An interview that could not happen
LAHORE - Chief Traffic Officer Syed Ahmed Mobeen was about to start an exclusive interview with The Nation at his office yesterday afternoon when he received a call on his official landline.
“I have to leave urgently” the officer said while placing the handset back. “I am leaving immediately to get cleared The Mall of protesters. There is a traffic mess because of a protest rally. I will personally visit The Nation offices (for the interview), maybe tomorrow, and will meet your editor and colleagues. This should be conducted there,” Mobeen said with his smiling face as he stood up from his chair.
“We are taking some very important initiatives to regulate traffic in Lahore. This city will be safe and smart very soon. I will share all the details with you. Ok, Goodbye and take care,” he added.
Mobeen hugged me while leaving his office and said, “Ashraf, I am leaving. Please, say my Salam to (Salim) Bokhari Sb (The Nation Editor). We will meet at your office tomorrow.”
When I reached my office yesterday night I went straight to the office of The Editor and told him: “Sir, Mobeen has left us. But he said Salam to you before leaving us.”
My editor was saddened. I waited for a few minutes but Salim Bokhari did not say any word. He was in shock. “What will happen to his family,” Salim Bokhari said after a while.
Mobeen had narrowly survived a bomb attack when he was posted as Quetta DIG a couple of years ago. He was posted as chief traffic officer in Lahore on November 2016. Mobeen had also served as district police officer in Okara, Kasur, and Pakpattan. He also served at the central police office as AIG Admin, Security and Operations. Born in 1971, Mobeen had joined the police in 1996 as ASP. He was serving as Traffic SSP in Lahore when he was transferred to Quetta, Balochistan several years ago.
Literally, Mobeen was a field police officer. He spent the last week in the field with Turkish and Chinese delegations. He was tasked to ensure foolproof security and safe passage on city roads for the visiting guests. He was so busy that he could not attend his office on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
He reached his office yesterday morning and held a series of meeting with traffic officers before leaving for The Mall.
Mobeen used to leave his office and reach the protest sites immediately. On several occasions, he was advised by his colleagues to stay away from crowded places due to security concerns.
Many police officers were seen in tears as they reached the hospital. Even the junior staff was seen weeping bitterly close to his body.
“He was a great officer. He was very loving and caring man. I can’t believe that he is no more,” said Syed Hammad Raza, who has been working as public relation officer with Mobeen for the last couple of months. “I have lost my brother,” the PRO said and burst into tears.
SSP GONDAL’S PROFILE
The other senior police officer, who embraced martyrdom in the blast, was SSP (Operations) Zahid Akram Gondal. Born in 1973, Gondal had joined the police service of Pakistan as ASP in 2005. He belonged to the 32nd Common.
Zahid Akram Gondal was posted as Lahore SSP (Operations) on February 9, this year. Earlier, he was serving as Lahore SSP (VVIP security). He had served in several districts of Punjab and KP including Mansehra, Swat, Peshawar, Abbotabad, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Faisalabad, and Rajanpur. The 43-year-old officer, Gondal, was known as the best crime fighter in police circles. The officer had launched a massive crackdown against criminals and militants in Lahore soon after he took the charge of his new assignment.
“Both the officers were an asset of the police department. The sacrifices of thee officers will never go waste. They will be remembered as heroes of the police force,” said a spokesman for the Punjab police.