My husband is deployed in the inhospitable terrain of Waziristan

Published: August 4, 2014

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.

  • qazi

    Wow…its too emotional… I could also feel a lump in my throat. I pray for your husbands safe return. We are proud of what he is doing and brave on. I inshallah soo u ll be u united.Recommend

  • Supriya Arcot

    Brave girl .Recommend

  • نائلہ

    May Allah keep your husband and each and every solider of Pakistan safe. Ameen. It would certainly take a lot of courage to leave his family and to fight for his country. But he is doing this for you, for your daughter and for every child of Pakistan; he has left his family for a short time, to save the lives of millions of families. His actions are determining the safety of 180 million people, I am sure you are proud.

    Inshallah all will be well soon, just never give up hope and please continue pray, pray as much as possible. Remember Allah has power over ALL things :) Recommend

  • Khan

    How come, millions displaced and co-lateral death have no children, their fate is not ill-fate. For Taliban’s children their father is also the bravest and dearest one, their wives want to them see alive too.Recommend

  • Usman Aslam

    Proud of you Sister !Recommend

  • normsky

    Very well written. In particular about the songs which always show soldiers dying. I never thought about how ‘heartless’ those songs may seem after what you have written here. Salute.Recommend

  • nida shahmeer

    Asma stay strong.your article moved me alot.I,myself am an army officers wife and i know how difficult it is to manage things when your husband is far off serving his country.IA bhai will be home soon safe and sound.May Allah protect our husbands,the brave lions of this soil ameenRecommend

  • نائلہ

    But Taliban are killing innocents and will continue to do so until action is taken against them. Who is denying the displacement of a million people? Would they rather be dead- from a suicide bombing, than be displaced for an amount of time? I think not.Recommend

  • sara.

    Beautifully written. You reminded me of my childhood dream of marrying a soldier. Ah! I envy you, you are so lucky to be a soldier’s bride. Soldiers n their families are Allah’s chosen people. We are ordinary n you all are extraordinary. Your husband will return safe n sound inshaAllah. Recommend

  • shah

    You are the victim of goof policy of strategic depth followed by General Headquarters. Yes, the generals who sent your husband into battle are basically cleaning up the gigantic mess created by their predecessors. Truth is bitter.Recommend

  • Xeric

    We are proud of you, sister. Being in uniform myself i can very well understand what you and your family is going through. i remember the time once that clip ‘Maa teray baitay ki laash ayee hai’ would play on channels and my mother would weep quietly while she cooked in the kitchen and i being naive would increase the volume not knowing what it did to my parents, siblings and wife. Even though i was not serving in a war zone then. One day she just broke down and told me to change the channel. Later, when i was being deployed, i told her something which i would also like to tell you; ‘Mom, we need you to be strong, we gather strength from the fact that our kins are strong while we fight for this country, please dont deprive us of it. There are enough pseudo-liberals around to do that. The fact that there’s a mother, wife or a sister back home praying for us and all our brothers-in-arm, and are ready to accept us warped in the flag, is a great solace.’ i know, still she remained equally worried as you are today when i was away, but i knew her worry would not bog me down. i want you to do the same for the brave officer. He/we will, Inshaa Allah return back victorious! Thankyou again for writing this blog. i feel more charged and less worried now, and know that i have another sister for whom we have to return back, unharmed. Thankyou!Recommend

  • LA

    May god give you strength.
    I hope army returns soon after successful operation. Recommend

  • hassan

    well its one side of the story and a sad one too but soldiers do embrace Martyrdom in the line of fire.

    its important for the civilians to acknowledge the nature of the service that soldiers go through day in and day out.

    I salute the families of the soldiers because they valiantly endure the loss of their loved ones.

    I pray for the safety of our soldiers where ever they are performing their duties.

    Pak. Army and Pakistan ZindabadRecommend

  • Khan

    Agreed. Do you think the military is fighting there against terrorists? At best we don’t know for sure, at worst many non-terrorists have fallen a pray to the army. Do you think millions displaced is justified for useless effort by the military? Much has been written on the operation. Army families should not just owe luxuries of cantonment they must know what their bravest fathers do.Recommend

  • Faisal

    I wish someday you learn a lesson at the hands of Taliban.Recommend

  • Prashant

    No nation can survive and thrive without making the sacrifices. People die natural deaths and they would be remembered for being good or bad by some but a soldier would always be remembered for defending a cause an entire nation believes in. If a man ever has an option to choose, there is no better way to perish then being a soldier.

