A tribute to Shaheen Javed Shaheed

Intro by Mr Haris Zuberi

[A Tribute to a hero of the PAF who sacrificed his life in a battle of time, yet managed to win with a prize of eternal life)

. In the line of duty on an ordinary evening in September 2001 this young man with hopes, dreams, love and ambition like all of us made the timely decision requiring nerves and determination of steel and put his own life last and those of his fellow countrymen on ground below his aircraft at the top.

He could have chosen the easy way out, but such has not been the tradition with these men in Olive Green overalls. And even more so since Shaheen Javed may have felt the urge to meet an old timer up in heaven and tell him he was more than able to keep the tradition alive! For Flying Officer Shaheen Javed had taken off from the very airbase, tarmac and very squadron that exactly 30 yrs and over one month earlier The PAF’s Nishan-i-Haider awardee Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas had taken off……both met similar fates and glory.]

Jiss DHAJ se koi maqtal mein giya, woh SHAAN salaamat rehti hai
yeh jaan tau aani jaani hai, iss jaan ki tau koi baat nahin…..

I still am nostalgic as ever about the memories and times of this sweet course-mate of mine who embraced Shahadat as his aircraft had crashed after a technical failure near Hub (Balochistan) on 27 September 2001 while on a routine training mission. Let me share with you today, the story of this heroic son of soil……..

He was real Shaheen……right as his name……and a thorough, well-bred gentleman….a high-professional flyer and a cheery fighter pilot. Right from academy days, he was unparalled in his profession. Days passed and we ended up at our parent units. And once I reported at my unit in Karachi.and saw him there…..he was in spirits……”I am here……posted.!!”, he said. The old relations were re-nurtured and we enjoyed like anything. Flying continued. Shaheen used to take off and land back……with all the prayers, wishes and safety measures taken. We met everyday with ever improving n zealous marks……

And this was the day when during an evening mission, with an emergency too much to handle for the pilots of his experience, he remained calm and announced it. He was guided n taken care of very well…..the escort aircraft and the duty controllers did real well. With all actions summing up to nil results, when he was finally ordered to bail out of the aircraft…….he suddenly saw a population of 30-40 houses in front. “The aircraft would crush into `em in seconds”, he thought. “What can be done”, he tried to decide……..Safe ejection and avoiding populations n buildings n installments is always taught…….but how to avoid `em with an aircraft which is out of control is probably never a part of theory……….thats is where the spirit works and it really does wonders…..Shaheen endeavoured to his last limits and somehow brought the aircraft away from the population while pulling out his ejection pin……..successfully getting the population saved.

The act of diverting the aeroplane had made him eject in a wrong way and he suffered a serious injury. He came on ground………… bleeding all the way…..but there on ground no one would dare to go near him……..he could listen to the words uttered by the terror-stricken villagers, “yeh indian pilot hai. koi paas na jaiy iss kay…..” The innocent villagers could never make out simple things……..one of them went near the pilot and saw his name-plate and badges. He saw the pilot tossing his head in negative and heard him barely uttering the words, “Pakistan..Pakistan…..!!”…………and then that person realized and shouted,” paani laao….yeh pakistani hai….!!”……and the peasents ran for chhagals and mashkezaas and tried to pour it down the throat of Flying Officer Shaheen. He was continuously observed uttering something but no voice was being heard….only his lips would be seen moving………….he had gone to a life too much for us to understand……

And do not say of those who are slain in the way of Allah,”They are dead”. Infact they are alive, but you do not perceive that life. (Al-Quran)

…………Flying Officer Shaheen Javed Shaheed…….And he had been posted at Karachi……..in the same fighter Squadron that had loved and bred and groomed Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed (NH) some 30 years back. There, a portrait of his smiles right beneath that of Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed (NH)…………..that`s the proud heritage we carry today, with a pledge…….

“We regard the magnificient performance of PAF heroes, and the supreme sacrifice made by them as a debt of honour to be repaid in deeds of glory when the ocassion arises…………”

…………….I heard his news with a sigh and pride and sobs and what not…….!!! I miss him a lot today, but he probably has taught us lessons too great to be forgotten.

………………And today, the ever grateful villagers of Din Mohammad Goth never look towards the planes as the weapons of destruction…..they instead call them LIFE…..
May Almighty Allah Bless him with the best of the best – Aameen

(originally written for “MsnPakistan” – later published in ‘Hilal’ and ‘Sargodhian’)

Curtsy by Umer


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