Abdul Wadood was a lover of books. His mud house was small but all its three rooms had wooden shelves brimming with books. More than a home, it was a library. His children were not allowed to explore those books though. A primary schoolteacher at a government school in Shahoor village of South Waziristan’s Sarwakai tehsil, he would rather have them focus on their textbooks. The books in the shelves, he believed, would only distract them.
One of his sons, Manzoor Ahmed, did not heed this advice. He would get access to those books in Wadood’s absence and read as much as he could without being noticed by his father. By the age of 11, he had studied a number of books on Pashtuns and Islam. He had also read up a lot on the Pakistan Army’s war history.
He was in love with the armed forces. In 2005, when he was only 13, he went to an army fort to invite the soldiers there to play a cricket match with his school team. The offer was accepted. When the match was over, he joined a group of students to raise impassioned chants of “Pak army zindabad (long live the Pakistan Army).”
This is an excerpt from the Herald's May 2018 cover story. To read more subscribe to the Herald in print.