29
October

Who? Where They Where They Dare

Written By: Kanza Faisal (Kinnard College, Lahore)

As the sun set, our thrilling day long trip with Pak Army came to an end. This trip has given us a unique opportunity to peep through the tough and the challenging life of men in khakis. How disciplined, meticulously and minutely they manage every aspect of their life and carry their task in hand with great perfection, dedication and devotion. Their commitment to their job is unparallel. Their hospitality and courteousness has been their hallmark.
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All dolled up, a group of young, elegant, bold and beautiful women got ready to go on a day long trip arranged by the Army. I had not seen my fellow KCites look so gorgeous and thrilled ever before. I could feel the excitement build up in all of us as we sat in the buses, sang songs and set off for the journey. The visit was planned to begin by paying homage to the great martyrs of Pakistan Army. We reached Yadgar-i-Shuhada where the wreath laying ceremony took place, followed by a Dua for the martyrs. While we read the names of the martyrs engraved on the stone walls, I recalled how as a child, after reading bravery of Major Shabir Sharif Shaheed (Nishan-i-Haider), I wished to become a martyr, too.

After the impressive ceremony, with lots of emotions in our heart, we went to the training area where soldiers were ready with a demonstration for us. As the show started, soldiers came down from high camouflaged towers, along the rope carrying a gun in one hand. It was stunning! We applauded out loud in appreciation. In the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) demonstration, commandos jumped out of a rushing double cabin vehicle and took positions as the supposed militants hit the hostages. An exchange of firing and bomb shelling began that sent an intense vibe of fear within me, my stomach crunched and my heart throbbed relentlessly. Despite knowing that it was a demonstration, I trembled and prayed from Allah that Pak Army wins the war against terrorists. The QRF demonstration ended with blue smoke screen as we appreciated their skills and took pride in our heroes. Emotionally charged, we raised slogans for Pakistan and our beloved Army.

Major General Fida Hussain, General Officer Commanding (GOC), Lahore Division welcomed us during his address in an auditorium. We found him to be a very impressive and inspirational officer. He honoured us with military caps as souvenirs. This will remind us for long about our day out with Pakistan Army. Brig Akif Iqbal, in a humorous sense, informed us about the difference between an Army and civil brain. He also informed us in depth about the military operations and about the success of the ongoing operation “Zarb-e-Azb”.

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Col Ali briefed us about the recruitment of female officers in Pakistan Army, exactly what we desired to know after witnessing all the thrilling, nerve-wrecking brave maneuvers carried out by the exceptionally talented and daring Jawans and officers of our Army. At that moment, half the young girls were motivated to join Pakistan Army, rest all fell in love and decided to marry none but an army officer. We were also taken to a unit and were shown arms & ammunition and were given the rarest of an opportunity to have a ride on an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC). It was one exhilarating experience that enhanced great confidence in us which we shall relish forever! Further we were toasted a party with the Jawans.

It was then the turn to visit the border area. During 1965 War, Pakistan Army won the Battle of Rohiwal against India. We felt proud to be at that place. Moreover, we also visited Ganda Singh Border at Kasur. Flag lowering ceremony was an electrifying experience. We raised slogans at the top of our voices, Naara-i-Takbeer, Allah-o-Akbar, Pakistan ka matlab kya, La il-lallah, Jeevey Jeevey Pakistan and Pakistan Zindabad. As the sun set, our thrilling day long trip with Pak Army came to an end. This trip has given us a unique opportunity to peep through the tough and the challenging life of men in khakis. How disciplined, meticulously and minutely they manage every aspect of their life and carry their task in hand with great perfection, dedication and devotion. Their commitment to their job is unparallel. Their hospitality and courteousness has been their hallmark.

This trip has been thrilling, adventurous, extremely fruitful and beneficial for the students. It has brought a paradigm shift and rekindled vigour and new spirit of nationalism and love for Pakistan Army within us. Such experiences can be instrumental in enhancing civil-military relationship that strengthen our determination to fight against all odds and evils. United we stand, divided we fall. On behalf of all students and faculty, I am extremely thankful to Lt Gen Naveed Zaman, Commander Lahore Corps, and our brave, bold and beloved Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif for this initiative.

