Salman Aslam

Candid Schmooze

Father of Men of Crisis – Remembrances and Tribute

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My late father Col Muhammad Aslam Khan fondly known by nickname Dandy in the entire army was born at Lahore on 15 June 1924. His father at that time was a senior civil judge. Completed primary education from Central Model School and inter from Government College Lahore in 1941.Awarded all India Punjab Swimming Colours in 1941 took part as Captain of winning Punjab team in Indian Olympics at Calcutta. He joined OTS Bangalore for military training in 1943-44. After graduating with top laurels he was given Kings Commission in 2 Punjab Regiment. Transferred to the Burmese front fought valiantly against the Japs.

At partition there was a massive amalgamation of officers. He was transferred to artillery and joined 3(SP) Field Regiment at Rawalpindi. Saw action in Kashmir during the 1948 war. Had a long tenure of duty at Mardan with 3(SP) as part of 3rd Armoured Brigade. Graduated from 1955 Staff Course at Quetta. In 1956 proceeded on a long orientation tour of Europe in quest of military pursuits. Promoted in 1957 assumed command of 3(SP) till December 1962. Longest command tenure in history of artillery.

Conflagration with India broke on 6 September 1965. My father was attending war course which was called off. As I vividly recollect and ruminate the herculean and goliath an task of raising 44 (SP) was assigned to my father. This was based on his vast expertise and forte in handling SP units. The entire family moved at breakneck speed from Quetta under virtual blackout in our Mercedes Benz 1960 for a stopover at Bahawalpur. I was than a student at Sadiq Public School Bahawalpur. My father proceeded to artillery centre to initiate process of raising 44(SP).

The other nostalgic reminiscences with unit are traced to those halcyon days of April 1966 when we went to the unit to spend Eid ul Fitr. The unit after cessation of hostilities was based near Pasrur/ Chawinda. I found the unit in a really pristine and immaculate shape. We offered our prayers with the troops and a complete round of the unit area. Games were arranged and there was an aura of fun and frolic. Remembrances of 44(SP) during its infancy even after half a century are still etched and engraved in my memories of adolescence.

My father owing to his distinct style, demeanour and flamboyance was nicknamed Dandy amongst the numerous Aslams during that era. Had a distinctive, refined and cultured taste and remained always attired in clothes reflecting sartorial elegance. Aesthetic and epicurean taste separated him from rest of the pack.

Ardent passions included craze for classic cars. During his life time we had the distinction of owning over 100 classic cars of that era. This included the 1959 Jaguar Mark 1 2.4 litre which I smashed near TV station Chaklala in 1969.He was an avid golf and polo player. My father had the unique distinction of participating in the famous Peshawar Vale Hunts. Intuitive by nature was a connoisseur and ardent fan ofmusic and culture.

His personality emanated gregariousness and extrovert demeanour. Magnanimous at heart his personality emanated special warmth for welfare and alleviation of troops.Firm and fair in command he gave complete carte blanche and liberty to subordinates to operate within their respective realm.

On completion of service limits retired in 1970 from GHQ. Inducted into civil service joined Punjab Road Transport Corporation.

He passed away on 19 July 1975. I was than serving in 44 (SP) at Kharian. He was 51.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 1:14 PM,

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