mosquito repellent and the Gen could not differentiate gas from mosquito spray. After returning from a game of tennis, the moment he lit his cigarette there was an explosion and the Gen’s clothes caught fire.

Ehtasham Zamir was son of a famous poet of Pakistan, Maj Syed Zamir Jafri. I had known him from our college days. Although he was from Gordon College, Rawalpindi and I was in Sir Syed College, and ahead of me in years, but we used to meet quite often during student agitation/strikes against Ayub Khan. Later we ended up as course mates in PMA.

 Ehtasham Zamir, Maj Gen (Retired)

Matta-e-Zamir by Ehtasham ZamirHe was also Chairman of an NGO, “Syed Zamir Jafri Foundation“, which was formed in 2008. It is a non-profit foundation with the aim of promoting resource material for persons interested in doing research work on Syed Zamir Jafri in addition to providing a forum to study the legend poet.

He had a very refined sense of humor and after the retirement he used to write a column in some Urdu newspaper. He also published a book ” Matta-e-Zamir ” which was a compilation of his articles. He was kind enough to present a copy of that book to me in Dec 2013.

. Gen Ehtasham Zamir’s hand written note on his book “Matta-e-Zamir”, presented to Brig Hashim Khan.

We used to meet quite often on various weddings and funerals, and we usually used to peel off form the crowd to enjoy a cigarette and gup-shup and a few latest jokes. He could convert normal day-to-day conversation into humor.

Last year when his son died, he was really broken. It was very tragic indeed. His son was traveling to China with his mother. After checking in for the flight, his son told the mother to sit in the waiting area and went out to probably have a smoke. When a lot of time elapsed and the boarding time was nearing, she went out to look for him. There she saw a lot of people gathered around something, and there she found her son lying dead. You can well imagine what the poor lady must have gone through at that time, and all the process of arrangements to bring the body back to Pakistan.

He knew that my son, Fawad Jalal Khan, had died on 17 August 2001 in an accident at Lahore. He was just 21 years old then. When we met at the funeral of Ehtasham’s son, he asked me, “Hashmay, yaar toun vi iss ichon guzarya aen, kisi din toun te bhabi aao te sanoon dasso ke iss ichon kevaen langiye?” after that me and my wife went abroad to Europe and USA and stayed out for almost four months. After our return various pulls and pushes of events kept us occupied and we couldn’t go to his house.

Last time we met was on his second son’s wedding in January 2015. He came to my table and after normal hellos and hi-s he said, “Chuhd o yaar, toun uss day baad nazar e nahi aayaa“.

I told him, “Let this wedding season pass and we will definitely call on”. His wife also told my wife that they had been waiting for us to come.

Little did I know that next time we go to his home, it would be to condole his death. I feel so small for allowing my day-to-day commitments come in the way of meeting a friend when he was waiting for me. Guys, life is the most uncertain thing. One never knows when it will come to an end. Be there when someone whom you know needs you.

Just a day before his death a common friend met him in CMH Kharian and tweeted that he was in good spirits and the doctors were hopeful of his recovery and the next day he was gone. Our departure from this world would be more or less on the same lines. All deaths are sudden. No one knows the moment when Malik-ul-Maut will take away our last breath and after that it will be how people remember us. So My Dear Friends, make an endeavor to leave behind good memories.

May Allah grant Gen Ehtasham Zamir the choicest place in Jannat-ul-Firdous, Aameen.

Editor: The following poem was written by Gen Ehtasham Zamir’s father, Maj Syed Zamir Jafri, after his son’s Passing out Parade. The spirit of the father with which he had sent his son to the army is amply visible in this poem.

Zamir Jafri's poem on the Passing Out of his son Ehtasham Zamir from PMA Kakul

Related Pages:
Remembering Our Comrades
Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)

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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 tribute to your Veteran friend by sending it on Email of the Editor at : nativepakistan@gmail.com


  1. Ahtsham ul Hassan says:

    I am proud to have a common name like Maj Gen Ehtisham.
    May his soul rest in peace.

  2. Malik Azmat says:

    I Know Gen Sahb Personally, He was a great Man, i am his company employee, he was a great boss.