Pakistan Zindabad! Pakistan Army Paindabad!
29
October

Winters Here We Go Trendy

Written By: Hina Parvez Butt

Fashion is one of the initial things you do to elevate yourself. Academically we are taught not to judge a book by its cover, yet we often do. Similarly when one gets dressed, he or she is making public the idea about one's self. Winters are approaching in Pakistan but fashions of the season are continuously buzzing. Fashion trends are always centre of focus of the ladies. From dresses to stilettos to makeup to colours, every single detail gets attention to result into a perfect look which is in accordance with the ongoing fashion. This is the reason why fashion industry is flourishing to a level beyond imagination and the experts are busy in introducing new and latest brands. The fashion trends are assessed, worked on and advertised so that public remains aware. For fall / winter 2014-15, the world of fashion has divided women's colours into different clubs by tones, including soft, bright, neutral, jewel and metallic. Jewel tones become the most influential by far, with highlights including several red options from cranberry to crimson, along with honey mustard and cooler shades of teal, orchid and cobalt. Also influential are the soft tones, which rely primarily upon pastel shades like dusty rose, while neutrals like peachy nude are also present. The brights, which have been so popular in recent seasons, are scaled back, while prerequisite pops of blood orange compliment cobalt. A wide range of neutral zeros are in on coffee as a favourite. For the dresses, longer and shorter lengths are both incorporated with tapered pants and as far as flairs are concerned, they are never ending as they will always remain in fashion for every season.

Inspired by a mixture of blooming flowers, travels abroad and strong, confident women, designers use colours to refresh, revive and defy conventional wisdom. As commonly understood, fashion is the first step out of poverty. You have nothing and then you put something on.

Signature style of the brand, Teena, is smocking, which can be seen in most of designs introduced. Trendy, modern cuts are spiced up with unique embellishment to create modern outfits. Teena also provides a platform for fashion school graduates to experiment with new designs, besides giving them an opportunity to jump deep into the world of fashion retail. The brand has participated in a lot of multibrand stores exhibitions and all of them have turned out to be hugely successful.

Wish you a trendy winter ahead.

The writer is a LUMS graduate, an entrepreneur and Member of Punjab Provincial Assembly.

Twitter: @hinaparvezbutt

04
October

Among Heroes

Written By: Capt Ali Ahmed Malik


You never seem normal," looking at his impassive face, Sara said in an inquiring tone.


"Because I don’t fit in your definition of normal," throwing pebbles in the water, gazing at the horizon, with his thoughts at unrest, being at par with the oceanic waves in front, his words disappearing in the sound of splashes, still being the only sound making sense to his fiancée’s ears. He continued "Someday I may meet your standards of being normal", as he sat facing her, "Although that is a rare possibility"


"When are you going to return to my life, rather our life?" eyes wide open, focused ears longing to hear the words that were never coming, she gently pushed her hair blowing in her face due to the Shore wind.


"When my battle scars would heal," it was very evident from the tone that he wasn’t exactly present in the moment.
"Why haven’t they healed already?"
"They aren’t meant to."
"You scare me often."
"Do I?"
"Don’t you see? While I am talking to you I mostly feel that ...."
"That you are talking to the walls."
"Emotionless walls."
"Time, my dear, is the answer."


Gazing at his face with her questioning eyes, she thinks of what she might hear this time as he breaks the silence, "I can’t forget May 13, 2013. We were on the move to reach our igloo before sunrise. It was 0200 hours, six of us, tied together with ropes, battling the harshness of weather, at 19000 feet in minus 35 degrees Celsius outside our windbreaker suits with freezing oxygen rupturing our chests, the blowing wind picking up snow and hitting us hard with it making one or two of us fall every now and then. It was perilous but we were hopeful until....’’ He throws another pebble into water, his face still unreadable, eyes speaking volumes of emotions. She starred at them, wondering what would happen next. He wouldn't speak much but when he did, he wouldn’t let any other sound make any sense to her; waves showing the unrest of ocean, his eyes showing his...


Afraid of what she might hear, she gathered courage to utter, ‘‘What happened there?’’
"We walked on the snow mass, 6 to 8 meters apart tied with ropes, that’s what we soldiers do up there but it isn’t always firm snow. I saw it. The gust of wind struck the one next to me this one time, and imbalanced he fell. As he hit the ground, the snow wasn’t strong enough to sustain the impact. It was a thin layer of ice he was standing upon, which cracked wide open and there he went inside the crevice. Before I could brace myself against the snow, I felt a jerk and followed him through. If it was not for the wits of the ones behind me, I wouldn't be here today.’’ His tone had just turned more magical, she didn’t want him to stop now, although it wasn’t the talk she longed for on this particular day. He continued. "They hit the snow with crampons which is normal practice to cater for such eventualities in the glaciers. Bracing themselves against the snow, they pulled the rope. Luckily, I didn’t go inside deeper, was on the edge and could climb back. My buddy, however, needed to be pulled out. He was 8 meters deeper than me, hanging with the same rope we all were tied with. I made efforts to move out which were successful. It was the resolve which kept us going. We pulled him out. One of his ribs were broken, which was revealed later. He had struck something harder down there or may be it was the jerk he received initially due to the tightened rope. We weren’t even half way to our igloo. It were us, who had to reach the igloo at night to relieve our comrades who were already present there and ready for the move back the next night having completed their tenure up there." Ali looked at the horizon, sun going down among clouds. The sea now becoming peaceful but he isn’t. "In the middle of a place where there are no signs of life, a fallen comrade besides you suffering with pain, others with a dying morale to see him in that condition, looking at each other to do something that would take away the pain. Hopeless yet hopeful eyes starring at you, I can’t tell you how lonely you feel. Imagine the people you never think of living a life without, think of one of them with his head in your lap, groaning, restless and you are helpless. You wait for some miracle to deal with this or wish for being in a dream you would soon wake up from. These moments shape you, whether or not a miracle takes place. When you come out of the situation, you are never the same as you were moments ago."


