Inspiration Pakistan: Selflessness in Jaded Times

Posted on June 28, 2010
Filed Under >Sehar Tariq, People, Society
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Sehar Tariq

Times in Pakistan are tough. Things were never great but they were never this bad either. There weren’t as many incidents of violence, so many hours of load shedding or such high prices of food and electricity. And in our fast paced downward spiral, we have lost our sense of being one nation. Its each man and woman for himself or herself. Its the only way to survive. And in the pursuit of survival we will lie, cheat, steal, trample on others, cut corners and take the low road as often as possible to get to destination mere survival.

And in this Darwinian quest for survival we have become jaded and sarcastic and conditioned to believe the worst about those around us. Idealism, morality, humanity – seem like hollow buzzwords – such noble sentiments having been beaten out of us by circumstance.  On those rare occasions, when we are confronted with selfless displays of courage and nationalism; we tend to scoff at them and dismiss them as either political rhetoric or utterly naive insanity.

But this story about Captain Najam Riaz made me stop in my jaded tracks and led me to believe that maybe there is hope for the future.

In May 2009, Captain Najam Riaz, was captured and martyred by the Taliban. He was part of the elite SSG commandos – the best of the best who are trained by the Pakistani army to be even better (yes, i know this is a quote from Top Gun). He was only 24 years old when he died fighting against the Taliban in Swat.

Captain Najam was captured along with three other colleagues by the Taliban. For many days he and the others were kept captive while the Taliban tried to use them to buy freedom for their captured commrades. When it seemed like such a deal could not be struck, the Taliban murdered Captain Najam Shaheed and the three other soldiers. All four brave men, died fighting valiantly. Surrounded by the brutal enemy, they were unfazed at the prospect of death and killed 8 Talibans with their bare hands before they were gunned down and later beheaded.

While the courage and valor of these young men in the face of such grave adversity is truly inspirational, what was even more heartbreakingly inspirational was the courage and selflessness of his family in the face of this grave loss. He came from a small village near Kahuta. His father had retired as a Hawaldar from the army and Najam was his youngest son. His family is one of modest means. They don’t have any of the fancy upper class trappings that one associates with the rich, liberal, elite, who are anti Taliban. But their understanding of the true nature of the Taliban is far more astute than some of our leading media commentators. But this is not why they are inspirational.

They are inspirational because they raised a son, who was brilliant and brave enough to be admitted to the most elite faction within the Pakistan army. And they are inspirational because they taught him to put his country before even himself a lesson that most of us merely laugh at. And they are inspirational because even when they lost their son to the cause that they had raised him to believe in, they did not put themselves before the need of their community.

After the martyrdom of their son, the government followed up with the usual official visits for condolences. And asked what they could do to help them. When the government asked what could be done for the family,  they could have asked for anything for themselves. Money, job, promotions. Instead, they asked for a school, a dispensary and a road to be built for their community. Even in the face of this great loss, they remained true selfless Pakistanis. And here I was thinking that none existed!

P.S. For the story of another SSG hero who was mutilated by the Taliban, read the story of Capt. Jonaid Khan.

P.P.S. Sehar Tariq blogs at Sehar Says.

19 Comments on “Inspiration Pakistan: Selflessness in Jaded Times”

  1. Junaid says:
    June 28th, 2010 12:20 am

    We owe so much to these young men who are giving their lives. And yet so many people still sympathize with the Taliban and the killers of Paksitanis.

  2. Haroon says:
    June 28th, 2010 12:23 am

    Those who think of their community and country’s benefit even in these times of great personal grief for themselves are true Pakistanis.

    While jokers like Zaid Hamid and others shout and cry their slogans it is these Paksitanis, Capt Riaz and his family who are real heroes of Pakistan.

  3. Munawar says:
    June 28th, 2010 1:12 am

    Excellent article but lets not mix the TTP (Teheek-e-Taliban Pakistan) with the Taliban in Afghanistan. TTP is anti-Pakistan and Captain Najam and his colleagues were killed by TTP not by Afghan Taliban.

  4. Wasiq Khan says:
    June 28th, 2010 2:19 am

    An absolute inspiration. Thanks for posting this story — we would have never known otherwise.

