A Tale of Two Immortals

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A Tale of Two Immortals


Remembering the young officers who served the nation against the toughest of odds

Pakistan’s enviable success in the national war against extremism and terrorism has come at a very heavy price, due to the human and socio-economic losses. Pakistan’s security forces faced the brunt of terrorism with professionalism par excellence and fortitude. There have been innumerable stories of valour which speak of the mettle of the junior leaders of Pakistan Army. Martyrdom of two brave sons of soil, Lieutenant Masood ur Rehman and Captain Asif Mehmood in North Waziristan in September 2004, is one such story. Their sacrifice shall be remembered as an epitome of limitless human perseverance, unflinching faith and devotion to the defence of motherland.

Both the heroes were commissioned in 54 Baloch Regiment, Mechanised Infantry Battalion, that holds the motto of ‘first to guard’ due to the singular honour of presenting first-ever standing guard at Mazar-e-Quaid. The unit’s fine war history is evident from the legacy of 34 valiant soldiers who laid down their lives in the line of duty. Keeping its glorious traditions, the unit played a pivotal role in ridding the Mir Ali bowl of terrorists and the capture of Shahbaz Khel Top during Operation Zarb-e-Azb, in 2014.

Masood was born to Molvi Abdul Sattar Langove and Bibi Zubeda on January 4, 1983 in Mastung. He was known for his rifle shooting, declamatory skills and horse riding at Cadet College Mastung. His companions during training at the Pakistan Milatary Academy (PMA) remember him for his uniquely pleasant and gravitating personality marked by politeness, liveliness, comradeship and good taste in poetry. He was a thorough gentleman with a courteous demeanor and endearing habits.

On the 5th of August 2004, Lieutenant Masood embarked on a special military train with his unit from Kharian Cantonment. On August 28, 2004, he reached Razmak and his sub-unit Alpha Company was deployed in Shawal Valley of erstwhile North Waziristan Agency in a jungle ahead of Gurbuz in Dabar Miami. The first challenging task for the young officer was to dominate a track which was the main transport and supply route of terrorists; leading to Afghanistan through Mangroti pass. During those long nights, Lieutenant Masood used to remain with his troops in the front bunkers. He always led his platoon daringly during routine day and night patrols. He was often found in the bunkers located on the most dangerous approaches. He even shared sentry watches with his troops.

On September 8, 2004, Alpha Company was ordered to move back to Razmak for a subsequent operation in Laddah and Makin area. After an excruciating journey, they reached Razmak where Captain Asif also joined the unit from the Infantry School and was appointed as Alpha Company Commander.


The night before their mission, the Alpha Company lined up in front of the telephone booth to make calls to their families as they were unable to communicate with them for quite a few days. That day, Lieutenant Masood Baloch talked at length with his family members. When he came out, his companion enquired as to why he took so long? Masood’s reply stunned his friend: “I was telling my brother that we are going for a very precarious operation tomorrow. I will call you myself tomorrow evening, but if somebody else calls you, it would mean that I am no more in this world.” Later at night, the Commanding Officer briefed the officers about the impending operation to be conducted the next day. They went to their tents around mid-night and were woken up early arly morning, by the sound of equipment being loaded by the troops, instead of routine breakfast – to save time for battle preparations.

On September 9, 2004 at four in the morning, the convoy moved from Razmak to Makin and Laddah. All the companies disembarked in Sam Valley. The Alpha Company was led by Captain Asif abd assisted by Lieutenant Masood, while the Charlie Company was led by Major Kashif – now a Lieutenant Colonel – and Lieutenant Mushtaq – now a Major. Both Companys were tasked to dislodge terrorists/dismantle their hideouts located at point 7121 and Karawan Manza feature respectively. Bravo Company was deployed at Asman Manza overlooking these heights, which was a good location for artillery deployment for effective coverage of longer ranges till Razmak, Jandola and Sarwakai.

After the air raids on terrorists’ locations, the Alpha and Charlie Companies started moving tactically toward their respective objectives, while the Bravo Company provided fire support from Asman Manza with heavy machine guns, besides transmitting the visual observations regarding the moving terrorists. The arduous operation was swiftly conducted. Both the companies cleared the resistance and terrorists withdrew to the next dominating heights in continuation. Captain Asif and Lieutenant Masood led their respective tactical groups bravely. Communication was difficult due to the mountainous terrain and dense forest. While leading from the front, just a little short of his objective, Captain Asif was hit by two bullets fired by a sniper. Lying drenched in a pool of blood, with his eyes shining and face brimming with confidence, his parched lips recited Kalma Shahadat and Allah-o-Akbar repeatedly. He was still encouraging his troops to press forward to fulfill the mission instead of attending to him. He was evacuated by helicopter, but succumbed to his injuries during the flight to Wana Forward Treatment Centre.

Lieutenant Masood got the news of martyrdom of his Company Commander Captain Asif but kept maneuvering and pressing bravely against the last dominant position occupied by the terrorists. While approaching the final objective, Lieutenant Masood was hit by two bullets in the right shin bone. The lionhearted soldier took out his handkerchief, tied his broken leg bones together and tried to stand but fell down. He then started crawling upward to the terrorists’ position for about 25 metres. He continued moving forward under intense fire from the terrorists. One can only imagine the courage of a brave young leader, tired for many days, climbing through rugged mountains under hostile fire; fighting the terrorists and crawling towards the final objective despite being riddled with bullets. The gushing blood weakened his body but not his will to fight on. He proved to be one of those who dare go where even death fears to go. Resultantly, he surprised the terrorists with his sudden appearance from the bushes. He opened fire and killed two terrorists at the spot; when from a nearby location, another terrorist fired at him and six bullets pierced his chest. Masood Baloch breathed his last, adorned by his usual smile. He signifies the exemplary patriotism of the Baloch people who have frustrated and defeated the forces inimical to peace and prosperity of Pakistan.

Along with the two officers, four other selfless soldiers also lost their lives in the name of the country during the operation, namely Lance Naik Hidayat Ullah, Sepoy Shahid Iqbal, Sepoy Shabbir and Sepoy Sajid. The unit flushed the terrorists out of the area in a subsequent operation killing 70 of them. The indomitable defenders of the motherland secured Karawan Manza heights, provided security and safe passage to the brothers in arms who would fight the menace for another decade or so to defeat the terrorists in detail.

The tales of the fearless martyrs reinforce the belief that Shahadat is a divine honour bestowed upon the best of the faithful; because character is destiny. The valiant Ghazis and Shuhada of the armed forces are indeed the custodians of the Quaid’s determined words: “no power on earth can undo Pakistan”.


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