"What... like... tell me... what happened then," said Sara, failing to utter the right words.
"Some other day perhaps, we should go home now. I have to go meet someone," he said, getting up from the boulders they were sitting on. He always used to say, "Don’t stop me when I have to go. I won’t."


She wished she could just heal his scars, just bring him back to life and stay with him till eternity, in her world... the world he didn’t belong to anymore. He would always tell her, "Soldiers having experienced combat shouldn’t be questioned why they are the way they are." They got up, walked on the shore silently towards parking area where vehicles were parked.

 

amongheroes.jpgWalking on wet sand, hand in hand, gazing at sunset among clouds, contemplating nature, two other worldly souls though together were miles apart. Waves would come every now and then; touching their feet and making them feel the magic of ocean. The melody of quiet air was breathtaking. They walked slowly, occasionally uttering a word, "Winds up there are not quite friendly," he smiled through the words. She also faked one to hide the pain, she knew he wasn’t with her but with his comrades, the ones he always wished more to be with.


"I would be leaving tomorrow," he spoke again.
"I am aware."
"I confess that I am going to miss you."
"Can’t... you stay?," she said, well aware of the answer she was going to receive.
(After a pause) "I just wish I could!"
"We had promised to be together, no matter what happens."
"I remember and own my promises."
"Stopping you would be selfish, I know. I just wish things were different."
"But they aren’t...."
"But, what about me. When would I come to know your depths? Loving a soldier is a terrible mistake they say, I think they are right."
"You think or you want to think like this?" He smiles back.


"Not telling someone who wishes to know every little thing about you, not letting someone heal you as they can’t just see you hurt, leaving them to wait for times that may never come. Isn’t it unfair," she pauses and looks down, "I shouldn’t be saying this," she murmurs.


"You can have my diary, I am somewhere in the entries and blank pages. I will give it to you before leaving. I need not say that I trust you."


A smile rips through her eyes brimming with tears as she says, "You are my favorite mystery; I bet I will crack you one day." Both laugh.
(Two Days Later)


She sat in her room with a diary in her right hand opened across her eyes covered with glasses. She had already opened the entries written in the month of May 2013.


"Naik Ikhtiar Shah has always been one of my bravest soldiers and best companions of this journey to Siachen. His sense of humor, encouraging words to his fellows and his juniors and his dedication towards his military service is something I shall always remember. When I go back from here, I believe I will always cherish my memories of these lifeless glaciers capping Himalayas. Naik Shah was a tall man, measuring more than 6 feet in height. Whenever there was snowfall, I would always see him with a shovel in his hand, removing snow from the door of our igloo at a mid camp where I stayed with him for about a week or so before I could finally move further up. This snow if not removed in time can turn out to be a death trap. If a part of body gets exposed to the same snow, it can result in frostbite which can ultimately result in imputation. Life up here calls for iron nerves."


"He was lying with his head in my lap. Above 19000 feet, in the vast mysterious glaciers offering no mercy to anyone, temperature nearing –50 degrees, cold winds gusting past us, a few among us reciting verses from Holy Quran, wishing for a miracle to rescue us as I could see him fading away in my arms. I have never had such a situation in my life before. Military life can really challenge you in ways you can never expect. A few were rubbing his chest, putting pressure on his chest to make sure he kept breathing. We had no doctors to help him recover. All we had with us were life saving injections and an unparalleled faith in Almighty. We injected him with the hope of keeping his blood circulation active."


"How is he feeling now Ali?," called Capt Irfan, the sub-sector commander, on wireless.
"Sir! He will make it Insha Allah," I replied.
"Be aware of the deteriorating weather, a snow storm is expected soon, you have to make up to your post before first light. All the best."
"Roger sir."
Half-an-hour passed by, feeling like a century. He opened his eyes gently. It was as if life was returning to all of us. I still wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t survived.
"Shah, wake up buddy, lets do it again," his mate, Naik Irfan spoke with a determination.


