Monday, June 18, 2018

In Memory of Tariq Qureshi

Tariq Qureshi: 1975 - 2018

It was a sad coincidence yesterday that I thought of compiling the dates of heavenly departures of all our course mates who had gone to heavens before us so that I could keep reminding the rest on those dates to specially pray for them. I never knew that I was to make another addition right after a few moments when I opened the Facebook.

The moment I opened the Facebook, the first message that caught my eye was the sad and shocking announcement of our dear Tariq Qureshi's death. 
My great uncle PA NO 17760 MAJ ( R )  TARIQ QURESHI PASSED AWAY . JANAZA  WILL BE AT ASKARI 12    H NO SD 137  AIR PORT  ROAD RWPAllah Magfarat farmaye awr janat ul firdos me Ala muqam Ata farmaye.... Ameen

Not sure what to do, I reluctantly shared the message on Course Group on WhatsApp as an unconfirmed news and then talked to Asif, the course secretary, who too was unaware of the shocking news. I tried calling Tariq's number which went unanswered, but in the meantime someone got connected and hence the news were confirmed.
 Final Term PMA platoon group photo
Although Tariq was suffering from severe heart problems for quite sometime now and has been admitted in hospital a couple of times, he had finally come home and we thought that now he was on his way to recovery. But yesterday morning, 18th of June, only a few days after Eid ul Fitr and following day of the Father's Day, he chose to take his heavenly flight. Although he was rushed to AFIC and doctors tried to revive his heart for good about half an hour, Tariq left all of us in shock and mourning and slipped away. His namaz-e-janaza was held after Isha prayers in Askari XII where he lived and was later buried in the Army Graveyard, Race Course Ground, Rawalpindi.

Tariq Qureshi by nature was the gentlest of all our course mates. He was soft spoken, always carrying a smile and meeting with open arms and his typical warmth. Those who knew him closely or were his platoon mates always spoke very high of him and he was rightly respected by the rest.
Young Tariq with his family
 Tariq Qureshi at Kalar Kahar get together
Tariq with Arshad at Abbottabad get together

Remembering Tariq Qureshi, Mushtaq writes:
Tariq was a great soul. Once I visited him in Shifa Intl, despite under heavy sedation with 10s of drips passing all over his body and almost unconscious as he appeared to me, his son asked him  who I was, barely opening his eyes, he responded with 55th spirit of confidence "o yes I know Mushtaq course mate" I felt a mixed surge of grief (because of the agony he was in) and esprit de corps jolting my body and emotions   but maintained my strength to assure him and prayed for his early recovery. A thorough gentleman and only about a year back he came to me in connection with support he needed for Helping Hand (if I remember correctly) a NGO he was working voluntarily and fe sabeel lillah. We shall definitely miss a humble comrade. May Allah shower all His blessings upon him. Ameen
 Happy family days
A thoughtful Tariq

Maqsood wrote of sudden departure:
Sad & shocking. Tariq left like he was in a hurry. A gentle soul with neat habits. May he rest in peace & may Allah grant his family the strength to bear this loss, Aameen
Farooq remembers Tariq in these very words:
Its really shocking and sad news as read on the demise of Great Major Muhammad Tariq Qureshi.  He was my most sincere and closest friend.  May Allah bless him Jannat ul Firdous and Allah give courage to his family members to bear this shock Ameen.  Its really a sad day without him.
Nauman remembers Tariq and remarks: A very humble soul. He faced life's trials and tribulations with great patience.

Finally Munir summed it very befittingly: Woh ik shakhs saare sheher ko udaas kar gia, Tariq was certainly among the finest of 55th! May Allah bless him with the best in the hereafter. Ameen!

Tariq Qureshi was an avid follower of my blogs, specially JahoJalal and would share some of my posts and photos from my blog on his Facebook page. While I added his thumbnail photo on the blog header, it was doing so with a very heavy heart as usual. May Allah bless you dear friend Tariq and grant you your choicest place in Jannah and give strength to your family to bear this irreparable loss with fortitude and patience. Aameen 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Annual Course Get Together 2018 - Islamabad

The annual course get together was held at Highland Resort, some eight kilometres ahead of Monal restaurent on the Margalla Hills, Islamabad on 21st April 2018. Although the the venue was selected on a difficult route, 46 officers along with their families attended, making a total of 103.
Luckily, it was a bight sunny day as till just a day before it was all cloudy and raining heavily. The tall pine trees on the dominating Margalla Hills and a cool spring breeze made the venue very pleasant and friendly for the boys aged sixty plus to hug each other as the number increased and welcomed each others with traditional warmth of comradeship of more than four decades old. 
 Photos of the venue taken by Rashid Javeed

