like the Whirlwind
Siddiqui, 671/Latif - 2 Nov 2014
truly the YEAR OF SORROW for the batch of
1964-1969. Six of our batch mates have left this
world only during the past year and a half or so.
Naeem Saroya 504
Hassan Raza 548
Sardar Khan 528
A total of 17
of us have gone.
eleven who left earlier are Gopi Chand 523, Afzal
Cheema 532, Ahsan Muneer 544, Nauman Ozair 556,
Khalid Malik 566, Aslam Chandio 635, Fazal Ilahi
Memon 688, Ch. Shahid Latif 962, Ghias Sidiqi 964,
Jamshed Akhtar 992 and Muneeb Ahmed Khaki Y-6 (shaheed).
We are going
fast my friends.
last few days:
It all happened
so fast that it is unbelievable. Isn’t it true
that the good and pure people suffer the least.
And Tallat was gone before anyone of us could
comprehend it. He did not suffer years of illness
or pain. It all happened within days, and he is
gone. His service to mankind was not ignored by
the Lord. It was almost like he walked away on his
I saw him go
with my own eyes at Shifa International Hospital;
and leave us behind in this world. I still cannot
believe it – Tallat is gone. His smiles, loud
voice, exuberance, friendliness with everyone,
hard work to bring all together and so much more –
it is all gone.
He came back
into my life like the whirlwind 4 and a half years
back at the beginning of 2010 after a lapse of 41
years. And he left so fast, as if he was in a
He had been
sort of unwell over the past 2-3 weeks. He told me
that he had some kind of hepatitis and all will be
well soon. And then he arranged a lunch last
Sunday (26th October 2014) at Patriata, Murree at
the famous “Petarian Lodges” that he had
created. A number of Petarians and their families
were present to see the amazing work and
development he had done. We had lunch Tariq
Pervez’s (kit no. 530) lodge which was complete.
It was such a beautiful day and everyone enjoyed
But Tallat was
not well that day. He was unable to do the running
around and just sat in his chair talking and
enjoying with friends. He remembered so many
people and friends that day. And I acknowledged to
him several times of the unbelievable work he had
done at Petarian Lodges. I will tell you about
this project below.
So last Sunday,
we all departed from Patriata after lunch –
shortly before 4pm to try to reach Islamabad
before maghrib. Tallat stayed back and decided to
spend the night there. He came back to Islamabad
the following day (Monday).
We all knew
that he was not feeling well, but there was no
sign of any terminal disease. He was weak but full
of life as usual.
apparently he was not feeling well and he
consulted Dr.Mobeen Iqbal of Shifa International
Hospital. Dr. Mobeen told him that he needs to get
a few tests done, and he was admitted to Shifa.
His white blood cells were very high, and Dr.
Mobeen suggested that he should see an oncologist
He was also
having problems with his kidneys and they were
considering dialysis. But his blood pressure was
down and they wanted to wait.
And then it
came like a bombshell on Thursday afternoon –
barely 3 days before he expired. The oncologists
confirmed that he had leukemia (blood cancer). He
had AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) which is easily
curable at a younger age, but can be fatal with
I was in Lahore
and Imran Latif called me on Thursday afternoon to
give me the bad news. Tallat still did not know at
that time, and we were not supposed to let others
morning (Friday), he was taken to the ICU and
under sedation they inserted some tubes to be able
to inject the chemotherapy medicines. The dosage
was started on Friday evening. Tallat was told
that day of his condition, before they started the
medicines. And that is when I sent the email to
all Petarian friends as well requesting them to
pray for him.
I was back in
Islamabad and visited him on Friday evening along
with Imran Latif, soon after the chemotherapy
medication was started. He was asleep and under
We stood there
and watched. He was on a ventilator as he was
having difficulty breathing. Apparently, he had
problems with urination earlier on, and the liquid
was not being drained from his bladder. We could
not talk to him that night.
The very next
morning (Saturday), his daughter in law Nida
called me around 9am and said that he wanted to
see me. He was awake. I rushed to the hospital
Yes, he was
wide awake and the ventilator was off. He was in
an extremely talkative mood, and he kept on saying
many things which he may not have otherwise due to
the effect of the medication. He talked of many
friends by name. And he was full of praise for
I stood next to
his bed for nearly 2 hours, and we talked and
talked. At first he was in a depressed mood, and
it seems to me that he knew he was going to leave
this world soon.
he kept on saying that his daughter-in-law’s
father had expired last February, and that was
bearing on his mind. He had tears in his eyes. And
that is when I had to tell him to stop this talk.
He is still young, and I reminded him that Azim Sb
expired at the age of 97. I also reminded him that
he had done so much great work, and he still has a
lot of work do to before he leaves this world. So
he should remove these thoughts from his mind.
In order to
alleviate his mental anxiety, I also pulled out my
phone and read all the messages of good wishes
that various Petarian friends had sent through
email and WhatsApp. He turned emotional at all
the praise that had been heaped upon him by
friends. He was very happy that so many people
spoke of him with such high words.
He asked me to
embrace him twice, which I did. And then just
before I left, he requested me to kiss him. I bent
down and kissed his forehead and embraced him. He
He must have
known. He must have known. He had never asked me
ever before to kiss him. But then he seemed to be
at peace. I just thought that he had passed that
phase and he would be OK. After all leukemia is
supposed to be curable.
During the day,
several other Petarians came to meet him which
kept him cheerful.
I then returned
to the hospital Sunday morning. No one from his
family or friends was there at that time.
