What about the two Air Force pilots who died yesterday?

Published: June 4, 2014

We lost two impeccable fighter pilots in a saddening crash in Karachi: (L) Squadron Leader Umair Elahi and (R) Wing Commander Khurram Sammad.

We lost two impeccable fighter pilots in a saddening crash in Karachi: Squadron Leader Umair Elahi and Wing Commander Khurram  Sammad. PHOTO: FILE We lost two impeccable fighter pilots in a saddening crash in Karachi: (L) Squadron Leader Umair Elahi and (R) Wing Commander Khurram  Sammad.

Yesterday, Pakistan lost two impeccable fighter pilots in a saddening crash in Karachi. The incident took the lives of Wing Commander Khurram Sammad and Squadron Leader Umair Elahi. As the Mirage fighter plane crashed in Baldia Town, the incident caused four other casualties.

Yesterday, Pakistan also saw the self-proclaimed ‘Quaid’ of Sindh, also known as Altaf Hussain getting arrested for money laundering.

The news of his arrest caused the usual stir in halting all life in Karachi. Roads were jammed, shops closed and basically all activities came to a standstill as the city sat in terror. The violence that comes with such news is nothing new. People of the city of lights were stranded in their homes, their offices and on roads.

What bewildered me was the media and news reports of the day. All that the media watchdogs were concerned about was ‘bhai’s’ arrest. My questions to the people behind cameras and their producers are, what about our soldiers? Our men? Those men who have put in days and nights protecting our country? The same men who get little praise from you and lots of flak. Those men who were sons, brothers, husbands and fathers. Why wasn’t their death given due coverage and reporting? Why?

Are the lives of honest and meticulously dedicated people, who put themselves at risk each day to serve you inexpensive? Do you not give them the time of day because instead of ‘entertaining’ you, their lives revolve around protecting your right to live? What is it about these men that make them less heroic than those you chose to cover? Why do you not care? My questions are unending.

Wing Commander Samad and Squadron Leader Elahi were two brilliantly trained, competent and efficient fighter pilots. They are two out of the barely 500 dedicated fighter pilots serving your great nation. They were sons, brothers, husbands and fathers.

Two families have lost their beloveds at the line of duty today; families that knew the risk of sending their sons to defend the country, but did so anyways. Or the wives who knew of the risks of their husbands’ jobs but nevertheless carried on sending them off with cheers and high spirits each morning. And don’t forget the children of these brave soldiers; the children who are too young to understand anything beyond the love of their fathers, too young to understand the fact that their fathers have lost their lives in a nation that is truly ungrateful. Today, these two families are damaged beyond repair.

Had this crash taken place in a remote area, I wouldn’t have been this perturbed, but the fact that it took place in a populated area in Karachi and yet was not given due coverage infuriates me.

Here’s an open statement of a patriotic Pakistani for the media – wake up and realise the importance of balanced journalism. Wake up and let your Pakistani citizens know of the loss of two of its sons. Wake up and give us news beats that are vital. Wake up and let us, Pakistanis, feel the pain of the sons of this soil living courageous lives to keep us safe.

Because, trust me, that self-proclaimed ‘Quaid’ sitting abroad isn’t even blinking at your everyday plight as compared to those who spend their days and nights in daring occupations such as those serving in the Army, Air Force or Navy. Rest assured, the ‘Quaid’ may be let off and come back to your TV screens, but those honourable soldiers, those who embraced martyrdom yesterday, will not be back; give them their due respect.

Zara Hafeez

Zara Hafeez

A digital marketer, writer, a history buff, volunteer for humanitarian causes for The James Caan Foundation, UNICEF Promise for Children, among others and a tea-aholic. She tweets as @zara_hafeez (twitter.com/zara_hafeez)

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