My name is Jamul, and if I was to tell you of my life, you would possibly feel it was all in my imagination, as how can a humble boy who had been lifted from poverty, and from within a beautiful and simple life in Pakistan, and to end up working for the British Military Intelligence. That said, I will start with my early childhood.
I laid upon the roof of the old rail car, along with my friend and cousin Siddiqui Amyl, and as the old train slowly hauled itself up the steep two-mile mountain, and to pass over the viaduct spamming the great gap between Pakistan and India. We boys, had to jump off the old train as it slowed to enter onto the viaduct and cross the huge gap between these two mighty countries.
We had done this daily for over two years, rather than take hours to slowly haul ourselves up the mountain and to return to our village. It had been raining and on this day, I had jumped, and landed in the soft reed bed of the marsh, and waited for my friend, but unknown to me Siddiqui had slipped upon the wet roof and had hit his head, and knocking himself unconscious.
As I watched in disbelieve the train started crossing the huge viaduct and took my friend to the Indian boarder, and where I knew if he was caught, then he would be killed the next day, in a mock military court.
As Siddiqui awoke only, to have a bayonet probing him and two grinning Indian soldiers, he realised he was in serious trouble, as regardless of your age, the military tried you and found you guilty of spying, even if they knew like with Siddiqui or at least suspected, he had just fallen.
He was physically beaten, and with an intention, to try and extract a confession, and then left tied to a post overnight during a storm of rain thunder and lightning, and the usual strong winds as found so high up on that mountain range.
I knew what fate awaited my best friend, so I acquired lengths of vine, and then twisted and knotted them into a rope, and carried it across my shoulders in the cover of darkness, as during the darkness of night and during the storm, it was known or thought to be near to impossible to make the crossing or remain alive.
I bravely took the engineers narrow path under, and to the side of the rail and supported by the great viaduct. It was a collection of wire rope strung into one huge cable and supported by V type cables to both sides, and covering the entire spasm of the crossing but with no safety rail and one frightening drop to the valley below, and offering certain death for those who fell.
Bravely I shivered at the cold of night, and gritted my teeth, and made the crossing in my bare feet, and as I was buffeted by the wind and rain, while the soldiers on the Indian side of the boarder sheltered in a small but basic hut, and after having left their prisoner a small near naked eight-year-old child tied to a post outside and during the storm.
They basically did not care, as when their base commander or Sargent arrived in the morning, the boy would be given a mock trial and murdered. It was this very thought that drove me forward, and some forty minutes later I had made the crossing and came to Siddiqui’s side, and cut the ropes away that held him bound to the post.
My friend was weak and beaten and was suffering from multiple wounds and exposure, from such brave adult men who beat an eight-year-old child. So, I lifted him over my shoulder in a fireman’s lift, and started the journey back, having tied a vine around his waist and onto myself.
Ninety minutes later, we two children came to the safety of the other side, and seven days later when Siddiqui recovered, he made me a promise, to never forget my bravery and that I saved his life.
Ten days later white soldiers arrived and took me away, Siddiqui was left crying and protesting, but like my mother, who was powerless to prevent the kidnapping. Two years later, and after I had escaped, I returned and for five months I renewed my friendship with Siddiqui, having told him I escaped from the white school in India, which I had been placed into, and that I hated the white infidels who had ruined my life.
It was a short victory as the soldiers eventually returned and once again they took me away, only this time they murdered the elders from the village who tried to stop them.
Siddiqui had witnessed the entire thing and even saw his father apparently been killed in cold blood, and thrown over the ridge, but the child Siddiqui had escaped using his knowledge of the terrain, and by jumping off the ridge, and making it look as if he committed suicide.
The kids from the village knew only five feet down there was a shelf some four feet wide and with practice they could land on it and roll back away from the edge, it eventually brought you out some four miles along the huge mountain pass, but elders knew their children did this and had created small caves for them to rest in and find safety, so they could be rescued if required.
Ten years later I had completed my education in the UK and was taken from the military school and posted with the UK Marines, and still under constant observation, but now accepted by fellow colleagues as part of their team, and very much a soldier of her Majesties Army.
This section of the building was new to me, and I had been called in front of the Commanding Officer only once before but that was in a different building.
Then I had known I deserved reprimanding having been absent without leave, I had been trying to make my way back to Pakistan to attend my mother’s funeral; only I never even made it passed the border patrol.
That was one time within my life that I would rather forget, I was only fourteen years old then, and in truth somewhat of a rebel, and not taking to authority that well. But now I had no idea as to why I was being ordered to report to the Commanding Officer, but what concerned me even more was the two Special Forces officers that were escorting me.
