“Hamain dunia se kia lena, shahadat hai mission apna / Paharon me dafan hon ge, baraf ho kafan apna”
(This world is immaterial, martyrdom our mission / Buried amidst the mountains, the snow our shroud).
Nazia recalls how her husband, Muhammad Zaman, would always recite this verse and laugh when asked not to.
Buried under 80-feet snow in Siachen, as part of the 6 Northern Light Infantry battalion, his family now has little hope of his survival.
The 23-year-old is a nursing assistant posted in Giari since last year and is among four other soldiers from Sindh who are part of the 138 people who were hit by an avalanche early Saturday morning.
Zaman belongs to Samaro town, Umerkot district and had joined the medical core of the Pakistan Army in 2006.
“His tenure at Giari sector was about to expire and he even got a letter to work for CMH Badin. He was supposed to join the hospital on April 20,” said Khadim Hussain, Zaman’s elder brother.
“Our grandfather was in the army and our family did not want Zaman to join the Army Medical Corps (AMC) as a nursing assistant, but he still applied for it,” he added.
“We are thankful to the Karachi core, which has deputed some armed personnel to update us about the incident. But there is no good news yet,” he said.
Three other soldiers – Aftab Ahmed Samon from Larkana, Ghulam Hyder from Kashmore and Mehtab Alam from Benazirabad are among the others trapped in Siachen.
Their families have started Quran Khawanis, while political and social personalities have been visiting their homes to assure their safe return.
Samon, 29, a vehicle mechanic, had sent his salary to his family a couple of days before the avalanche.
“He was planning to come to Larkana in May to celebrate his daughter’s birthday,” Tufail Ahmed, Samon’s brother said, adding that they have been calling him on his mobile phone, which has been switched off.
“My mother is confident that he will come back, but my father says that the chances of any surviving are slim,” he said.
Samon joined the army in 2005 in the mechanical engineering core.
His brother said that Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro had visited them and conveyed a message from President Asif Ali Zardari that the government was making all out efforts to save the soldiers.
“We pray that these efforts will bring a positive result,” he said.
The other two – Hyder of Kashmore, a lance naik and Alam of Benazirabad, a sepahi, belonged to the Signal Battalion.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2012.