Herein under are some of the photos taken by me and shared by others:

Manual sharing of data
A hearty laugh by Shahid Ashraf

The usual pleasantries followed by the lunch - and it also afforded some to enter into discussions of national and international matters and listening to the views of the wise.
After a very heavy and sumptuous brunch, the boys got together for a usual course secretary's briefing on the course fund health and matter related to future get together. Rauf Khan opened the briefing session with a few verses from Holy Quran, followed by a 'dua' by Akhtar Janjua for those of us who are waiting for us in the Heaven and also for the health and recovery of those suffering from ailments, specially Tariq Qureshi who is presently admitted in hospital after a sever second heart attack.
Thereafter, Asif deliberated on course fund statement and method of donations, specially on sliding scale. The gathering was also apprised that the next get together will be held at Kalyar's farm house in Sargodha. Thereafter Ikram Kiyani put forward a group based formula to hold annuals. But to many intricacies involved, while his efforts were lauded by everyone, it was decided that the present arrangements to hold get together should continue.

 Selfie by Zaffar
 Tariq 1 boasted of its maximum strength at the get together
Khalid 4 / Tariq 1 was no less with eight members
Amanullah's Tipu Tigers
"The great tigers who always fought for last position, but their morale remained very high. At the height Tipuites"
The gathering finally came to an end with the course photograph.

No doubt it was a well arranged event as always before. The thank you note for Asif and Ikram Kiayani not be better written as under by brother Salim Nawaz from Bosnia:
Wonderful event it sure has been. Masha Allah. Untiring efforts brimming with deep sincerity of brother Asif and Ikram Kiyani and their team have to work a lot a lot I know. I am happy to see an encouraging participation by all dear brothers. It has to be a very happy recharge of our spirits. Wow!!! I missed it badly folks!!! Allah bless you all with all the health and happiness.
God willing we shall meet next year in Sargodha at farmhouse of Asghar Hayat Kalyar. Stay blessed till then everyone.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

In Memory of Waheed Ahmed

Whenever I write a post in the obituary section of the course blog, it pains me to write about comrades who were just there moments ago and now no more.And with a very heavy heart I add yet another thumb photograph in the header of the blog which is increasing slowly as we all are aging.

Lt Waheed Ahmed was a comrade lost just a couple of years after our commissioning and for almost four decades no one knew about his whereabouts. Some even thought of his demise after he had a severe accident while serving in Sialkot. 

A memorable group photo of Tipuites on their trip to Murree and Nathia Gali:
Standing: Waheed Ahmed, Zaidi, Zahir, Unknown, Mansoor, Asim, Captain Tariq Tareen, Vincent Samuel, Khalid Mahmud, Abdul Rauf, Khawar, Tariq and Tariq Sher
Knealing: Asim, Hayee, Aman Ullah, Rizwan Rasheed, Ramli, Aslam Javed, -----, Khawar 

Some of the early service and only photos of Waheed that I got from him many decades later.

Lieutenant and captains attending infantry course (shared by Lt Waheed Ahmed (standing second from right in the second row).  Lieutenant Munir can also be seen standing third from left in the first row)

But then I got the good news when I wrote to CORO about his existence and was told that he was alive as per CORO record. I therefore renewed my efforts of find him and it was Nauman who came to my help in finding his contact number from his elder brother. And then one day last year I went to his house in Bahia Town and shared his first hand photos with the course.
I was met a fragile Waheed but with vivid memory of all of us and shared his family photos with me for the Generations portion of the history of the course I was THEN writing. His Mrs also joined us in bringing album after album of their ancestors in uniform to be included in the course history. I am sharing here the page I had constructed about Waheed's ancestors:

Thereafter, he surfaced on the scene and was recently among us at a dinner at Islamabad Club when our friend Ramli visited Pakistan and interacted with other course mates for the first time after his mysterious disappearance.
In the photo above Waheed is seen taking down Ramli's address at the dinner. He in fact asked many for their addresses to keep in touch in days to come. 
Waheed also joined a dinner in honour of Ramli which was arranged by the PMA Tipu platoon to whom both belonged to.

And then the bad news came just a day before yesterday that Waheed had had a missive stroke and was hospitalized. We all prayed for his health and longevity but his heavenly flight had already arrived waiting at the hospital doors. And today, 24 February 2018, he left us all mourning to meet his Creator up in the heavens. He was buried in the Islamabad's H-11 graveyard amid a large number of his friends and course mates both from 54 and 55 PMA Long courses. May his soul rest in peace. Aameen.

