In fight against terrorism, lowest ranking soldiers pay the highest price

Published: June 6, 2011
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A monument was unveiled at the Pakistan Rangers ceremony on Saturday night as a tribute to the 30 men who lost their lives. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/ EXPRESS

A monument was unveiled at the Pakistan Rangers ceremony on Saturday night as a tribute to the 30 men who lost their lives. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/ EXPRESS

A monument was unveiled at the Pakistan Rangers ceremony on Saturday night as a tribute to the 30 men who lost their lives. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/ EXPRESS A monument was unveiled at the Pakistan Rangers ceremony on Saturday night as a tribute to the 30 men who lost their lives. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/ EXPRESS
KARACHI: 

Thirty men who gave up their lives in the line of duty were honoured by the Pakistan Rangers at a heart-wrenching ceremony late Saturday night. And while it was left unspoken, it did not go unnoticed that aside from one inspector, most of those who died came from the lowest of the paramilitary ranks.

The elaborate programme titled ‘Youm-e-Shuhada’ (Day of Martyrs) was held at the Rangers Training Centre near the toll plaza. It was attended by many high-ranking officials, decked out in their ceremonial green dress, studded with medals. Senior officials of the Pakistan Army, Air Force and Navy were also present. Families of the fallen paramilitary troops were called in from all over the country.

When Sachal Rangers Commander Brigadier Waseem Ayub was asked by the media if more attacks like the May 22 PNS Mehran one could occur he said, “Without a doubt, the threats are still there. We are in a state of high alert.” The Rangers lost two of their men that day. Ayub added that the Pakistan Rangers was doing all it could to counter the threat. Instructions have been issued to all units to increase patrolling and snap checking throughout the city.

An exquisite monument with a star at the apex of a long sword-shaped tower was also unveiled. It was built in the record time of nine months by Colonel Akmal Moughal. The Rangers spokesperson, however, declined to specify the cost of its construction.

Navy Commander Karachi Rear Admiral Syed Khawar Ali, along with Pakistan Rangers Director General Sindh Muhammad Ijaz Chaudhry, presented a memento to Sepoy Mohammad Akhtar’s family.

Sepoy Mohammad Faheem Akhtar’s mother said she was proud of her son’s ultimate sacrifice and added that she prayed that her other three sons – one of whom is in the Pakistan Army and another in a rescue service – also embrace martyrdom in the defence and honour of the country.

Akhtar’s brother said he would often pull his leg, saying that Akhtar could have attained a better rank had he worked harder at school. “But Akhtar told me that a day would come when I, at a superior rank, would be saluting him.” His prophetic words have come true today, he added.

Sepoy Ishtiaq Hussain was killed during an encounter at Baloch Colony Bridge in Karachi. His mother was kept saying, “He was my only son.” His father rejoiced his sacrifice with a folk song in beautiful Punjabi verse.

In his speech, the DG Rangers said that his men had laid down their lives in the name of Islam and for the honour of Pakistan. Pakistan has been in a state of war since its inception, he said. “It is the blood of our martyrs that has protected our freedom whether it was while guarding our frontiers or battling terrorists.”

Television anchor Faisal Qureshi and his wife Reema Siddiqui hosted the show. Qureshi showered praises on the armed forces and the director-general rangers in particular, throughout the event. He even claimed that he was inspired by one of his friends, a man in uniform, to pin a Pakistan flag badge on his shirt. “If I go out without wearing it, I feel like my dress is incomplete,” he said as he flashed the pin on his designer suit to a round of a huge applause from the audience.

A Rangers spokesperson confirmed that the couple had been paid for their services as hosts of the programme. “Their event management company was also involved and given a contract to conduct the show,” he said. Singer Naeem Abbas Roofi sang Madame Noor Jehan’s famous “Aye Rahe Haq Kay Shaheedon.” The musical was complimented with the participation of schoolchildren from the Rangers Public School in Nazimabad who put on an impressive tableau show for the audience.