  3. Col (r) Malik Saeed, Sind/SSG says:

    He was my GOC in Okara, very loving and humorous person. Very sad to hear about his death. May Allah Almighty bless his soul in eternal Peace. Aameen.

  4. Sajjad Sarwar says:

    Today I got an email from my nephew in Peshawar, an ex Army officer, sending me the sad real life story of Maj Gen(R) Ehtisham Zamir written by Brig(R) Hashim Khan. It really is very touching and as we learn from it we should not let our daily routine activities come in the way of our relations and friendship specially when we later repent or feel sorry for it.

    I had had the previlige of meeting and talking to Syed Zamir Jafri when I was working in a bank in Sector G-9 Islamabad and he had an account with us. Being so great a person he was always humble and free to talk to.

    Death is something out of our control and we have to accept it as and when it comes. I just hope and pray that those still living get the courage of facing these difficult times and be blessed with health and happiness.

    If possible please convey my best wishes to both families.

    Sub kahaan kuch lala-o-gul mein numayan hogaeen,
    Khak mein kiya sooratein hoongi ke penhaan hogaeen.

  5. Maj (R) Mohammad Safdar, USA says:

    A very sad news. May Allah SWT bless the departed soul in eternal peace.

  6. Lt Col (R) Tariq Rashid Bhatti, Sigs says:

    May Allah bless his soul and grant him place in heavens. Ameen.

  7. Brig ( R ) Muhammad Iqbal Awan says:

    Ehtasham Zamir was an institution, very humble and humorous. After reading the tragedy I could not control my tears. It is only the other day that we spoke on various subjects concerning this little world of ours. As a matter of fact Maj Bulland Iqbal had given me Gen’s cell number and it was after our association at Gujranwala that we spoke to each other. Not knowing that the news of his sudden departure and tragic death would be broken by his course mate on the Internet.
    I pray for the departed soul to rest in eternal peace and beseech Allah SWT to grant him the best possible place in Janat-ul-Firdous.

  8. Kabir Hussain says:

    May Allah SWT pour his blessings upon him and give his family courage to bear the huge loss. May Allah grant him the highest place in Jannat, Ameen.

  9. Maj (R) Jamil, 55 PMA says:

    May Almighty Allah bless his soul in peace, Aameen!

  10. Maj (Retd) Sohail Bangash says:

    He was a gem of a person…It’s a great loss to all the family & friends.
    This was a real very sad incident…We pray that may ALLAH the Almighty give him Janat-ul-Firdous and the family be able to bear this loss. My words finish to describe him.

  11. Brig (R) Naveed Nasar Khan says:

    May God bless his soul. A sad and tragic end.

  12. Maj (R) Khalid Saeed Shah, Arty (2nd SSC) says:

    Very sad and shocking news of the tragic death of a legend. May Allah bless his soul and grant him a worthy place in JANNAH, aameen.

  13. Sohaib Bin Naseer says:

    May Allah bless uncle Ehtasham with eternal peace and give him highest place in Jannah, Ameen.

  14. Lt Col Masood Alam (retd) says:

    This is how the life goes on. May Allah keep the departed soul in Janat-ul-Firdous and give strength to his beloved ones to bear this great loss. Ameen. We all should think and try to act upon what Brig Hashim has said.

  15. Lt Col (R) Javaid Ahmed Kamal, Arty says:

    I have already shown my inability on Facebook to write something on this sad and sudden death of a fine gentleman, Gen Ehtisham Zamir, since I am shocked. Little I knew about him but small encounter at Command & Staff College, where we served together, he as Faculty Member and I as AQ. I still recollect the thorough professionalism he had, the confidence and easiness he would deliver presentations to Comdt, humor in normal conversation and above all the wittiness on Poolside Dinner where he would act as Anchor and hold the proceedings verbatim.
    There are so many traits to his personality that it is difficult to cover. I and my family pray to ALLAH ALMIGHTY to grant him the best place in Jannah and give his family the courage and patience to bear this tragic death, though the death of the young son still must be a source of grief. A

  16. Brig (R) Tariq Saeed, Arty says:

    Sad to know that Gen Ehtesham Zamir has left us. What a great man he was!!
    May Allah bless his soul with a prominent place in Junnah and give fortitude to his family to bear this irreparable loss.

