My husband is deployed in the inhospitable terrain of Waziristan

Published: August 4, 2014
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It is very difficult to satisfy a three-year-old when she asks, after watching an emotional army song on tv, if her father is going to meet the same fate, because she believes that her father is the bravest. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Nowadays, various television channels have taken to playing emotional songs about sons and fathers joining the army, going on active duty and dying at the line of duty. It might be motivating for the general public, but what happens to the families of these soldiers can be comprehended neither by the channels nor by their producers.

It is very difficult to satisfy a three-year-old when she asks, after watching the song, if her father is going to meet the same tragic fate because she believes that her father is the bravest. It is difficult to answer her question when a lump in the throat is preventing you from speaking a word. I wonder when these heartless song producers will start showing a slightly happier ending.

Being the wife of army officer is a daily struggle. Raising the kids when your husband is away is an uphill task, but the hardest part is when every bell on your military phone sends chills down your spine; only because there is a possibility, a very very real possibility, that the call might bring news that could shred our lives to pieces.

I, once, visited a family who went through such a loss.

The emptiness, the hollow abyss, in the eyes of the widows and the pain in the hearts of the children melted me so much that now I spend quite a large amount of my time praying for the wellbeing of my husband. Being close to God who brings solace to my heart. I try not to weep in front of my Lord while asking for His protection, as my husband is a true soldier of God and Allah is bound to protect those who tread His way.

My husband is deployed in the inhospitable terrain of Waziristan and participating in operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’. I am proud of him, but my civilian friends don’t understand what that means; it means I am fine with it.

Once in a couple of days we receive a phone call from my husband. Even though I try hard, it is difficult to hold back emotions. I try to put up a brave act, but somehow tears always manage to trickle down my cheeks all the while hoping he doesn’t notice my blubbering, and thank God that tears cannot be seen on the phone.

All the families of the regiment have developed a unique spirit of friendship and closeness. We meet almost daily or talk on the phone at the least. It is not that I love to socialise but because I know my husband might not inform me if he is injured or hurt, maybe some other wife would know about it through her husband. He doesn’t like me worrying too much, at least during the time we did get to spend together…

I was never really the type to sit and listen to the news; I preferred music. But now, I can’t keep myself away from the nine o’clock news bulletin and every day, like today, I wish that the television screen tells me that the operations have culminated and the army is coming home. That I will get to see my husband again. That my kids will be able to see their father again. That all is not lost. That we are still a family.

Asma Khan

Asma Khan

A doctor by profession, who is proudly married to an army officer, currently serving in Waziristan.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.