Must Follow Tweeps From My Timeline (2013)

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Bomb Blast Survivor, Cancer Survivor, Tech Enthusiast, Failure. Yea that about sums it up.

The fifth Ninja Turtle who didn’t star ’cause he was a rebel

Shiraz Hassan ‏ @ShirazHassan

Journalist – working for Daily Jehan Pakistan. Feature Writer. Blogger. Amateur Photographer. Tweets are personal opinions. RTs ≠ Endorsements.

Comment: PTI has not been defeated

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Credits: Zaain Bokhari

The results of the much awaited general election are finally here and quite expectedly PTI supporters find them shocking. This is pretty understandable as they had high hopes – clean sweep in the election. However, there expectations were based on aspirations and not on ground realities. If they’ve been following the analysis, views of independent analysts and experts, they would’ve known already that nobody amongst the experts was predicting a clean sweep at all. In fact, they are surprised on the success of PTI in Khyber-Pakthunkwa and Punjab. Indeed, PTI has done great; high turn-out in the elections was only possible because of them. Following are few factors which should be kept in mind before we see the election results.

Many people, mostly PTI supporters, have been comparing PTI’s emergence in the political arena with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s PPP of 1970. However, they tend to forget that situation was all different then. There was not a single party which was seen as a majority or national party. Except for PPP, no party had its access and representation in all areas of West Pakistan. On the other hand, there are many well established parties today which have reached all over Pakistan. PPP has its support in Sind, Punjab and Baluchistan while PML-N has strong support in Punjab, KPK and some areas of Sind. Although, PTI has been in the political area since 1996, the real entry of the party into the national politics was made on October 30, 2011 when it successfully held a rally at Minar-e-Pakistan. Its real political struggle has started since then. So, it was wrong to expect such a nascent party to sweep polls while contesting against giants like PPP and PML-N which have been making governments in the past. Still, the party has been able to wipe off ANP in Khyber-Pakthukhwa and PPPP in Punjab which is admirable.

Although, the party had been doing extensive preparations for the Election Day, it was still underprepared. For instance, it didn’t have enough persons for polling agents. Moreover, the volunteers who were posted near the polling stations were not trained well. Many voters didn’t cast their vote just because there was no one to guide them properly. Another factor which contributed to defeat in some constitutes was PTI’s focus on urban areas instead of rural. Winning statistics of PML-N clearly reveal that they got the winning vote chunk from rural areas. Moreover, Biradari system also played a vital role in splitting the vote. Firdous Ashiq Awan’s withdrawl in favour of PTI’s candidate also worked against the party as some voters changed their minds at the last moment. According to them, this was openly indicating that there has been some adjustment between PPP and PTI.

Positive Outcomes

Despite the fact that PTI will have to sit in opposition in National assembly, it will likely make a government in KPK. This will provide the party an excellent opportunity to implement its vision and show the world what they are capable of. This will also give party a chance to be part of the system which will help them in next elections. KPK is the most violence-struck province of the country and is in dire need of peace. PTI’s stance on TTP will also come under scrutiny. In the national assembly, it is likely to play a role of vibrant opposition which will give a tough time to PML-N.

Another positive aspect has been the voter turnout. According to latest reports, the turnout remained over 60% – 2nd highest in Pakistan’s history. The credit for such high turnout definitely goes to PTI which mobilized youth. Party’s entry into the national politics has also ended the two decades old dual party system of Pakistan which is going to be beneficial for the country. An aspect which has been overlooked by the party’s supporter is that PTI’s candidate have not been defeated by huge margins. So, blaming ‘Punjabis’ that didn’t vote for PTI would be wrong.  The commendable aspect is that it won seats without indulging in rigging. Not a single complaint has been filed against any of the PTI’s candidate.

For disappointed PTI supporters, change has not come but it has started. Today, it stands as the second largest party in the national assembly which is no small feat. If it performs well during the next few years, it will certainly be in a position to get more seats. Few things which have personally disappointed me a lot has been their reaction to the results. If they consider themselves as followers of a democratic leader, they should accept the decision of the people instead of getting pessimistic.

And one last thing, PTI supporters have missed this fact: In 1987’s world cup, Pakistan’s cricket team under Imran Khan lost the semi-final to Australia by 18 runs. Consider this your 1987 moment!

Fauji Bicycle- Stand or Carrier

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Sharing one of the widely told story in the Fauj.

Fauji bicycleYou may have heard the story of a young Army Officer in the 1960s era, who got a cycle loan and purchased one from the unit canteen.

The cycle was a beauty (the way motorbikes/cars are today) but didn’t have a carrier at the back.