And when I got
to his bedside, he was asleep – sedated. There
were 2 attendants trying to give him medication
and assist with dialysis. I asked them what was
the condition. They said that he was turning
critical. For some reason, I didn’t want to
And then I met
the ward doctor and asked him. He said that since
the morning, Tallat’s condition had started to
deteriorate. He was not able to speak properly and
the uric acid was getting out of control. The
doctor asked me to contact his sons and ask them
to come immediately. I called and they were
already on the way. His son Armoghan and daughter
in law Nida arrived soon thereafter.
meantime, our batch mates Brig. Mukhtar (511) and
Col. Zahoor Malik (522) also arrived.
Iqbal, the consultant was also there. I asked him
to tell us what the condition was. Dr. Mobeen made
it clear that he was deteriorating and they had
decided to move him to the ICU. The problem was
that 4 of his organs were malfunctioning. And
normally they consider chances of survival to
reduce by 20% with each organ failing. At that
moment, Tallat’s kidneys were not working, he was
having cardiovascular problems due to low blood
pressure, his lungs were not functioning properly
and they were having to put him on a ventilator,
and his brain was also not responding properly. So
Dr. Mobeen put his chances of survival at 20%, but
made it clear that he can come back.
as we were standing talking, the entire staff of
the ward rushed towards Tallat. He had stopped
breathing as we watched. They pulled the curtains
and tried to revive his heart and breathing. They
kept on trying for around 20-25 minutes. And then
the doctor came out and said to us that it was
pointless in trying to inflict any more pain in
trying to revive him. He was gone. His breathing
and heart had stopped. He asked permission from
his son to stop further efforts.
believe that he left us.
I still cannot
believe that Tallat left us with such speed. I am
unable to grasp it all still.
to Pakistan at the beginning of 2010 from the UK
after living there for nearly 23 years. Soon after
his return, he traced out Lt.Col. Moneir Aslam
Malik 427 to try to connect with other Petarians.
Moneir told him to forget running after people,
and he will tell him how to find everyone. He gave
him my no. and told him to get in touch.
me on the phone and came over to my office to get
the Petarian directory and start his links to
everyone. And that was the day when we struck out
our friendship on a totally new basis. We were
batch mates but we were never so close during
Petaro days. He was at Jinnah House and I was in
Latif House. And we were friends. But 2010 changed
it all. Tallat would be with me almost every
single day either at my office or at my home. And
we would talk and plan of how to do various things
for the Petarian community.
He was great at
organizing functions, picnics, dinners, etc. His
command over logistics was excellent and he knew
how to keep up his contacts.
This led to the
monthly and annual dinners and lunches.
He also tried
his best to patch up misunderstandings between
Petarians with his charming personality. He firmly
believed in resolving differences. He succeeded on
most fronts, and the remaining went to the back
still had misgivings about him, but he never gave
though was the “Petarian Lodges”. He
wanted to create a real estate project for
Petarians. I told him to keep it only between
friends and not make the mistake of taking money
from anyone. And he listened and followed the
For months he
was on the lookout for an interesting property
where we could invest jointly. At first, the idea
was to get membership from some people, but with
my strong objection, he rescinded.
After a lot of
research and running around, he finally located
this property of around 11 kanals which is located
3km from Patriata in the Murree Hills. And he got
12 Petarians to share in buying this joint
property to develop it as recreational lodges. A
majority of the initial members were from our
batch – the 1964-69 batch.
He would travel
to this property (almost a 90 minute drive) almost
every day to sort out the legal and other badmashi
issues. The time and effort he put into it was
immense. Finally we got possession and he also got
rid of all the cases and other issues. And he got
electricity connection, dug a water bore, and
started to develop the property.
He built roads
inside and had the allocations done for each
member. In the meantime a lot more friends got
interested, and he acquired more adjacent land.
Presently there are over 30 members, and he was in
the process of getting more adjacent land as well
to give it to other friends.
The area was
cordoned off with barbed wire and the boundaries
back, he started to construct a huge building
which he named as “Coombes Mess”. It has 10 rooms
for residence, and a kitchen and dining area. It
was his wish that this would become a resort for
Petarians who would visit the area. As matters
stand, the structure of Coombes Mess is complete
and only finishing needs to be done. He told me
last Sunday that this will be ready for occupancy
within the next 3-4 months.
530 is the only other member who has already
constructed a 3 bedroom lodge there. And last
Sunday, at least two other members declared that
they would like to start constructing their own
part is that some members suggested naming this
resort as Tallatpur instead of Petarian Lodges.
Tallat was very amused. And only yesterday he said
to me laughingly that it cannot be named Tallatpur
while he is alive. “You can do it after I die”
were his words.
Tallat kept up
his contacts with Petarians of all ages and types.
He wanted to revive TPA in Islamabad and to push
for the success of the Convention 2014 at Petaro
being organized by TPA. He made a special effort
to get many Petarians from Islamabad and Lahore
registered for the Convention.
He would often
come to me to help out Petarians who had financial
problems and between us we would raise the funds
without making much noise.
He would also
invite close friends to participate in his own
business ventures to try to help them out. A few
of them invested in his own businesses.
And he would be
in the forefront to assist any Petarian for any
type of work. He would help in connecting people
for jobs, passports, CNIC, government postings,
etc. His contribution is beyond acknowledgement.
My friends, the
Petarian community has lost a giant of a person
today. He stood tall amongst all of us. And he
never tried to get any advantage for himself.
He was selfless
and content in life. He would never share his own
pains and sorrows or difficulties. But he would be
with everyone in their happiness.
Tallat, I am
going to miss you very badly. You had become an
intrinsic part of my life. And you leave behind a
You came like a
storm and left like the whirlwind. What an immense
loss to the Petarian community.
May Allah grant
you the choicest place in Jannatul Firdaus.