‘He is alive in our hearts’: Pakistani flood hero remembered by family

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Farman Ali Khan’s father Umar Rehman displays the King Abdul Aziz Medal of the First Order. (AN photos by Rafi Ullah)
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Farman Ali Khan’s father Umar Rehman displays the King Abdul Aziz Medal of the First Order. (AN photos by Rafi Ullah)
Updated 18 February 2019

‘He is alive in our hearts’: Pakistani flood hero remembered by family

  • Saudi and Pakistan governments posthumously honored Farman Ali Khan for his bravery

KARACHI: The daughters of a Pakistani man considered a hero in both his home country and Saudi Arabia for his rescue of 14 people during torrential floods in Jeddah say he “will always be alive in our memory.”
In late November 2009, as flash floods roared through the port city, Farman Ali Khan secured a rope to his waist and jumped into the roaring floodwaters to rescue people.
Khan saved 14 lives, but lost his own while attempting to rescue a 15th person.
He was posthumously awarded the King Abdul Aziz Medal of the First Order by the Saudi government and Pakistan’s Tamgha-e-Shujat by then President Asif Ali Zardari.
Khan’s three daughters, Zubaida, Madeeha and Javeriah, told Arab News by phone from his hometown of Swat this week that they remembered their father as a patient, mild-mannered family man who loved to joke and lived to help others.
“He always dreamt of being a doctor, but financial troubles forced him to stop his education and become a grocer in Jeddah,” said Zubaida. “He couldn’t become a doctor, so now we will fulfil his dream,” she said.
“We unluckily spent little time with our father,” she said. “But he will be alive in our memories forever. Everyone in our neighborhood and school knows us as the children of a hero. Khan is our superstar.”

Khan’s father, Umar Rehman, told Arab News his son was one of nine siblings, and was hardworking and always busy. “But he would call his family in Pakistan every chance he got.”
“He was brave and fearless, but very kind and obedient,” Rehman said. “He would always talk in a light way, laughing out loud. I remember that when his grandmother would get upset, he would crack jokes until she started laughing. I never saw him angry or arguing with anyone.”
Rehman said he was devastated when he heard about his son’s death, but the story of his bravery “started healing my wounds, gradually.”
Shortly after Khan’s death, the family received a condolence letter from Saudi King Abdullah and accepted an invitation to visit the Kingdom as special state guests. A grand reception was held at the palace where the king awarded Khan the King Abdul Aziz Medal of the First Order.
His father said that just weeks before his death, Khan had planned to get him a longer-term Hajj visa so they could spend time together.
“Farman from his childhood had learned to live for others. He gave us the message that those living for others live long, even if their souls journey to another world.
“Farman is alive, in our hearts and in our memories,” Rehman said.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 8 min 34 sec ago

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.