So the Officer sent his orderly to get one fixed.

When the cycle came back with the carrier fitted, the Young Officer noted that the stand was missing.

He went to the CSD authorized cycle dealer and asked him why the stand had been removed.

He was told, “Sahib-ji, Fauj me ek hi cheeze mil sakti hai- Career ya Stand.
Agar stand loge to Career khatam or agar career banana hai to stand kabhi mat lena.”

Must Follow Tweeps From My Timeline (2012)

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Abdullah Saad ‏ @kursed

Audiophile. Geek. Cinema fanatic. Interests include military technology, aircrafts and asymmetric warfare. Religiously follow regional and local politics.

A Good Soldier ‏ @Soldier_pk

A Pak Army Officer who has served at Siachin and Wana, views expressed here are my own and not that of Army/ISPR/ISI

Daaniyal ‏ @le_Sabre

Ex-Air force chap… Centrist…not a Photographer…. Dulce Bellum Inexpertis…

Jiyo Jawan ‏ @JiyoJawan

Supporting valiant soldiers of Pakistan’s Armed Forces and LEAs. Jiyo Jawan!

Ramsha ‏ @RamshaFatima_

Appreciator of good food, art, music, novels, saucy magazines, cheesy movies, dark chocolates and beautiful men. Lame jokes are the best. Meow.

N ‏ @ngranjha

A crazy Mathematician

Thanna Appiya. ‏ @NewbieAround

Desi Alien, Pakistani, Hijabi, Buddhi Rooh, SaunfLover, NailArtsie, FireworkCrank, Teen, BIGtimeCricketFreak. Follow at your own risk & NO, Im Not Weird! (–.)

 

Foods of Multan

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Multan is one of the most ancient cities of Asian sub-continent. Its history can be traced back to the times of Mahabharata war. It has always been a camping place of warriors; Muhammad bin Qasim, the great Musilm warrior also stayed at Multan during his campaigns. The place where he stayed is now known as Qasim Bela town. There is a famous Persian saying about Multan “Gard, Garma wa Goristan”.

While some take its meaning as Multan as the ‘City of Saints, Sufis and Beggars’  others say it is Dust, Heat and Graveyards. Though, you will no longer found saints or Sufis in Multan but you will find lot Sufis tombs and graveyards. And there is no doubt about the dust and heat! The heat is unbearable during the days in summer but the temperature gets moderate during the evenings. Multan’s old city portion is just like interior Lahore; same narrow streets with old houses. But Multan’s garrison area is well-built and open unlike the congested Lahore garrison.

My story with Multan starts in the summer of 2000. My Dad was stationed in Multan and we had moved from the military capital of Pakistan, Rawalpindi. My father and I always love to discover the hidden areas of cities where we move to. Traveling in our good old green Vespa scooter we saw every bit of Multan, from the Muzzafargarh road to Bahawalpur Road, from Bohar gate in interior Multan to Delhi gate, from Hussain Agahi bazaar to Saddar bazaar. We saw almost every place of Multan (Petrol costed Rs. 25-30 per litre in those days). One thing everyone knows is that you can while travelling, you come across different types of food, and same was the case with us. As we travelled around Multan, we found different types of restaurants. During my half-decade long stay at Multan, I had the pleasure of eating at almost every scrumptious eatery of Multan. Now I’ve written this article to share my experience! I hope you will like and it will be helpful if you intend to visit Multan sometime soon!

Afghani Kebab

Well. Afghani kebabs are popular everywhere! They are tasty and they are small, everyone like to have them! In Multan small sized Afghani kebabs are served with brown rice, Roti and Chutney. And they are enjoyable!

Baba Ice-cream and ‘Toshas’ of Saddar

When coming to deserts and sweets of Multan, Baba ice-creams serves as the premier ice-cream parlor of Multan. Even Ex-Pakistan President General (R) Pervez Musharraf used to specially order ice-cream from Baba Ice-cream during his visits to Multan as President.

Multan is famous for its ‘Sohan-Halwa’ but very few people know that Multan has another dessert known as ‘Toshas‘. Toshas are just Gulab jamans but it has different taste and shape. It resembles for BBQ meat in shape. You will forget Gulab jamans after eating them.

Chicken Pulao & Cholas of Saddar
There was a time when there only used to be chicken Pulao in Punjab but now you will found Briyani fever everywhere. I’ve not been able to find a single chicken Pulao seller in Lahore. But if you are in Multan and you love to eat Pulao then Multan Saddar is the place. Here there is a street where a portion of it has been occupied by Pulao restaurants (I’ve forgotten the street’s name but I remember that Kamran Stationery shop is located in that street). The Pulao is served with shredded boiled chicken; Channas and Shami Kebabs are optional. In 2003/4 a plate of channas costed Rs.6 while Pulao costed Rs. 15-20 (Cheap times!)