It may be a coincidence that only recently Dr Aamer Mansoor and Waheed were found after many many years. and today both have left us forever. May all those who have left so far rest in peace in heavens above. Aameen.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

In memory of Dr Aamer Mansoor

It always pains me when I add a new photo of a lost friend in the caption of my blog. And today with a very heart I add thumbnail photo of one of our dearest friend and my first term platoon mate Dr Aamer Mansoor who expired just recently on 2nd November 2017 in Lahore.

Aamer joined Khalid 4 platoon on 12 May 1975 and was aspiring to be a man in khaki. But he had his destiny somewhere else. His mother wanted him to be a doctor and he wanted wear the long heavy military boots. He missed his admission in King Edward Medical College (KE) Lahore and thus he was allowed to join PMA and follow footsteps of his father, serving brigadier at that time. 
A memorable Khalid-4 group photo of 1st Term
Standing (L to R):  Safdar Jahanzeb (late) Jamshed, Shirazi, Tahir, Razzaq, Zafar, Fazal, Mujeeb, Noor
Sitting )1st  Row (L to R):   Asif, Janjua, Awan, Masood, Corporal Tareen, Jalal, Tariq, Younis         Sitting )2nd Row (L to R):   Naveed, GM, Iqbal, Aamer Mansoor,  Jamal, Khalid, Aslam, Mushtaq

But despite missing his bus to the medical college, his destiny and his mother's prayers were answered and due to additional marks of NCC, he was granted admission in KE, Lahore. Thus he opted for discharge from PMA, which was accepted and he became a doctor -later a cardiologist.

In those days, the means of communication were rare, sluggish and rather non existent - thus we lost any contact with him as we did with many of our course mates who were withdrawn from PMA in the first term. For forty years we did not know where Aamer was till one day in 2015 he googled 55 PMA and came across course website hosted by me and from there he got the phone number of course secretary from the letter I had displayed fro the 2016 course get together. He then contacted Asif and that is how he found the rest of us after forty years.
Dinner in the honour of a newly found comrade at DeSOM
Iqbal, Janjua, Zahir, Aamer Mansoor, Naveed Akbar, Abdur Rehman, Athar, Maqsood, Nauman, Shirqazi, Tassawar, Ali Akbar and Khalid Javed
Aamer Mansoor with K-4 (Left to right): Aamer Mansoor, Iqbal, Naveed Akbar, Shirazi, Younis, Tassawar, Nauman, Khalid Javed and Janjua

Lahore Chapter was prompt in embracing him into Lahore Chapter group and we got in contact. A special dinner was hosted in his honour by Lahore Chapter which was attended by a sizable number of course mates stationed in Lahore and specially his platoon mates of Khalid 4.
In February 2016, I visited Lahore and meeting Aamer was first priority. I called on him and we both were pleased to see each other after four decades. Thereafter Aamer became a regular attendee of any function organized by Lahore Chapter and graced each occasion with his typical smile and friendly personality.
A get together  at Lahore - Aamer standing extreme right

Aamer was always seen making up for the lost time with us and bridging the gap of the last four decades. This was evident on all gatherings as he would interact with each and everyone around and trying to revive the memories. He may not have had any intimate interaction with our Malaysian friends, Ramli and Ismail, in PMA for he had had hardly three months with us in PMA, but during Ramli's visit to Pakistan and Lahore, he had frequent chats with Ramli and posed with him to preserve the moment forever - maybe not for him for he had his life running out, but for us to remember him forever.
Aamer (standing extreme left) posing with Khalid-4 platoon mates (Iqbal, Younis, Tassawar and Khalid Javed) and Nauman and Ramli

While Lahore Chapter had frequent interaction with Aamer, I was at a loss as I could not meet him again. I was recently in Lahore to visit my ailing cousin, presently admitted in CMH due to critical head injury and I was to meet him on a dinner being planned on 2 November - but it was only found that he had had a heart bypass when Nauman rang him up to extend the invitation. I wish I could have known on that day and would have visited him 1 November - but I was too late as early morning on 2 November I received the lamenting message of his death. I attended his funeral and bade farewell to a friend, a jolly good man and superb human being. 
May ALLAH SWT rest his soul in peace and bless him in His jawar e rehmat. Aameen

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ramli revisits friends of more than four decades

The ongoing visit of brother Mohammad Ramli bin Othman, with whom we have a an association of more than four decades is more than a home coming.  While Ramli found most of us weighty, it was a pleasant surprise to see him slim as he was four decades ago, vibrant, radiating, energetic, smiling and witty, recalling old days with such clarity as if it were just yesterday that we were together..

