PRICE OF PEACE (In memory of Capt Mannan Ul Hassan Shaheed).
In a relatively calm evening of 28 June 2012, my younger brother called me to share about news of blast at Khyber Agency resulting in Shahadat of a Captain of Pakistan Army. He was fearful that the officer might be our common friend, Capt Mannan-Ul-Hassan. Since I had seen status update of Capt Mannan on a social media network site in the same morning, so I couldn't imagine him to be the one among the casualties. But by the next morning, news of his Shahadat was everywhere. The confirmation of this news brought a unique type of feelings in me - Feeling the pride to be amongst the close associates of a Shaheed and the feeling to loose a close friend at the same time - Indeed Pakistan lost a great son and Pakistan Army rendered, yet another sacrifice for this motherland.
I wanted to write about Capt Mannan for some time now but could not muster up enough courage. Now, as I sit trying to write and pay tribute to an awesome friend, a beautiful human being and a great soldier, I can only recall his happy and always bursting with life, smiling face. And even now as I sit holding my pen, it is very difficult for me to write about him, as I still feel him to be looking at me.
Captain Mannan-Ul-Hassan (Shaheed) was born on 16th September 1985 at Lahore. He was a born soldier with an unquestioned love for the motherland. After having graduated from Government College (GC), Lahore in 2006, he applied for 118th PMA Long Course and joined Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) on 18th Nov 2006. He later passed out with 30th Graduate Course in October 2007 with flying colours as a Course Under Officer. From PMA, he was posted to 14 Lancers, an Armour Regiment, also known as "Zarb-e-Ghazi" at Bahawalpur. During December 2011, he was inducted to participate in operations at Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and was posted to Mehsud Scouts (Frontier Corps (FC), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).
My proud association with Captain Mannan-Ul-Hassan goes back to the time when we were not in uniform and he was studying at GC Lahore with my brother. He was a brilliant student, a joyous associate, a responsible son, a caring brother, a loving husband, a helping course mate, a fearless comrade, a gallant soldier, a true patriot and an excellent human being. He was known for his courageous initiatives and was reputed as a daring officer who would never hesitate even to face bullets in his chest. His brave and bold actions left no stone unturned to overawe the miscreants. He always volunteered himself to participate in different actions in the inhospitable terrain of FATA. During his operational tenure, he participated in many operations against terrorists. He was assigned with numerous tasks besides the routine duties of leading Quick Reaction Force (QRF), evacuation of casualties, replenishments and escorts.
During 'Operation Mairasar', he along with his men captured "Height 4 (a dominating and tactically important peak)" after a number of attempts. During conduct of this operation, he remained under heavy fire and rocket attack by enemy. However, this brave officer was steadfast and led his men from the front. Later, during March 2012, he was assigned with special task of carrying out "sting operations and raids/ambushes" in the hard core militant areas of Shalobar, Ilam Gudar and Spin Qabar Chowk/Sepah with the best selected team from his Wing (Mehsud Scouts). The officer proved his mettle and caused severe blows to the miscreants in shape of
successful raids, ambushes and domination of areas, while chocking free movements of terrorists.
As bravery was his hallmark, we now feel that he was destined to be a Shaheed. With the same spirits, on 28 June 2012 at about 1130 hours, during an operation, he was targeted by enemy through Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which was presumably planted for him. Resultantly, Captain Mannan-Ul-Hassan along with seven individuals of his special squad embrassed Shahadat. His undying wish of Shahadat (which he expressed number of times during his stay in Khyber Agency), has laurelled him with immortal success and has made him a role model for the youth of Pakistan.
The reality that he was loved by his under command can be proved from the fact that when an injured soldier, who was accompanying Captain Mannan-Ul-Hassan in his vehicle at the time of incident, after regaining his consciousness, asked first question about well being and safety of Captain Mannan and not about his own health. The people around Mannan in FC dearly miss the nichee' created by Mannan.
Whenever I recall him, the reminiscence of his smile, his sense of humour and something special in his eyes which we could not understand at that time, gives me a peculiar feeling. Wherever he would go, he could make friends and always guided them to laugh away the worries of life. He was kind of an individual who could make anyone laugh in the oddest of situations. He was a true manifestation of Hazrat Ali (A.S) statement that "live amongst the people in a way that if you are with them, they enjoy your company and if you are away, they long to be with you". Captain Mannan-Ul-Hassan got married in February 2011 and has an 8 months old son "Azlaan Hassan". In-Shah-Allah, when he grows up, people shall tell him about greatness of his father.
Capt Mannan embraced Shahadat for a noble cause and paid the price of peace. He used to say that this is my war, this is my country's war and we will win this war for Pakistan. A soldier does not fight for what is against him but for the thing that is behind him. A soldier does not fight for medals or ribbons or a pat on shoulder. A soldier fights for honour and ideology. So many soldiers of Pakistan Army have embraced Martyrdom, so many families have been affected, so many parents have become child less, so many wives have sacrificed their husbands, so many children have lost their fathers and, still the nation continues to be at the back of Pakistan Army. In-Shah-Allah, we will win this war for Pakistan and eliminate these terrorists and enemies of Pakistan and Islam, from our motherland. Long Live Pakistan.