By: Anas Haqqani
One the most difficult tasks for me as a writer is to write about myself and my family. For quite a long time, I have been thinking to write about my late father but I have always hesitated wondering what I write might be taken as exaggeration of a son about his father. Today, I decided to write. And this is because apart from praises from his friends and supporters everywhere around me, today, the enemies have also come to acknowledge the truths and realties. So why would I be suspected of exaggeration?
We were sitting in a meeting with a senior foreign official, who was blunt and candid, unlike many other foreigners who talk diplomatic and tactful. The foreign official was polite yet straightforward when communicating. As we were introduced to him, without any hesitation, he said he was proud to be meeting us — a people who have made history. So am I. Proud that friends and enemies are calling us history-making people. Yes, this pride has been given to us by our dear father and all our valiant leaders and elders.
That father of mine, whose mere name brings the sense of fear to some people. I would like to share a memory of mine from the prison. I had been in prison for some days in solitary confinement of the notorious 90th Directorate of NDS. The intelligence officials were trying to deceive the prisoners by posing as Human Rights observers. A gentleman dressed in plain clothes was sent to the prisoners asking them if they were tortured or if they had any problems or not. Anyone complaining were beaten up brutally as punishment. This gentleman was checking the rooms one day, unaware that Anas is in one of them.
He came to my room and closed the door slowly. He sat beside the wall, took his pen and said: “is there any problem”?
“How many days have you been here?” he said.
“Have you been tortured or not?” he continued.
I knew that he was pretending, because we were not allowed to share our problems with anyone. I smiled and said: “even if I have a problem, will you be able to solve it?”
He said: “just tell me I will try.”
I told him that to forget about other problems, and just get me together with my friend and why are we being separated?
“who is that guy?”, he told me.
I said, “Hafiz Rasheed.”
Then he asked what my crime was?
I laughed and said crime?
He said, “yes!”
“I am arrested because of my father and that’s all. I don’t have any other case.”, I answered.
“What does your father do?” the gentleman asked.
“He is the enemy of the Americans and their stooges?” I said.
“What’s his name?”, he asked.
Suddenly, the color of his face tuned so pale as if a knife was held against his neck. He stood up. He looked at me with fear and then at the door.
He started walking backwards. He forwarded his hand to the door from a distance away as if I was going to jump on him from behind. Then, he disappeared from the scene. This action of his made me burst out in laughter. I thanked the Almighty that the enemies of our religion and country are afraid to the extent that even the name of my father inspires fear in them.
When the news of the death of my father broke out, I was held in the punishment bathrooms of Bagram prison. In order to inform me, the Americans brought my Uncle Haji Mali Khan. It’s a long story. An American official told us that even though Haqqani (my father) was a staunch enemy and has killed many American soldiers, yet he loved his homeland and he was an honorable man and that he always fought for the defense of his country and never backed down from his stance.
We experienced strange ups and downs during our life with our father. He was practically our teacher. Whenever we went to visit him, he would emphasize about education and learning. He used to say that only with knowledge can we differentiate between right and wrong.
One day, he told us that young men are emotional and that they rush to war and politics. He said, you can get into politics whenever you want, but to gain knowledge and education, it is only possible when you are young. He always advised us to get education and the rest will be easy. He said to stay away from high positions as with a position comes great responsibility and trial.
He had great enmity and hatred towards the disbelievers and aggressors but loved his own people without any limit. Our dear father used to say that no matter what mistakes are made by others, even if one has killed your friends and relatives, you should try to forgive and correct them. He was always talking about unity and brotherhood and used to tell that if it is possible to correct someone then you should turn a blind eye to your sorrows and be patient and bring the people together.
He had so much hatred towards aggressors and occupiers. One evening we went to see him with few others accompanying us. We found that he had prayed the evening prayer and was sitting alone. He cried so much from his heart.
One of the friend with us consoled him and asked him what the problem was? My late father said that I am crying that I killed the Soviets with my hands but I haven’t the chance to kill the Americas. They have tortured and perpetrated unimaginable cruelties on our people, they have insulted our religion and now I am crying because if they go and I die, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of fighting and killing them.
All the people sitting there were astonished. One of the friends told him in a laughter:
“Respected Haji Sahib! don’t be sad for we have killed so many Americans on your guidance and instructions. It is difficult to count them. Yet if you still seek to kill the Americans, we will carry you on our shoulders and you just shoot at them.”
He became happy after hearing this and laughed.
He then said that I don’t have the desire of high position and this world.