Apart from these shops, there is a Pulao shop behind the cinema in cantonment whose Pulao gets finished by 1 PM. The Pulao with chicken pieces used to cost Rs. 60-70 in 2003! But the Pulao is really divine!

Delhi Nihari and Qorma

People say Muhammadi Nihari is the best Nihari ever but those people have never tried Nihari and Qorma of Delhi Nihari. Located in the heart of Multan Saddar, Delhi Nihari serves one of the best Nihari and Qorma in Pakistan.

Jedi Restaurant

Jedi Khan was a young boy who wanted to make his mark in films but unfortunately he couldn’t be successful in his attempts on the silver screen. Unemployed and disgusted, he opened a restaurant in the ground portion of his home in a narrow street near Holiday Inn hotel (now called Hospitality Inn). Initially his wife used to make food and Jedi used to sell it. The food was good and it soon became a food hot spot. Now, Jedi (almost 50 years old) has cooks who make food and waiters who serve the food at a small café or Dhaba. Almost everything made at Jedi’s restaurant is delicious but chicken Pulao with Shamis and Channas can be attributed as his speciallity. If you are veggie-lover then you will love his daily vegetable dishes with fresh oven bread (Roti).

Shangrila Broast
One thing you will find abundantly besides dust in Multan are the restaurants offering hicken broast/roast. But if you are looking for the best broast then Shangrilla (it is located near Mall road) is the place! If you’re a Lahori then you’ll forget the Broast of Lahore! In 2005, a piece of chicken costed Rs.60/- so you can now imagine the quality of it!

Tasty Tikka Shop (TTS)

Tasty Tikka Shop aka TTS is the dream place for Mutton Karahi lover! They have a special taste! I’ve never eaten Karahi like theirs anywhere else in Pakistan! Alongwith all varieties of Karahi TTS also serve BBQ and traditional Pakistani dishes.

I know you are drooling now and making plans to Multan and eat at all these places! Multan also has some other great places to visit! So do make a plan to visit the capital of Southern Punjab!

Must Follow Tweeps From My Timeline (2011)

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Asma Ather @asmiather

A homemaker who loves 2 bake , read & watch TV want everyone 2 respect each other just hate selfish ppl live & let live is my motto :)Proud mom of 2 🙂

A Good Soldier @Soldier_pk

A Pak Army Veteran of Siachin and Wana, views expressed here are my own and not that of Army/ISPR/ISI

Andy Zaltzman @ZaltzCricket

Born in 1974. Still not dead yet.

Bina Shah @BinaShah

I suffer fools very, very heavily indeed.

Dr Babar Khan @drbabarkhan

Looking for gray shades in a black and white world!

ghazal khan @RJGhazalKhan

I am an artist /painter/ media professional who loves to indulge herself in different creative activities

madeeha syed @madeehasyed

Culture journo for a Pakistani paper | International Relations, Genocide Prevention, photography, books, independent cinema |http://facebook.com/madeehasyedx

Naukhaiz S. CFA ACCA @Naukhaiz

Someone who lost his father in bomb blast at age of 10 but still hopeful bout Pakistan, Abdalian, CFA Charterholder, Certified Chartered Accountant UK, Lecturer

Norbert Almeida @norbalm

Security Alerts, I am therefore I tweet,

Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep

Rajdeep Sardesai is editor in chief IBN network. When not chained to the news, he watches cricket, reads books and enjoys family holidays.

Sarah Dawood @SarahDawood

Marketing Guerrilla. Advertising Ninja. Social Media Drama Queen

Syed Sohaib Zubair @sohaibzubair

A 22 Yrs BS(Hons) Management student. A Random Tweeter, Interested in sports,current affairs,music&social networking. A Proud Pakistani & A Proud Muslim..

Wajahat S. Khan @WajSKhan

Harvard Shorenstein Fellow @ShorensteinCtr| Global Young Leader @AsiaSociety | Senior Reporter @TFT | Columnist @TheNews_Intl | Freelance @CNN | PakMil Radar

Zaynab Bokhari @ZaynabBokhari

Budding photographer, writer, narcissist, texting freak, potato lover!!! A psychologist & a researcher by profession — 😉

 

Malala, Malala – Where is Salala?