    I wish Mr Khan comes home safe and sound to his family ASAP.Recommend

  • SHS

    This nation and its people owe you, your husband, and your family enormous gratitude for your service. We salute you and thank you for the sacrifice you make every day.Recommend

  • Kulwnt Singh

    Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches, you are right my sister may Allah be with you and your husband the operation be accomplished as early as possible.Recommend

  • Mir

    Displaced for an amount of time?

    Haha! You gave me a good laugh there.
    Let me ask you the same question.

    Would you rather be dead than suffer with no shelter, little drinking water, food and safety and viewed upon by your fellow compatriots as a criminal? Recommend

  • S. A. Malik

    Dear Sis, One has to be the Chosen One to Serve under the Ministry of Supreme Being and the Army of Allah and His Messenger (PBUH). May Allah Bless you will all the happiness.Recommend

  • Irfan

    Believe me, being a wife of a Pakistani in Pakistan, especially in Karachi is a greater struggle, all thanks to a military dictator named Ziaul who plundered the country a quarter century ago.Recommend

  • Iftekhar Khokhar

    “Don’t you worry Asma Khan, my daughter. Stay courageous; and I am sure you are so. Your husband, one of the great sons of the soil, has been deployed to defend our homeland. We are with you, and all such families of servicemen whose members are performing acts of valour & gallantry in North Wazirastan. Thus far, most of the “infected” areas have been cleared by Pakistan Army & PAF. We earnestly hope the task will be accomplished very soon leading to peace in the country enabling your husband to join his family. Insha Allah. May God Almighty bless Pakistan & our defence forces. Ameen.Recommend

  • Syeda KAzmi

    seriously couldn’t control my tears while reading :(Recommend

  • Ahmad, Zubaid

    I don’t care about IDPs. They allow terrorists in. Justice is sweet :)Recommend

  • Guest

    “Infected” Areas ?

    Were they killing cockroaches. Where’s your humanity?Recommend

  • baig

    @author i hope everything turns ok ,
    but why the things become so bad in the first place that the operation has to be done!! .

    My question to the law and enforcement agency is why not get to the source of the problem? who is stopping you. if you don’t get to the source of the cancer in the body. and just remove the aftermath. it will keep spreading from the source. then the expensive cancer operation done will be of no use.Recommend

  • kuziz

    At Best We Dont Know for Sure
    if u dont know it for sure so better dont comment…Recommend

  • kiani

    These songs shown on TV r for heartless people who think army only enjoys privileges. They don’t realize and appreciate the sacrifices made by army officers and their families not just in operations and wars but in peace as well
    Sitting in their offices and criticizing is easy rather than suffering thru al. I request first put itself in their shoes and then criticise.the children v well know why their bravest fathers r doing and they r proud of them.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    You tell me one thing, what other option do we have at this point of time to eradicate terrorism from Pakistan? Recommend

  • Once a Soldier…Akhtar Zaman

    Asma Khan..Bhabi….I respect and can understand your feelings but you knew that you were marrying a soldier…and soldiers are always a call away from performing such like duties.You should have full faith in life & death.No one can escape from death…date & time….All those who die for some noble cause are really Lucky and chosen from among hundreds.Well soldiers are paid for that….life in uniform is always at risk.
    Bhabi..I am sorry if I have hurt your feelings….Recommend

  • TSil

    comes with the job I suppose.. Media houses are indulging in propaganda….
    you are into wishful thinking… things are going to get worse unfortunatelyRecommend

  • Troo

    I think everyone just missed the elephant in the room…
    How many blogs do we have from taliban wives, any of the four or even his goat/boy lover?
    Exactly my point. I don’t think they will know love and peace until they start being part of humanity. Civilisation is one surrender away you know, not that hard. How about we start blaming the actual root cause for once instead of the army for endangering the tribal innocents in the first place?Recommend

  • Afaq Shah

    Dr. you’ve extremely express your feelings, I personally dedicate this article to those who thinks that job in military is chilling and enjoying 80% of Pakistan’s budget. Also I want to say that Freedom is not free its just like a tree that lives on a human blood, I tribute my people who are serving in Pakistan’s Armed Forces & Spy Agencies and also their families who are sacrificing for the whole nation.Recommend

  • Anoop

    Certainly not carpet bombing entire villages and towns.

    You can close all Madressesahs. You can remove arrest all anti-India Terrorists and close all Terror camps in PoK. You can actually move troops from India border/LoC to FATA and take control.