He said: “I have seen the stages of freedom. Many people including foreigners offered leadership of the country, but I preferred the life of honor in these muddy rooms than any throne without honor. My heart deeply aches after seeing the situation of the poor and struggling Afghan nation, the Afghans have suffered a lot. This is a wish of mine that the Afghan nation can once again breathe the sigh of relief, live under the shade of Islamic system and free themselves from the clutches of the foreigners and the traitors.”
His close friend and student the martyred Ahmad Jan Ghaznavi enquired, what was behind this story of people offering him leadership of the country?
My father responded: when the Americans decided to invade Afghanistan, they started contacting influential personalities. They were sending us messages through various channels. When I went to Pakistan as the minister of tribal affairs for the last time, we had many meetings there. We also met a senior delegation of the Americans. The Americans started their conversation in a way as if we are their friends. I was listening to them.
The Americans said: “We intend to enter Afghanistan in pursuit of terrorists and their backers in order to protect our security and interests. They have committed oppression and this system must be broght down. Another alternative system shall be erected in its place. Now our plan and our government’s choice is that you leave the friendship of Taliban and join us. You are a national figure and the Afghans trust you. You fought against the Soviets and have earned a respectable background after you worked as a mediator of peace amongst the Mujahedeen. Our intention is to offer you the leadership of the next system — whatever you need just tell us.”
Then he said I thought to myself that after so many years of Jihad, hardships, migration and displacement, these people are putting me to the test. They are endangering my faith, but Praise be to Allah that not even slightest of inclination happened in my heart towards their hefty offers.
I responded: “Are you finished with your talk?”
They said; Yes, and quickly took their papers and began waiting to hear me talk.
I told them that do you think that Haqqani will sell his religion and people to lead the country? That he will bury the aspirations of the martyrs? Such is impossible. I will say it to you frankly so listen carefully and pass it on to your superiors exactly as I say it to you. Do not think about invading Afghanistan because it will cost you dearly. Try to resolve the problem through talks. Listen to me carefully, if you invade Afghanistan I will shoot you with the same gun with which I shot the Soviets.
Their color turned pale and they were surprised, and I gave up further talking. I got up from my seat and went towards the door, and then I called them from the door that this is my final decision, and I hope that you would have understood it properly.
My father continued and said that less than a month later, our centers in Paktia were hit with cruise missiles. And since then, they have been sending us messages through different channels asking us to join them and being offered whatever we want and need, but I have responded every time with a frank response. I am grateful that my children were martyred with the American bullets because on one hand, I will not feel a sense of dishonor in front of my martyred friends and on the other, my hatred and enmity towards the infidels will be increase.
Every time I reminisce about my late father and his actions, I believed he was a great individual. Even in severe illness he never left prayer and worship. We used to tell him that he needs to rest but we always found him praying late in the night.
He never missed reciting the Holy Quran until his last days, even when one of his leg and hand were paralyzed. Later, our friends used to start playing the audio of Holy Quran in a tape recorder for him. I can say that I have never seen such devoted person worshipping the Almighty.
One day I went to visit him along with some brothers and I was feeling sad. When we inquired him about his situation he started crying, so we cried too. My elder brother asked him what the matter is Abaa (father)?
He said: “I am crying that how will my end be?”
Praise be to Allah that after so many sacrifices, worships and hardships he was still thinking about his end. We consoled him.
He told us: “when I see those friends of previous Jihad who sold their conscience and honor due to the fear of death and wealth, and stood by the disbelievers and invaders, that is why I worry that what if Allah gives us such a horrible end?” .
He said: “ I wish if the friends of previous Jihad had repented and left the friendship of the infidels.”
What he said was really astonishing and I though very deeply about it in the prison. And after reading a lot, I realize that the righteous servants of Allah always weep for the fear of their end. Even though they are aware about their good deeds, yet no one knows their end.
He would argue with me in the matters of education, and always encouraged me to study. Whenever I would go and visit him, he would tell me about a book which I shall bring for him from his books. His memory was so strong that he even remembered the color of his books. Whenever I asked him about an issue he would give me the reference of the book and tell me the volume of the book along with the chapter.
He told us in his last days: “I am leaving the religion of Allah in inheritance for you. If you gave preference to the world and turn your back on the religion, then you have made Allah unhappy and me as well. And if you gave preference to the religion over materialistic needs, then you have made Allah happy and me as well.”
He further advised us about his library and his Mujahedeen that we should look after and take care of.
A wise man once told me that people make news but some people make history. Your father (Abaa) made history. I have so many memories of my father that books can be written about them, but as they say in Pashto:
The flowers of your beauty are so much
That I cannot collect them by myself
May Allah have mercy on my late father for he made history for us and our entire Muslim nation, and he has bequeathed a heavy responsibility on all of us. May Allah aid us in safeguarding it. Ameen.