Title Stories of Braves Echoes in Heavens

by: Ch. Muhammad Natiq.
Remembering Maj Azmat Hayat Shaheed, SJ, 1971,55 Field Regiment Artillery November 21, 1966, Sialkot 2nd Lieutenant Muhammad Rafique joined his Unit; he was received by his batman.

“Greetings Sir, I am your batman”. Saying this, a smart and tall man received him. Rafique went to his room in the company of batman. In a bossy manner, he kept commanding batman; who was obeying his orders. After working the whole day, batman left the room at night and went to his room.

The very next day when Rafique got up, he was unable to find his batman. He looked around to find him but in vain. He got ready for the office and went to the unit. While he was planning to teach his batman a lesson, he found him standing right before him. But instead of scolding batman, he got attentive and paid a quick salute to the “batman”. Because he actually was a Full Lieutenant, who pranked Rafique by disguising himself as a batman. Rafique was so puzzled and thinking about what to do. However, a deep smile was on the lips of a Lieutenant named Azmat Hayat Khan.

January 1967: A new type of Honda 350 CC motorcycle was recently inducted into the unit. Unlike other motorcycles, this vehicle had a different mechanism. Azmat Hayat Khan saw the motorcycle and took one for a ride. After a minute of practice, he started driving it at top speed. The road was wet and after a few drifts, the motorcycle slipped and Azmat fell to the ground. His head hit the ground and in the absence of a helmet gave him a deep injury and started bleeding profusely and his face was badly rubbed with the road. He was unable to move his arm which hit the ground.
Everyone present at the scene ran towards him to take him to CMH, 2nd Lt. Rafique was one of them. As he was taken out of the unit’s gate, he ordered the people to stop and take him to the nearest photographer’s shop right across the Square.

“But why? In a surprised manner, Rafique asked. “Look, partner! Accidents don’t happen every day and luckily it is my first motorcycle accident. So I want to make it memorable by getting a picture of it”. He answered in his typical cheerful tune.

“He’s mad, I think we must take him for a picture first, otherwise he’s never going to the hospital”, said Rafique and took him to the photographer. Rafique recalls that every day in the company of Azmat was a Fun day and they always thought what is he going to do on the battlefield??

May 21, 1971, Jessore Sector, East Pakistan
After 5 years, Lt. Azmat Hayat Khan was Major Azmat Hayat Khan. He was commanding the 20th Battery of the 55 Field Artillery Regiment.
Mukti Bahni and Indian Army captured the Mir Pur post in this area. Major Azmat Hayat consulted his CO and planned to conduct an operation to recapture the post. Instead of ordering his Artillery Observer Captain Amjad, he climbed up the highest tree in the area and started directing the fire.

The artillery fire was so intense that after suffering heavy loss, the enemy retreated within 1 hour. A large cache of weapons and supplies was recovered from there which the enemy dumped for further attacks.

Jessore Sector, East Pakistan December 1, 1971.
The enemy was trying to pierce through the defensive position of the 107 Brigade. They laid immense fire on the position of the Pakistan army. Therefore it was decided to take position 3 miles back from Jessore. The evacuation was scheduled from 6 December to 8 December. Major Azmat was giving fire support to 22 FF by his battery.

December 6 (Evening)
Brigadier Muhammad Hayat was the commander of 107 Brigade. He was on his routine round when he saw Major Azmat with his Jawans, Cracking jokes, smiling and encouraging his men.

“Azmat I have news for you”, showing him a telegram, Brigadier Hayat said. “What is it sir?”, Azmat asked. “Allah has blessed you with a son 5 days ago”, Brigadier Hayat told him. “Thanks to Allah. Now I can die peacefully” Azmat said in a contented manner. “Now tell me one more thing. We are going to evacuate the area and take position behind. Can you hold the enemy till 8 December?”, Hayat asked.

“Yes sir I can hold the enemy, it will be only possible to come even an inch further if the enemy comes and kill us with their bayonets”, with his eternal smile, Azmat replied. The enemy started laying intense fire on the night of 6 December as his aerial reconnaissance told that the Pakistan army is moving. But Azmat kept his word. On the night of 6 December, the enemy tried its best to move further, but the fierce and pinpoint shelling by Azam compelled them to retreat. The enemy tried for the 2nd time but failed.

From 6 to 7 December, the enemy kept increasing its strength and tried to move, but they were able to gain very little ground. It was only a Battery of 6 Guns and a handful of 22 FF men, who were holding the ground.

On 8 December, the enemy gathered a full division on this front and attacked with full force. Meanwhile, Pakistani forces were able to gain the decided position and Brigadier Hayat asked Azmat to come back, but Azamat refused. As the enemy was coming closer, Azmat and his comrades grabbed their personal defence weapons and took positions in the trenches.

As the enemy moved further, they started firing at them. But a division and a handful of soldiers were no match. They rushed towards Pakistani posts and hand-to-hand combat started. Azmat didn’t move back even an inch. As he had said, the enemy was able to martyr him with bayonets.

Major Azmat Hayat Khan Malik was nominated for Nishan e Haider, but he was awarded Sitara e Jurat posthumously.

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