Iwas returning from Dera Ismail Khan (where I had gone to watch the Skill Competitions) when I received the painful call from my sister that the plane carrying Osama Ahmad is missing. Within minutes, I got the heartbreaking news from my staff that it has crashed near Havelian. The news was shattering and devastating for me, the family and above all our sister, Osama’s mother.
Osama was the youngest son of my baji Jabeen. Tall, handsome, courteous and a brilliant young man with exceptionally pleasing manners. He was liked and loved by everyone. As a child, fascinated by my police uniform, he would always tell his mother and siblings that “I shall also become a police officer”. So we started calling him “IG Sahib”. Once I took Osama, his brother Saad and sister Maliha to Chitral where we stayed at the DC House for a couple days. On our return Osama changed his mind and said “Mein DC Chitral banun Ga” (I shall become DC Chitral). The Lord creator fulfilled the innocent child’s desire and after a few years he became the occupant of the same house as DC Chitral. He was a brilliant student who always won top positions in class. After doing his electrical engineering he acquired a position in a multinational company, but I persuaded him to quit and try to join the Civil Service. After some reluctance, he agreed and in the first attempt, landed in the Administrative Service of Pakistan.
Integrity, rule of law and boldness was the legacy he inherited from home and family elders but his extremely amicable conduct, love for the common people, passion to ameliorate their lot, initiatives to conceive new development projects for the area and the people he served were his personal traits. Wherever he served, he left indelible marks. In Abbottabad, he successfully completed the anti-encroachment operation and antagonised many heavy weights. In Peshawar he established rule of law without caring about consequences. In Chitral he shared people’s sorrows and stood with them in their most difficult days. Improving the lives of Chitral’s citizens became the mission of his life, for which he gave his sweat and blood. Love begets love. When the people witnessed their young Deputy Commissioner’s sincerity, commitment and resolve for their welfare, they developed deep respect and admiration for him. He was not their Deputy Commissioner or the ruler, he was their friend, sympathiser, helper, supporter, protector and the hero. The people of Chitral remember him as their benefactor and maseeha.
But let me ask you our beloved Osama! You are so involved in your mission that you forgot your nears and dears. You are so lost in your projects that you forgot even your Ammi. You were always concerned about your Ammi and don’t you know that mountains have fallen on her and you have still not come to see her. For continuous weeping in your memory, her eyes are dried out. She shares your anecdotes with the mourners whenever she stops weeping. She hugs your album, your photos, your clothes and desperately looks for you in the rooms, gallery and the terrace. She sometimes walks up to the gate with the hope that your vehicle might enter the gate and embrace her warmly with the explanation: “Ammi I was on a tour”. But no such vehicle would now enter the gate and your tour would never come to an end. Our dearest Osama! Your aged Abbu Jaan is totally broken. You have deprived him of your support, that he badly needed at this age. And you are not caring about your loving sister Maliha and brother Saad who are also shattered. You have become so indifferent that you have not thought about me — with whom you had such a tight bond. You were my nephew, my son, my trainee and my friend. So many papers I was writing on, have become wet and so many replaced. Will you not return to wipe out tears from the faces of your ammi and aapa?
The people of Abbottabad used to admire his integrity and boldness whenever they came to see me. I often listened to such phrases: “Sir we see your reflection in Osama” which filled me with pride and pleasure. But even I wasn’t aware of the intensity and depth of love and admiration he earned in Chitral. People travelled for more than 20 hours to get to Islamabad just to meet Osama’s parents and tell them that “Osama Sahib was our great benefactor.” They say that they have lost their helper. During floods and earthquakes, he shared their miseries. He considered Chitral his home. Every male, female, small or elder of Chitral is mourning and praying for him.
Because of his exceptional qualities of head and heart, he was immensely popular amongst his colleagues and batch mates; his seniors were also very fond of him. A senior officer of K-P said, “What could not be taught through dozens of books and hundreds of lectures on Public Service, Osama’s 14 months stay in Chitral have sufficiently explained what public service really means. Civil Service has lost an upright, bold and brilliant officer and the nation is deprived of an illustrious son.”
Osama — the shining star of Civil Service will live forever. The benchmarks set by him will now become reference points to be mentioned in the high level meetings of Civil Servants. He would always be referred to as a role model in the training academies of Public Servants. Higher ups of K-P do admit that “we do not have a second Osama.” One can find a plausible reason in a few remarks of Osama’s mother. Published for the first time in some newspapers, she asserted: “I always exhorted Osama on two things — Rizq-e-Halal and accountability before Allah. Osamas are produced by those mothers who teach their children about the significance of Rizq-e-Halal — e.g., integrity and character. Osamas are produced by the families which religiously guard and protect the moral values.”
We believe, that Allah (SWT) has ascended him on the exalted status of Shuhada for sympathising, caring and loving the ordinary people.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2017.