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Pakistan

Web Desk
December 9, 2019

Col Suleiman who refused to surrender during 1971 war

Pakistan

Web Desk
Mon, Dec 09, 2019

There are a few who have etched their name in history. They earn the honour of martyrdom despite being a ghazi, Colonel Suleiman was one of them. The daring hero Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Suleiman passed away on Monday at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Lahore.

He was a Special Service Group (SSG) commando, who refused to surrender during the war of 1971. The colonel was also the course mate of General Pervez Musharraf (ex-chief of army staff) from 29 PMA Long Course.

During the war, SSG Commando Major Bilal Rana turned to his friend Col Suleiman and said, "promise me one thing, take this grenade of mine and should the enemy get close, use the grenade but never be captured by them and one last thing, should you have a son, name him Bilal" and with this sentence, they both erupted with uncontrollable laughter.

On December 10 1971, whilst on a mission, Maj Rana Bilal fought bravely and embraced the highest honour of 'shahadat'. During the “fall of Dacca" Pakistani Col Suleman had no intentions of breaking the promise he made just a few nights earlier to his friend Maj Bilal Shaheed.

Col Suleiman barged into the underground dug-in bunkers of the Eastern Command in Dacca Cantonment, full of anger with his loaded rifle in hand.

He looked into the eyes of his commander and refused to accept the orders of surrender.

He disappeared and escaped to Burma and was never found by Indians and Mukti Bahini. But, when Col Suleiman left the headquarters (HQ) of Eastern Command, he didn't escape alone. Maj PD Khan who was 2nd-in-command of 2 Commando Battalion (Suleiman's Battalion) was admitted in CMH Dacca with a bullet in his knee.

Col Suleiman went to CMH and asked PD Khan to accompany him. PD Khan refused explaining that because he was badly wounded he would hamper Suleiman's escape.

Suleman hit PD Khan on the neck and made him unconscious. He then lifted the wounded Khan and escaped to Burma, neighbouring East Pakistan.

PD Khan later became Lieutenant General PD Khan and commanded the famous 10 Corps of Pakistan Army. The lonesome soldier did not allow the enemy to stain his Khaki uniform.

He (Suleiman) later returned to his motherland as a 'brave ghazi.

Suleiman and Musharaf went on to name their sons "Bilal" after their friend, Maj Bilal Rana Shaheed.

Such valour and courage, refusing to surrender, now that's the reason General Musharaf, his coursemates and so many in the Army till this date call him "Muhammad Suleiman, The Magnificent".