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January 9, 2015

Aslam’s widow willing to present three more martyrs


January 9, 2015

The woman who, for nearly two decades, stayed up at nights while SP Chaudhry Aslam Khan stubbornly fought criminals has another long wait before her; to see her three sons join the police force and carry on their father’s mission.
“I am proud of the fact that my husband is a martyr. If I can give this country three more martyrs, I will…if, of course, their wives let them!” she chuckled. Noreen Aslam’s eyes, however, were moist.
“The youngest one has Chaudhry’s flair… maybe even more. I am waiting to see him join the police and become the next Chaudhry Aslam.”
Till then, all four children – three boys and a girl – will stay abroad till they complete their education. Though the Sindh government is supposed to bear the expenses of educating children of martyred policemen, even a year after Chaudhry’s death this favour hasn’t been extended to his children.
“I do not want compensation or a stipend from the government. I can feed my own children. But the officials should at least honour the promises they made to the children of the man who always kept his word.”
Except for a few loyal friends, said Noreen, the rest of the senior police officials and also the politicians turned away as soon as Chaudhry, as she calls him, bit the dust. “I haven’t even heard back from the committee set up to investigate his seems the investigation was buried with Chaudhry.”
But what Noreen has been most wounded by is what she described as the sheer callousness with which her husband’s name was neglected from the national civil awards ceremony held in March 2014. “He knowingly and deliberately risked his life every day. Did he not even deserve a mention? The whole country and the rest of the world had recognised his services and mourned his death.”
If one was to argue that Chaudhry too made a sacrifice like many other policemen to have fallen in the line of duty, his wife has a simple reason for demanding

to at least remember, if not carry on, the legacy of her husband: “He did what others shied away from doing. His shoes remain unfilled and probably will for a long time. He risked his life time and again for what he believed in and the love he had for his motherland. This was why he tried so hard to rid it from terrorists and criminals.”
There is another reason as well, which Noreen alluded to later in the conversation, which should resonate more with the authorities. “If such high-profile cases are treated like this, then what hope will be there for hundreds of other families who lose their loved ones?”
Noreen wants her husband remembered by the people of Pakistan and his legacy preserved. This is why she is resolute in her demand from the government of attributing a lane, a road or a roundabout in Karachi to her husband’s name.
In the meantime, she has other plans. For now, she is busy in making sure that Chaudhry’s death anniversary is observed with the degree of respect she believes he deserves. “For security reasons, I am not able to observe his death anniversary as I planned.”
That, however, doesn’t mean she will stop doing what she can.
With or without the help of the police department, fateha khwanis have been organised for Friday evening (today) at her current residence, the Karachi Press Club, the office of the Crime Investigation Department in Garden, Hijrat Colony, Railway Colony and Landhi, along with his native areas in Mansehra and Faisalabad.
The ceremonies would not just be about Chaudhry though; expressing profound grief over the Peshawar school massacre, Noreen says the innocent children and their families would not be far from anyone’s thoughts.
Noreen has also been working to set up a trust in her husband’s name. Currently, its registration process is underway. “Chaudhry was a man who sat in his office and listened to the people. Through this trust, I want to keep helping the poor.”
Rejecting all speculations, Noreen made it clear that she and her children will remain settled in Pakistan. “If my husband died, he did so with honour and while serving his country. If my children choose to meet the same fate, then so be it. It will be God’s will.”

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