Yaser and I were very close cousins or more like brothers. We grew up literally playing together. There were three of us who were in the same age group, more like three stooges, Yaser me and Danial, another cousin of ours. Since the childhood we were determined to do something different, to make a name in the world. But Yaser beat us all to become the Hero for our nation, which he truly deserved. The reason for me to write this article is to let everyone know about what actually happened in the base and why he is a hero of our country. Till now everyone knows him as a martyr but what he actually did was something much greater than we can think.
Yaser was very close to his family. He use to talk to them everyday no matter where he is or what he is doing. Never in my life I saw him argue or raise his voice in front of his parents. So like any other day on the evening of May 22nd Yaser was on a conference call with his family when he heard a loud blast which caught his attention. He said to his parent that there have been a blast and he have to go. His mother tried to stopping him but he didn’t waste a single second to fled to the scene, he didn’t even close the call. He just dropped the cell phone and ran when his sister, who was still on the call, heard voices saying “Sir don’t go a head there is great danger”. That was the time when terrorist came into the navy compound and had already attacked the first P3C Orion.
Before I proceed we need to understand what was so valuable on that base that attracted such a high level attack. The terrorist were very well trained and were equally well equipped with the latest gear. The amount of ammo that they carried with them was insane and they were using night vision goggles with other ultrasonic radio communication gear. The first target for them was P3C Orion. At that point in time there were two of them present very close to the place where the terrorist came in from. P3C are actually the eyes and ears of navy which gather valuable data about enemy from far away through air surveillance. This data help trace enemy movements and critical assets for planning purposes. Next were the range of helicopters and aircrafts that were there in a line. To put cherry on top there were foreign engineers, from different countries, working on the base on various planes which were very east target for the terrorists.
Even if one of them were killed this would have been a disaster for already strained image of Pakistan after the Saudi Diplomat killing. The planning of terrorist was perfect and they knew everything about what was there on the base and where to target it. They choose Sunday because the security at the base is minimal. Since most of the officers were off on Sunday there would have been no one at the base to stop them from destroying P3C Orion first and then the other fleet of helicopters and aircrafts after which they would have either taken the foreign engineers as hostages for their exist strategy or they would have killed them, no one knows. But they missed out on one detail which prevented them from causing heavy damage compared to what they already did. Pakistan Navy after the attack on its Bus earlier this year created a rapid response force whose sole purpose was to quickly respond to any incident like this in the futures.
On this particular night Yaser was the head of that force. When he heard the blast he instantly rushed towards the team which had already left for the scene. He followed them in a potohar jeep and parked just behind the bullet proof vehicle, which carried the other members of the team. They were receiving very heavy fire and since it was pitch dark virtually nothing was visible. In a battlefield there are two ways for judging enemy’s position when they are not visible but firing from a distance. One is from the smoke that is left behind after firing the bullet and the other is the short flam that is created at the time a bullet is fired. There was none from where they were firing. We can judge the level of preparedness and training that they had before they attack. But what helped Yaser’s team was the light from the fire that was coming from P3C unfortunately. The terrorist were moving in the dark towards the compound where engineers were staying when Yaser and his team intercepted and engage them.
Yaser by profession was an aeronautical engineer in navy and his first love was the planes. When he saw that one of the planes, that he was the engineer of, was hit and its flames were dangerously close to the second one he thought that he could save the second plane if somehow they were able to take out the fire. So they fired heavily on the terrorist who were taken by surprise by his squared. They were pushed back and had to go to plan B because Yaser team was fighting back equally well. Every passing minute was very very valuable for the Navy as they were able to secure the other important equipment on the base. So it was imperative for Yaser to buy as much time as possible till the SSG commandoes come to the scene. They were pushing the terrorist back which made them switch strategies.
In the meanwhile a fire brigade came to the scene and Yaser instantly ordered it to move towards the P3C to take the fire out. Since it was very dark Yaser and few members of his team took cover behind the fire brigade and started a cover fire as soon as the vehicle started moving towards the aircraft. Because of the cover fire they enemy was pushed back and then the unfortunate thing happen. Since it as pitch dark Yaser was not able to calculate the new position of the terrorist and when they were going towards the aircraft because of which terrorist and the Yaser team came face to face. Everyone ducked and lie down on the ground to take cover when Yaser faced the enemy head on. He was swift and controlled in his attach when he shot down one of the terrorist who didn’t even had time to budge (may Allah curse him to the depths of hell and all their partners who took innocent lives) but what he did not realize was that there were others who could see him clearly but he was not able to see them.
They fired right at him and he received his first bullet in his chest but that didn’t lowered his spirits and he kept firing at the enemy. He killed another terrorist after which he got shot for the second time in his chest. Even then when most of us would have pushed back he fought like a lion even when everyone else was lying down. Unfortunately on the tired bullet in his chest Yaser fell in the arms of a fellow team member still conscious but too hurt to stand. By this time approximately 20 minutes into the fight backup arrived and took over the fight.
Yaser was shifted to the sickbay in an ambulance still conscious from where he was shifted to the hospital. On the stretcher his first words were “how many bullets I got hit with?” on which the attendant replied “One sir you will be fine in no time.” Then the attendant asked “how many terrorist are there fighting?” he said “maybe 5 or 6, please inform my family about me” and then he went quiet. By the time he reached the hospital he was unconscious and on the operation table his heard pumped the last beat and he left us forever.
This is an account of what actually happen and there is not an iota of doubt that Yaser faced the enemy head on and took all the bullets in the chest, very few people are there who have the courage and motivation to stand in the face of fear and say “bring it one.”
Anyone who joins armed forces wishes to die a martyr’s death but very very few get this chance. I would like to share a comment from a SSG commando who attended namaz-ejanaza of Syed Yaser Abbas Shaheed and told his father about a conversation he had with Yaser. Yaser spoke to him in a gather saying that “you are among the lucky few people who fight for the country can die a martyrs death, where as I as an engineer can never have a martyrs death.” The commando told Yaser’s father that “he got his wish and what he did is indeed something that most of us couldn’t do, we are all proud of him.”
I am proud of my brother and I thank Allah for giving me the opportunity to spend some of the most amazing time with him. I will always remember him not only because he is my cousin but also because what he did for our country and for our community at large. We should all learn a lesson from his sacrifice and stand up for what we believe in. From this day onwards I will stand up for my dreams and what I believe in, and I sure hope our youth also will do the same;
Dedicated to My Jafar Mamu, Saba Mami, Zaini, Maria and Aliha.