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Malala-Yousafzai-14

Malala Yousafzai is an extremely brave girl who stood against the oppressors of the present era- the Taliban. She was doing the work which many other people of older age have failed to do so i.e. promoting education. This made her the top target of Taliban and she was attacked on October 9; however, she survived the attack. The assassination attempt and the subsequent developments received worldwide coverage.  Nevertheless, the excess of media coverage made her controversial and led to many conspiracy theories (Something not new in our part of the world).

“Malala, Malala – Where is Salala?” were the most significant words shared on the social media during the hype created by media. Unfortunately, these proved to be correct when the day of November 26 passed away with little or no mention of the brutal NATO attack that took place a year ago at Salala Checkpost killing 24 of our finest soldiers.

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At the social media, people remembered the sad event. Tributes were paid to fallen soldiers, their pictures were shared. On Twitter, #RememberingSalala was trending all day long, the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the motherland were remembered.  I also came across some shocking tweets asking “Who is Salala? What is Salala?”

Things were quite different at the Pakistani media, except for one or two channels, no one made mention of the attack. Dunya channel, the only channel to highlight the heroes of recent military operations, paid a tribute to martyrs of Salala attack. No other channel mentioned or aired a program regarding the attack. But, why should I only blame the media when our government or even the military did not organize any event or ceremony to mark the anniversary of Salala attack. Pity!

“The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.” – Calvin Coolidge

I visited Kharian garrison few weeks back for a military function. Kharian is the ‘home-station’ of 7 Azad Kashmir regiment (7 AK), the unit deployed at Salala. The whole garrison is filled with the portraits of Salala martyrs. One does not simply understand as to why Army did not organize any event when it has given Sitara-e-Jurat (SJ), Pakistan’s third highest military award, to one of the officer martyred during the attack. Note that no SJ has been given to any officer or Jawan during the current War against Terrorism.

“One year ago, the 7 Azad Kashmir Regiment did what it had to do: sacrifice 24 of its finest at Salala. But are we doing what we have to do?” Journalist Wajahat S Khan tweeted on November 26.

So, what are we doing? What are we going to tell Rameen, 2 year-old daughter of Captain Usman Shaheed, when she will be grown up? What are we going to tell the sons and daughters of other 23 soldiers? Is this the way of remembering fallen soldiers? If we are not ready to own our soldiers then why do we expect them to make sacrifices?

Missing in Action: Fate of lost PAF aviators uncovered

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When Squadron Leaders  Shabbir Alam Siddiqui (pilot) and Aslam Qureshi (navigator) did not return from their third bombing mission on the night of September 6, 1965, details regarding their fateful mission remained obscure for decades.

Consequently, they were declared missing in action by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and never decorated for their valiant service. Their wives, Shahnaz Alam and Parveen Qureshi, both new mothers in their early twenties at the time, lived with an anguishing lack of disclosure.

It took Shahnaz more than 40 years of undying love and relentless determination to uncover facts about her loving husband’s fate. She was finally able to draw attention of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2006 through help from Air Commodore (retired) Najeeb Khan, himself a decorated war veteran and a colleague of the lost officers.

In a historic gesture, then IAF Chief Shashi Tyagi responded compassionately and ordered exclusive research into the fate of this dauntless crew. He officially invited Shahnaz to India and informed her that the PAF B-57 bomber from Mauripur (Masroor) Base in Karachi had reached over its target Jamnagar Airfield shortly before dawn on September 7, 1965. After dropping two bombs it was in circuit to drop the remaining load when it was hit by anti-aircraft (AA) fire and crashed. The pilot and navigator were killed on impact and buried in nearby fields.

IAF revelations therefore cleared the various misconceptions regarding this fateful mission, which had accumulated over the decades. PVS Jagan Mohan, renowned Indian military historian and author of the highly-acclaimed book The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965, points out that, “The impression about this B-57 crashing into the sea en route was incorrect as the IAF had claimed shooting down the bomber in 1965. It seems due to the atmosphere of hostilities and distrust, the PAF may not have believed the IAF claim.”

Further research into Indian accounts of the war revealed that this crew had bombed the enemy airfield at a very critical time, when aircraft of the Indian Navy Air Squadron were preparing for a massive raid against PAF bases at dawn on September 7. Their daring mission annihilated the planned Indian assault.

Rear Admiral Satyindra Singh of the Indian Navy states in his book Blue Water – Indian Navy 1961-1965 that, “Had the eight aircraft at Jamnagar bombed the ‘seeing-eye’ of the PAF air defence establishment at Badin, the war would have been over much quicker…”

Five years after these crucial revelations from India, their families are hopeful that the President and PAF chief will at last honour these unsung national heroes.