Shah looked at our faces, most of which were grim by now, however, smiling at their buddy with whom they had already lived so many stories of valor and devotion. I waited for him to show some movement. He lifted himself up with difficulty as I helped, and he hugged me as he got up, "Thank you sir for not giving up on me."


"I am so proud of you Shah! Now brace yourself, you have to reach back to your camp before weather gets worse," I could not utter one more word.


He looked at me, the expression was priceless.
It was his turn to speak, "Irfan, I will lead on the way back."
"You stubborn idiot, obviously you will," Irfan replied smilingly.
"We lifted our packs, the journey of our guides from mid-camp ended here. We were to meet guides coming from our next destination who had to escort us there. While we were helping Shah recover, the guides from our next post had alread reached our location having heard our conversations on wireless. We hugged our buddies, said our goodbyes, waved and moved on."


"Ikhtiar Shah and his comrades made to their camp successfully while we also reached our destination before the first light. I was informed on wireless that he was taken to CMH Skardu the following morning on a helicopter where he was treated for a fractured rib and many bruises. However his life was out of danger. While I write these lines, I am accompanied by a section of soldiers, hailing from different regions of Pakistan, who are up here at Siachen with the sole purpose of serving Pakistan against all odds."


And the mystery started to unfold onto her as she continued to read through the pages. The reason why he was so different started to become clear. His experiences were not that of an ordinary man and so wasn't his courage. Every word she read made her more proud of the man; the soldier of this country, the guardian of this motherland!

 

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29
October

Uniform Goes Electronic

Electrically Conductive Fabric Military Uniform

Written By: Capt Humera Javed

Technological advancements have shown a substantial growth in each and every field whether it be the communication systems, electronic devices, bio-electronic devices, or military hardware. One such advancement is the introduction of electrically conductive fabric military uniform. A military uniform made of such material will enable the soldier to have the possibility to carry and recharge a single battery pack to charge all the electronics he carries without any extra cables. Currently, separate batteries may be required for each piece of a soldier's equipment, which adds to their carrying load as well as being costly. This is one reason why a centralized battery pack is so desirable and soldiers would also be able to recharge or replace one battery instead of many. In addition, it removes the hindrance of the many wires and cables required in military equipment which add weight and can tangle and snag. Developments in the use of conductive fibres have enabled fabric itself to become an electronic device, allowing wearables to be incorporated into the most stylish clothing.

Most conductive fibres are so flexible they do not crack or snap if repeatedly bent, unlike metal wires. This means they can be fed into a loom or embroidered directly onto cloth that can be worn and washed as normal. There are many different ways used by companies to make such conductive fibres. For example, textiles can simply be intertwined with filaments of stainless steel or other metals, or they can be dipped in liquid metals such as aluminum and magnesium, a polymer conductive fibre is made by simply giving a metalized coating and then multiple fibres are wrapped together to form light, supple strands that conduct electricity. Similarly copper fibre contains just a third of the copper in the solid wire it replaces and fibres of stainless steel are under 12 microns in diameter – less than half the thickness of a human hair. It is so soft to handle that people cannot tell it is made from steel. Many companies are also developing light weight carbon and silver fibres to make aprons used for protecting X-ray technicians and a fabric that partially absorbs radar signals.

Using such fibres that conduct electricity opens up all sorts of new design possibilities. Many intelligent textile companies along with the armed forces all over the world are working to produce combat fatigues with pathways of conductive fibres to deliver power to the increasing amount of equipment which soldiers now wear for combat. Another benefit is that fabric does not contain any wires and it is actually a conductive yarn. So if it is even cut from several places it will still continue functioning properly, only the integration of the conductive yarn into a military vest, shirt, backpack, helmet and gloves will be required.

It is not just power leads that can be incorporated into fabrics, but electronic devices as well. Antennae can also be embroidered onto shirts using silver-coated thread. The embroidered antennae can be used by devices worn by the user/soldier to transmit and receive radio signals or to boost the device's own transmission range. Researchers are also working to develop a fabric keyboard made of conductive yarn for use with a portable computer that will be integrated with the uniform. Touching a particular key dissipates an electrical charge which can be detected by an embedded processor. Often the idea is to use the electronics contained in the garment/uniform in tandem with a traditional clip-on device.

Military and law enforcement personnel can benefit from such uniforms and body armour made of electrically conductive fibre that is equipped with built-in sensors and computing devices and this would in turn enhance their battlefield performance.

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