My father Haji Mehrullah Khan Pattan (1936-2021) was born in 1936 in Shaldara, Quetta once part of Afghanistan (before 1893) then India (1893-1947) and now Pakistan. He would usually tell us that he was born a year after the devastating earthquake of 1935 of Quetta which destroyed the whole city as people at that time would usually link their birthday with a landmark event at our part of the world.
Being the eldest child of his parents he had all the responsibilities on his own. My grandfather Malang Rehmullah Khan Bareach was a Pashto poet, anthropologist and traveler who would usually travel between India and Afghanistan. Therefore, my father had to take charge of the home. He could not complete his education rather at early age started his own business and was a father figure for his brothers and sisters. Looking to his uncle Haji Haider Khan Bareach a businessman, who would go from Quetta to Mumbai and Calcutta currently Kolkata India and Kandahar in Afghanistan for his business while my father started his business in Quetta.
At the age of 22 back in 1958, he visited Jacobabad in Sindh province of Pakistan for the first time and he was all alone. He started his business there the same year. He started expanding his business in Sindh other cities like Kandhkot and by late 60s he established a successful business. My mother was usually telling us the stories of my father as how he had huge respect in business circles in Quetta and Sindh. Until late 90s he was doing business there. During our winter school holidays in mid 90s, he would take us to Sindh where weather is very pleasant as compare to the extreme cold weather of Quetta. It was there in Sindh he got the name Pattan as Pashtuns or Khans are also called Pattan in the Indian Sub-continent.
He succeeded to establish a growing business and provided his family a very good life style. He owned number of properties right in the center of Quetta city by late 70s. He built a house in Quetta which is still called as Loy Sahre (The great house) in the area although he has to sell it when things get changed. He also built a mosque on over 5000 sqft area right beside the Loy Sahre which is still functional. In late 70s he also contributed in the construction of the first Tableghi Markaz of Quetta on Jan Mohammad Road. He was also Zakat committee chairman for a while in Quetta.
In early 80s he practically get involved in Tablegh and went on for tablegh for months. He handed over business to his brothers that is where his established business got scattered. Upon his return, he had to face a huge lose in business which compelled him to sell all his properties and the dream house he built. Our family shifted from a huge home to a rented house for a while. A year later in 1986, one of his brothers, Azizullah Bareach died after an heart attack and left six daughters and a widow. Now he has to take care of them along his own 14 children. Few years later his another brother Abdul Qayum Khan Bareach died and he also left his children whom again he has to take care of. But he has never lost hope and continued his struggle and started all over again. In few years he was again able to buy a bigger house where we lived until 2005 and then he built yet another huge house where my family live now at the Eastern corner of Quetta.
He got married to my mother Sadozai Addy in 1959 when he was 23 years old. He was a family person and had great love for his children. Especially as the youngest and 16th child, his love for me was always at height. Though my father was stressed when he was marrying my mother who had one brother and he was a special child. At the time of his marriage he did told my grandfather that what if my children also got born as special children or maybe I will not have children at all. But later my mother give birth to 16 children (13 boys and 3 girls) of which 13 of us are now living our healthy and Mashallah good life.
Although my father was a conservative person but he was calling my mother as Sharaka (Partner) at home. This is what I like the most in my father and mother over 56 years of togetherness. Considering the conservative society at that time when US and all the West was supporting extremists Jihadists in Afghanistan and Pakistan to combat USSR, he admitted his children (girls and boys) in school. All his children are now well educated with PhD, MPhil and master degrees in history, management, political science and Pharmacy.
Politically my grandfather, my father and now my brothers & sisters and all family have actively been part of Pashtunkhwa Mili Awani Party, a Pashtun social democratic nationalists party in Pakistan who has stood against every dictator in Pakistan and demand the social, economic and political rights for Pashtuns in Pakistan (Just like the Scottish National Party in the UK). Due to his stance, many of the Tableghi leaders (Islamic cleric) would dislike my father but he would still call for a free and democratic country during every gathering. He has taught his children to stand against the injustices from the very start. It is his teachings that me along all my brothers and sisters would not tolerate injustices whether that be in the shape of social, economic or political exploitation of minorities or the dictatorial forces in political landscape of Pakistan.
As a person he was straight forward and extremely strict who would do everything it takes to achieve his goals and stand for what is right. During various tribal conflicts, he has stood for justice and at any Jirga (traditional assembly of leaders that supposed to make decisions by consensus and according to the teachings of Pashtunwali) he would speak the bitter truth. Many people would not even had the courage to face him because he would tell them straight forward what they have been doing wrong lately. This is what he has taught us, realism, straight forwardness and standing for what is right!
May God Bless him and give us patience and courage to bear this huge lose. Ameen