'I had to help the living', says brigadier who lost son to quake
MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (AFP) Oct 16, 2005
A top Pakistani army officer said Sunday his sense of duty gave him the strength to carry on leading quake relief efforts after he found his own son's body in the rubble of their home.
Brigadier Ihsanul Haq said he was able to keep going after 11-year-old Shazil's death because of the sight of other people suffering from the 7.6-magnitude quake that flattened the Kashmiri city of Muzaffarabad.
"I think I felt that the needs of those people may be more than my child who had already passed away," Brigadier Ihsanul Haq told AFP as he coordinated lorry shipments of aid to remote areas.
Haq said Shazil and his other son Nofal, 12, were sleeping at home in Muzaffarbad when the quake struck early on the morning of October 8 and brought the building crashing down.
"My two sons were buried in the rubble. I took out one of the sons, I saved him. But Shazil had head injuries," Haq said.
"Within one hour I was there in the Combined Military Hospital with my son in my arms and I saw the whole hospital collapse. I dug through the rubble of the hospital seeing people dying and crying," he said.
The brigadier did not go to his son's funeral, chief army spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said earlier this week, because he was so busy supervising the aid effort in Muzaffarabad.
Haq was then given leave to "attend to his family", added Sultan, but by the weekend he was back at work at one of the two main coordinating centres for the food, blankets and tents that are streaming into the city.
"I have to be here. I have seen the disaster," Haq said.
"Seeing the disaster, seeing the grief of people as everyone has, one can forget one's personal grief for the more needy people."
The army says more than 400 soldiers died in the quake along with 25 army family members, and 700 were injured.
The earthquake killed more than 38,000 people in Pakistan, including almost 26,000 in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.