“My family and I have never sought any financial reward that accompanies a decoration. All I have longed for nearly 50 years is the gallantry award acknowledging my husband’s valour and sacrifice alongside celebrated war heroes of 1965,” says Shahnaz.

There are numerous examples of delayed gallantry awards the world over. Squadron Leader AB Devayya of IAF, who was lost in aerial combat over Sargodha in 1965, was decorated with a posthumous Maha Vir Chakra during the 1980s when details of his last mission were revealed over two decades later. In May this year, US President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honour to families of two soldiers killed in 1951 during the Korean War.

Another example is of Sipahi Maqbool Hussain of Pakistan army who was taken as a prisoner of war by the Indian army in 1965 and tortured for decades. When released few years ago, he managed to reach his regiment where his amazing saga was revealed and he was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat.

Parveen requests authorities to also try and bring the remains of these officers home, so they can be buried in their own soil. A cited example is that of Mati-ur-Rahman, the Bengali pilot who was killed while attempting to hijack Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas’ aircraft in 1971. His remains were excavated from a graveyard at Masroor Base and handed over in 2006. Rahman is a recipient of Bir Sreshtho, Bangladesh’s highest military award.

Extracted from Express Tribune’s website: http://tribune.com.pk/story/248981/unsung-heroes-fate-of-lost-paf-aviators-uncovered/

 

 

 

More about the incident (taken from http://www.paklinks.com/gs/military-and-strategic-issues/295982-defence-day-6-september-2008-the-glory-of-sqn-ldr-shabbir-alam-siddiqui-shaheed.html)

 

Friends and the family of Sqn Ldr Alam Siddiqui relate that he was an extremely energetic and patriotic individual. 6 feet tall and a mountaineer by hobby he was the kind who keep looking or challenges. He always used to pray to be able to deliver his best for service to Pakistan whenever need arises and often used to wish to be able to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the Pakistan which he had seen gaining independence during his student days. He had seen the sacrifices and hardships that had been faced in order to gain freedom and Pakistan. And he was sure he would never think twice if he was needed to play a crucial role for Pakistan’s security.

He had initially been commissioned into PAF in 1954 as a navigator, but being in love with flying he convinced the PAF Chief AM Asghar Khan to allow him to return to the PAF College Risalpur as a commissioned officer to get re-trained as a fighter pilot. He remains the first officer in PAF history to have achieved this distinction.

On 6 September 1965 he left home in the morning after being informed of the war. He and his companions waited impatiently for orders to pounce at the enemy. By noon after FM Ayub Khan’s blood warming and motivating speech they received orders to strike India’s Jamnagar Airfield at dusk, in order to neutralize the threat to Southern parts of Pakistan from India’s air base just 258 Miles from Karachi.

6 bombers flew at dusk and delivered a surprise attack successfully and returned. Sqn Ldr Alam Siddiqui was one of the bombers in the team. After return it was decided that the bombers would continue to bomb the airfield through out the night in a bombing ‘shuttle service’ of sorts. Only this time each B-57 bomber would fly as a single attacker.

Sqn Ldr Alam Siddiqui went on his second mission at about 2200 Hrs with his navigator Sqn Ldr Aslam Qureshi. They returned by midnight safely with after carrying out their duty and completing the mission.

Sqn Ldr Aslam Qureshi

By this time both must have been extremely tired, and Sqn Ldr Alam Siddiqui must have been highly fatigues as every aviator or anyone for that matter knows that flying repeated missions is no easy task. A single mission is extremely exhausting and demanding. Regular military training missions alone are very tough. This was a real war mission in the face of great danger after intruding into Indian air space.
Sqn Ldr Shabbir Alam Siddiqui had just flown two repeated missions. And now he was ready and volunteering for a third mission right away after having an aircraft ready, refueled and armed for him to attack again.
This heroic Pakistan warrior of the skies was now about to fly on his 3rd mission within 9 hours. Which is not just a PAF record in war missions but even in regular training missions as well.

The B-57 Bomber with the two brave aviators, Alam Siddiqui the pilot in the front and Aslam Qureshi in the back as navigator flew off Pakistani soil at 0330 Hrs on the morning of 7 September once again. Volunteering for the dangerous mission. They felt that since they had been over the target multiple times they had better knowledge of the area than others who had not been there yet or those who had been there just once.

By all means this was a gesture of service beyond the call of duty, in the face of grave danger and with disregard for personal well being and safety, only out of love and devotion to the motherland and the service to which they belonged.

