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Lieutenant. Omer Tirmizi, a young and dynamic individual and a brave solider was posted to Bajaur Agency to counter Taliban insurgency in 2008. He comes from a family of soldiers, who devoted their entire lives to protecting our motherland. Most of the young officers of his age and experience are hesitant to face these highly trained and well equipped barbarians in their home ground, but the day he received his orders of being posted to the war-struck area of Bajaur, he knew he his dream had come true and the reason he was made for will be tested to the core.
I still remember his words when he was about to leave for Bajaur: ” I will be lucky to come back alive, but I dont wish for that luck, I just pray that He gives me the courage and faith to live upto my name, this uniform I wear and the flag that is pasted on my forearm ”
Having known him for years, as a friend and as a brother, I knew he was special and made for “war”. Since the day he left for Bajaur, I started waiting for the “good” news.
And the news came, Omer had been critically injured and from fighting the so-called talibs, he was now battling for life. The news got to me when he was being flown in a helicopter to CMH Peshawar, and doctors had informed his retired father and loving mother about his critical condition. ” We would lose him, WE WOULD LOSE HIM ” were the words of the doctor in the air urging the pilot to fly as quickly as possible.
The mother who used to worry about his son’s habit of not taking breakfast and running after him around the house, had lost her senses. Her loved one was battling for life!
The moment of truth had actually passed few hours ago, when he was ordered to lead a team of a few jawans into a talib-controlled stronghold. He being the only officer had to coordinate with his superior as to when to send the Cobras after his team’s mission was accomplished. He lead his brave jawans into the compound, knowing that his enemy were veterans in the field of guerilla warfare, an art of war neither he or his team was trained to counter. They had to adapt to this way of war, in areas their hostiles knew like their own backyards. And so did they! They fought bravely for hours and though overnumbered significantly, with limited ammunition and supply. They managed to distract over 200 talibans and as per their plan, called for backup support of helicopters and artillery shelling but to their surprize were told not to wait for the back-up as the promised support had to be diverted somewhere else.
Moments like these, test the faith of a soldier. Surrounded by enemy, with bullets and rockets hurling past their ears, they could not retrieve. Omer ordered his men to lay down and hide in the fields initially, thinking it would be madness to try and fight in such a situation where death was inevitable. He assembled his men, head to head, laying down in the fields and informed them of the situation.
“ This is the moment we were made for, this is the day we were trained for, this is the day our mothers fed us for and this is the moment our fathers prayed for glory! I cannot force you to embrace death, which seems inevitable in this situation, so I beg for your advice. We all have to die, if somehow He wishes to give us some more time, we might end up dying on beds, but we all used to shout back in our training days – LIVE LIKE ALI * , DIE LIKE HUSSEIN * . So do you want to live like Hazrat Ali Sher-e-Khuda and die like Hazrat Imam Hussein ? “
Listening to these words of their commander, the jawaans without even slightest of utters stood up together and pointed their guns towards the trees their enemies were firing from. Omer had lost his senses, the Nasha of shahadat and the will to defeat these ignorants who had defamed Islam and Pakistan overwhelmed his ability to think. He jumped out of the fields, came in the open ground where there was not even a single inch of earth that was not hit by bullets and rockets.
7 men were now face to face with enemy 20 times more. ” Nayar-e-Haidri ” – ” Ya ALI ” was heard amongst the sound of bullets. ” Himmat-e-Marda’n – Madad-e-Khuda ” saw its real interpretation and they saw their enemy falling down from the trees hit by their shots. Some who managed to jump down and moved towards this little army of only a few men, got hit before reaching 10 feet closer and died near their boots damped with blood. Omer saw one of his jawaans leg flying towards him, blood and human flesh plagued his uniform but he still stood strong and kept on reciting the praises to His lord.
Omer was drunk in the wine of martyrdom, he did not realize he was hit by a sharpnel until he found himself lying in the fields, he felt something in left leg and when he looked, a shower of blood was flowing out. He could not see his jawaans, as some of them had been martyred and some had retrieved. He lay alone, in the fields, wounded but still wanting to stand up and fight. Having tried two or three times, he realized that he could not move his leg. He heard his enemies coming closer and talking in the local language that they have an officer injured, which meant a lot of money! He had heard stories of them peeling off officer’s skins and disgracing their uniform. He could not let that happen! His hands pierced in his pockets, grabbing a grenade, and waiting for them to come closer so that he could blow himself up. Each second seemed like an hour, the time was moving in slow-motiom. They were near now, his grenade’s pin was in his mouth, ready to take it out and kill them, so what if he had died with them! But then “khota” – his favorite jawaan of relatively chubby stature came running towards him along with some jawaans who had retrieved, forcing the enemy backwards. “Khota” managed to pick Omer and started running towards their base, bullets and rockets passed them by but khota ran like leopard then, and Omer still found an element of humor in it .
He was brought to the base, given first aid and was boarded on a helicopter for immediate surgery in CMH Peshawar. He could hear the words of the doctor narrated above ” We would lose him, WE WOULD LOSE HIM ” but now having felt death so closely, his fear of it had vanished.
Omer had undergone several surgeries since then, he is on wheelchair with one leg disabled. And he still says with vigour, ”It was just net practice, the real moment of truth will come again”
His team had managed to kill over 50 insurgents that day, his Commanding Officer had a leg amputated and then lost his life afterwards. Many of his close friends and coursemates embraced shahadayt’
In midst of all the negativity that one witnesses in the country, brave men and women like Omer give us hope. If they are ready to blow themselves them, we have an army of 16 Crore willing to die for the green flag! HONOR THEM!!
Pakistan Cyber Force