  5. Soomro says:
    June 28th, 2010 3:10 am

    I remember seeing a similar case on dawn. A tribal leader opposing taliban was killed in an ambush and his family and lashkar fellows asked for a university and dispensary instead of ammunition. The determination on their faces showed the conviction and faith they had in education and social welfare of society at large.

  6. DARWEESH says:
    June 28th, 2010 3:25 am

    May Allah bless Najam Riaz with best place in heavens and reward his berieved family with more peace and honour.
    Are our selfish,corrupt to the core politicians listening ? No they have gone deaf and dump, their end seems to be near

  7. Sehar says:
    June 28th, 2010 4:05 am

    Does anyone know what happened to his family’s request? Did the government ever take action?

  8. Saeed says:
    June 28th, 2010 7:58 am

    Nice article. We sometimes forget how many sacrifices these brave soldiers are making for us as the Mullahs are out to destroy Pakistan and kill as many Pakistanis as they can.

  9. June 28th, 2010 9:02 am

    Nice Article thanks for sharing this

  10. ASIM says:
    June 28th, 2010 10:10 am

    I am aazed that we still have these Taliban defenders amongst us. ALL Taliban everywhere are killers and murderers. They have always been. That is their religion. They destroyed Afghanistan and now they are destroying Pakistan. Sll friends of Taliban – any Taliban – are enemies of Pakistan.

  11. Irfan Ali says:
    June 28th, 2010 11:20 am

    I hope the government and army did fulfill that wish for a school and a dispensary. If we did that all over the need to sacrifice our young and brave would itself become less.

  12. June 28th, 2010 7:06 pm

    Some comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “We are proud of these brave Paksitanis who give their lives to save us from the evil of the Taliban and other extremist enemies of Pakistan.”
    - “they’re fighting for america! the americans must be proud of them too!”
    - “As Pakistani I thankfull and proud of these brave Pakistani boys”
    - “salute pakistan”
    - “aye murde mujahid toje kia ma pech karon…”
    - “Salam to those soldiers who scarifies their live .. LONG LIVE PAKISTAN”
    - “You are mocking the shahadat of a Pakistani and siding with the cursed Taliban who are enemies of Pakistan and out to destroy Pakistan and kill Pakistanis. What traitorship that you sit behind a computer and mock and ridicule these brave men who have given their lives to save your sorry existence.”

  13. Rabi says:
    June 28th, 2010 7:35 pm

    we owe great deal of gratitude to these brave men and their families.

  14. Aamir Ali says:
    June 28th, 2010 11:10 pm

    God bless this soldier, his family and Pakistan Armed Forces.

  15. Naveed Abbas says:
    June 29th, 2010 12:08 am

    Remembrance of great one finds the expression of accolades and epithets when they depart. In case of Shaheed Capt Najam Riaz people have run out of superlatives. Salam to our great hero who lived for the nation and died for the nation.
    A poignant post! Thank you.

  16. Nadia says:
    June 29th, 2010 12:17 pm

    The sacrifices these young men are making, will not be wasted inshAllah. We are proud of our Shaheeds and their brave families. Yes our hope still exists as there are plenty of Pakistanis like Captain Najam (Shaheed) who are truly devoted with this country.

  17. Ammar Zafarullah says:
    June 30th, 2010 4:47 am

    Terrorism has engulfed the nation in a trauma, for a 3 year old can decipher what a suicide attack is! We need to highlight the positive achievements of our nation which are quite a few. So we can either go in a state of denial or mourn the past or we could stand firm and support this war against extremism. Hero’s such as Capt.Najam who died while protecting their nation need to be acknowledged and we remain indebted

  18. Sadia Hussain says:
    July 1st, 2010 8:23 am

    Pakistan needs to recognize that our society is plagued with the venom of religious extremism. Unless we come to terms with this harsh reality and let go of bizarre conspiracy theories there is little room for improvement. When terrorists such as Ghazi Abdul-Rasheed are labeled Shaeed it brings shame to the souls of our brave jawans such as Capt.Najam who gave died while fighting these terrorists

  19. Aamir Ali says:
    November 13th, 2010 2:58 pm

    Its always common man and the ordinary soldier who pays the price for the follies of politicians and generals. Did nobody in ISI realize throughout 80′s and 90′s that all these “mujahideen” being trained could become a liability one day? Pakistani generals are strategically incompetent.

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