Lt Yasir: Him and me
I could have known Yasir. We could have been really good friends. In fact, we could have been the same person.
Something dawned on me the other day - disturbing and fascinating at the same time. It is related to the Mehran Base attack in Karachi. I could have known Lieutenant Yasir Abbas, the tough fighter and hero of the Mehran Base attack. I could have known Yaser. He could have been more than a bodyless hero, more than a random encounter in a restaurant, may be an acquaintance. We could have been really good friends. In fact, we could have been the same person.
Let's rewind a little. Once upon a time, I almost landed in the Pakistan Air Force. Due to unknown and unaccounted reason, I chose a divergent path instead. If I had gone to PAF, I would have been a graduate of 67 CAE, the same course Yasir completed. Yasir would have been my batch-mate - or not really.
When I chose not to join the Aeronautical Engineering course - 67 CAE, the people at PAF were quiet pissed off. They, you see, are not used to cadets rejecting their offers before even joining.
They used every trick in the book, the sweet carrots and the tough sticks, to get me to show up at the gates of Risalpur Academy and teach me a lesson. Had I been in Karachi at that time, I would have probably been picked up in a military station wagon and flown to Risalpur in the first C130 departing. Luckily, or unluckily, I was in LUMS at that time. The recruitment office called my father instead, and tried to convince him to reveal my location and get me to show up in Risalpur. But, they failed.
After realising that they could not convince me to join, the officer pulled up the name of the first cadet on the waiting list, who would be filling my spot in 67 CAE.
He told my father how lucky the guy was and how bright his future would be. In four years, he'd be an officer in the prestigious PAF, commanding troops, fixing national assets, travelling to places and have a secure career. In 10 to 15 years, he'd become Group Captain (the equivalent of a Colonel), and would start taking decisions impacting national security. And, if the cadet was smart and ambitious enough, he'd climb the ranks to become an Air Marshall. He also slipped that the cadet was from Lahore and his name was Yaser.
Yasir ended up, probably achieving too little of what the officer said; his hands clinched greater honours.
If this is not an example of the craftsmanship of fate, I don't know what is.