Written By: Mrs. Maj Hussain
Let me acknowledge the efforts of Pakistan Army which has recognized the sacrifices of its men to the optimum. Though due recognition to earlier shuhadas had always been there but the motivation and ownership in the present era is above par. Motivated from this fact, I thought that I must also communicate to Hilal readers my story as the widow of a shaheed.
Enter Summer 1972 – a son of this soil anxiously paces in his room, engrossed in his thoughts when he is startled by a knock. Before he has time to think, the door opens. On seeing a familiar face, he heaves a sigh of relief. “You have a package,” murmurs the delivery boy as he drops it and runs. He does not know but this is the highlight of the soldier’s month. Overcome by excitement he leaps towards the box, opening it ever so slightly. Joyous yet cautious, completely aware of how precarious the situation is. One misstep and it could be the end for him.
With his back to the door, he pulls out the contents – a book, a fresh pair of clothes and some sweets. Tears well up in his eyes, it all smells of home. He holds the book to his chest as he rummages through the clothes. There has to be something, he thinks, not ready to let go. He sticks his hand in the pockets, and they meet something. With trembling hands he unfolds the picture he had just pulled out. A defiant tear escapes his eyes as he stares at the picture of his newborn. In this moment he feels like captive; captivated by the beauty of his daughter’s face.
The jubilation in his heart knows no bounds, for expressions such as these keep his hope unscathed.
This is the story of many of our country’s daring men who have sacrificed their lives for their motherland. Below is the account of one such son of the soil.
Let me acknowledge the efforts of Pakistan Army which has recognized the sacrifices of its men to the optimum. Though due recognition to earlier shuhadas had always been there but the motivation and ownership in the present era is above par. Motivated from this fact, I thought that I must also communicate to Hilal readers my story as the widow of a shaheed. My husband PA-6776, Major Muhammad Hussain, Ordnance Corps succumbed to the torture of our callous enemy and eventually laid his life during captivity after the 1971 war in Meerut, India.
This unsung hero gave his life for the nation in the most perilous situation. This story began on March 4, 1942 when Maj Muhammad Hussain was born in a military family of village Buchal Kalan, District Chakwal. After receiving early education in Chakwal and Karachi, he joined Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul with 27th PMA Long Course in November 1960. Upon graduation from PMA he joined Ordnance Corps in April 1963. His first posting was to Quetta followed by stays at various places in Pakistan. On October 30, 1970 while serving as a Major, he was deputed as an ATO in 9th Division HQ, Kharian. Soon after taking over the post, the Division moved to East Pakistan.
As the 1971 war ended, the officers and troops were sent to various camps in India. One such camp was Number 40 in Meerut where Maj Hussain was imprisoned. At home, Maj Hussain was assumed missing until his name was published in the POW (Prisoner of War) list.
Although a detailed account of the day-to-day occurrences is not available, many of Maj Hussain’s colleagues elaborated on his general routine at the camp. Coupled with the few letters received from the officer it can be inferred that the general behavior of the Indian army towards POWs was cruel. In captivity, the officer was often taken to unknown places. However, what he endured there was neither shared by him nor the perpetrators. According to fellow captives who narrated on return, Maj Hussain would often complain of headaches and stay quiet for hours. This was in stark contrast to how his friends and family knew him: as a jovial and lively individual.
All captives at the camp were fed substandard foods, despite having received clear quality standards and instructions from World Health Organization (WHO). The food they were fed was mixed with grinded pieces of glass due to which many officers developed serious health conditions.
As a result of the torture inflicted on the officer, he developed some health issues. According to the letter received, meningitis took him over. However, according to his fellow POWs it was not a natural disease but was inflicted upon him through various tortures and other medical means. Maj Hussain was admitted in CMH Meerut on May 15, 1973. He was unable to identify faces at first but on May 17 or 18, he went into a coma, and on May 21, 1973 he passed away. He sacrificed his life but chose not to succumb to the demands of his enemy.
Major Muhammad Hussain left behind a wife and three year old daughter. He embraced shahadat and became a source of motivation and strength for the Army and his family.
His funeral was held in the Muslim graveyard at Meerut after which he was buried there as ‘Amanat’. At that time it was declared that the body would be returned to the family later on. In accordance with the promise, efforts were made by his family to get the body buried in Pakistan but the request was denied by the Indian Government. Today, I, his wife and my daughter find not his grave to meet him but know well that his soul must be around in his beloved Pakistan. The Indians were cruel then to kill a helpless POW, and cruel still to deny a grave to the family of a martyr!