Air Commodore Shahid Hamid Shigri is a fighter plane pilot and he drives his car as if it was a Mirage 2000 jet aircraft.
When the earthquake happened he had just taken leave from the Pakistan Air Force. The quake made the Islamabad’s Margala Towers collapse. Two of his friends were living there so he immediately arrived on the place to help. He found a confused and chaotic situation and the soldiers were stopping the people from approaching while they had come for helping in the search for survivors because many had friends or relatives living in the towers.
So Shigri phoned to a friend of his, general in the army, asking permission to organize the civilians into a rescue team. He put together a band of young courageous students that were there and they started crawling into the holes among the rubbles at the risk of their life, in order to pull out the trapped and the wounded.
In this way they saved many people from the debris of the Margala towers.
Then he said to the youngsters of his team: “Do you want to continue to help? I can arrange some helicopters to take us to the mountains of Kashmir”. And the response was very positive and all of them were willing.
So he called again his friend General and all of them flew to Bagh where they saved many other lives. Bagh is one of the districts worst hit by the earthquake in Kashmir.
Immediately after the rescue of the people, which lasted a few days, it became necessary to bring tents in order to provide shelter to the people from the rain and the cold, food for eating, blankets, clothes and medicines for the wounded.
Shigri, thanks to the backing and help of his many friends started to organize things on his own by buying, transporting and distribution of all these relief goods that were needed in the mountains.
After a month, as winter and snow were to hit the area, he understood that soon shelters stronger than tents would be needed, which should have strong roofs for the snow, and he stopped distributing tents, convincing the people to build stronger shelters, with walls and Iron sheet roofs, for which he would provide the materials.
He then designed two types of strong wooden huts, he build them in his camp to show to the people, he taught them how to build them and he distributed the materials for their construction
The house designed by Commodore Shigri is made of a wooden structure over which strong cloth is fitted so as to make a double wall, it is warm and one feels very much at home rather than camping.
The hut with a tent shape looks small and primitive, but when one enters it is surprisingly wide and comfortable.
It is warm but under the sun it remains nicely fresh because the floor has been dug and lowered in order to widen the space, and one feels so good in this shelter that one feels like offering prayer, just as our friend Masood has just done.
Unfortunately not all the relief organizations had the Commodore’s far sightedness, and not even the ministers of the government, so all kept on bringing and distributing tents even after their need had expired. Now all around you see mounts of unused packed tents covered with plastic sheets.
Fortunately the angels of the clouds and of the seasons have protected the people and the first snow of December was very small, the second one of January did not come and today at half February, the third snow also has not yet arrived. The trees have started to blossom in the mountains and the perfume of Narcissus is floating all over them.
When one decides to act in order to improve a situation without first understanding it, one becomes part of the problem instead of being part of the solution. So I want to follow step by step Commodore Shigri who brings me everywhere to see everything, who treats me as an honored guest and who lets me assist and participate in all what he does without closing any door to me.