Roshan Taj   -   There is no greater sacrifice than giving one’s life for the country. I am sharing my thoughts in loving memory of my respected and beloved father, Lt Col Humayun Khanzada Shaheed. I was four years old when he embraced shahadat on August 30, 1990 at the Line of Control (Kel Sector). Father is an important figure in child’s life as he gives great feeling of strength and support. I was lucky enough to be able to spend few years with him though I have a faded memory of the time spent with him. I still remember him bringing chocolates at my 4th birthday when he held me in his hands and asked, “When will you grow up my little princess?” Today when I have completed my M.Phil, I miss your company, Baba, and wait for your call each moment to pat me for my achievements.

My father was commissioned in the Army Services Corps (ASC) with 43 PMA Long Course and was Commanding Officer of 7 Animal Transport (AT) Regiment at the time of his shahadat. Born in a respectable and educated Khattak family on December 1, 1950 in the Lachi village of Kohat district, my father joined ASC following his father, Major (retd) Amir Nasrullah, who was also from ASC.

Recalling his memories, my grandmother tells us, “He was the best son, a mother could ever have.” My mother tells me that my father was very happy at my birth being his second daughter. “I want her to succeed in life and become my pride,” he shared with my mother after my birth. My family shares that he used to call me with the name of Guriya, though I don’t remember much of that. Baba, it gives me a feeling of warmth inside to hear these things about you and inspires me to be the kind of daughter you’d be proud of. I wish I could have spent more time with you.

Today, when all of us sit as a family, we get to look at the photographs saved in a separate album by his name. My mother tells that he was very fond of outings and every Thursday night (being the weekend), he would take us out for food or to watch movies. He was also a very good sportsman and we used to watch him while playing football. He taught me how to ride a bicycle and encouraged me to keep trying even after falling down and getting hurt occasionally.

Being a family member whenever he got time, he took us out for picnics and enjoyed firing up the grill and cooking up steaks, chicken or fish. I remember my father lying on his bed in his bedroom narrating me stories which I never had the chance to listen again. He used to help me with my homework and his valuable wisdom left a lasting imprint in my mind to this day.

On special days like his birthday or Fathers’ Day, I buy a card, write him a letter, tie it to a balloon and let it go; it takes my love up to him. Baba, I do get to make dua for you and feel proud when people (to this very day) still talk that what a fantastic man you were! How you always helped whoever you could, with whatever you could. Your generosity and selflessness were inspiring and unmatched. I have created a Facebook group in your honour as you were everything I ever needed in a perfect daddy. When I dream about you, I feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy that you were in my dreams and sad that it ended too soon.

In his last conversation with my mother before his shahadat on Thursday late night, he enquired about me as I wasn’t feeling well and advised her to take care of herself and the children. She told him that everything was going to be fine and he shouldn’t worry much. He replied by saying, “the night which is meant to be in the grave cannot come at home. May Allah Almighty bless you all.”

Lastly, I know you are beside me to this day and looking after me always from above. You are my inspiration; you are my role model. It’s my constant desire to be like you – courageous, optimistic and very positive. I love and miss you dearly. May Allah grant you Jannah, (Ameen).