The Petarian Mag - Petarian Shaheed




    Shaheed Lt.Najam ul Saqib Saiyid Pakistan Navy- Latif House


____Reflections of a Brother

Born on 10 July 1944, Najam Bhai was the third in line among nine brothers and sisters in the family.He received early education from St. Bonaventure, Hyderabad since our family was then residing at Kotri (Sindh) due to our father’s business (Railway Contract) at Railway junction Kotri. Our family later shifted to Karachi in early fifties when our father constructed a house in Nazimabad. Najam Bhai was admitted at Govt School where he studied till class 7th.He joined Cadet College Petaro in 1959 and was awarded Kit No.91.He initially remained in Jinnah House and later shifted to Latif House. My earliest recollection of Najam Bhai is of the time when he was studying in Cadet College Petaro since there was a considerable difference between our ages. I vividly remember a smart fair, tall and handsome boy who uses to visit our home during vacations and was immediately the focus of all the attention and love of our parents. We, the younger lot, would always envy his position in the house and when asked about the special treatment given to our elder brother, our parents would always tell us that he is here for short duration and would go back to the college soon and therefore deserve their love and affection.

To us – younger brothers and sisters - he was always kind and affectionate. He use to always bring some goodies for us on his visits to our home. He was deeply in love with the Navy and the naval ships; his room in our house was always full of photographs and posters of big naval ships and submarines. He use to speak fondly about the naval battles of World War-II and was under the awe of battle ships and cruisers which were involved in many battles during World War-II. He would tell us the story of battle ship Bismark, HMS Hood and many others.

Following his aspirations, he joined Pakistan Navy in 1964 in the Term 64-A. After his initial training at PMA Kakul and PNS BAHADUR as Cadet he was promoted Midshipman in 1966 and joined PNS JAHANGIR for sea training. He was later promoted to the rank of S/Lt in December 1967. I was then only 9 years old but still remember his Passing Out Parade at PNS BAHADUR (now PNS RAHBAR), which I witnessed alongwith our parents. He was then looking very smart and handsome alongwith his other colleagues and we all cheered them for their smart turn out. After the Commissioning Parade our father told him that now he has a great responsibility on his shoulders towards his country and family. He promised to fulfil his duties/obligations to the best of his abilities. He later served onboard PNS BADR, MUJAHID, MUKHTAR, ALAMGIR and was finally transferred to PNS KHAIBER on 12th February 1971.

During his career in the Navy he visited Indonesia and other far eastern countries on cruise and also served in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during monsoons which brought havoc and destruction in the region. He was there in aid to civil power to provide help to the people affected by these storms. He was then onboard PNS ALAMGIR. His ship later returned to Karachi and he was transferred to PNS KHAIBAR in 1971.

The political storm was already brewing in East Pakistan at the time and eventually war broke out between Pakistan and India in December 1971. It was on the fateful night between 3rd and 4th December at high seas that his ship was struck by two missiles fired by an Indian Missile Boat and sank. According to his Commanding Officer Capt Nasim Malik and other colleagues who survived, he was on the bridge when the first missile had hit the ship. A splinter hit him on the head and he started bleeding. He went down to get the first aid and immediately returned to the bridge to perform his duty. Soon second missile hit the ship and it started sinking. Abandon ship was announced by the captain and officers and crew started to lower the life boats. Najam Bhai was last seen going down the ladder towards the torpedo tubes to disarm them since fire was raging and there was a serious risk of explosion in torpedo tubes which could have resulted into the total destruction of ship with lot of casualties.

We received a telegram from Naval Headquarters on 6th December 1971 informing our father that Lt Najam is missing in action and efforts are being made to locate him. Later on 7th December 1971 we received an immediate registered communication form Naval Headquarters confirming us the Shahadat of our beloved brother Lt Najam-ul-Saqib Saiyid, Pakistan Navy. Our father received both these communications and did not tell our mother about the incident until after the War was over. During this period he kept the news to himself and prepared the family before breaking the news through his talk, telling us the importance of Shahadat and giving the examples of Tippu Sultan and others. After breaking the news he told us that Najam Bhai is alive and well as promised by Allah. It is only us who do not know.

He was fondly called ‘Phool’ (flower) by our parents and he was in fact like that. He was kind, generous, honourable and possessed a great sense of duty. He is in the heavens enjoying the bounties of God and we can still feel his presence and fragrance. He fulfilled his promise which he made to our father after commission and provided a commitment and purpose to us. He was my ideal and following his foot steps I also joined the Navy in 1974. When I asked my father for his permission to join the Navy he did not hesitate for a moment to give his consent since we were all very proud of our beloved brother and regarded his Shahadat as the greatest achievement in life. There is so much more that can be told about Najam Bhai but time and space does not permit.
                                                                   ____Misbah ul Islam Saiyid