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MAN BEHIND THE ENEMY MASK (from telegraph)

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    MAN BEHIND THE ENEMY MASK (from telegraph)

    From 'The Telegraph'



    Here is a little glimpse into the man we describe by that disliked
    anonymous noun called The Enemy: Captain Imtiaz Malik of the Pakistan
    Army’s 165th Mortar Regiment.

    Captain Imtiaz perished in the fierce battle over Point 4875 on the night of
    July 7. But if he knew how to fight, he perhaps also knew how to love. In
    his breast pocket was found a letter from his wife Samina. It was a
    crumpled sheet of blue and spattered with the dead captain’s blood. The
    post mark on the envelope showed that Samina had mailed it in Islamabad
    on June 14, probably the last letter she sent to him.

    There were also other missives from his wife Captain Imtiaz had kept on
    his person through to the end — two cards, for instance, of the kind young
    lovers are wont to write to each other. It would seem too indecent an
    invasion of a dead man’s privacy — or a young widow’s grief — to reveal their
    contents. Suffice to say that Captain Imtiaz was a man well loved by his
    dear ones. And perhaps he loved his dear ones as much; else, he wouldn’t
    have bothered strapping his wife’s letters to his heart in battle.

    But to infantry troops who had taken the personal effects of Captain Imtiaz,
    the letters were objects of momentary pleasure at best and ridicule at
    worst. “‘The fellow must have fancied himself as a bit of a Romeo,” one of
    them said as they spread out the recoveries from Point 4875 on the floor of
    a tent in the forward camp. “Even on the battle front, all he seemed to care
    about were love letters.”

    The infantrymen, just back from a torrid battle on Point 4875, were still in
    the heat of the moment and Captain Imtiaz to them was nothing but just
    the personification of the enemy who must be loathed and lampooned.
    Captain Imtiaz and his men had given Indian troops a hellish few hours on
    the peak; they had claimed several Indian lives and caused many more

    As leader of the offending Pakistani platoon, Captain Imtiaz deserved
    nothing but the worst in the infantrymen’s eyes. And now that he was dead
    what better way to hurt him but taunt what he had left behind.

    It took a word from the soldiers’ officer to inject a note of sobriety in the
    proceedings as they catalogued the recoveries from the enemy camp.

    “He, too, was just a human being like one of us,” the officer said. “A man and
    a soldier following orders. He, too. was a member of some family,
    someone’s son and someone’s husband. Look at how we preserve our own
    letters from home.”

    In his hand the officer held a letter to Captain Imtiaz from a senior in the
    Pakistani Army commending him for selection to a specialised artillery
    course. It was full of praise for the young captain and its tone, typically,
    was utterly patronising. “Their senior officers write to their juniors just like
    ours do,” remarked a soldier on hearing the letter’s contents, and the tent
    rippled with a round of well-meant laughter.

    Captain Imtiaz, if only for a moment, had become just another soldier doing
    his duty and rising up the ranks in just another army. “I got a similar letter
    from my instructor when I passed out of artillery school,” said one soldier,
    sounding suddenly piquant and even a little affectionate.

    By now the tent floor was a mosaic of the debris of a destroyed Pakistani
    bunker — probably the most engaging exhibition so far of the depth of
    Pakistani involvement in the invasion of upper Kashmir. Among the stuff
    the Indian soldiers had brought back from Point 4875 were two long-range
    Pakistan Army field transmitters, a dozen-odd Operation Cards (identity
    cards) of Pakistani soldiers, rank and unit labels of the Northern Light
    Infantry, the main Pakistani regiment involved in the incursion, gas masks
    and chemical weapons filters, a roll of Konika colour film, ration supply
    registers for forward units and an albumful of photographs of soldiers with
    each other and with their families.

    But, perhaps, the key recovery was a file in which were notings of the
    minutest details of Indian artillery and infantry positions in the Drass

    “Thank god our gun positions have now been shuffled about,” said one officer,
    aghast at the sharp detail the Pakistanis had in their possession. “I used to
    wonder why their fire was coming so close to us, but now we know.”

    Among what was obviously a treasure for Indian troops was also Captain
    Imitiaz’s bank passbook and a wad of cheques he had had no opportunity to
    use. In the event he went away signing an overdraft on his life.

    Should this be dismissed as propoganda or should this be dismissed as just another sad reality of war?

    I'm sure the Pakistani side has similar stories.

    But the real question here would be, are lifes of people (whatever nation they belong to) so meaningless as to be sacrificed at the whims of some lousy politicians?

    */me wonders*


    Zahid N. Sindhu
    PakistanX Dot Com - The One Stop Desi Resource