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Lieutenant Colonel Haroon Islam was a colonel in the Pakistan Army's Special Service Group (also known as Black Storks) who died during Operation Silence. He was a commanding officer of Operation Silence while commanding the Zarrar Anti Terrorist Unit. He was killed in fierce fighting which took place inside the Red Mosque Complex while leading a small force of 150 SSG members. The Special Service Group successfully took over the complex. On March 23, 2008, he was posthumously awarded the second highest civilian award, Hilal-e-Shujaat (Crescent of Bravery) by the President of Pakistan.[1][2]

Haroon Islam
Born
Died8 July 2007
Alma materPakistan Military Academy
Military career
Birth nameHaroon-ul-Islam
Nickname(s)Son of Lahore
Allegiance Pakistan
Service/branch Pakistan Army
Years of service1988–2007
RankLieutenant Colonel
Unit
Commands heldZarrar Anti Terrorist Battalion
Battles/wars
Awards

Contents

BiographyEdit

Haroon was born into a military family. His father himself was a deputy commissioner who had also participated in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. His elder brother is an Assistant Director in the FIA while another brother, Major Ehtisham-ul-Islam, is a retired Army Officer. Haroon Islam possessed many God-gifted qualities; he was an extremely witty, lively person with an inspiring and charismatic personality. Anybody meeting him once would never forget him ever in his life. He was a thorough professional and knew the art and science of Anti terrorist operations. Apart from professional virtues, he also encompassed the elements of hospitality, generosity and magnanimity in his personality.[3] He joined and gained commission in the 3rd Battalion of the Sindh Regiment of Pakistan Army in 1988. He is a graduate of Command and Staff College, Quetta in 1993 and joined Pakistan Army's elite special forces branch SSG (Special Service Group) in 1993. He had a successful military career and according to some military sources a soldier of his calibre was bound to be a General. In 1998, his unit was deployed in Kargil, and had participated in Kargil War where he had led successful military operations.

In recognition of his services, he was awarded Chief of Army Staff Commendation Medal. During his career with the SSG, he commanded the elite Zarrar Company (The anti-terrorist unit of the SSG).[4]

Operation SunriseEdit

In 2007, the conflict between Lal Masjid and the Government of Pakistan deepened, and the Government of Pakistan decided to launch a military operation against the Islamic extremists and Taliban terrorists. In July 2007, one of SSG battalion was assigned to a mission to capture and take absolute control of [Red Mosque] from Islamic extremists and Taliban militants. To achieve this task, the Pakistan Army assigned this task to 7th Commando Zarrar Battalion of SSG led by Lt. Col. Haroon Islam and the Pakistan Army Rangers|Army Rangers'Anti-Terrorist Company (ATC) led by Major Tariq Anees. The operation, codename: Operation Silence, was launched in July 3, 2007 and the commanding officer of the mission Lieutenant Colonel|Lt.Col. Haroon Islam was killed on the midnight of 8 July 2007 two days after having been hit by small arms fire while commanding the raid on Lal Masjid in Islamabad. The Second-in-Command Army Ranger's Major Tariq Anees was also seriously wounded.[5] Reports indicate that he was hit while planting explosives on the outer perimeter wall of the complex. The shooter was Muhammad Maqsood, guard of Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi. He was killed in the retaliatory fire by the security forces.[6]

Free fall accidentEdit

Previously in his life, he survived a potentially fatal free fall accident when his parachute entangled with another. He not only survived the accident but became fit enough to rejoin the SSG. He was also a graduate of the prestigious Command and Staff College, Quetta. Because of his meritorious services, he had been awarded Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card.[7]

In mourningEdit

His death has left a deep legacy in Special Services Group. While he gained a respected place in SSG Division, on behalf of Prime minister Shaukat Aziz and the federal cabinet, a two-member delegation consisting of Additional Secretary (Cabinet Division) Saeed Ahmad Khan and Joint Secretary (Cabinet Committee) Muhammad Zahid Khan visited the widow of Colonel Haroon Islam.[8] On July 08, 2007, President and Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf, Vice Chief of Army Staff General Ahsan Saleem Hyat and a large number of other senior civil and military officers and relatives of the martyred officer had attended the Namaz-e-Janaza held at Chaklala, Pakistan.[9] The Pakistan Army presented Guard of honour to Shaheed Lieutenant Colonel Haroon-ul-Islam. Later, his body was sent to Lahore for burial.[10] He is buried in Military cemetery graveyard, Lahore.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Lt. Col. Haroon Islam (Shaheed) gets Hilal-e-Shujaa't". Archived from the original on 2012-02-26.
  2. ^ "President confers civil, military awards: See HILAL-I-SHUJA'AT". The News International. March 24, 2008. Archived from the original (Webcache) on March 27, 2008. Retrieved 2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ "Funeral of Army officer died in Lal Masjid Operation offered, Musharraf attended". Pakistan Tribute. July 9, 2007.
  4. ^ "Musharraf, VCOAS attend funeral of Colonel Haroon-ul-Islam". The News.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Subramanian, Nirupama (Jul 9, 2007). "Lal Masjid siege continues:Army officer killed, commando injured while blasting a hole in the mosque wall". The Hindu.
  6. ^ "Army commander killed in line of duty at Lal Masjid". The News.
  7. ^ Funeral of Army officer died in Lal Masjid Operation offered, Musharraf attended
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2010-08-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "General Musharraf, VCOAS attend funeral of Colonel Haroon-ul-Islam". July 8, 2007. Archived from the original (Webcache) on August 6, 2007. Retrieved 2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ "Body of Lt-Col Haroon arrives in Lahore". The News International. July 9, 2007. Archived from the original (Webcache) on July 9, 2007. Retrieved 2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External linksEdit