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The Author

Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad was born on June 1st, 1933 in Patti, a town in the district of Lahore in Amritsar, India. He was the first son and the second child of seven siblings born to Chaudhry Abdul Hamed Khan and Rasheda Begum. When Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad was a child, his father served as Tehsildar in the Chaburji quarters on Multan Road in Lahore.

In 1938, at the age of five, he was enrolled in the 1st grade but soon after, the family had to relocate to Patti when his father was transferred there. Along with his family, Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad lived permanently in Patti until 1947, the year the subcontinent was partitioned into Pakistan and India. It was here in Patti that he completed his middle school education from the local D.B. High School.

Due to his father’s frequent job transfers, Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad’s family often moved from place to place. During the first eight years of his life, he lived temporarily in places like Ahmad Pur Sial and Zillah Jhang where he graduated from the eighth grade and completed his middle school education.

After the division of the subcontinent, Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad’s schooling was disrupted for a couple of years as a result of ongoing political unrest, the division of the country and a distinct lack of properly-run schools in his side of the country. However, in 1949 he moved with his family to Hafizabad, a city in the newly-created country, Pakistan. Here, he was enrolled in the 9th grade and started his high school journey. The educational system in that city was still not fully established and so he moved to Lahore, a far more developed city, to complete the rest of his education. In Lahore, Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad lived with his paternal uncle and graduated the 10th grade from the Islamia High School on the Lower Mall. After completing his schooling he enrolled himself in Government College in Lahore in the year 1952 at the age of 19. He remained in Government College until 1958 and graduated with an Honorary Bachelor of Arts degree.

Apart from his educational accomplishments, from a very early age he established himself as an aspiring young athlete. As a young college student in Lahore, he distinguished himself by obtaining the first-ever Government College Color in rowing, the Punjab Color and then the West Pakistan Color, demonstrating his skill with utmost honor and achievement. He later made it on to the prestigious and highly sought after Roll of Honor in Sports of Government College, Lahore. During his time as a student he remained an active member of the Dramatic Club. His fellow members later went on to become well-known Pakistani artists, whereas his acting career was brought to an abrupt end by his father after he landed a minor role in a famous Hollywood movie of the time, Bhowani Junction, in which he appears in a clip.

After such sporting and artistic achievements, Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad joined the OTS in Kohat in the year 1958 as a GC and received his commission in the Pakistani Army the year after. He was appointed as a 2nd lieutenant and joined Sixteen (16) Baluch Regiment officially in Fort Sandeman in Baluchistan. In the year 1960, this battalion moved initially to Quetta and eventually to Lahore.

It was in Lahore that he met Obaida Baig, an eligible woman from a well-established Mughal family of the time with which Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad’s family had been well acquainted for decades and generations. He was engaged to her in 1959 and on June 15th, 1960 they were married. Immediately after his marriage he was posted to Dir Bajor for an operation and was later transferred to the Pakistan Army EME center in Quetta as an administrative officer. During the course of his relocations in 1961 his father, Abdul Hamed, passed away, leaving him profoundly affected; echoes of this deeply-felt loss are evident in his memoir.

On March 27th, 1961 he and his wife welcomed their first child in Lahore, a daughter they named Sobia, and from then on the family expanded and grew in love and unison. In 1963, Iftikhar-Ud-Din was taken into the Eleven (11) Baluch Regiment and transferred to Lahore. His job required him to relocate periodically and after being transferred to Lahore he was later ordered to move to Fort Sandeman again, near Quetta. There in Quetta, three years after the birth of his first child, he had another daughter on January 12th, 1964 who was named Tayyaba. Shortly after her birth, Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad participated in an operation against the Bugti tribe during the India-Pakistan war of 1965, the year he was promoted to Captain. Later that year, he was posted to Kashmir while his family lived temporarily in a small village away from Lahore – for safety reasons as Lahore was under attack during the war. The same year, on September 10th, Iftikhar-Ud-Din’s third child and first son Moeen was born while he himself was still in Kashmir.

Due to his commendable ability, he was promoted to the rank of major in the year 1967. After a secondment in Zhob Militia, he was posted to Parachinar in the North Western Frontier Province where he stayed with his family for the next couple of years. Two years after this posting, he joined the Seven (7) Baluch  Regiment and moved to Bagh. Later he was relocated to Azad Kashmir and eventually to Dara Haji Pir. At the beginning of 1969, his battalion was ordered to move to Sialkot with the advance party and his family moved with him. The next four years of his life are the ones mentioned in his memoir: 1970 to 1974. On February 11th, 1970, before he left for the war, Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad and Obaida welcomed their fourth child and third daughter,  Hafsa, into the world. When her husband was sent to East Pakistan for the second time, Obaida was expecting and gave birth to their fifth child and fourth daughter Aisha on June 20th, 1971 in his absence. Aisha saw her father for the first time when she was three years old. It is these four years Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad was separated from his family. After returning in 1974 he joined the Forty-One (41) Baluch Regiment in Lahore. Along with his battalion he moved to Chamb in Azad Kashmir and was at the border for the next couple of years of his service in the army. Throughout this time, his family resided in Lahore but his son Moeen would often visit him and spend his school holidays with his father.

