When Anwar Zaman’s son was selected in the Northern Light Infantry, he opposed his son’s decision to join the regiment.
“I urged him to change the regiment but he was overtaken by the passion of martyrdom,” said the 65-year-old retired soldier.
Zaman’s son, Sepoy Aksar Zaman, was one of the 124 soldiers who were buried under an avalanche at Giyari, Siachen, dubbed as the world’s highest battlefield.
Aksar had left for Giyari on March 28 after attending his brother’s marriage ceremony at his house in Kiyari village in Sirikot union council. He was ill when he left and last contacted his family on March 31.
“He told his mother it was the last time he was talking to her,” said Zaman. The parents assumed their son was referring to a possible breakdown in communication at the army post in the winter.
“Maybe he already knew what fate had in store for him,” his father added.
Being the youngest among his five siblings, Aksar had joined the army five years back. Three of his brothers also serve in the army.
Aksar had married two years ago and a week after his death his wife was blessed with a daughter, said Zaman.
“My son used to love children and spent much of his time playing with his nieces and nephews. But now when God has bestowed him with the gift of a daughter, he is not here to enjoy her company,” he said as his eyes welled with tears.
But quickly composing himself, Zaman said, “I am proud to be the father of a national hero who laid down his life in the line of duty, safeguarding the highest frontier of his motherland. I am ready to sacrifice my three remaining sons for the country’s defence.”
Zaman said the news of his son’s death came like a bolt from the blue. “Our family, our entire village is saddened by his death. But we are comforted by the knowledge that God has gifted our family with a martyr,” he added.
The retired solder said that Kiyari is a remote and poverty-stricken village with a population of just over 3,000.
He said the village lacks basic civic amenities and demanded the government to pave a road to the village and name it after his son, “Shaheed Aksar Zaman” and to provide education and health facilities to the villagers in recognition of his son’s sacrifice.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.