DOES anyone remember Remembrance Day which used to be commemorated in our pre-Partition educational institutions, government offices and by the armed forces of the British Commonwealth countries by observing a silence for two minutes at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (11:11:11 that is11 am on Nov 11) each year to pay homage to those who lost their lives in World War 1 (1914-1918)?
Though the hostilities formally ended with the signing of the armistice between Germany and the Allies, the World War I officially ended with the signing of the treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.
Also, little do we know of Sepoy Khuda Dad Khan (later subedar) hailing from Chakwal district, who was the first ever Muslim to be awarded Victoria Cross — the highest British Army award for gallantry in war, equivalent to our Nishan-i-Haider — during the World War I on Oct 31, 1914.
A commemorative stone was unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum, UK, in his honour by Lord Ahmed, the UK Communities Minister.
Col (retd) Syed Riaz Jafri
Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019