The Volunteers’ New Generation
By Major Muhammad Ijaz Khattak
On 22 March 13, I have observed a common but very encouraging phenomenon. A plethora of writings are present on motivational subjects, what inspired me to express my heartfelt happiness was a simple, shinning and contented smile on face of two sons of my unit hero, Major Ehsan (shaheed). Aarish and Basil, natty among their age mates, yet secured 90% and above in their 3rd and 1st classes respectively. Shining and enthusiastic, upcoming and dissolving, planners and executors and I can easily make out major Ehsan Shaheed in them.
Why a man is remembered after his natural life length. Any obvious, touching or extra ordinary potential can appear in one’s memory out of nowhere, if it is a reality. Qualities cannot be hidden because they emerge when they are needed. Combining natural gifted qualities with time seeking qualities, Arish and Basil possess all determination and dedication to augment quality potential of unit and Army. A nation can survive and stand by odds if its generation has potentials to face the odds. I feel contented to perceive future age requirements vis a vis available youth potentials hooked in shinning history strings.
Why I call Major Ehsan (shaheed) as Hero because we had quiet long interaction and exactly know the circumstances in which he embraced shahadet. With quite humble back ground, Maj Ehsan (shaheed) was a true gentleman who remained under Ten in passing out merit, exerted a lot in profession with securing top positions in YO’s (Inf), YO’s (AC) and Sniper courses in his professional life with employment as GSO-3 (Int/Psy Ops) in 323 Brigade.
Pointing his Heroism traits, he Volunteered to go as Company Commander with the APC coy which was tasked to move forthwith to Kanjo Sawat in Aug 08. His 17 days life tenure in Sawt carries long list of operations in the area. Facing the odds of fire ambushes, safe guarding different convoys movement in cumbersome APC moves in bits and pieces, his command and commitment remained un fluctuating.
The details of his shahadat operation require some deliberations. Ehsan company with a troop of tanks was tasked to organize a eastern road block in Akon Kale operation on 23 August 08. As the operation commenced from all three directions and a road block, a stiff resistance from terrorists was received in all advancing directions. Major Ehsan company road block was ordered to move to its employment location when all three direction of advance were already halted by Terrorists. The true hero can put his force to action when he is looked upon as savior of odds. Despite knowing facts of planted IEDs cluster in route, inadequate engineer’s resources and only available Jammer covering six APCs and three tanks, this hero enters in a situation where terrorist’s files were out of village Akon Kale and occupying all heights and houses leading to village premises.
Ehsan Company was in mind testing situation when two tanks were hit by IEDs and one APC was lynching on bridge after hitting an IED. A true Hero can decide to return to his hanging troops on bridge in bullets sprayed narrow road. This happened when Ehsan already crossed the trap spots and choose to fight odds facing the demand of situation where tanks and APCs meet a dispersal of 350m on narrow road. Ehsan’s quick daring made his APC hit by another powerful IED been planted with in distance of 100m on narrow sidings of road. Major Ehsan with Lt Saleem, Arty and 9 soldiers embraced shahadet before reaching to their comrades with indifferent jammers state and complex nature of operation. It’s not that one does not commit to chances in fluid situations but what matters who can take chances with bravery and what cast he is to pay. As per Benjamin Mays saying “The Tragedy of Life does not lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach’’. Ehsan is true hero of The Volunteers family and his sons Arish and Basil have same glowing smile of their father, on which nation can bank for future testing time in high spirits.
Tribute to Maj Ehsan Shaheed: Lt Col Zaheerul Hasan (R)
I met both sons of Major Ehsan during my recent visit to the occasion of “Unit Raising Day”. It reminded me the days of escalation when he was appointed my adjutant due to his best performance in the courses. War anxiety was prevailing on both sides of the borders but I found Ehsan from above all kind of phobia. He used to remain committed in operational job for equal above 20 hours out of complete day and night still we could never find any tiring effects on his face.
Unfortunately, the gloomiest day of my life was when I received his dead body in Peshawar CMH. I never thought in my wildest dreams, that a day will come when being former commanding officer, I would be called upon for identification of burnt corpse of my young officer whom I received and trained in the unit from 2/Lt to Capt.
It was extremely painful when my wife rang up to Shaheed’s wife one day, who asked, “kindly ask Bhai… was that really my Ehsan” (words to that effect). Similar grief hit me when I had to confirm to the father of Shaheed that I placed Major Ehsan in the coffin with my own hands. However, time is the best remedy. It was a real delight meeting two siblings of Major Ehsan Shaheed on the Unit Raising Day. Watching them roaming around in their father’s unit with the sense of owning and the joy on their faces made my day. Nevertheless, an intense feeling of tranquility evolved in me after realizing that although Allah called one Ehsan back real soon but “HE” was kind enough to bless the unit with two new little Ehsans (Ehsan’s sons).“