  17. Hamid Hussain says:

    May God bless his soul. I’m planning to write obituary of the departed officer. I need some information about his military career. I’ll appreciate if Brig Hashim Khan or any other officer who knew him can contact me at coeusconsultant@optonline.net
    Dr. Hamid Hussain.

  18. Allah unki maghfrat farmay. Ameen. He was a great person indeed. Knew him being Gordonian very well.

  19. Maj (R) Muhammad Munir Khan says:

    Sad news to hear but this is the bitter fact of life & we have to accept it with heavy heart. May Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah.

  20. Lt Col (R) Zafar Kayani, AC (47 PMA) says:

    Hashim Khan,
    Appreciate and support your sincere and very true sentiments. Nobody knows how and when we are going to depart therefore stay connected and be support to your family and friends besides humanity. Syed Ehtasham Zamir was a good person by any standards who’s company was always lively and most enjoyable. Who would know him more than a platoon mate? He was a jolly good fellow even under difficult times.
    I pray for him, may God bless his soul and grant courage to his brave wife and children . I am really very sad to have lost a dear friend and a course mate.

  21. Lt Col (R) Muhammad Shafiq, Air Def (48 PMA) says:

    A great person, a great solider and a great friend!!
    آسماں تیری لحد پہ شبنم افشانی کرے

  22. Lt Col Shaukat Ali Alvi (Retd) says:

    May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace and tranquility. Aameen.

  23. Lt Col ( retd ) Muddassir Hashmi says:

    A great tribute to the late Gen. Had the opportunity to listen to him as a guest speaker during staff course. The serious topic of strategy and int was made interesting by his humorous way of story telling, with beautiful interjections of his illustrious father’s couplets.
    Thank you Brig Hashim for the eulogy.

  24. Lt Col (retd) S.A.Kazmi (1st SSC) says:

    This paragraph of Brig Hashim’s above article proves “the life is too short” : –
    ” Little did I know that next time we go to his home, it would be to condole his death. I feel so small for allowing my day-to-day commitments come in the way of meeting a friend when he was waiting for me. Guys, life is the most uncertain thing. One never knows when it will come to an end. Be there when someone whom you know needs you.”
    Having been shocked by his sudden death we can only pray for him now, may God bless his soul with eternal peace.

  25. Niaz Ahmad says:

    The deceased was the son of an illustrious father. His columns appearing in newspaper were full of substance and wit. May Allah bless his soul to rest in eternal peace.

  26. Brig (R) Tahir Saeed Malik, Arty (2nd SSC) says:

    May Allah bless the departed soul and grant patience to the family and friends. Indeed a legendary personality!!!

  27. Brig (R) Shujah Khurazmi, Arty (60 PMA) says:

    “May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace and grant all family members courage to bear the irreparable loss: Aameen! General was a very thorough professional and kind hearted person with high human values.

  28. Brig (R) Banaras Khan Jadoon, FF (2nd SSC) says:

    We served together in MO Directorate, GHQ. No matter how serious the situation was, he brought smiles on our faces with a joke or humorous remark on some one, including Gen Musharraf, the DGMO.
    May Allah rest the departed soul in peace and grant the family courage to bear the irreparable loss. Aamin.

    Dekh Farida mitty khulli (grave)
    Mitti ute mitti dulli (body)
    Mitti hanse, mitti rowe (humans)
    Annt mitti da mitti howe.
    Na ker bandia meri meri
    Na teri, na meri !!!!!!!

  29. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi (s/o Brig Tirmizi (Late), Avn), USA says:

    May Almighty bless his soul. Life is so fragile we only realize it when it hits someone close to us.

  30. Lt Col (R) Shah Nawaz , Sigs (1st SSC) says:

    May ALLAH SWT rest the departed soul in peace and give Saber-e-Jamil to the family… Aameen.

  31. Tahmeena Malik says:

    Rest in Peace General Sahib………..May Allah grant your family the courage to bear this irreparable loss……….. Such is the Will of God.

  32. Maj (R) M. Ejaz Baig says:

    Very sad. May Allah bless his soul in eternal peace. Aamin.

