Naveed Sadiq Shaheed was one of the gallant soldiers of Pakistan who laid his life in the service of motherland. A rare combination of audacity, wisdom, intelligence and humanity, Director Naveed spent a lifetime of his youth, 16 years, in Inter-Services Intelligence and wrote a glorious chapter in the history of agency with his sweat and blood.
As the senior leadership of the agency lifted his coffin and handed him over to the motherland for his final journey, every eye was wet and every heart was touched.
Despite the fact that Naveed had witnessed Pakistan Army and ISI receive deleterious flak of criticism from ‘friends and foes’ in the recent past and realising that Pakistan was in the middle of a hybrid war which has taken a heavy toll on soft states in the Middle East, he had kept the mission assigned in his mind. Hybrid wars come without formal declarations by the governments and are based on strategic chaos generated through implosion of faultlines.
Director Naveed was a brave son of the soil who conducted multiple operations against Daesh and al-Qaeda across Punjab with audacity and the spirit of a tiger. During the war on terror, he was a nightmare for the terrorists and singlehandedly defeated Daesh, especially in Punjab. In recognition of his displayed bravery and meritorious services for Pakistan, he was awarded Sitara-e-Shujaat, Pakistan’s second highest civil award, in March 2021.
Naveed understood that Pakistan’s faultlines are many — from interprovincial disharmony to sectarian divides and from the gap between haves and have-nots to civil-military relations (CMR). He knew that politicos and vested interests have hijacked the nation and want to keep the youth bewildered through daily doses of barbershop gossip, flaunting the real issues and real causes of challenges faced by Pakistan. For how faultline wars are played by the powers-that-be, please look at the gory pictures and videos being released from Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Ukraine and Afghanistan. Most of these countries were peaceful states with reasonable stability and governance; today these countries are cauldrons of human tragedy and chaos because the defenders of these countries were made redundant through strategic chaos.
Since Director Naveed was instrumental in defeating Daesh strongholds in Punjab, he knew that he was always on the hit-list of remnants of these terrorist organisations. Naveed, during operational duty on 3rd January 2023, embraced shahadat, leaving behind a legacy of devotion to duty and serving the motherland with honour, irrespective of the cost.
We will reproduce an old SMS received from frontlines during the peak of the war on terror, reflecting the spirit and thoughts of Director Naveed as well as the views of soldiers and officers fighting on the frontlines: “You may criticize me, the ISI and Pak Army for everything that has gone wrong in this country, but please don’t abuse my mother, who sent me to fight for the cause of this beautiful land we call Pakistan, who sent me to face the bullets on my chest and not on my back, who sent me to remain awake the whole night so that you can sleep without fear, who sent me to bear the brunt of bone chilling and freezing cold so that you can criticize me and my commanders in your cushy drawing rooms over a cup of hot coffee or a bucket full of ice cream, who sent me to keep the star and crescent fluttering on the rugged mountains of Balochistan, KP and Kashmir so that you could sing the songs of Aman ki Asha with Indian tricolor adoring your TV screens, she sent me to watch my comrades lay their lives and satiate the Pak-land with pure red blood so that you could celebrate your son’s graduation from an American university over a cup of pure red wine, she sent me to receive my coffin wrapped in the Green Flag so that you could stash your Swizz accounts with millions of dollars.”
It may be appreciated that Pakistan and her defence forces are fighting hidden enemies and fifth columnists. Our citizens, defence institutions, agencies and installations have faced sneak attacks, and Pakistan Army, ISI and other LEAs have been bearing the brunt of this hidden war for the past two decades.
Director Naveed leaves behind a grieving family and young children. The media will get back to its normality and keep the nation bewildered and confused through a barrage of disinformation, misinformation and tongue-in-cheek slurs, but it will not be able to appreciate the sacrifices rendered by officers and soldiers like Director Naveed.
Churchill called this period of the Battle of Britain as ‘Their Finest Hour’ and the entire British nation stood like a rock behind their military. Whereas we firmly believe that Pakistan’s defence forces and ISI are passing through their ‘Finest Hour’ (you may disagree with us), we would request all and sundry, including media critics, to read the SMS message from the soldiers and officers fighting on our frontlines and giving their lives for this wonderful country. They should spare the defenders of Pakistan for the time being, and let history decide if they found their finest hour in this long war.
The nation owes its liberty and freedom to these unsung heroes, who daily listen to a barrage of undue criticism and continue fighting this war — a war where foes attack you from all sides and ‘friends’ gnaw at your roots, laugh at every move you make and blast your defenders in every TV talkshow and opinion piece.
While the brave heart has left us, his unsung heroics will live forever, like a beacon of hope in these testing times and darkness created through misperception.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2023.
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