After the partition of India, I was sent to be admitted to the T.I. High School, Chiniot near Rabwah. It was 1948 and Rabwah did not exist then. T.I. High School was in an evacuee property that Hindus had left at the time of partition. I was only 17 years of age and was a student of 10th class.
One day in April 1948, our Head Master conveyed to us the wish of Hazrat Khalifa Sani ra to volunteer for Jihad in Kashmir. Indian army had occupied Kashmir illegally. The Pakistan Government requested Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II to help them by raising a battalion of Ahmadi youth to fight in Kashmir. This battalion was raised and called The Furqan Force. It consisted of only Ahmadi volunteers. I immediately volunteered myself and the permission to join the Furqan
Force was granted. I was instructed to report to the Company Commander at Jhelum (Pakistan).
Before joining Furqan Force I went to my village to get permission from my parents. I told my father that I had volunteered to fight the Indian Army on the Kashmir Front. My father was very happy that I had responded to the call of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih but my mother was greatly worried and sad. I was her eldest son and was very young. She became very emotional and wept when I bade her farewell. My father accompanied me to the nearest Railway Station to see me off.
A few minutes before the arrival of the train, he became very emotional. I could see tears flowing from his eyes. He embraced me for a long time and then said:
My dear son! You have volunteered for a great cause. It is solely your own choice and decision. I am proud of you. You are going to the battle field where chances are that you may be killed. This might be our last meeting. It is possible that I may not see you again. You are my eldest son and I love you. If it was the will of God that you should lay down your life in order to achieve His pleasure then I want you to embrace martyrdom with courage and bravery. One day every one of us has to depart from this world but being killed in the way of Allah is the greatest achievement of a true believer. Do not think of us; concentrate on your duties on the front. God will never let you go waste. My prayers are with you.
He then broke down. Tears flowed from his eyes. He embraced me for a long time.
The train arrived and he helped me to board the train. We were both highly emotionally charged. Our eyes were wet.
The train arrived at Jhelum Railway Station in the early hours of the next morning. There was a volunteer to receive me at the Railway Station. He took me to the Furqan Force Training Camp which was established at a Canal bank. There were dozens of tents in the open ground. I was assigned a tent where there were three other Pashtun volunteers. Blankets, a tea mug, a pillow and some towels were provided from the Camp store.
After a little while I was asked to report to the Camp Commandant. I was taken to his tent where he was sitting with two of his colleagues. He was a Colonel in Pakistan Army and was an Ahmadi. He welcomed me to the Camp in a very polite manner and then instructed me to undergo a fifteen days Crash course of drills and the use of weapons. He ordered the Camp Store Manager to give me a uniform and a rifle.
The next day we were woken up by the sound of a bugle followed by Azan for Fajr prayers. After the prayers, Dars of the Holy Quran was given by the Camp Imam who was a teacher of the Ahmadiyya Missionary Training College. We were told to have a cup of tea and then assemble in the open ground. Subedar Sher Ahmad Khan of the Pakistan Army was our Instructor. He had long moustaches and was of a strong and firm built. We were given lessons in the use of guns and grenade throwing.
The drill was really tough and we sweated profusely. In the afternoon, we played various games under the supervision of our instructor.
After fifteen days we were told that we would be sent to the Front in a day or two. One evening we received instructions to get ready for our onward march to the battle front. At around ten’o clock in the evening, we boarded the Army Lorries which had very dim lights. We were told to observe absolute silence during the journey. Around Fajr prayers we reached a place called Bhimber. We took shelter in trenches there and slept the whole day. Late in the evening, we were told that we would walk throughout the night from Bhimber to the battle front. As we were now in the shelling range of the Indian Army we were strictly forbidden to talk or produce any noise. It was pitch darkness and it was hilly area. All night long we walked in the darkness in complete silence. There was no road or a pathway. We reached the Front in the morning. We were terribly tired and hungry.
The commandant was Colonel Hayat Qaisarani of the Pakistan Army. He was an Ahmadi. There were four companies of volunteers. I was placed in a Company which had a few Pashtun volunteers. They welcomed me and told me to have some sleep as I would have to be on guard duty during the night.
Life was really tough in the trenches. It was cold in the night and the sleeping area was very small. It was difficult to stretch our legs while sleeping as it could touch others in the trench. There was a
shortage of food stuff. There was no canteen. In the morning, brunch was served which was always lentil (Dall) and Roti (backed bread).
Then in the evening again it used to be Dall and sometimes Potatoes. Tea was only available in the morning. The tough routine of guard duties and the lack of proper food soon told upon our health and made us weak. Everyone lost weight. We would sleep most of the day and would be on duty all night. Twice a week we would go on patrol near the enemy lines and often were fired upon.
This was the toughest part of our duty.
One day, we washed our uniforms and spread these near our trench, in the open, to dry. This was seen by the enemy gunners. We were sleeping in our trench when suddenly the trench was targeted by the heavy guns of the Indian Army. Our trench was covered in heavy dust and our uniforms that were spread outside to dry were torn to pieces. This went on for about fifteen minutes.
The Commandant of our camp saw this and as our trench was totally engulfed by dust he thought that we were all killed. The news spread quickly that all the Pashtuns in the trench had been killed.
We remained in our trench for another half an hour lest we might be targeted again. During this time we recited the Kalima loudly as we thought we were about to be killed. The trench was full of dust and its roof had collapsed at a few places. I thought of my mother and father and felt sorry for them. How would they receive the news of the martyrdom of their eldest son?
The shelling stopped and we came out in the open. Our faces were unrecognizable because of the layers of dust on them. We were shaking badly. When the Commandant and others saw us they raised the slogan of Allaho Akbar. They had thought that we had been killed in the trench. It was as if we had come back to life after death. The Commandant embraced us.
The next day we were called by the Commandant and were reprimanded by him for our negligence to spread our uniforms in the open. As punishment we were given extra duties for two days.
After four months we were relived by a new batch of volunteers and we returned to our homes. I had lost considerable weight and was very weak. My mother embraced me and wept to see me in that condition.