As I was communicating with my '2nd-in-Command', Maj Jalal Ud Din Tareen Shaheed, and other command echelons through wireless-valiant1set on 21 May 2014 – while we were engaged in exchange of fire with the foreign terrorists in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) – there was suddenly a silence on the communication network. And before I could use the alternative means of communication to know about the situation, Capt Haider Khan, another officer participating in the same operation, reported to me that Maj Jalal had been hit by bullets of the enemy. I was also informed that two more soldiers from my proud unit, Sepoy Saleem Ullah and Sepoy Imtiaz had also received bullet injuries and had embraced Shahadat at the spot. I ordered Capt Haider Khan to immediately assume the command of the situation in place of Major Jalal and also ordered for evacuation of causalities to Field Treatment Centre (FTC), Mir Ali Camp in NWA, as we kept the enemy engaged. “He has been hit in the chest and bullet has damaged his internal organs that resulted in excessive blood loss,” shared doctor at the FTC with me.
He was in critical condition. We realized it, but were equally proud of the fact that Maj Jalal was another addition to the already long list of gallant soldiers of Pak Army who are always ready to lay their lives for the country. A tall, quiet, humble and graceful Maj Jalal Ud Din Tareen was born and brought up in a far flung area of Gulistan, located in Qilla Abdullah District of Balochistan. Hailing from a Pakistan-loving-patriotic-family, Maj Jalal joined Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), Kakul with 94 PMA Long Course in 1994, and was commissioned in 54 Baloch Regiment in 1997. His younger brother, Tariq Tareen, shares that Maj Jalal was very regular in communication with all family members and would always advise them to become useful citizen and was often found talking about Pakistan. Recalling his words, he tells, “Pakistan cannot go weak as along as its people work hard with zeal and enthusiasm and love their country.” I have the privilege of being coursemate of Maj Jalal, and was fortunate enough to be his Commanding Officer, too. Although Maj Jalal could not be promoted last year, but not even for a single moment did he give any gesture of being unhappy and was as good an officer as he used to be before his Selection Board. This is indeed beauty of Pakistan Army and its system that the soldiers prefer to work for country rather than for promotions and privileges. Maj Jalal was one such example besides many, who continue to serve the country in their own way.
“We should continue to work on training aspects of the soldiers as better trained soldiers will prove their mettle during the conduct of operations,” said Maj Jalal while discussing professional affairs of the unit with me, a day prior to his Shahadat. He was a driving force for all of us in the unit. One day once I asked him to proceed on leave, and his reply was simple: “I am not tired. I am never tired of wearing uniform and will only proceed to meet my family after spending the coming Eid with my troops.” Probably that Eid may never arrive now but his under command troops recall his words each day and admire his love for his soldiers. So intense was his love for his men that while being evacuated to FTC, he was not much worried about himself but was continuously asking about the health and condition of his two fellow soldiers who received bullets in the same incident and was reciting the Kalima continuously, recalls Subedar Major Alam Hussain, who was with him in FTC, Mir Ali.
Major Jalal was a marvelous support for me in the extension of my command in the unit. He was highly motivated and a true regimental officer who was involved in every affair of the unit and all operational tasks assigned to the paltaon. We went together to neutralize the terrorists in Mir Ali area on 19 December 2013 and returned victorious, and were happy to fight the terrorists again on another day. That day was to come five months later, on 21 May 2014, to leave its scars on my heart forever.
Although we were course-mates and good friends, but Maj Jalal never addressed me with my name after I assumed the command, and would always call me as 'Sir', which at times was embarrassing for me. And if I expressed un-easiness to be addressed so formally by him, he would say, “Allah has bestowed this rank upon you and you deserved it; it is my duty both officially and in person to respect you for this. I will In-Sha-Allah call you by your name once you are over with the command.”
Dear Jalal, now, I eagerly wait for you to address me with my name. Major Jalal loved his family very much. He was blessed with two sons and two lovely daughters. I never got the chance to talk to his eldest daughter, Umme Kalsoom, but his son Adil Tareen was almost a member of our unit community and we often talked to each other. Maj Jalal remained in touch with his wife on daily basis and was always concerned about their comfort and good life. Haji Muhammad Akhtar (father of Maj Jalal), a brave and courageous Baloch, after receiving Maj Jalal's coffin at home, said “It is Will of Allah and I am proud of my son who has sacrificed his life for Pakistan.” Maj Jalal often discussed situation of Balochistan with me. “I feel so happy that Army has opened many schools in Balochistan and is doing so much for the welfare of the people. I have a strong desire that people of Balochistan get best education and facilities,” Jalal shared with me the other day. He always motivated the troops from remote areas to bring their families in cantonment and educate their children. The bullet wound on the chest of Maj Jalal resulted in excessive blood loss. Although he was transfused three pints of blood during surgery at FTC, but could not sustain the injury and left for eternal abode in the midway to Peshawar, where he was being air-lifted to, for advance treatment. Before evacuation to Peshawar, at Mir Ali, I carried Jalal's stretcher from ambulance to the chopper. That was the last and final moment that I saw Jalal asleep, peacefully, though alive at that time.
Maj Jalal was buried with full military honour in his ancestral town, Saigai (Gulistan), Balochistan. He will always be remembered by his friends, colleagues, family members and above all, 54 Baloch Regiment.
LONG LIVE PAKISTAN
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