Maj Gen ® Syed Ali Hamid: A NATION NEEDS HEROES

Salute to them – They gave their life for us..

              A NATION NEEDS  HEROES
 
This morning as I opened my emails I became aware for the first time that a young SSG officer of the Pakistan Army Capt Bilal Zafar had embraced shahadat in Lower Dir on 17 May 2009.  Some caring soul had opened a website in his honor (www.captainbilalshaheed.com ) with a lovely picture of Capt Zafar in uniform with the badges of a UN Peacekeeper.  For many minutes I sat riveted staring at his face, at his eyes and his smile, and trying to look into his soul to find where does a young man of 25 find the courage and motivation to give the ultimate sacrifice. And Capt Bilal was not alone. I opened Youtube and more names of shaheeds appeared : Capt Asim Iqbal, Capt Najam Riaz, Maj Adil, Capt Salman Farooq, Capt Abid Majeed, and Lt Atif. God be praised.
 
Through the day I kept returning to the picture of Capt Bilal and each time it took me back in time 38 years to the 1971 Pakistan India War when my friend and comrade Capt Hassan Zaheer SJ embraced shahadat in Chammb (now Iftikharabad) fighting for his country, for the Army and for his regiment 26 Cavalry. Like Capt Bilal, Hassan Zaheer also had  a strong premonition that death was stalking him and  embraced it willingly. “Ali my friend” he wrote, “This is the last letter I am writing to you”. Like Capt Bilal, my friend Zaheer too was a hero in another time and another place.
 
PhotoCredit: www.pakistandefence.com

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By the time evening came I had a strong urge to honor this young brave man for making us proud. I wish I could write a whole book  about him but I didn’t know him nor his friends or his family. What I do know (and I saw it very closely 38 years ago in Hassan Zaheer), is that to be a hero he must have had at the foremost,  like those other brave officers, a purity of soul that emerges from  upbringing and family values. Equally important is an inner strength to do what the situation demanded; an inner strength that is a product of training, esprit-de-corps, faith, self respect, honor, dignity. The inner strength that the Pakistan Armed Forces inculcate in leadership at all levels. That is why the Pakistan Armed Forces have been able to give the nations its heroes throughout our history from the Kashmir Operations of 1948-49, the wars of 1965, 1971, Siachen, Kashmir, Kargil and now the operations against the militants.
For those who profess that the Pakistan Army has  changed over the years,  I say “yes”; change is inevitable but the Army still retains its core values and competencies.  The Army still knows how to fight, to adapt to different forms of warfare, to plan and successfully execute complex operations, to defeat the enemy at their own game, to lead soldiers into combat, and to sacrifice their today so that the nation can have its tomorrow. Its officers still lead from the front and the ratio of casualties of officers compared to the soldiers has and as proved recently continues to be high.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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