Islamabad: Whether it’s the winds of change or the thought of a ‘naya Pakistan,’ the annual celebration of Sept 6th was special on many counts this year. Organizations, the general public and media houses participated fully in all events, making it a memorable day.
The monthly meeting of the Association of Business; Professional and Agricultural Women (ABP&AW) held at the Rawalpindi Gymkhana also played its part and marked the occasion, albeit a few days later. The participation by members may not have been very large in number but it was high in emotion and the spirit of patriotism.
Welcoming the ladies, president of the association, Tahmeena Malik thanked the invited speakers for coming to share their thoughts and also said a few words about the club, which was formed in 1954, a voluntary organization with branches all over Pakistan working in the areas of education; health; poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment, with a credit scheme initiated in 1992 being the most successful of their operations. “We have never received funds from any donor,” she said in a proud tone of voice, “We manage everything with private donations.”
MC for the event, Asma Naveed introduced the speakers and before each one spoke, she narrated beautifully written text in Urdu - and related poetry - in a clear, well modulated voice. Sounds like gunshots coming from the loudspeakers (which had to be turned off) added a disturbingly realistic touch to the narrative!
First to speak was Dr Shaheena Ayub Bhatti, neice of Major Raja Aziz Bhatti (Shaheed) who said she was a child when he was martyred but they had always been a close knit family and she still felt his loss, while memories of his life and style were kept alive by her father. These were being compiled into a book to give a true picture of the gallant soldier, as two books written earlier did not do him justice and were devoid of facts.
The second speaker was Naima Saqib, widow of Major Saqib Zaman (shaheed) narrated how her young daughters had reacted when they knew their father was not coming home; how difficult it had been for her especially as her husband was a very loving and caring man aside from being a professional soldier, very mindful of his duty to his country as well as his family.
The third speaker was Brig Mumtaz Ghazi who took part in the 1971 war. He said he had addressed many bigger gatherings but it was an honour for him to speak at an event where women who were contributing to the welfare of Pakistan were present. Having joined the army in 1996, he has done research on the ‘65 war and took part in the second one, so he narrated some events from both conflicts which were very interesting. He concluded by repeating a few, soft military jokes to make the ambience in the hall a little lighter as almost everyone was teary eyed.
In between each speaker’s emotional narration, a young lady with a beautiful voice, Sana Nemat sang the soul stirring national songs, ‘Ay rahe haq kay Shaheedo wafa ki tasweerero’ and ‘Ay watan kay sajeelay jawano,’ made popular by Madame Nur Jehan - songs which bring tears to the eyes whenever they are heard. It was the right choice for an occasion where the sacrifices of our gallant soldiers were being acknowledged.
Tokens of appreciation were presented to the speakers and the meeting concluded with the singing of the national anthem.