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Colonel Fazly Lafir
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Author:  Rohan2 [ Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:17 am ]
Post subject:  Colonel Fazly Lafir

‘DARED DETERMINED AND DONE’
Parama Veera Vibushana Colonel Fazly Lafir

An officer, a gentleman and a hero of our time

Much loved by both senior and junior officers as well as other ranks, Colonel A.F. Lafir was one of the few officers who understood the Sri Lanka’s national crisis in depth. He was one of the few officers who knew Jaffna like the palm of his hand. A pioneer member of the Army’s 1st Special Forces (SF) Regiment, Fazly was involved in all aspects of forming the new regiment, including the design of its cap badge and other insignia. Colonel Fazly Lafir gave his life on July 19, 1996 in an attempt to save 1500 comrades when the LTTE terrorists laid siege to the Sri Lanka Army Camp at Mullaitivu.

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@ SN / LL/RH Aug 2007

Born in the Kandyan hills, Fazly Lafir was educated at St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota. A lover of cricket, he represented the school before moving on to follow another love, the military. An all rounder, he came second in the batch `intake 14,’ winning the current affairs prize in the process. He was well read and had a good fist for writing. He joined the Rajarata Rifles Infantry Regiment and following its amalgamation with the Vijayaba Infantry Regiment, joined the 1st Gajaba Regiment (GR) founded by the late Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne. Fazly’s skills led to his selection as the first Platoon Commander of 1GR.

He underwent training in India and the USA and always emphasized the importance of training.

Much loved by both senior and junior officers as well as other ranks, Colonel A.F. Lafir was one of the few officers who understood the Sri Lanka’s national crisis in depth. His knowledge of Tamil led him to being appointed to carry out intelligence duties in the East. His gentle and easygoing manner earned him any friends among the people. He was one of the few officers who knew Jaffna like the palm of his hand. A pioneer member of the Army’s 1st Special Forces (SF) Regiment, Fazly was involved in all aspects of forming the new regiment, including the design of its cap badge and other insignia.

Whether operating in and out of the uniform, he had a good rapport with the public. He ensured that subordinates were kind to civilians. This led to important breakthroughs against the Tiger terrorists.

During the 1988-89 Southern insurgency, Fazly and his men were deployed there to help restore law and order. As he did with Tamil civilians, he won the hearts and minds of the Sinhala people in the South. This naturally led to positive results. He was held in high esteem by the likes of Generals Wimalaratne, Kobbekaduwa and Janaka Perera. His thoughts were always with his men whether in the field or out.

Colonel Fazly Lafir gave his life on July 19, 1996 in an attempt to save 1500 comrades when the LTTE terrorists laid siege to the Sri Lanka Army Camp at Mullaitivu.

Volunteering to lead the rescue mission, Fazly was airborne with his troops even before the operation was finalized. He was heli-dropped under heavy fire and made radio contact with the besieged troops. It was a morale boosting moment. As mortar fire rained on their positions that night, Fazly’s made a sardonic comment, ``Tonight is the most beautiful night of my life.’’

On the morning of July 19, a piece of shrapnel fatally wounded this gallant soldier. He was posthumously awarded the Parama Veera Vibushanaya, the highest medal awarded for gallantry.

All his associates remember Col. Lafir as a strong, silent and caring man but above all as the epitome of an officer and a gentleman.

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