As they neared their target in the darkness the area was covered with low clouds as reported by pilots who had just returned from there while they were approaching.

Suddenly the aircraft lost control and crashed in a field around Jamnagar in Gujrat state.

A painting by Gp Capt Hussaini depicting a B-57 bomber crashing while attacking over an Indian air base

For many years it was believed that either out of fatigue, or due to being spatially disroiented due to lack of visibility and bad weather, the B-57 must have hit the ground while the pilot tried to descend very low to ensure bombing precision. And for years it was thought by PAF as well as the family of Sqn Ldr MS Alam Siddiqui that he must have ejected and would have been taken POW along with his companion Sqn Ldr Aslam Qureshi.

India however never claimed shooting down the bomber or having the crew as POW. Until 2006 that is!

In 2006 Mrs Alam Siddiqui and her long hope and love for her husband inspired an old friend of her husband who was also an ex PAF pilot Sqn Ldr later Air Cdre Najeeb Ahmed Khan to write to then Indian Air Force Chief ACM S P Tyagi, for some help and details about what really happened.

Surprisingly ACM Tyagi responded enthusiastically and welcomed the wife and friend of the lost warrior to India. There they showed them records, took them to the crash site and it was confirmed that the B-57 Bomber aircraft had indeed been shot down by Indian AAA fire and the bodies were buried near crash site and acknowledged the brave actions of the pilot and honoured his wife and friend.

A sad note remains that both heroes Sqn Ldr Alam Siddiqui as well as Sqn Ldr Aslam Qureshi remained undecorated and received no medals in recognition for their selfless devotion and ultimate sacrifice for the motherland. Their families and their children have prospered and have made a good name for themselves. Alam Siddiqui’s wife was 21 when he was martyred and his two sons were 13 months and 1 month old respectively. One is an airline pilot and the other a surgeon. Aslam Qurehi’s wife was 23 and their kids were a 2 year old daughter and a 1 month old son, a marketing executive and a lawyer respectively.

The service beyond the call of duty and ultimate sacrifice of their fathers in laying down their lives for their beloved Pakistan they embraced eternal glory and shall forever be remembered among the brightest of stars in the hall of fame of Pakistani war heroes and makes the entire nation and ever new generation proud of our valiant war heroes.

How Indians murdered a Pakistan Army Major/POW cold-bloodedly in 1972

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Found this interesting story of Pakistani POWs of the 1971 Indo-Pak war who were kept at the Agra Central Jail’s camp 44.  Unfortunately, not many Pakistanis know what hardships our military-men underwent during the imprisonment in India. Many even don’t know that Pakistani soldiers were killed cold-bloodedly, India violated blatantly Geneva conventions while our governments (both civil and military) failed to pursue these cases. The story was written by Brigadier (R) Mehboob Qadir and appeared in the Daily Times in December 2011.

Mehboob Qadir: By January 1972, our plan to escape from the Agra Central Jail that was refitted as PoW (prisoner of war) Camp 44 had been finalised. To escape from the PoW camp is the duty of every captured soldier and to stop him the right of the captor. What happens in that little battle of wits and guts is a given accepted by both parties to the conflict, which includes blood and gore. By April we were quite advanced in digging a tunnel that was to pass under the huge inner and outer walls, surfacing a few yards beyond but for a catastrophic accident. Just after the first wall, water began to slowly dribble into the tunnel from its ceiling and before we knew it the tunnel on the other side of the wall collapsed as the soil was unfortunately terribly sandy. We were later told that there was a small used water pond overground on the other side that seeped down and killed the plan. It took them very little time and a lot of anxiety to single out our barrack that conceived and executed the escape plot.

We became kind of instant celebrities and objects of curiosity simultaneously. Here was a real life escape attempt by the prisoners of war; therefore, officers, families and children began to visit and chatted excitedly about the adventure. Although we may have been despised a bit at that time, there quietly walked in a soothing whiff of sanity and a lurking longing about our own folks. Except a stealthy, hesitant waving of hands here and there to an irresistibly lovely child, we were careful not to spoil their fun. We were locked up in any case. Misery is not always physical; it can be infinitely more painful when emotional. Hatred like any other ecstasy does not normally last long, its scars do.