At the end of 1974, he moved to Quetta to attend the Infantry School and received his training in Infantry School. During this time his wife and son, who were permanently settled in Lahore with the rest of the family, visited him for a few weeks after a memorable two-day train journey. Later on, his family moved to Baral Colony in the Mangla Cantonment while Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad commanded a Mujahid Battalion in Chamb, Azad Kashmir. In the year 1976 he and his family moved to Mardan, as a result of his posting to the Punjab Regiment Center as an Accounts officer. On January 28th, 1978 Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad welcomed his second son and last child Mohi-Ud-Din, which completed the family. In late 1978, Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad was posted to the Baluch Regiment Center in Abbottabad where he resided with his family for 5 years until 1983; his son Moeen spent another year attending high school in Abbottabad.

It was in the summer of 1980 that he married his oldest daughter, Sobia, to his nephew, Captain Zahid, in Abbottabad.

He did many projects for the Baluch Center, such as establishing a printing press, organizing Baluch Regiment Reunions and holding a yearly Meena Bazaar. In the same year he again moved to Mangla Cantonment with his family where he was put in charge of the women’s guard in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir. He met with a terrible accident on a scooter while he was traveling back with his daughter Tayyaba from Mirpur to Mangla; it damaged his left shoulder and the pain never left him till the end. He loved his family so much that his son Moeen, who was away in Abbottabad taking his high school final exams, was not told of the incident until he returned to Mangla.

In 1984, he was posted to Lahore Cantonment with a battalion of the Pakistan Army’s EME corps. After living a nomadic life, often apart from his family, this was his last posting as an officer of the Pakistani Army. It was in December the same year that he retired and his family threw him a surprise retirement party. After his retirement from the army he took on board the task of constructing a house for his family in Model Town, Lahore in 1986. After creating a permanent residence for his family, Iftikhar-Ud-Din Ahmad joined an insurance company on a parttime basis and signed up as a member of the Model Town Society. He remained the president of the Anjuman-e-Eid-Milad-un-Nabi in Model Town, Lahore till his last breath.

Two significant and traumatic events happened in his life during his stay in Model Town: in the early 1990s, his mother passed away and later his oldest sister, who had been very close to him all his life, also passed away.

Until 2005 he resided in his new house in Model Town, in the place where he had grown up and had spent his childhood and school and college years, and where he saw his second daughter Tayyaba married to Khalid, in a union that produced a son and a daughter; his son Moeen, who moved to America to complete his medical training and still permanently resides there, to Dr. Fauzia who bore him a son and a daughter; his third daughter Hafsa to his nephew, the younger brother of his eldest son-in-law Baqar, in a marriage that produced two sons and a daughter, and his last daughter Aisha to Majid Qureshi, who now live happily in Germany with two daughters and a son. After nineteen joyous years, he moved to Punjab Cooperative Housing Society, accompanied by his wife and youngest son Ahmad.

He sold his Model Town house because of the intolerable attitude of his siblings, who he had raised as his own children, and he moved to Punjab Housing Society, Ghazi Road in Lahore. During the nineteen years of his retirement spent in Model Town, he had developed a strong personal relationship with the people and the community in the town he had considered home. Because of this, long after leaving for the Punjab Society, he continued his social life in Model Town. Along with his personal social activities, he ensured that he attended all the military functions of the Baluch Regiment and his old battalions and the alumni events of Government College, Lahore. He remained outgoing and sociable throughout and stayed in touch with the officers from his old battalions and his Government College friends.

Another traumatic event that happened in early 2008 was when his nephew and son-in-law, Major Zahid passed away. In 2009 he published his memoirs in Urdu after roughly compiling them over the nineteen years he lived in Model Town.

After his retirement and throughout his residence in Model Town and in the Punjab Cooperative Housing Society, he remained in good health and in good spirits, physically and socially, an active member wherever he went, while welcoming and indulging all his grandchildren. However, in May 2006 he suffered a minor stroke, from which he completely recovered. In 2007 he saw his youngest son married to Rabia. The couple had two daughters, and he lived happily and joyfully with them in the Punjab Society for his remaining days. He would often visit Model Town for a stroll and brief meetings with the people he had grown so fond of, but always enjoyed returning to the company of his large and wholesome family.

In December 2013 he was diagnosed with an abdominal tumor which was declared inoperable by all the doctors in that field. His family was desperate to find a cure for the cancer and after contacting specialists all over the world, tracked down a specialized treatment facility in Frankfurt, Germany. They began the preparations to take him there for the treatment but, as his family were arranging the travel plans for him, his condition rapidly deteriorated as the tumor started compressing his ureters. On March 20th, 2014 between 10:30 and 10:35 a.m. he breathed his last in his bed in the residence in Punjab Society. Surrounded by his wife, his children and his grandchildren he left in utter peace with a contented smile on his face, one that has been indelibly etched in the hearts of his family. His oldest son counted his last breaths and he left in peace and comfort. In accordance with his wishes and the handwritten will found in his diary, he was buried in a graveyard in Model Town, only a little distance away from his mother’s and son in-law’s graves.

His legacy, his magic, his aura, his wisdom and his lingering inspiration left a deep and vivid impact on his family and friends. His loss was an unbearable one and brought several people from across the country to visit his wife and children after his departure. Around 3000 people attended his funeral, every one of them anxious to see his face for the last time. He was an individual full of life and spirit and possessed the ability to charm any person who was in his company even for only a short time. He lived a blessed and blissful life with all his wishes fulfilled even after he departed.

The English translation of his memoir is another one of his wishes. Although the fulfillment of this wish was initiated while he still breathed, it is being published few years after his departure from this world.

“A great man is one who leaves others at a loss after he is gone.”

Paul Valery