  33. Col (R) Shahid Kureshi, AC & Avn (46 PMA) says:

    Truly saddened by his departure. Even though we never crossed paths in service but was very familiar with him during his college days at Rawalpindi. Some years junior but always a much awaited friend at the college canteen for gup shup.

  34. Col (R) Qaisar Rashid Shaikh, Baluch (2nd SSC) says:

    I have never served or seen the Gen but have heard a lot about him. I have also been reading his articles in the newspapers. My prayers for him and the family. Brig Hashim Khan has given a befitting tribute to the Gen.

  35. AoA.
    A befitting tribute by Hashim. I had known Gen Ehtisham from early 1990’s when he joined us on the Staff College faculty. A very lively person and a ‘yaaroon ka yaar’. When we last met at our routine dinner at the Golf Club a few months ago, he thrilled us all with some Zameer Jafri poems. May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace and grant Sabr-e-Jamil to the bereaved family and near and dear ones.

  36. Harkinder Singh, Canada says:

    Read this news early in the morning. I am thrown in a very poignant and sad state of mind by news of deaths of Major General Ehtasham Zamir, his young son last year, and budding son Fawad of the writer. All three deaths brought before my eyes the stark reality of such a transitory and dreamlike state of our existence. May Allah Paak ji, Waheguru ji, bless the departed souls, and help us remember His Pious Naam in our heart. May the family seek solace, sanctuary, and strength in creator’s Divine Naam. Thanks to Respected Hashim Khan ji for sharing – albeit a very sad news. My condolences to the General’s wife and family in particular, and to all his friends and relatives, in general.
    The truth strikes us in our face in words of Baba Sheikh Freed, Shakkarganjj:
    Malkul-maut Ja aawsi sabh darwazay bhunn! Deikho bandaa challyiaa choh janyiaa dey lunch!! (The messenger of death comes suddenly breaking through all the doors of defence, and the person gets carried upon shoulders of four to the last resting place.)
    Also, Baba Freedji give us an assurance: Meeer, Malik, Umray fanayiaa, aik muqaam Khuda-e-darraa!!(kings, rulers, and nobles are mere mortals and transitory, only the gate of God is permanent place…).
    Harkinder Singh
    London, Ontario, Canada

  37. Brig (R) Asad Hakeem says:

    I knew him since 1963 being a school fellow in Pindi. Later served in Gujrawnwala together. So very sorry to hear the way he lost his son and met his fate. It only proves about uncertainty of life and futility of our worldly pursuits.
    May his soul rest in peace.

  38. May Allah bless the departed soul. He was a great person. We served together in Lipa in 1972-73 where he was Company Commander of 16 AK Regt and I was an Arty observer with him.

  39. It was very sad to hear the incident and demise of Ehtasham Zamir. We were together in 1983 Staff Course. A brilliant and lively officer who was always a wonderful company. May Allah Bless his soul in eternal peace in Jannat ul Firdous and gives strength to the family to bear this loss.
    I remember Hashim too and last time we met just before my coming to USA in Rawalpindi .Hashim, do contact me when you are visiting USA next time.

    001 865 216 8786

  40. Col (R) Shah Alam, Avn (34 PMA) Canada says:

    What a heart-wrenching tragedy! May Allah bless the departed soul and may He bless the family the strength and fortitude to bear this loss. Amen.

    I didn’t have the privilege of ever meeting Gen Zamir personally but this Post speaks volumes of the late Gen’s contribution to Pakistan, both in and post service. He certainly stands out as one of the few.

  41. Brig (R) Iftikhar Siddiqi, Air Def (1st SSC) says:

    Gen Ehtisham was part of 1983 Staff Course; and organiser of its Pentomine. We were together in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, where he organised a sitting with Syed Zamir Jaffery after Haj that year. I had not met him since then but remembered him as an officer and a gentleman.
    May Allah bless his soul.

  42. Brig (R) Ahmed Salim says:

    May Allah bless him with eternal peace, Ameen.

    • Zubair Ahmed(Abdali) says:

      Never had an opportunity to meet but pray for him as a brother officer. May Almighty bless him & grant courage to the bereaved family.

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