September Special

Dear Baba

From a son to his Father, Lt Col Tahir Iqbal Shaheed

It was 28 June 2009, I was with my family, living in Peshawar, when I heard the news that my father had been shot in the head by the Taliban and had embraced “Shahadat”. I didn't understand it at that time and I didn't pay much attention because I was just 7 years old. But when I saw my mother crying and saying that “I can't live without him,” I got little worried. My best friend's mother, who was also the wife of my father's course-mate, informed my mother about this tragic news. That very night we went to Wah Cantt to my maternal dear baba2uncle's house. I didn't know anything at that time so I started playing with my cousins. My mother sent me to bed at about 8:00 p.m.

The next morning I woke up and saw my mother again crying. I asked her that why she was crying. She didn't tell me anything and said that there was something in her eye. I could guess that she wasn't speaking truth because there wasn't anything in her eye. That afternoon my mother told me the truth that my father was no more in this world. At first I thought that it was a joke but then my uncle asked my mother that why she had told me. At that point I understood that my father had embraced Shahadat and was no more.

The next day we went to Islamabad for my father's funeral and burial. At about 6 o'clock in the evening, my father's body arrived. Everyone rushed towards the ambulance, took out the coffin, and moved inside the house. I sat right beside it with my little brother and mother. When I saw his face, I noticed a little smile on it. I can't understand it till today, that why he was smiling.

Then, we went to the graveyard to bury him. In the ambulance, I couldn't stop myself crying. The Commander Rawalpindi Corps and friends of my father were giving me hope and were asking me not to cry. When I arrived at the graveyard it was about 9 p.m. First of all, we attended the Janaza and then we buried him. He was later given Gun Salute and wreaths were laid at his grave.

Instead of being sad, I was feeling proud of my father because he made Pakistan proud, made the army proud, and made his family proud. A Shaheed never dies, I can still hear his voice in my lone times. Two days before his Shahadat, he told me to always take care of my mother and my little brother. When my friends talk about their fathers, I then miss the times spent with him.

dear baba3Before going on that particular mission, he specially called at home and asked my mother to call me as he wanted to speak to me. He told me that he had to go on an important mission and said, “Abubakar, you are always my dear and brave son; you have to take care of your mother and your younger brother, and remember we are fighting for a good cause.” These things he shared with me and not with my mother, and two days after this call, my mother received this news that Lt. Col Tahir Iqbal had embraced Shahadat.

Today I feel so proud of my Baba. I am a proud son of a brave Pakistani and I will serve my country like my father. Today six years have passed since his Shahadat but his memories still live with us. I feel his presence around me all the time asking me to be brave and to work hard. Even though if he is not with me now, physically, but he still lives with me spiritually.

It is my advice to all the children whose fathers have died for Pakistan, not to be sad about it rather must be proud of it. When he embraced martyrdom, I was in 2nd grade and now I am studying in the 8th grade but I still remember all his lectures, his love, gifts, and occasional scolding. I remember, his anger was always for very short time, and then he would love more than before. I miss the chocolates and candies he used to bring for us while returning from office. Sometime, I just feel that he is at the gate with lots of fruit, ice-cream, chocolates and with a big smile. I wait for him, do not open the door as now he can pass all the doors. He can see me but I can't.

Eversince Shahadat of my father, my mother has been both my mother and my father. She never made us feel that our father is not with us and always played a father's role in our life. I feel very proud when I tell my friends that my father gave his life for Pakistan. Pakistan Army has backed us in this difficult situation and we never feel alone. I am living a very good life in a very good place; all because of my father. I salute to all these Pakistanis who have given their lives for Pakistan.

I love Pakistan. Pakistan Zindabad

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