There were a few glitches, such as the seating area was not planned. Also, some journalists staged a token protest outside the marquee where the dining area was arranged.

They complained that all the good ‘botis’ (meat pieces) had been ambushed by the senior Pakistan Rangers officers, while they were left to feed on leftovers.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Jun 6, 2011 - 9:23AM

    Condolences have largely been biased in this country, and so the media
    http://twitpic.com/524zebRecommend

  • Saman
    Jun 6, 2011 - 9:53AM

    True that..the lowest ranking soldiers always pay the highest price..May Allah bless their souls AmeenRecommend

  • J. Oberoi
    Jun 6, 2011 - 10:28AM

    Send Kayani and Pasha with all their medals.Recommend

  • abdul sami
    Jun 6, 2011 - 10:29AM

    it’s time that the powers that be realise that the policy of supporting islamic fanatics as a sort of proxy force to put pressure on others has backfired.The same people we patronised have now turned upon their masters.But the sad thing is that our govt. still refuses to disown the islamic extremists it has nurtured for so long.We’ve seen how some people in our forces have been radicalised due to zia’s islamisation programme.
    We need a deradicalistion programme to bring back the islamic fanatics back into the normal world as normal people once again.

    We’ve already lost 40000 of our people to religious extremism,let’s not lose anymore.Recommend

  • Iffo
    Jun 6, 2011 - 10:58AM

    We love the people who love Islam and Pakistan.
    We salutes u!Recommend

  • zohaib arsalan
    Jun 6, 2011 - 11:12AM

    @Iffo:

    islam and pakistan are two different things.It is this perverse mixing up of the two that has led to the present mess in our country.Jinnah said in his speech that religion is not the matter of the state and everyone was free to practise his/her religion in peace & no one religion would have dominance over another.Sadly after his death the name of our country was changed by the islamic fanatics to ‘The ISLAMIC republic of pakistan’ which jinnah had not kept.

    We have to remember that the pak fauj is pakistan’s fauj not Islam’s fauj.Our atomic weapons are for the defence of pakistan only,they are not ‘islamic atom bums”.Recommend

  • Jun 6, 2011 - 1:48PM

    With all due respect, rather than making these monster monuments, wouldnt the money be better spent on providing support to the victims families? Recommend

  • D. Powers
    Jun 6, 2011 - 2:59PM

    And mostly, the lower rank heroes go unsung, while all the praise is saved for officer ranked personal. Recommend

  • Jun 6, 2011 - 4:41PM

    The comment form mentioned that these may appear in the newspaper. I actually insist that you print this in the same “glory” as the original article.

    It is interesting how a (not so) subtle effort has been made to discredit me and my wife in this article.

    Just for the record:

    1/ Neither Reema, nor I, were paid to host this event. We do these things gratis because we believe in them. We had done it gratis for the Core Commander’s event last month as well.

    2/ I don’t remember mentioning anything about the Director General in the whole event, except taking his name when I invited him to come on the stage.

    3/ I showered compliments on the whole armed forces quite freely, because I believe in it.

    4/ Reema’s event management company http://www.uberdynamics.com had nothing to do with the organization of the event. No money, directly or indirectly, has been paid to either one us, under any head. However, given Reema’s experience in the events industry helped and assisted wherever possible because we value and respect the cause.

    5/ The flag story was not attributed to a uniformed officer. In fact this is an old story which I have narrated on my TV show repeatedly. The flag was given to me by Mr. Nazim Haji, a highly respected businessman of Pakistan, and one of the founders of CPLC. Who also happens to be a very good friend of mine.

    6/ The “designer” suit is actually one of my regular suits stitched by a regular tailor in Pakistan who obviously can produce “designer” quality product, if not better.

    With that said:

    1/ I do own Designer suits because alhamdulillah I can afford to, and it’s none of your business.

    2/ Even if we charged to host these events it would have been our right and again, none of your business.

    3/ I know the officers of Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) very well, since I have worked in very close coordination with them during last year’s floods. This is neither a secret, nor breaking news.

