We salute our war heroes
The soldiers marched supporting the coffins of their comrades wrapped in green and white. With solemn faces, they proceeded unaware of the breeze that blew ferociously in salutation to its valiant heroes, who were lying peacefully after bestowing their lives for the nation.
The sweet fragrance emanating from them was spreading across, mesmerising and engulfing everyone present to view the funeral procession and to pay tribute to those who had confirmed our security and well being by shedding their own blood, nurturing the tree of freedom and liberty under which we now seek shelter unflinchingly and in the freshness of which we copiously breathe the unsullied air of freedom.
Stopping right in the mid of the ground, the group of soldiers gently laid down the coffins with such extreme affection and devotion, for those who were sleeping within, that only a mother exhibits for her infant child.
In a glorious display, the uniform and medals of the brave martyrs laid on the flag covered casket, the armed men stood in straight lines on one side amid the sun rays that were finally allowed by the shifting clouds to reach out and kiss the shuhada farewell giving the metallic medals an ethereal spark that blinded those who witnessed this awesome display of veneration.
The flaming medals gave away the tale of the ultimate sacrifice that the soldiers had rendered with their blood and justified the responsibility that had been given to them through the uniform. Funeral prayers were said and amid salutations the bodies were sent to their respective hometowns. Faiz Ahmad Faiz has so eloquently described this unparalleled heroism in the following words:
“Jo rukay tou koh-e-garan thay hum,
Jo chalay tou jaan say guzar gaye,
Rah-e-yaar ham nay qadam qadam,
Tujhay yaadgaar bana diya.”
Has anyone ever tried to feel the heart-wrenching pain experienced by the mothers of those courageous fighters, who await the lifeless bodies of their sons? Has anyone tried to experience the emotions of the sister, who loses a loved brother? Has anyone been interested to see a daughter of our martyred, who lies awake crying out for her father and indulges in an eternal wait that someday he might come and engulf her in his solid and secure arms again?
Today (April 30) is Youm-e-Shuhada or the Martyers Day. Every year, the nation observes this day to commemorate and remember the sacrifices rendered by the sons of the soil for the security, safety and glory of Pakistan. The nation salutes them; the nation salutes the mothers and sisters, who happily permitted their sons and brothers to guard the borders with their lives.
Indeed, conscious nations never forget their martyrs. This is a day to pay homage to them. The entire nation welcomes the mothers, sisters and daughters of our unforgettable shuhada, as they had welcomed the bodies of their loved ones.
This day is not only to commemorate the sacrifices of the recipients of gallantry awards, like Nishan-i-Haider, Tamgha-i-Jurat, etc, but also those who are the unsung heroes of the four wars between Pakistan and India since 1948 and those who have offered their lives during the war against terror since 2001. This war still going on, and in words of the Army Chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, “it will be won by all means till the elimination of terror”; indeed, the nation stands united behind the COAS and the army.
The Pakistani nation, the army, the navy and the air force, the police force, the paramilitary and second-tier security force, the state, the federal and the provincial intelligence agencies – in fact, everyone is, no doubt, fortunate to have such flowers that blossom on its soil who feel proud to give their lives for their country.
A soldier adorning the uniform becomes a guardian of the nation, safeguarding not one home, but the entire homeland.
The Pakistan Army has never let the nation down and never will. Treading on the path of their predecessors, the soldiers are ready to respond to any internal or external security challenge. The blood that is shed by the shuhada will bear fruit and very soon our motherland will be free from the menace of extremism, as all these thorns will be gradually weeded out from our garden, our Pakistan!
(-The writer is a freelance columnist).