(Capt omerzeb, T Bt met shahadet on 21 May 2009 at lower Dir during Operation Rah – e - Rast.)
The morning of 21 May 2009 was dawn as normal, not knowing that another few hours will change the entire spectra of me and my family life. Who knew that another few hours the ALLAH ALMIGHTY has selected the most blessed of my sons and is all set to receive him as SHAHEED in the HEAVEN. Like usual I was on my way to my office at Islamabad, i got few calls on my mobile and all inquired about me as to where i was and about Capt Omerzeb – my son, as to how he was, since his unit was operating in SWAT area fighting out the Talibbans and their cronies. Since i had talked to Omerzeb the last night, I told them he was OK and in very high spirits and that i was driving to Islamabad, completely oblivious that his Shahadat news has already been aired on the TV Channel. These calls were made having read that news, but none could reveal this news to me knowing that I was not in the knowledge when finally while still on move I received another call from one of my cousins, Maj Nasir, who picked up courage and revealed the news and said that he had confirmed from unit as well. My nerves were cool by ALLAH’s blessings, applied brakes and parked the car on the side, came out, took deep breaths, looked up at the sky, and the first thing I said, “ Snachu ( his pall name ), this is what you always wanted and ALLAH did not disappoint you here as well”. The tears rolled down my cheeks, for a while i was just blank but soon ALLAH blessed me tremendous courage and I thanked ALLAH for choosing the dearest of my sons and honouring him with such a great name of “SHAHEED” and me as father of Shaheed who himself is a Ghazi of 1971 war but was not lucky enough for this honour. Capt Omerzeb was performing as Adjutant of 9 A.K Regiment and while moving with his Commanding Officer on a recce mission in Lower Dir Area (SWAT) got trapped in the mines (IED’s) laid up by the miscreants, resulting in big explosion. The vehicle got totally smashed and Capt omerzeb along with the driver and the wireless operator met shahadet on the spot. The Commanding Officer who was driving the vehicle escaped miraculously with minor injuries. ALHAMD O LILLAH he is back to his Command with added vigour and spirits. On my way back to my house, I could all along see my Shaheed son, how he grew, his early schooling, his adulthood, his passion for military life and just four years of a highly charged commissioned officer. All this passed like an eye wink. Today on the first anniversary of his Shahadat, I wish to share with the readers as to how he grew to receive the coveted award of SHAHEED.
Capt Omerzeb was born in 1984 at CMH Rawalpindi. He was the third son to his parents. Omerzeb was very healthy weighing eight & half pounds on his birth with broad eyes and smiling face. He was sparklingly handsome. Anyone who would look at him could never resist kissing him. He grew as a very playful and cheering lad. I hardly remember him unnecessarily crying or bewailing. I vividly remember in one of the mixed gatherings in the mess I was carrying omerzeb, one of a senior officers while looking at omerzeb remarked , “ afzal, I don’t mind having 12 sons like this boy”. MASHALLAH, Omerzeb was stunningly good-looking and attractive. Somehow he would get overjoyed on wearing colourful and smartly fitted cloths, a habit which remained with him always. No doubt he would always put on smartly stitched suits and the uniform. As a youngest son and the brother he always got the special attention not only from the parents but the whole family. His broad manly looks, smartly dressed, charged agility with lots of mannerism made him a very sought after young boy both with children and elders alike. His early schooling at Iqra Academy Quetta, Presentation Convent Murree, Army Public Schools at Sialkot and Peshawar went very rewarding for his personality building. All along he has been very extrovert and took full participation in outdoor activities, may these were games, musical evenings, debates, physical shows or naat competitions. Omerzeb was visible everywhere and has a good collection of prizes and certificates. An interesting thing about him was that he would do exceedingly well when put under competition with someone. He could never see any one surpassing him. He would take it a matter of life & death and prepare so hard to win under any circumstances. On one such occasion when studying at Army Public College at Rawalpindi, one of his class fellows who was a good English debater challenged him to come on stage and compete in the coming annual English debate. He accepted the challenge and started preparing for the debate, the first of his student life. He certainly was a bit nervous initially but with a little motivation and counselling as how to start preparation, he got on to his tempo and prepared with the help of English teachers from various other colleges, all at his own and finally came up with an excellent script. He rehearsed this script over dozens of times in front of mirror, in front of me, his friends and added style to his delivery. The boy was really involved in this event. He prepared it exceedingly well and on the day of competition he was way ahead of his challenger. He won and was declared the best debater of the year 2002 and was selected as General Secretary English Debating Society as well.
