Oh Lord! What kind of folks those smart sons, charming brothers and amorous husbands were who did not give a second thought when they found the honour and dignity of their motherland at stake. How nonchalantly and cheerfully they sacrificed their ‘today’ for the nation’s ‘tomorrow’. Frankly speaking, in those crucial moments had those icons indulged in the ‘ifs and buts’, then the country’s memoir would have spelled something different.
One may forget everyday talk but decent and austere words spoken can never be forgotten. A long timeback, a renowned ecclesiastic from a religious party said on record that since the army failed to deliver the goods; it obligated him to refer to them as a force of horses and goats. My question to that clueless cleric is if they really consider these sons of the soil as horses, sheep and goats, then let me assure them that these horses are far better than the mules of the political showground. Since the last many days, I am watching clips and chunks of hostile and anti-state statements which are being made in the name of the ‘Damn-O-Crazy’ [sic] democracy and freedom of speech by none other than the politicians of national stature.
I was seriously thinking that if all those ‘anti-state elements’ who would spit filthy venom, chant mantras against the holy motherland, burn national assets, kill the innocent and lift the illegal arms above their heads would be considered as patriots, then sepoy Sarwar’s patriotism and devotion was likely to be questioned! Some of us don’t even know who sepoy Sarwar was. Sepoy Sarwar and a large number of others like him would silently lay down their lives for their beloved country. Sepoy Sarwar was posted at one of the Siachen posts which he was certainly manning under adverse climatic conditions and minus 40 degrees temperature neither for a few bucks of an uncertain economy, nor did anyone force him to go to the lonely haunted heights. After all, he also had a heaven-like small dwelling back in his village, where his aged parents, loving wife and darling kids would wait for him to come back. He would also love to slip into a cozy bed; however, he left all these basic charms of a peaceful life and preferred to defend the geographical boundaries of his country.
Why are these politicians afraid to vouch for the sacrifices of our national heroes? Unfortunately, they lack courage and yet claim to be our leaders. Instead of asking them a question I would rather like to pose it to you, that if those who are challenging the state’s writ, threaten to bully the nation and harm the sovereignty of the country are acknowledged as heroes, then what is the status of sepoy Sarwar, Captain Khalid and hundreds of other ‘martyrs’ and ‘ghazis’ of 1948, 1965, 1971 wars, the Kargil conflict and the Zarb-e-Azb? Will somebody please enlighten or educate me?
It is almost half a century since the 1965 war was fought. At the time of 1971 war, our apathetic and insensitive attitude had already surmounted. The history of Pakistan at the time of the fall of Dhaka was hardly a quarter-century old and the sour reality is that a nation which forgets her heroes in just 25 years and turns unresponsive to nationalism, takes the name of ‘Pakistan’ with a heavy heart, then one should not be astounded.
I know my blunt words are going to pinch a few hearts, but at the same time I am pretty convinced that those who have true love for this ‘beloved motherland’ are not going to mind it. It should nip only those who consider this holy motherland nothing more than a conglomerate, a fertile jaageer (personal property) or a goldmine. There is no dearth of such sinful souls who are polluting Pakistan with their filthy presence. Some are off while others need to take their dirty burden off this land.
I would have posed them a humorless question: what does Pakistan mean? I wonder if any one of them could tell me about the contribution of his (or her) elders in the completion of Pakistan (not the Pakistan Movement). But incidentally I do not find any reason to ask this question to such insensitive selfish scallywags. The value of an independent homeland is only known to those who witnessed the debacle of Partition. Those who sacrificed their infants, who jumped into the wells to save their honour and those who were compelled to leave their young daughters behind, would be the appropriate people to put across this crucial and critical question. This army is purely ‘yours’, so please do not leave them alone and if by any chance the brain wave stirs your mind, then before doing so find some time to read an Urdu book, Jab Amritsar Jal Raha Tha (When Amritsar was burning) written by Khawaja Iftikhar.
Our beloved motherland is passing through the crucial era of its history. During the last seven decades we never faced such a test, not even in September 1965. In that war it was the unforgettable unity of the armed forces and civilians that led us to a remarkable victory. I agree in 1971 there was a sheer drop in that cheek and chutzpah. I also admit that we never bothered to trace out the reasons for the heartbreak and dumped inquiries like the Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission Report in the cold storage, but is it not a bitter reality that when the enemy is out there and threatening one’s sovereignty, the sensible people forget the family feuds? Our armed forces fought the 1965 war with the splendid support of their civilian brethren and they won it with the latter’s cheer. The bottom-line is that the Pakistan army cannot think of fighting and winning any future war without their countrymen’s backing.
I dare to dedicate this column to Sepoy Nazir Jatoi, who is vigilantly manning a post at the highest snow desert of the world Siachen in minus 30 degree below freezing temperature, and who does not know in what mess his family is living back in Sindh since the last time he visited them about three months back. By the way, sepoy Sarwar would often come to his ancestral place on leave on a Tonga, unfortunately few weeks back again came to his village but this time on a military truck with his coffin wrapped in the national flag. Sarwar was laid to rest amidst our ignorance.
(The author tweets at @penpricker)
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.