Inspiration

A Shaheed’s Widow: Resolve and Steadfastness, Personified

“I was now the mother and also the father of two small kids, three-year-old Izzah and two-year-old Abdullah, with Zainab about to be born in four months’ time. All at once, life had forever changed. Life is a complete challenge in all its various facets — a challenge that I have to tackle on my own. It has been a little over three years, days and nights continue to go by, and while I am a proud wife and my kids remember their father with pride every day, the pain is still the same; my kids and I still feel the void that he has left behind.”


The month of September invariably brings to mind the sacrifices that this nation has made to anchor its freedom. These sacrifices are not limited to the wars that have been fought at the borders but also include those made during the war on terror against an enemy that tried to weaken us from within. This nation, however, stood firm against all such efforts with resolve. I say nation and not men who fought, because no man fights all by himself; there is a whole network of people behind him ­— family, friends, and colleagues. When a soldier goes to war, he leaves behind many people who wait eagerly, praying for his safe return, but at the same time cognizant of the danger to his life and the fact that he might never come back. What determines a nation’s fate is whether that realization makes them deter him or support him. I am proud to say that our nation has no qualms in sending its men to fight for the peace and security of our country. And I say this with complete confidence because I have met many families, friends and acquaintances of martyrs. And in each one of them I only saw pride, reverence, and resolve to do the same if it came to it. 



“Mudasar was not injured, he had embraced shahadat. Completely shell-shocked, in silence I set out for Peshawar to receive his body but, strangely still praying for his health, hoping against hope. Strange as that may be, my hope of his survival died only after I reached Peshawar and saw his body lying on the gurney in the cold mortuary of CMH Peshawar.” 


A few days ago, I met, at a birthday party, an abaya-clad cheerful, young mother of three, with a grace that is unmatched and with a look in her eyes that told you she was a woman of substance, afraid of nothing. Her name was Samia. She was a widow … of a martyr —­ Maj Mudasar Sagheer Satti. Her aura drew me close to her and we started talking about little things and then about her three-year-old daughter, Zainab, who did not go far from her mother. Samia told me that Zainab, who had just turned three in July, was born four months after her father’s martyrdom. I was struck by that. This little girl was never held by her father; her life began after her father’s ended. She was at a birthday party where the parents of the little girl just like her were cutting the birthday cake together, while hers a few weeks ago was cut by only her mother. What kind of impact would that have on a child? 
And then there was her mother, Samia, and Maj Mudasar; they must have visualized a future for themselves, one they had vowed to share when they got married but which had come to an abrupt end. What could be more tragic? Do I feel sad for Samia and Maj Mudasar’s children, or do I feel sad for the lifetime of dreams that the two of them had shared and which would never come true now? And yet, did I see even a trace of regret or grief in Samia’s eyes? No! There was only pride, there was only resolve, and there was joy when she looked at her kids. I felt like I was in the presence of a most inspiring woman. I decided then and there that I would tell her story to highlight why we are such a strong nation.
The next time I met her was in the cool, dimly lit drawing room of her residence in Chaklala Garrison. The drawing room had framed photos of Maj Mudasar and a case that had the Sitara-e-Basalat for laying down his life for the country. The casually dressed woman in front of me was no less graceful, stoic or resolute than the one I had met a few days ago. Was she always like this? I think, yes … because of what she told me, and how she told me, about her life since the day of Maj Mudasar’s martyrdom.
She began her story: 
“The telephone bell rang just when I finished with my morning prayers. I picked the phone up to receive the call you do not ever want to receive. It was my father-in-law on the other side, crying. He said, “Samia betay Mudasar zakhmi ho gay hain.” This hit me like a bullet. However, praying and hoping for the best, I pulled myself together, and told my sister to look after my two sleeping kids as I asked my brother to take me to CMH Peshawar, where Mudasar was supposed to have been brought.
While I was getting ready to go, I received another phone call that brought the world crashing down on me. Mudasar was not injured, he had embraced shahadat. Completely shell-shocked, in silence I set out for Peshawar to receive his body but, strangely, still praying for his health, hoping against hope. Strange as that may be, my hope of his survival died only after I reached Peshawar and saw his body lying on the gurney in the cold mortuary of CMH Peshawar. Life is strange and you discover things about yourself that you had never thought likely. I made one such discovery on that cloudy morning; I felt a strength that I did not fathom was in me and somehow in that moment I accepted his departure from this world to the next one with absolute faith in the will of the Almighty. Mudasar had left for the heavenly abode leaving his two kids and pregnant wife behind, to take his place in the ranks of those who do not die, those who are among Allah’s favourites. What was I to do? I had to step up and weather the storm for my kids … and myself.
“Mudasar was an MBA, who left his job when his lifelong dream of becoming an Army officer came true. He passed-out from PMA (as part of Graduate Course-27) and joined 27 Punjab. He served at various places including the troubled Swat.
“At the time, Mudasar was posted in FC KP in Orakzai Agency as DQ Orakzai Scouts. Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad was in full swing and many Intelligence-based Operations (IBOs) were being conducted. One such IBO was to be conducted in the early hours of the morning of March 22, 2017. Because of his administrative post as the DQ, Mudasar was not supposed to go for the operation but seeing that the target was high-value, he volunteered because of the relative inexperience of the young officer who was to conduct it; Mudasar had the experience of fighting the Taliban in Swat. While fighting valiantly, and after killing five Taliban (including the high-value target), keeping Pakistan Army’s traditions alive, he received a bullet to his chest and attained shahadat on the spot.” 



