Tallat Mahmood Khan, 590/Jinnah

Tallat Mahmood Khan 2010

By Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui, 671/Latif

Tallat Mahmood Khan, kit no. 590/Jinnah House joined Cadet College Petaro in 1964 iand left the college in 1969 after completing his Intermediate.

He was born on 27 August 1952 and got married to Mrs. Azra on 28 April 1978. They have 3 children - Armoghan, Salman and Annum.

Tallat is my batch mate (1964-1969). When we parted in 1969, I never knew if I would meet him. Then one fine day at the beginning of 2010, I got a call from him and it was such a happy surprise. Since then, hardly a day passed that we are not in contact.

And then it happened. He left us for the eternal abode on 2 November 2014 after a short illness. He is buried at the H-11 graveyard in Islamabad.

Tallat belonged to Bahawalpur. He started his early education at the Dominican Convent School Bahawalpur. Upon completion of Class 7, he got admission to Petaro in Class 8.

After leaving Petaro, he moved to Lahore and graduated with a B.A. from F.C. College in 1972. He then started a family poultry business in Lahore from 1973 to 1978 over 1600 acres of land, which later on got absorbed into Allama Iqbal Town.

In 1979, he got an opportunity to join DHL International in Bahrain and he took up a job with them as the Operations Manager. Two years later in 1981, he moved back to Pakistan to join DHL Pakistan in Islamabad where he served for 7 years as Operations Coordination Manager. Simultaneously, he also worked with Lifeline Company which was owned by the same group. He was the Marketing, Admin/HR Manager with Lifeline.  This company was involved in the LPG business.

Tallat chose to migrate to the UK in 1987. Moving to a new country, he had to find an opportunity to settle down. He got a job with W.Smith Co. as a Delivery Man for the Evening Standard newspaper. He took this upon himself as a challenge for two years.

He was then called back by DHL Bahrain as the Assistant Station Manager in 1989-1990. Going back to the UK that year, he rejoined W.Smith Co. In the meantime he got a job with Tesco as Assistant Operations Incharge for the Oxford District. This move to Tesco proved very positive.

Thus, in 1992, he was posted out by Tesco to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to work as Operations Manager at ARAMCO. After 7 long years, he came back to the UK.

For the next five years (1999-2004), he joined Reliance Security to work for the government security department and the undercover police.

In 2004, Tallat decided to start his own businesses. The first business he established was Herbies Pizza Delivery Services out of Swingdon.  Later on, he also established Triple Arch Ltd which is a security services company. Both of these companies are operational and Tallat is the Managing Director.

In the beginning of 2010, Tallat moved back to Islamabad, and started a couple of operations. These included A.K. International which works with Avis Rent-A-Car to provide rented vehicles. He has also started a courier services company and a security services company called Piffers Security Services.

Tallat's activities with Petarians go back to the 1980s. He recalls that the first meeting of the Petarians in Islamabad was held at his place in the late 1980s. And then he left for the UK.

Since his return in 2010, he had been very busy with getting Petarians together. His first task was to have gatherings of our batchmates. Over the year, we had a few lunches and dinners.

He also organized a Petarian hike on the Margallas and one of the largest Petarian gatherings in recent times on 25th December. He also ran for elections to the first Petarian Assembly of the Petarian Association in 2010 and was elected as one of its members.

During the 4 years that followed, Tallat organized innumerable dinners, lunches and picnics in Islamabad. His organizational capabilities and logistics were next to none. And in this process he was able to gather most of the Petarians of Islamabad on to one platform.

Secondly, he started sending an electronic rivalee to over 800 Petarians every morning with beautiful messages. People started looking forward to getting his messages every day.

Thirdly, he was a catalyst in trying to remove misunderstandings between several Petarians.

Fourthly, he was ever ready to assist every Petarian in any way possible. His services to people to get jobs, and assist in welfare and other activities are unforgettable. He was actively supporting the activities of the Petarian Foundation in this respect.

Lastly, he started the "Petarian Lodges" project near Patriata, Murree Hills. This is a resort which is owned by various members - most of whom are Petarians. The project was envisaged by him and he would go back and forth to Murree almost every single day to develop it. He made it happen. He built a 10 room guest house and mess and named it Coombes Mess. The project is a monument to him indeed.

Its is an honour indeed for me to have been this great man's batchmate. May Allah grant him the choicest place in Jannatul Firdaus.

Left like the Whirlwind

Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui, 671/Latif - 2 Nov 2014

The Year of Sorrow

2013-2014 is 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. They are:

  1. Capt.PN T.J. Siddiqui 535
  2. Naeem Saroya 504
  3. Hassan Raza 548
  4. Sardar Khan 528
  5. Pervaiz Akhtar (Beauchamp) 965
  6. Tallat Mehmood Khan 590

A total of 17 of us have gone.

The other 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.

Tallat’s 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 own feet.

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 hurry. 

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 themselves immensely.

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.

On Wednesday, 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 immediately.

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 advanced age.

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 know.

The next 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 sedation.

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 again.

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 them.

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.

Several times 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 was sweating.

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 believe them.

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.

In the meantime, our batch mates Brig. Mukhtar (511) and Col. Zahoor Malik (522) also arrived.

Dr. Mobeen 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.

Around 11:35am, 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.

I couldn’t believe that he left us.

I still cannot believe that Tallat left us with such speed. I am unable to grasp it all still.

Tallat’s achievements

Tallat returned 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.

Tallat called 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 burner.

Some people still had misgivings about him, but he never gave up.

His masterpiece 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 advice.

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 were demarcated.

Several months 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.

Tariq Pervez 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 lodges.

The interesting 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 vacuum now.

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.