    4/ Even if Reema’s event management company had organized this event for money, there is nothing wrong with it. It’s strictly business. Someone had to do it.

    5/ I didn’t really get a lot of time to “check out” the food, but I think there were more than enough “botis” to be had.

    It would be more suited to a newspaper like Tribune to focus on facts. The old school of “blackmail” journalism is almost dead. Don’t take away the spirit from those who have given you your freedom. As journalists if you choose not to inculcate patriotism, at least don’t take it away from those who have it. Maybe one day you too will see value in the land which has given you the freedom to write.

    Lastly it is shameful to refer to martyrs as “30 men who lost their lives.” If the news item had been written by someone who was not at the event I could have still understood, but anyone who had the opportunity to meet the families of those who laid down their lives for the mischief we have created, it is shameful to undermine those who even Allah holds in great esteem.

    -Faisal Qureshi
    http://faisalqureshi.comRecommend

  • Omer Khan
    Jun 7, 2011 - 2:40AM

    Being an avid reader of this blog, I am a surprised to read this article or rather the tone in which it is written. The articles your contributors typically write are based on fact, are impartial and objective. This one however is quite whimsical with the writer displaying his obvious bias against the events host(s) and the Pakistan Rangers/ Armed Forces senior officers.

    I believe journalists should be objective and shouldn’t let their personal prejudices dictate their writing, especially on a public forum such as this. Recommend

  • Jun 7, 2011 - 5:55PM

    I have read abundant pieces by Salman, mostly well balanced articles – was shocked to see this “Blog-type” rant –

    From the start it displayed an overwhelming negativity against the Rangers and Faisal Qureshi – Im not a total blind supporter of any – but the tone in which this article was written seriously falls into yellow journalism.

    had this appeared in “blog” fashion then I can take a step back to say its a “personal opinion/rant” but to see it on the main page is worriesome.Recommend

  • Pakistani Soldier
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:40PM

    This is the worst article i have read in a while. Wasted all my time telling me how the things at the ceremony were and who said what and who paid or didn’t pay whatever. I think journalism in Pakistan needs to get a little more analytical than that. Recommend

  • Ali Wazir
    Jun 11, 2011 - 5:33AM

    Great Article. At last some sanity… Its sickening this double standard….I bet you no one can name one person of the 80 FC boys blown up not so long ago. But we all know about Yassir Abbas and his Family etc, and now they are demanding a Nishan a Haider for him as well… We cant even name one of the rangers who died that day defending the naval base…. Why is it they did not have a commission,or they were from poor families??? And what an ugly monument I must say. They money would have been better spent on the families.
    Also finally I dont think the term ‘Shuhada’ applies to anyone dying in Pakistan these days.Be it Army, Police, Tribals or Baloch or Terrorists. I am pretty sure all those suicide bombers are convinced they are “shaheed” as well??? Who are we to judge. Why drag in religion into it. Jan ba Haq should suffice.Recommend

  • Hafeez Sheikh
    Jun 11, 2011 - 7:37PM

    Just for the record, the officer to soldier death ratio of the Pakistan Army in the Kargil War was the highest of any army since the Second World War. Meaning more officers died per soldier than any war since WWII. Recommend

  • Hibah Naz
    Jun 13, 2011 - 11:22AM

    Journalism always requires being neutral. There is a rule every journalist follows and that is you don’t write your opinion; you show it, especially in featured articles. This post is entirely biased.
    The writer is completely against Faisal and the rangers and it is obvious. He does not even have complete facts. At least he should’ve confirmed all the details before writing this.
    And who gives the writer the authority to point personal business of Faisal and his wife, i.e, the designer dress, the way the event was organized, etc. It’s none of your business. He didn’t steal it; he can afford it. Recommend

  • zaki
    Jul 11, 2011 - 8:52PM

    I am proud of Pakistan Rangers……..men in uniform is men doing for his Nation…..lets join hands our armed forces…………………Long live Pakistan……………Long live Rangers

    Recommend

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