Israr Shinwari

پښتو :: پښتانه :: پښتونخواه :: پښتونوالی

Israr Shinwari, Rahimullah Yusufzai
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, September 16 2005 (http://www.khyber.org)


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Israr Shinwari

Rahimullah Yusufzai

Death of a Gentleman Cop

Publishing Date: Friday, September 16 2005

The end came peacefully for Israr Mohammad Khan Shinwari as most accounts of his final hours said he died in his sleep. Having helped everyone and anyone who knocked his doors throughout his life, so many people must have prayed for him that his death was quick and painless and his funeral was huge. Senior police officer Shinwari, who was serving as Commandant of the Frontier Constabulary until his death, was buried in his native Junglekhel, the suburban Kohat village, Thursday evening. He was nearing 60 and was due to retire in June after a distinguished career in the Pakistan Army and the police.

As someone commented, Shinwari got a highly respectable send-off as he embarked on his final journey. All those who turned up at his Nimaz-i-Janaza had something nice to say about him.

People generally don't say bad things about the dead but in Shinwari's case there was sincerity in what the mourners said about him. Some praised his humility, others his honesty. There was frequent mention of his friendly nature, his forthcoming style, and his urge to go out of the way to help friends and acquaintances. Loud and boisterous, he would meet and greet people in a manner that made one believe as if he was his closest friend.

Officialdom also honoured him as his body was lowered in the grave. Smart contingents of Pakistan Army, Frontier Police and Frontier Constabulary presented guard of honour by his graveside. Flower wreaths were laid on the fresh earth of his grave as the peshimams recited from the glorious Quran and sought the blessings of God Almighty for Shinwari's departed soul. It was a farewell (both "awami" and "sarkari" in style).

The inhabitants of Junglekhel in particular and Kohat in general made it known to all who cared to listen that they have lost someone very precious. Sifarish Khan, a poor and elderly man from Junglekhel, quoted a Pashto proverb that meant that they had become fatherless and motherless with Shinwari's death. "He would make us sit in a chair in his huge and beautiful office, serve us tea and talk in a friendly way. And then he would assist us in solving our problems and do for us whatever was humanly possible," he recalled.

Three older men from the Shinwari tribe that dominates Junglekhel remarked that the death had orphaned each one of them. "It is like a flood sweeping away all our belongings. Without our dear Shinwari, we feel utterly helpless," remarked one of them. One is still unable to come to terms with Shinwari's death. He was tall and stoutly built, so healthy and full of life. One thought his regular walk and exercise, healthy diet and lively nature would keep him fit and alive. It turned out differently, proving once more the unpredictability of life.

There had been disappointments in his life. He had been a Major in the Pakistan Army and was able to shift to Police Service of Pakistan. He served in important positions in the police but his wish to head the Frontier Police remained unfulfilled. The MMA government in the NWFP had recommended his name for the job but the Centre didn't oblige. With his retirement fast approaching, any hopes of making it to the top had receded. His brother Ahmad Nawaz Shinwari's travails had also made him unhappy. His only son Saad was still young and in college.

However, Shinwari wasn't the kind of person who would break down in the face of adversity. He took things in his stride, laughing away his woes and drowning his sorrows in his peculiar humour. Here was a cop who wasn't stern and reserved. Forever smiling, one is sure he embraced death in his usual jovial manner.


This article appeared in the News on Friday, 11 March 2005. Israr Muhammad Khan died in the early hours of 10th March 2005 (Thursday) and was buried in Jungle Khel in Kohat. His funeral prayers were held the same day at 5 in the evening.

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Israr Shinwari, Rahimullah Yusufzai
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, September 16 2005 (http://www.khyber.org)