Shortly, the entire barrack — about 30 of us — were marched out to death row cells in a different compound and sentenced to solitary confinement for three months. This was a unique experience: ugly, terribly oppressive, and extremely taxing. The incubators were a regulation eight feet long, about as much high and four feet wide. The door was a block of heavy iron plate with a small sliding window, both bolted from outside. A hole with metal grill near the ceiling was, I guess, a ventilator. A water pitcher and an open native bed pan at the end of the cemented bed served as a toilet. Summers were at their peak in Agra, temperatures raging anything up to 110 to120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sizzling heat, incessant sweating and huge swarms of mosquitoes soon turned us into walking dummies full of all kinds of sores, bites and scars. I had never seen prickly heat the size of a pea before. Our responses to smell, pain, hunger and sleep withered away beyond a certain point some weeks into the confinement. We were let out for 10 minutes each in the morning and evening to go to the community toilets where all pretensions of privacy got effectively dismantled.

In those dreadful dungeons, the only ray of kindness was a Hindu Duty Havaldar who would throw in a toffee, a candy or some such thing through the window and mutter softly a few words of sympathy and solace. May that noble man’s goodness be rewarded and his bliss increased manifold.

We kept steaming in that swelter in filth and privation and knew it was part of the package, therefore no complaints were made. Then one day it was announced that we had been declared the ‘Most Dangerous PoWs’ and were to be shifted by rail to Camp 95 Ranchi in Bihar. Ranchi was a British-era Cantonment located among lush green tea gardens. The journey was to take three days and three nights. Major Naseebullah was from the seniors barrack; he made a great effort and succeeded in getting himself included in the transfer list. A Kashmiri and Special Services Group (SSG) officer, he just had a handbag and a small pocketbook with a photograph of his wife and lovely children. He was very fond of them and talked about them with deep affection. Basically, he was a very cheerful and restless man. Shortly before departure he had started to offer prayers regularly as it seemed to make him at peace with himself in an imperceptible way. Sadly, he was not to reach Ranchi alive.

The day we were to leave for Ranchi, a row erupted. We refused to be handcuffed and shackled before departure to the railway station. Finally, we agreed to be handcuffed two together and that could be hidden easily while walking out of trucks to the railway compartment. We hid our prized possession: a broken steel cutting file carelessly discarded by some workman while the jail was being refitted for the PoWs. Captain Shujaat Latif and I were handcuffed together; we were also course mates. This man Shujaat was made of pure mercury, fearless, eruptive and utterly restless but awfully accident-prone. During the insurgency he surprised a Mukti position across a small river when he suddenly charged with his LMG blazing over the bridge and straight into their strong point that was holding up his unit’s advance. The moment we stepped into the train, we began to figure out an escape plan and soon finalised it. It was simple but workable.

Ours was a third class compartment with barred windows normally meant for female passengers in the subcontinent, and had a washroom at one end, with passenger doors opening on either side of the passage. The guards had planted themselves in that passage. It looked like a Sikh Para Battalion Guard and their compartment was right next door. We had decided to file our handcuff chains, turn by turn, with the broken iron saw and in the next step to saw off an end each of the two lower bars of the window farthest from the guard so that one could slide through the gap easily. We had found out the first night that the guard would do the last head count by about 10 pm and then huddle in the passage for the night till the morning roll call. That meant we could have six to seven hours of darkness available for the escape. Everyone wanted to leave first, therefore, lists had to be drawn. Shujaat turned out to be the first to go and I had to be the next to jump. Major Naseebullah was handcuffed alone and his turn was somewhere in the middle. We decided that the escape attempt would be made the third night as most of the handcuff chains would be sheered by then and we would be somewhere in Bihar where one could possibly merge in the mixed population reasonably, we guessed.

By the third night we were still short of Banaras (Varanasi). Just as the nightly headcount ended the train began to slow down as if on cue. Quickly we flexed the weakened link and pulled the window bars inwards. Shujaat slid out and soon was gone into the night. As I prepared to slide out, the train began to pick up speed and for the next two hours or so made it at a fast pace. Suddenly the Guard Commander appeared in the passageway walking up towards us, possibly on a hunch. We sank into our seats feigning sleep. Major Naseebullah moved closer to me to show that we were handcuffed together. It turned out to be a snap count as he switched on the bogey lights. He counted once, then again and the third time by touching each head physically. There was one less, he could not believe. Quickly he went to the guard passage. The guard stood to, their weapons pointed at us. Recount began; again there was one missing. The train was stopped at the next station. The Train Adjutant and the Subedar Major came in to count for themselves. By then they were sure that a prisoner of war (PoW) had escaped but the question was how? They thought that the one handcuffed alone must have been the one who got away. Every place under the seats, in the toilet, along the walls of the compartment and its floor was checked looking for the escape hatch but in vain.

