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>SAJJAD lay panting at the bed of the shallow gorge. Bullets were flying overhead. He knew he was safe in the dried-up gorge. But for how long?
He could hear his team leader Pakistani army Capt Munir’s voice. “Shoot him! He is fleeing! Shoot!” And he could hear the eardrum-shattering rat-a-tat-tat of a submachine gun posted near the watchtower just 700 metres away. Then he heard the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) open fire. Second Lieutenant Q Sajjad A Zahir, later to become Lt Col, smiled. He knew the Indians would react with fire.
He was safe at the bottom of the gorge as no-one would chase him when both sides had opened up. He started crawling fast. The rough surface of the gorge scraped his elbows and knees. But he did not stop. He took maximum advantage during the firing time and moved towards the Indian border as quickly as possible.
The firing had stopped now and he heard the excited voice of Capt Munir from a distance. “Find that bastard! We must find him!”
Inam Ahmed and Julfikar Ali Manik write in The Daily Star about the plight of Sajjad Zahir.
Sajjad felt the urgency to hide and found a place — a long narrow channel. He squeezed himself in and lay calm. He could see the blue sky of the northeast frontier border turning grey with the approaching dusk. Sajjad waited for the night to come. He reflected upon the things that had happened in the past few months since March. It was now the end of August.


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