Standing up against militants of K-P: How my father died for Pakistan
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are in state of war. Everyone here, including the politicians, are bearing the brunt of state policies, in the makings of which they share no role. Amongst this lot of politicians was my father Muhammad Ali Khan Mohmand shaheed. A member of the provincial assembly (MPA) from Shabqadar, Charsadda, he was well known to K-P and Fata. However, few in Pakistan know of his heroic story.
Muhammad Ali Khan Mohmand became an MPA from Shabqadar in 2008 on a Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao (now Qaumi Watan Party) ticket. The victory delighted all of us, but we could never have imagined how this epoch would be the start of a tormenting journey.
In 2009, my father was attending a public gathering in Shabqadar when he received an urgent call from the then Deputy Inspector General of Peshawar. He and his friend, Safwat Ghayur (shaheed), were advised to leave Shabqadar immediately and head to Peshawar. No reasons were given.
My father waited till the end of the gathering and then left for Peshawar to meet with his friend Safwat. He cautioned him to stop visiting the village for a few weeks. On further inquiry, he revealed an assassination plot targeting my father had been uncovered by the security agencies. Yet, even this didn’t deter my father and he continued his visits to the village.
After some days with the persistent efforts of Safwat Ghayur, the assassination plot was foiled and militants responsible were arrested. This whole tale was kept a secret by my father – a burden he carried with himself. He confessed to these details after many months. This was the mark of the man he was; he would tackle all obstacles on his own, protecting his loved one’s all the while.
June 16, 2010
This seemingly ordinary date is a day in my life which makes my heart ache. My elder brother, Babar, was travelling to Peshawar from Shabaqadar when he was abducted by a band of armed militants. We were traumatised upon receiving the news; it felt as if the sky had started falling and we alone suffered its wrath. The days without him were agonising and grim. But Allah (SWT) blessed us once more and returned my brother safely after ten days. After this incident, my father had resolved to pursue action against these terrorists and decided to permanently reside in the village.
In the last week of February, my father received another threat, but by this time, he was so deep into his work for the people that he refused to be disturbed by this.
March 3, 2012
After attending a public gathering in Shabqadar, my father, Aftab Sherpao and Sikandar Sherpao were going to Peshawar in one jeep when they was targeted by a suicide bomber in the Kangra area of Shabqadar. In this blast my father suffered grave injuries to his head and chest.
Tragically, he never fully recovery and was afflicted with illness for eight months. He embraced shahadat (martyrdom) on November 2, 2012. Even through his trauma from the blast, he would frequent gatherings to better Pakistan. His bravery and dedication never allowed him to be hindered by terrorists and their acts of cowardice. My father’s work towards public service could be judged from the fact that despite him and his party being on the militant hit-list, he could not be separated from the people. He attended every gathering, whether to mourn or to celebrate with the people of the Charshada District.
Despite the threats, he had decided to permanently take residence in the village. He was a passionate political worker and due to his efforts, the Qaumi Watan Party gained a stronghold in Charsadda, to the extent that it won four provincial seats out of six in the current elections.
Within our fold we had lost a father, a husband, a brother and our armour all in one man. The backbone of our household was ripped from us. He is missed with every beat of my heart.
My elder brother, Babar Ali Khan Mohmand, won the by-elections for the Shabqadar seat. We thought that by this time we would be safer. But our notions were misplaced, as the militant agenda had not yet been satisfied.
In the third week of March, a bomb was planted outside the back gate of our Hujra (small room in a mosque). After two days the militants had attacked our home, but we managed to fend this strike with the help of our guards. After three days our home was under fire once again, but this time with heavy artillery like rocket launchers, but once more we successfully deflected the attack. Due to the blessings of Allah (SWT), no one was injured in all three attacks. There have been no more attacks till now.
Though we have been put through many tribulations, I am proud of the sacrifices my father made in his struggle for peace. Not only him, but thousands of citizens of Fata and K-P, led previously by assembly members like Bashir Bilour shaheed, have lost their lives in this strife.
The purpose of narrating this tale of unending woe on my family is to pay homage to all those victims of terrorist activities– the unsung heroes who have shed blood in the battle to restore peace in Pakistan.
I hope that one day, the death count of these people will stop growing and we will finally achieve that which they gave their lives up for; peace.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.