Goodbye Safi Lala. A cousin remembers FC Commandant Safwat Ghayyur

A brave man. You will be missed.

From: Foqia Khan
To: undisclosed-recipients
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2010
Subject: FC Commandant Safwat Ghayyur- a cousin’s memoir (by Kiran Nazir Ahmed)

The whole country is mourning the brutal death of FC Commandant Safwat Ghayyur in Peshawar two days ago in a suicide bomb attack. His excellent leadership skills in times of crisis in Peshawar used to calm raw nerves around the country. He was an excellent officer, always leading from the front and putting his life in danger. His TV appearances always showed his professional distinction and cultured personality. He was my dear friend Kiran Nazir Ahmed’s first cousin and below is a touching memoir by her.

From: Kiran Ahmed

Goodbye Safi Lala

Memories float by. I think of the last time I spoke to him – morning of 14th July his birthday (he had joked about becoming an old man); the last time I saw him (he had preferred sitting out in the lawn and had sipped Mirinda – there was always a bottle of it hidden away from the children, for him,  in the freezer – it’s still there); the time when we collectively teased him about the media interviews he was having to give in his Pushto accented Urdu (“bomb putt gaee”) ; the “humour in uniform” anecdotes he related: a soldier with a particularly large , manly mustache had been reprimanded by him for hiding underneath the jeep during an exercise, ‘ look at the size of your mustache and look at your behaviour’ –  ‘Sir my mustache is not bullet proof’ was the reply; the time when he turned back from the main door, took  me aside and asked me quietly if everything was okay; the daily early phone call he had made his routine after my father’s passing away.

More than the words or gestures it was the enveloping sense of protection. It extended to everyone from the people who worked with him to family to friends.  He had convinced one of his seniors who was reluctant to allocate a budget for sun hats for the traffic policemen by taking him out on the road and making him stand in the sun ‘You couldn’t take ten minutes of it yet you expect my men to stand for hours at a stretch without any protection’.

After the Kissa Khawani operation he was asked what he would like as a reward – he asked for medical entitlement for the men he was leading.

The sense of pain is not just for the loss but for the senselessness of the loss. How dare these sub humans snuff out a life that was a source of strength for so many people. How dare they take away the childishness in his children’s eyes and replace it with bewildered confusion.  For everyone whose lives he touched the sense of loss runs deep.

They say that each person evokes a slightly different shade of your spectrum , and that particular shade fades when that person isn’t there anymore.  The part I find myself personally grieving for is the role of the little sister. Being addressed as ’Kinoo’ always got me to shift gears, let go of adulthood and have him take care of problems – never quite understood how he managed everything but he did.

‘Let me ask Safi Lala’ was one of the the standard solutions each time life’s trivialities got overwhelming. Now it’s not and the world is a lesser place today.

Good bye Safi lala.

[Also see A hero who died with his boots on,  by Ismail Khan]

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One Response

  1. ‘Barbarians are at the gate’: when will we realise this?

    Halaku Khan, when learnt about Islam from an extremist Mullah must have got excited to see how it suited them –to rampage human civilization by dubbing it as ‘kafirana’ and earning entitlement to heaven as well.

    Like

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