    But, no, the easiest and the bloodiest option is chosen.
    India has never bombed Kashmir, even after 25 years of Islamic Militancy. No nation bombs its own Territory. Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    Stand tall Asma bittiya … Nation salutes people like you and your hubby !!!Recommend

  • چھوٹا ڈریگن ®

    My respects. Don’t worry too much, our brothers have eagles watching from above. Recommend

  • Ashok

    Brave lady. Very well put. Hope your husband comes back safe and the family is together again,Recommend

  • tungi

    just stay strong! we feel for each one of our soldiers in the same way as any wife or mother would!may GOD give him success and return him home safelyRecommend

  • Moiz Omar

    Your husband is a great man. I’m an Atheist, but “bless” your husband.Recommend

  • Asif J Raja

    Flip side of the coin. Closer to reality. Good WorkRecommend

  • adeel.khan

    good point, but to keep motivating the people, to keep their morale high and to remind them constantly about the supreme qurbani of martyrs, its is necessary to make such songs/promos. while i respect your opinion and courage, i also commend tv channels for doing so. Its not always about sacrificing lives im sure but yes coping up with this would be very difficult. I understand. Hope God bless you and your family alwaysRecommend

  • Hanif Bangash

    I can understand these feelings, have seen such situations at times in my family. How real these words are….Recommend

  • Hanif Bangash

    Pakistani media’s role in few issues is big question mark and beyond understanding?Recommend

  • sajid

    May the Almighty keep your husband and other soldiers safe and may he join you back soonRecommend

  • fahad

    we owe youRecommend

  • نائلہ

    Will closing madrassahs prevent incidents like karachi airport attack from occurring?-yes they should be closed, but what about the already corrupted minds? What is the immediate solution?

    “You can actually move troops from India border/LoC to FATA and take control.”- we dont trust your army, you know that right? Would you ppl kindly take your troops off the border?

    Removing terrorism is the whole point and the anti india ones should not be left out. Terror camps in Kashmir? Who controls them, what are they working for?….for I have no knowledge of them.

    “No nation bombs it’s own territory”- how HARD is it to understand that if we dont bomb the terrorists, they will bomb us?

    You just told me to take our troops from LoC and put them in FATA to “take control”- then you say we shouldnt attack the militants- what is your point exactly? Recommend

  • Prashant

    “Would you rather be dead than suffer with no shelter, little drinking water, food and safety and viewed upon by your fellow compatriots as a criminal?”

    Atleast their next generations would not have to suffer the same fate of either being IDP’s or having their bodies blown to smithereens besides the fact that the hardships and sacrifices of any displaced people will earn a place in history with respect. If twenty years down the lane you have your history books written with the sacrifices made by Taliban, you should know you have not moved an inch.Recommend

  • Prashant

    Eagles? I thought you would say drones!!Recommend

  • Aisha Khan

    This is something heart touching.. May Allah blessed ur family..Recommend

  • Ali

    Salute to you!!!Recommend

  • Sane

    Very positive comment from other side of the border.Recommend

  • Jonbon Jovi

    this is a blog by the wife of a soldier telling about how his absence effects her, plz do not pollute it with this kind of discussion. Feel free to send your own blog discussing what should and what should not be done. Try to get some perspective please. There is a place for everything and this Blog is not the place for this kind of discussion.Recommend

  • Aisha

    You moved me deeply. I’m the daughter of a fighter pilot and the fiancé of an army officer. And I can understand, if not entirely, how you feel.
    You are a fighter, a mujahida, along side your husband. Having to look after your kids and home while your husband fights for an esteemed cause, and staying strong, is your jihad. And it is indeed a great jihad. Most of the country can only dream of the status you hold in the eyes of Allah and the rest of the nation.
    You, along with all the mothers, wives, sisters and children of soldiers are a source of pride and inspiration for us.
    Asma, InshaAllah your husband will return as a ghazi soon. And you will be even more proud of him then. I know times are hard. But as Allah says “with hardship, there is ease”. Your ease is not far away my sister. Just stay strong. For your kids. For your husband.
    Tons of love and respect all the way from America! :)Recommend

  • Gharibul Watan

    Dear Asma we are a motley crowd of sadists. I can imagine what you and your family would be going through. I am one of those who were forced to leave the homeland due to these terrorists. We will remain indebted to those who are risking their lives and their families. Profound prayers that your husband comes back as Ghazi.Recommend

  • zoya hussain

    My fionce is going there in a few months and I’m devasted. I pray that your husband comes back safe and sound. It’s the most challenging ordeal for the family when their loved ones are out there surrounded by enemies. These tv songs make it even worse. Recommend