“Mudasar was not supposed to go for the operation but seeing that the target was high-value, he volunteered because of the relative inexperience of the young officer who was to conduct it; Mudasar had the experience of fighting the Taliban in Swat. While fighting valiantly, and after killing five Taliban (including the high-value target), keeping Pakistan Army’s traditions alive, he received a bullet to his chest and attained shahadat on the spot.” 


I could see the moisture in her eyes and thought she might break down but she only paused for a second to draw in a deep breath and continued: 
“I was now the mother and also the father of two small kids, three-year-old Izzah and two-year-old Abdullah, with Zainab about to be born in four months’ time. All at once, life had forever changed. Life is a complete challenge in all its various facets — a challenge that I have to tackle on my own. It has been a little over three years, days and nights continue to go by, and while I am a proud wife and my kids remember their father with pride every day, the pain is still the same; my kids and I still feel the void that he has left behind.”
On my question on how she managed this composure and maintain a cheerful outlook towards life, and at the same time satisfied her children’s queries about their father, she replied: 
“Allah is the greatest of all healers. He gave me strength and courage to cope with this loss and face all the challenges of life in a positive way. Being a single parent, from morning till night I have to deal with all the needs of my children — carrying the burden of making all decisions on my own with no one to back me up if I’m wrong. Things were very complicated in the beginning but with the passage of time by the grace of Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala, they have become easier to handle. My family, friends and even teachers stood beside me through it all as my support. And, when I talk about family I mean my Army family as well. I can never thank Pakistan Army enough for their great help at all stages, during these three years.



Samia smiled at him and said to me, “Mudasar’s shahadat has not shattered our resolve or love for the country; we are all ready to make sacrifices for our country, in any form required. My son says that he will join the Army and fight against enemies just like his Baba and will embrace shahadat. My daughter wants to become an Army doctor to treat the sick and injured soldiers. I pray that Insha Allah my kids will become sadqa-e-jariah for their father.”


“As for my kids, they feel the absence of their father, especially when they see other kids with their fathers. They ask about why their father cannot be home, like the fathers of their schoolmates. It is hard to explain to these young minds that are not fully able to comprehend the concepts of martyrdom and laying your life for a higher cause, but I try. I tell them that he will not be able to come home or even call them because he has been posted to Paradise, which is very far, but that he could see us. However much they are able to understand, gives them a sense of pride at being the offspring of a martyr. My children try to behave in the best way possible because they also want to one day go to Paradise to meet Baba. Alhamdulillah, Allah has poured sabr on them and from that fateful morning until now, they have never made it harder for me than it already is. Sometimes when they miss him they only say, “Baba bhi  hotay tau kitna maza aata.” I show my kids Mudasar’s pictures and videos so they would always remember him and know how much he loved them. To Zainab, I tell her that she doesn’t have any videos with Baba because she was preparing his room in Paradise and couldn’t be with him.”
As we sat there talking, five-year old Abdullah ran in and pointed towards his father’s picture in uniform and said, “That’s my Baba. He’s in Paradise because he is a shaheed. When I grow up, I’m going to go and see him.” Pointing to his father’s decoration, he said, “And I will also get these because I’m going to be very brave, just like my Baba.”
Samia smiled at him and said to me, “Mudasar’s shahadat has not shattered our resolve or love for the country; we are all ready to make sacrifices for our country, in any form required. My son says that he will join the Army and fight against enemies just like his Baba and will embrace shahadat. My daughter wants to become an Army doctor to treat the sick and injured soldiers. I pray that Insha Allah my kids will become sadqa-e-jariah for their father.”
When I asked her if she feels cheated by how life took a turn, she shook her head firmly and said with absolute conviction:
“First of all, I do not challenge Allah’s will because He knows what’s best. My husband died trying to protect the future of not only his own children but that of all of Pakistan. He died a hero. I’m so proud of him. Whoever we are today, after Allah it is because of Mudasar. He is our pride and has given us the respect and identity that only the luckiest people are blessed with. May Allah make me and my kids worthy of the status we hold. Ameen.”

It is heroes like Mrs. Maj Mudasar — and she is a hero for taking on apparently insurmountable challenges of life with grace and courage and uncomplaining — that strengthen my belief and reassure me that no one can vanquish our Armed Forces because the nation stands behind them. Our soldiers and officers will never waver, not only because of their own patriotism but also because of the strength, support and patriotism of those who they leave behind to serve the country. HH


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