While Ramli had been hosting many of us visiting Malaysia, the specially arranged get together by Arjmand Iqbal of 55 Twin City Chapter, assisted by Arbab Zahid and Mohammad Asif was one of the widely participated local get together at Islamabad to welcome Ramli. Ramli is here to attend a two weeks law course at NUST.

The get together was held at the roof top of the Islamabad Club golf club and was attended by almost four dozen local course mates in addition of vising Altaf Rehman from USA and Tariq who came all the way from Lahore to grace the occasion.
 To honour the visiting brother Shoaib Mumtaz announced hosting a dinner for Ramli
 Ramli writing away his address details for Lieutenant Waheed while Tariq Sher watches
 Visiting Altaf Rehman posing with Waheed and Ramli
At the end of the dinner, a beautifully wrapped gift was presented to Ramli. Thereafter everyone joined together for a final group photo. The bad light and fragile cell phone cameras flash could not capture the group photo taken at the end of the get together. I wish I had taken along my camera as I once used.

Earlier Tipuites hosted a dinner in Ramli's honour at Rawalpindi Golf Club. Some of Ramli's platoon mates of Khalid 2 and later Tipu platoon joined and reminisced the days of some 42 years old and thence.

Ramli also took a time out and visited ailing Zaheer ul Islam with a few of us
On Sunday 8 October, Ramli visited Lahore on special invitation of Lahore Chapter and a large number of Lahorites hosted Ramli a wonderful brunch at Lahore Gymkhana. As reported by Tariq Fazal, Zahir Khan and Maqsood received him at the airport. After freshing up at Zahir's place he was driven to Gymkhana club where his arrival was sounded by joyful cheers of a very large number of course mates. Unspoken language of warm hugs and handshakes expressed deep sentiments oozing out  on reunion with a long lost brother after lapse of four decades . Everybody   yearned for a photo opp to preserve these precious moments and  Ramli obliged all.
In a brief speech, Zahir Khan welcomed Ramli on behalf of all of us and presented gifts not only for Ramli but also for our other Malaysian brother Ismail. Ramli with his trademark smile a cheerful demeanor and excellent sense of humor recalled our golden days. His interesting talk repeatedly provoked bursts of laughter and several rounds of applause. 
It was a pleasure to note that our brother has excelled enormously in business as well as intellectual pursuits. Law is his forte, that brings him to be a member of the teaching faculty of his country's National Defense university. He is expected to soon revisit Pakistan accompanying Malaysia's army chief on his visit to PMA. 

some of the photos uploaded by Ashraf and Zahir are as under:
Due to paucity of time, Ramli could not visit Karachi where another large part of the 55th family eagerly awaited to meet him. Mindful of sentiments of Karachi, Ramli has sent a message of being with them the next time he comes to his second home - Pakistan.
Shoaib Mumtaz hosted yet another dinner at the Garrison Officers' Mess, Rawalpindi (aka Artillery Mess) which was attended by more than thirty course mates. Saleem Sarwar who could not attend earlier get together at Islamabad and Lahore made it to GOM to meet brother Ramli. Mumtaz Bajwa who was earlier away from town also made his appearance.


Shoaib Mumtaz thanked brother Ramli for sparing time and attending the dinner, while Ramli also reciprocated with warm wishes for all of us and promised to be with us again very soon. Before dispersing, we a had a usual group photo taken at the entrance of the GOM. Some photos are slightly blurred and this could be accepted as at this age our grip on cameras is not as firm as required for clear and crisp photos !!
Ramli at the end of wrapping off his visit to Pakistan will witnessed passing out parade at PMA for which necessary coordination at PMA has been done by Mujeeb, whose cadet is now the PMA commandant and Mohammad Asif. In photo above Ramli poses in front of Khalid Coy, which was his first term company. 

Before finally departing from Pakistan, Farrukh Hayee once again hosted a dinner for Ramli - photos taken on the occasion are as under

Ramli left Pakistan with many good memories of most of his course mates not seen since last four decades and also retraced his footsteps at Pakistan Military Academy, which brought him in friendship with over two hundred of us many many years ago. 
Ramli at CIP Lounge, Islamabad International Airport before flying home

We wish him and Ismail and their families the very best of luck and life and hope we shall meet again - God willing.