Everyone on the base knew there were fourteen soldiers despatched direct from the Ministry of Defence, and based here, as secrets rarely stayed secret, however as to why they were here, it was another matter.
No one had even come close to talking to them, now there were two of these officers escorting me. My training had taught me to be observant, somehow it had come to me almost like a gift, while others within my platoon struggled, I somehow seemed to see things, even the little details like how many petals were on a flower, or the ant, who was busily making its way along the petal of a flower, and unaware of the vast universe that surrounded it.
As a child, I had often laid on my military bed thinking of the outside world, and remembering my days as a child, and of playing in the mud streets of Pakistan and of my many friends.
In those days, we would play a game of trying to count the stars, and it was then I realised that I was less than a mere grain of sand in comparison to the greater plan of God, and the vastness of his great and wonderful creation.
As I approached the distant door at the end of the long corridor, I could see three armed Marines, one sitting by a desk and two fully armed standing guard by the door.
From the corner of my eye and in my peripheral vision, I noticed that our every move was been observed by video CCTV, this unnerved me even more. Yet I managed to conceal my unease, but I could not help thinking quietly, ‘What the bloody hell have I got myself into this time’.
“Your papers sir?” requested the officer seated at the desk, I stood to attention without moving while the escorting officers handed over the sealed documentation folder.
There was a silence that almost seemed unreal; I was standing only inches from the two officers, and yet even there I could not hear there breathing. As the Marine viewed an adjoining document, he momentarily paused, and looked up directly at me, and then lowered his head and continued reading.
“Thank you, Sir everything seems to be, in order,” and at that he handed back the folder to one of the escorting officers and indicated to the two guards to allow us to pass.
Within less than two hundred metres, I could see an almost identical situation before me, only this time it was three different soldiers that I was approaching and after going through the same procedure, I was escorted through the door and into a small passage and then passed through another door and into a vast open planned office.
Instantly I started observing every detail before me. At first the office gave the impression of been unused, yet on the vast walnut desk before me were stains from years of hot mugs containing possibly tea or coffee having been placed within an area of no less than a few inches apart.
There was evidence that at one time the stains had been treated, as if someone had tried to remove them. But over the years whoever it was, had given up and resolved themselves to the fact that whosoever it was that sat at that desk, would continue to place their mug there, almost without thinking, and like an old habit that one had become so accustomed too, and that they were no longer even aware of what they were doing.
As for the rest of the office it was tidy and very much what I would expect from someone who had been brought up in a military environment.
Within a few seconds I could see the door at the far end of the room open and in walked my Commanding Officer and another person dressed in civilian clothing.
“Stand easy soldier” said the officer, and as I obeyed my Commanding Officer, while one of the officers who had been escorting me handed over a file that he had been carrying.
“Will there be anything else Sir?” The Commanding officer accepted the folder and then dismissed the two officers.
“Please Jamul take a seat” said the C.O. and as I sat down I was a little confused, as to the politeness and ease of my C.O.
“I would like you to meet Mr Goldberg he is from a section in the Ministry of Defence, and dealing directly with military intelligence.”
I immediately stood to attention then reached forward and accepted the extended hand that had been presented to me.
“Please sit down” and I obeyed without question. “We have been following your progress for some years now…, and it is a pleasure to actually have this opportunity to talk to you,” stated Mr Goldberg.
I was momentarily confused as to why such close attention had been placed on me. It was my Commanding Officer who spoke next. “Jamul…, you were brought here at the age of nine years is that correct?” “Yes sir” I replied, and there was a moment’s pause. “From according to your file your father was in the Diplomatic core and for a time he was assigned to Pakistan, and it was while serving there, that he met your mother, a year later you were born.”
I acknowledged my Commanding officer’s remarks. “Yes sir”, and without lifting his head the C.O. continued reading through the file.
Mr Goldberg closely watched me in how I reacted as to my past been presented before me. “Do you know why you were taken into custody and brought to the United Kingdom?” asked my C.O..., and I answered instantly. “Yes sir, to my knowledge it was my father’s request that was finally agreed on by officials in Government.”
There were a few seconds of silence. “In many ways those words are correct…,” stated the C.O., “your father fought very hard to have you brought to the United Kingdom from the moment you were born.”
I looked at my C.O. as he continued speaking. “There were certain officials within Whitehall, who were aware of your father’s actions and of your eventual birth. However, they decided it would be to yours and their advantage that for the first nine years of your life, that you be allowed to grow up with your mother, and enjoy the freedom of childhood.”