It was full daylight and the train was parked at a deserted platform when a Sikh Para Soldier walked up to our window and said, “You people do not let an opportunity go, now why do you not tell us how he escaped?” We kept quiet and prayed hard as he had placed his hand on a bar just above the ones that we had sheered and pushed back in place. Disappointed he turned to go when his hand brushed over the loosened bar. Instantly he turned and pulled the suspect bar, which gave way easily. Soon an officer arrived. Myself and Major Naseebullah were asked to stand up. My sheered handcuff and the dangling chain was enough evidence to show my complicity. I was promptly handcuffed afresh to the iron leg of the seat, hunched up like a pet on the floor. We could see a sort of Para Guard War Council in session at the other end of the platform but could not make out what was being discussed so heatedly.

By the evening the train began to chug out of the platform on its way to Ranchi. This time the sentries were not taking any chances. A few hours into the night a sentry walked up to me and asked if I wanted to go to the washroom. I did want to, more for the very uncomfortable position that I was chained in. Major Naseebullah intervened and insisted to go first. After an unusual haggling the guard agreed. As Major Naseeb turned right in the far end of the passage towards the toilet, we heard a distinct weapon cocking sound followed by Major Naseeb shouting: “What are you doing?” The guard fired a burst from his automatic weapon. Whistles were blown, the train slowly came to a halt and then began to reverse. After some time Major Naseebullah’s dead body was brought in. He had received nine bullets in his chest from a very close range and the impact must have thrown him out of the door, possibly, kept open for just such a thing. That is perhaps what the Council of War was about.

By morning the next day we reached Ranchi Camp. After a few days Shujaat joined us in a terribly bashed up shape but unbroken in spirit. His nose fractured, a few front teeth gone, a foot in plaster and awful bruises all over the body. As he jumped out, his big toe tangled in the low running signal cable, his head hit the rail track and he passed out. Locals found him and handed him over to the police. The story in the newspapers said two Pakistani PoWs attempted to escape from the train, one was captured and the other got killed. Quite understandable. Since the start of the war this was the fourth time I survived purely by chance. I carried his bag and pocketbook to Pakistan.

Link 1: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C12%5C14%5Cstory_14-12-2011_pg3_6

Link 2: http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C12%5C21%5Cstory_21-12-2011_pg3_4

Dual-National Faujis?

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Few months back, Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended membership of some parliamentarians for holding dual-nationalities. The court’s decision started a new debate in Pakistan whether dual-nationals should be allowed to hold public office or not.

The 1973 Constitution of Pakistan clearly bars dual-nationality holders from becoming a parliamentarian. However, some politicians (mainly from PPP) have criticized the clause and have demanded that an amendment should be made to allow dual-nationality holders to become members of parliament. The ruling party has now presented the 21st amendment in the Senate which allows dual-nationals to contest elections and hold public office. But I’m not writing this article to debate on this topic, my purpose of writing is something else.

In Pakistan, no major scandal is considered complete unless the Faujis are made part of it. So, when Supreme Court suspended parliamentarians, people on talk shows & social media sites started raising questions about dual-nationality cases in Pakistan’s Armed Forces. Nothing new! It has now become a fashion to criticize forces and most of the people criticize without having knowledge of the facts. One such example is a tweet by prominent PPP member Farahnaz Isphani who claimed that many generals, brigadiers, and colonels in the Army have dual-nationality. But, before tweeting this ‘information’ she failed to check the facts.

The facts are:

  • According to law, only citizens of Pakistan and domicile holders of Azad Kashmir & Gilgit Baltistan can join armed forces of Pakistan.
  • If any of the candidates has a dual-nationality, he or she will be required to surrender nationality other than Pakistani at the time of final selection.

Screenshot from Pakistan Army’s recruitment website.

Source: https://www.joinpakarmy.gov.pk/course_ads/ad_dssc_june_2012.php

These facts are clearly mentioned in all the recruitment advertisements of Pakistan Armed Forces. Each and every document of candidates is scrutinized before the final selection. So, no one can join the military academies (Kakul, Risalpur, and Omara) without surrendering his dual-nationality.

Now, the question that arises is whether servicemen can get dual-nationality after getting commission in the forces. The answer is plain no. No officer can leave Pakistan without taking permission from relevant GHQ. The officers are granted “Ex-Pakistan” leave only when military authorities are satisfied with the purpose of leave. Even in that case, maximum two months of leave is granted to officers. Moreover, the officer has to report to the Pakistani Embassy or High commission in the visiting country. So, no officer can get a dual-nationality under this stringent system.

It’s my humble request to all Pakistanis to check facts before tweeting or posting statuses. Don’t spread rumors or ‘fake facts’!

Disclaimer: This is not an ISPR or ISI sponsored article.