Written By: Areesha Latif
"Never think we are weak or feeble, never think you can hide from us or breathe in peace, we will catch you even from the deepest core of the Arabian Sea or highest high of a thumping mountain" these words of a message to terrorists, shook me until echoes of Major Qasim's reverberating voice absorbed into everything in the vicinity. Yes, a Ghazi, Major Qasim of Armoured Corps, Pakistan Army is a living miracle here at Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFIRM) and indeed an epitome of courage and valor. He suffered from a head and upper limb injury in Orakzai agency while fighting against terror, curbing this heinous menace. "I am here to get well for I have to go back as soon as possible and pay my fair share to make this land a peaceful one for you and generations to come," said Major Qasim vigorously. He has been here at AFIRM, since last one year. His doctors said that when he came here to them he had lost his vision, speech and mobility due to severe injuries but with the help of occupational, vocational and other therapies here at AFIRM and of course his own determination and unabashed hopefulness, he is now gradually gaining pace.
This is not the only case of its kind but AFIRM is dealing unremittingly with many such cases and is committed to its numerous services towards the mankind indiscriminatingly. As I walked through the halls of AFIRM for my report work, at the sight of stumps and amputees, panic rolled in and pulled me under for I thought it to be like any other hospital facilitating its patients but my this very vision came trembling down as I further examined the patient-doctor relation as well as the high quality treatments and well maintained departments but above all high spirits lingered in the air. AFIRM was established in 1980, and so it is being upgraded since then. AFIRM serves not only to people in Armed Forces but equally to its civilians as well. For instance it also caters people who are by birth disabled or fell prey roadside accident. The vibrant example of its indiscriminating service is of earthquake, when back in 2005, an earthquake of 7.6 magnitude struck Pakistan. To deal with such mass casualties and death toll was indeed a harsh challenge for our country. AFIRM played a major role in providing earthquake affectees complete treatment that included therapies, amputation and prosthetic limbs.
"I have only lost a leg but my concrete spirits still prevail," glee in Sepoy Noorshad Ali's voice was evident as he wore his prosthetic running blade (sports leg) instead of his prosthetic lower limb. He lost his leg to a LED blast in Mohmand Agency while fighting against terror. AFIRM gave him a running blade that is actually a special sort of prosthetic device as he was a sportsman before and wished to continue even after the injury. It is used instead of prosthetic lower limb by sportsmen like Noorshad to run more easily and play better.
Where as Sepoy Usama Ashraf was admitted to AFIRM only two months ago. He lost a leg to a mine blast in Mohmand Agency in operation Zarb-e-Meezan. There was a stump just below his knee, wrapped and bandaged. His eyes misted as he mentioned how grateful he is to army, this institution and his comrades. He said in gregarious manner that even now after two months of having an amputation he receives a call each day from his friends and unit officers wishing him health and prosperity.
Each word all these young yet so brave custodians of peace and guardians of this motherland said penetrated my heart like a bullet, there was a curious yet a gleaming light in the eyes of each war wounded soldier there, maybe, just maybe of a subtle victory that they had known . What left me utterly astonished was their unfazed spirit and high determination. There were patients with quadratic amputation that means loss of both upper and lower limbs, even the idea of this is spine chilling and torturesome yet they were so full of hope and concrete morales. Their strength knew no bounds. Unruffled by emotional agitation or physical adversity these national heroes deserve our support and recognition for sacrificing their now for our better tomorrow. To this day I realized that the only battle we need to win is the battle within. The battle that either empowers you or enslaves you, the battle is yours and so is the decision.
"A man never quits until its over, Fight and fight for what you think you should fight for until you win the fight, but remember to "fight", said Major Qasim.