I was born, grew up and studied in the northern province of Pakistan. Previously its name was North West Frontier Province, which is Khyber Pukhtoon Khwa now since few years.
I got selected for the Pakistan Military Academy and joined Army in 2000. The selection criteria of PMA is very tough so I didn’t know if I will make it there. After 2 years of training, I got commissioned as 2nd lieutenant in 2002 in Infantry.
I used to play different games and participated in inter unit competitions. I went for different physically a very tough trainings like Anti-Terrorist Teams, Mountain Warfare in the first year of my service.
My unit was stationed in KPK at the nearest station to Pak-Afghan border, where the operation started in 2002 against Al-Qaida. This was in support of ISAF. At Pakistan side we had blockade positions so the miscreants don’t find way to flee in to the border areas of Pakistan. My Division was the first one to move to the operation area in that area.
We started operations against the hiding miscreants in the area. I participated in most of the operations during that deployment. The one time I will never forget, when next day on April 19, 2004, I had planned to go on leave for my marriage, which was on April 28. But I went to operation on that day. Usually the operations didn’t last more than 3-4 days, so I thought I will be back in camp soon and then will go home. That operation prolonged and when the situation got normal, it was April 27. Somehow I managed to reach home at my marriage night. I got citation for Sitara-e-Basalat (Silver Star) in that operation.
In end of September I was commanding a company in South Waziristan Agency, an area at Pak-Afghan border. It’s a mountainous area with thick plantation, no trees but dense bushes. It was a critical location where I relieve a battalion with my company, which was tactically not sound but under the circumstances that battalion had to move out form there. The miscreants were sitting on mountain top across my location and we used to have cross fire all the time. The miscreants had established positions where as my company was deployed in open, having our bivy tents on the reverse slopes of the mountain. We had a small 3 feet wall on one side for fire cover. Due to the mountains and the hideouts of the miscreants, artillery fire was not effective so I asked for the company 106mm Recoilless Rifles at my location, to takeout the miscreant positions. Due to the terrain the weapons had to be carried by men. At 6 days I got the 106mm RR completed with ammunition. It was Oct. 3, I sited the weapon on the miscreants locations. Fired 2 rounds on one and 3 on other location, which destroyed those locations.
I used to stay up all night with my troops till morning, I had 15 men at this location. It was Oct. 3-4 night, I was walking from soldier to soldier and chit chat as usual, when the first rocket hit the small 3 feet wall. Rockets started bursting on the small wall or fly above my location. It was dark and visibility was low, so I task my soldier to fire mortars illuminating rounds and keep firing at the expected approaches from down the hill. I was more worried about the one side approach which I thought is easier approach to our location, so I was moving around.
Cross fire was going on for half an hour when one of my sergeant got shot on left arm and right leg. I went to his position, asked the soldiers to give him first aid. While standing there I heard cries down the hill of an injured miscreant. The miscreants usually don’t leave a body behind so I radioed my other platoon on the ridge beside to keep firing on the injured miscreant location so they shouldn’t be able to get him.
While I was talking on radio, I saw a grenade fall in my feet. There was the small 3 feet wall on one side, bushes on the back and deep depression on the other. The only way was to the side from where the grenade was thrown. I saw a burst fire at me which ricocheted from the 106mm RR in between.
I made a ran towards him, over the 3 feet wall where he ducked after firing. I looked for him, aimed my weapon, before I squeeze the trigger he fired another burst. I was thrown back couple of feet, after 2-3 rolls I stood up. But my right arm was still spinning by its own. For a while I couldn’t get it, but tried to catch it with my left hand. Then I know I am hit but it’s a very close range so my arm is detached from my body. For a moment I saw glimpse of myself with no arm. Thought that by the time I will be evacuated to a hospital, my detached arm won’t survive that long. I got many thoughts in a very short while.
I asked my sergeant to bring me first aid kit, he asked what happened. I told him I got a bullet. I sat on ground and tried to remove my jacket. I pulled my right arm with left and then felt that it’s still attached. The sergeant started putting the bandage while I was holding my arm with left hand.
When he is putting the bandage, I felt burning on my chest under right shoulder. I put my left hand there to see what is it, all my four fingers went inside. I asked the sergeant to check my back, look where is the exit wound. He moved his hand over my back and said there is no exit wound on my back. I said check again, how come there is no exit wound. Again he moved his hand all over my back and said there is no exit wound.
After a while a felt there is burning on my right arm, got the bandage there. On first light in morning I saw a cut on my right thumb but it was all white flesh with no blood coming from there.
On first light my men got 3 dead bodies of miscreants and weapons of other two from down the hill. The sector commander Maj. Sarfaraz, now brigadier and Defense Attaché in USA got the miscreants locations. I was evacuated in morning, I walked to sector headquarter on the way to road, stayed , ahead of that was feeling weak so couldn’t walk.
From road side a doctor who came with the convey gave me extra bandages and that convey took me to Laddah Fort, where the brigade headquarter was established. There the doctor refreshed my bandages and I was evacuated to Combined Military Hospital Bannu. I got operated there and stayed the night. Due to the compound injury I was helilifted to Combined Military Hospital Peshawar. I remained under treatment for ten months there.
I asked the doctors and my Unit that I don’t want my family to know so you should not call them. The hospital was far from my home town and I thought it will be difficult for my family to stay back home after they know about me and it will be difficult for them to stay here with me. I used to call home after a day and talked to them. Till I went back home after a month in the hospital with the bandages. But still I didn’t tell them, I told them I got car accident and got my arm fracture.
After ten months I went back to unit, I was again recommended for Tamgha-i-Basalat for the operation. I was awarded that on March 23, 2005 by president of Pakistan. I was sent to National University of Science and Technology, a renowned university of Pakistan for Software Engineering. After completion of that in 2011, I got posted to Inter Services Public Relation directorate. Where I am in cyber division.
This is it, I saw death, faced it, and survived!