This is how he grew- all committed, focused and exactly knew about his aim and how to accomplish that. Never ever I received any complaint from anywhere – his teachers, his friends, neighbours or any family member. I never chased him for studies, he never tutioned except once and that too for a short while. He was weak in urdu writing but his English writing and expression was excellent. As his FSc was about to finish, I asked about his future move, his answer was (and I knew well) “Army is my only choice”. I did give him few other options but he just brushed these away. He had all along been crazy about Army. He would, as a young boy very often put on my uniform and behave like an army officer. Army had been his dream. Of course her mother always sided with him in joining the Army. As soon as he passed his FSc he applied and started preparing for 111 Long Course and got selected. Once again his passion, commitment and focused preparation made him through. His stay at Military Academy had seen many ups and downs. His extrovert nature, very friendly, over confidence impressed his juniors and seniors and became a popular cadet of his course. He somehow could never fall in the category of disciplined cadets and therefore was first in getting de-striped in his course. He very often remained on evening punishments rolls because of his frankness with staff, over protection of his colleagues, cranking of jokes and such like activities which were more fun oriented and lively. Omerzeb and the punishment dress remained very friendly to each other at the Academy. The good thing was that he remained ever smiling under much stressed moments, took these tough times like a man and passed out as a Gentleman cadet in 2005. On his Passing Out day one of his Platoon Commanders whom I met remarked about him “ Sir, Omerzeb is very different , this boy will rise very high , but he has to show more seriousness towards his profession”. Omerzeb standing next to me listened, smiled and his inner challenges accepting nature whispered something which he kept up his mind till last. He joined 9 AK Regiment at Azad Kashmir as 2nd Lieutenant and I saw him immensely pleased.
2nd Lt Omerzeb, a smartly turned out officer worked very hard in his unit, earned great confidence of his seniors, participated in all activities of the unit with lot of motivation. He volunteered all outdoor events and soon became a very likeable young officer in the unit. He got the second pip at his turn. The Battalion Commanders in succession appointed him on their staff only because of his seriousness and efficient work habits. On his basic course at Infantry School he got AX grade, this performance he repeated on the 120 MM Mortar Course as well by obtaining AX. He passed his promotion examination, got promoted as Captain and was appointed Adjutant of the Battalion, a chair which every young officer cherishes. He moved with the unit to Rahim Yar Khan and always remained busy with the normal unit activities. He would daily talk to every member of the family and express his respect and love to everyone. His extrovert nature made him a lovely member of the mess and cantonment functions. He was a very good singer, a prolific anchor and a dramatist. These virtues made him popular among young boys, girls and ladies as well. But somewhere down his heart he had different plans - all together different.
