At 3pm on an overcast day in Sialkot, I buried a friend. He was just 33-year-old and too young to go, but God works in mysterious ways. Major Zeeshan Suddle was killed in a suicide attack carried out by five terrorists on the Sukkur office of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on July 24, 2013. At least nine people were killed that day and approximately 35 remain injured.
It was iftar time and my friend Zeeshan was opening his fast with his wife when the first bomb went off. Covered in shattered glass, his wife begged him to stay put, but being the brave person that he was, Zeeshan refused to just sit while others fought for their lives. He asked his wife to remain calm and recite the durood.
Leaving his wife in shock, our hero ran down the staircase to his office where he grabbed his pistol and raced out to meet the attackers head on. Whether he managed to get any of the terrorists or not will be known only after the ballistics report comes in, however, Zeeshan received seven bullets to the left side of his chest with a final bullet grazing his nose.
Zeeshan was an idealist; he had everything figured out ever since he was a child. Extremely particular and cognisant of his likes and dislikes, he knew what he wanted out of life. Death was to be either through a long drawn out disease or an action oriented one — something worth dying for. Fortunately, he got the latter.
Having been raised in a family where everybody served the government, it was understood that he too would take up an exciting post at a government institution. Zeeshan’s seriousness towards his job was evident in the number of threats that he would receive. His biggest achievement was to aggravate and hurt the terrorists so much that they would actually be forced to sacrifice two of their own just to attack the compound he was in — to try to get to him and the team that he was a part of.
He was a fighter.
At his funeral, his family and his friends from college were there to bid him farewell. There were moments of extreme sadness but his memory would just not let me stay that way for too long. I felt proud, happy and content — the way he always wanted me to feel.
This was Suddle, giving back to his country as it had given to him.
Zeeshan lived a full life. He had married a woman whom he loved and respected; at work, he was considered a star and he had even performed Hajj just two years ago.
He was given a gun salute, with his body being draped in the flag of the country that he loved and served. The part of town, where his funeral was held, came to a complete standstill to honour their fallen son. His funeral prayers were offered after the Friday prayers on the sixteenth day of Ramazan.
I hope my friend is happy. He is probably around somewhere chatting up whoever is willing to listen to him. I’m sure he is having the time of his life. I do hope someone has given him a cigarette though.
I can’t stop thinking about you friend, hope you are happy and well. You will be forever missed and loved.
May you always rest in peace. Ameen.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2013.
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