Sepoy Bashir, Who?

By Sohail Parwazpakistani soldier

Today is ‘Youm-e-Shuohda’ (Martyrs’ Day). It should have been a day to be treasured, honoured and feted by the whole nation but regrettably it has generally been restricted to the cantonments, military graveyards and to those hundreds of sacred houses to whom these daring sons of the soil belonged.  I often say that one forgets everyday talk but decent and austere words spoken can never be forgotten. A long time back, a renowned ecclesiastic from a religious party released a statement to the press that since the army failed to deliver the goods, it obligated him to refer to the army as a force of horses and goats. That worthy politician might have forgotten that what he said back in September 1998 because he and others from his political clique only issue statements just to cash in on the prevailing state of affairs and their severity.

Since the last many days, I am watching clips and chunks of military and ISI bashing by solely one channel who started a well-planned vicious campaign against the defenders of the nation soon after the ‘attack’ on one of his anchorperson. The channel acted as the complainant, investigator and  judge at the same time and within one hour of that mysterious attack, declared ISI as the culprit.

I was seriously thinking that if all those elements that would do army bashing, have links with alien intelligence agencies, promote foreign culture, get on-record funding from their masters would be considered as patriots, then sepoy Bashir’s patriotism and devotion was likely to be questioned! Some of us don’t even know who sepoy Bashir was. Sepoy Bashir, airman Abbas, sailor Saleem and a large number of others like them would silently lay down their lives for their beloved country. Sepoy Bashir was posted at one of the Siachen posts under adverse climatic conditions and minus 40 degrees temperature. Let it be very clear that neither was he manning the post merely 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. During the freezing winter nights he would remain awake just to ensure that we could enjoy sweet dreams, nevertheless, we never bothered to know who sepoy Bashir was since it wasn’t required. After all he was our ‘paid servant’, a ‘watchman’ whom we hired to remain awake and guard the border posts.

Sepoy Bashir would often come to his ancestral place on leave. Usually, he would come to the village on a tonga and the respect and importance he would earn by the villagers on his arrival was far more precious for him than that petty pay he would get on every first day of the month, but last time he came back on a military truck with his coffin wrapped in the national flag. Bashir was laid to rest amidst our ignorance. Not for a second he thought that who would look after his aging parents? How his beloved wife Nooran would survive without him and would tolerate the torturing loneliness? Who would play with little Manzoor and innocent Bushra? The fact is that Bashir napped and he kipped for good.

No one of us ever bothered to know who he was; instead, our political pals are showing lost sleep for a channel that is openly maligning the sacred national institutions and the added salt to the injury is the word of support by our enemies in that specific channel’s favour. I am failed to understand that why our political elite is afraid to display support for sepoy Bashir and others, who despite having arms in their hands would never kill any innocent person? Why are these politicians reluctant to vouch for the sacrifices of our national heroes? Unfortunately, they lack courage and yet claim to be our leaders. 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 disgraceful mules of the political showground.

These so called Pakistanis who utter venomous remarks for the motherland and spread hatred for Pakistan around, have got nothing to lose because tomorrow when the custodians of the land will not remain then these snakes will go and settle themselves into the lap of our adversaries, leaving behind you and me to face the wrath of antagonists. I would not ask them a question; instead, I would 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 Bashir, Sepoy Maqbool, Havildar Aslam and hundreds of other martyrs and ghazis of the 1948, 1965, 1971 wars and the Kargil conflict?

Will somebody please tell me?

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