Captain Omerzeb by now had become very mature, very serious in his professional obligations - his battalion and his job was his total life. By now his two elder brothers had got married and it was now his turn. We agreed to his selection of lady of his heart and started preparing for a formal Magni. As I now came to know of his diary and what he wrote in that reflected his burning desire. Capt Omerzeb was wishing a very dignified journey, a journey which Hazrat Ali wished, a journey which takes you to the apex, a journey which takes you to the destination where you are received by ALLAH HIMSELF. Capt Omerzeb as usual was again focused, committed to his aim and very well new his destination. His battalion was earmarked to move to NWFP area where Pakistan Army was fighting the very existence of its country against the terrorist who by all means are foreign sponsored by most sophisticated arms and tons of money. These terrorist call themselves as Talibans and Muslims but are most brutal and well trained. They preach Islam in its crudest form, in fact these terrorist are bigotries, atheists and hardened criminals from different nations who hold evil design against Pakistan and its nuclear assets. Capt Omerzeb was well aware of all national and international involvement in the current situation on our Northern Pakistan. He came home on leave for few days to meet us and we decided to celebrate his Magni during his leave period. He had just stayed a night with us when next morning he was called back to join the battalion since it was to immediately move to general area SWAT. Same evening we were to solemnize his magni. All details were set, the girl’s parents had made all the arrangements, but there was no option and we had to postpone this event till Omerzeb next availability – and now he is not. Omerzeb, same morning went back to join his battalion. It was somewhere ist week of May 2009.
As Adjutant of the Battalion he was now even more committed but he always made a point to ring us up daily and would inquire about our health’s and have gup –shup with his brothers, bhabis and sisters. Verily, he was a highly loved son, a great brother and fiend of friends. He was our SUN and we all called him SUNNY but to me in particular, he was my SANCHU. He would very regularly talk to her fiancée and must have made castles for their future life. I saw him very happy and totally complacent with his lady wife – to- be. Another few days rolled down the calendar when his Battalion was tasked to operate in Lower Dir Area of SWAT. The unit moved to the given location and now i could vividly see that the telephone calls weighed a totally different tone of Omerzeb. He was highly charged; exceedingly disturbed over the situation in the area, the way Talibans, being so called Muslims were killing the innocent men, women and children. On many occasions i heard his voice getting heavy – he sounded very confident and always asked my prayers. I can never forget his last talk once he was fuming like a tiger on the Shahadat of one of his soldier during an encounter with miscreants. He uttered few more words which i could hardly listen but his anxiety made me worried. I prayed ALLAH to save Pakistan from these miscreants and help Pakistan Army to clean and destroy those who are bent upon harming our beloved country. My SUN was very tense. Knowing his reactions on such like occasions and his thoughts for the honour of his men, his Battalion, Army and for Pakistan, I was highly watchful and curious to know his Battalion moves. Being an Army Officer myself, i could clearly see the battle developments – a battle totally different to what our army is trained for.
Few more days passed under immense pressure. 21st May 2009, the birthday of his fiancée was approaching. They both had made plans to celebrate it. They would talk on telephone and prayed, if they were together on that day. On 20th night (as i was told later by his fiancée), Omerzeb rang her up and wished her Happy Birthday in 6 different languages ( yes! This joker was capable enough to gather this word in different languages, local or foreign from people around) and certainly would have said that he would be there with her next day (21 May) to celebrate her birth day. YES – he did come but not standing on his feet – he came engulfed in Pakistan Flag placed in a coffin box carried over the shoulders of his comrades in uniform. Capt Omerzeb met SHAHADET on the morning of 21st May 2009 by around 10:00 a.m. His Shahadet news spread like a fire on TV Channels by 10:30 a.m. The dream that Capt Omerzeb dreamt all his life, ALLAH made it happened and he went on a journey, where he must have been received by none other than the CREATER HIMSELF.
ALLAH BLESS YOU OMERZEB. YOU WERE BORN AS A JEWEL, YOU LIVED AS A JEWEL, AND YOU LEFT AS A JEWEL. YOU WILL EVER REMAIN A PARAGON. MAY YOU LIVE IN ETERNAL PEACE?
We all – you’re parents, brothers, sisters, family members, friends and the nation feel proud of you and salute you for the honour you gave us, the Pakistan Army and to PAKISTAN.
Very soon Capt Omerzeb Shaheed Trust is being launched for the welfare of families and children of all shaheeds. This will be our small contribution. The details will be posted on above web site.
Contributed by Capt Omerzeb Shaheed’s fatherLt Col (Retd) Muhammad afzal