PESHAWAR -- Pakistani army Capt. Roohullah's bravery and ultimate sacrifice when terrorists attacked the Police Training Centre in Quetta on October 24 saved scores of lives and inspired countless others to stand up against militancy.
Three militants stormed the main gate of the Police Training Centre before entering the barracks housing more than 750 police cadets, police officials told Pakistan Forward.
Captain Roohullah and Naib Subedar Muhammad Ali killed one suicide bomber and cornered another, allowing a large number of cadets to escape before the bombers detonated their explosives, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.
Sixty-five unarmed cadets were killed and more than 120 were injured. All three attackers were ultimately killed, according to officials.
The "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) claimed responsibility.
Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif October 25 announced the presentation of gallantry awards for the deceased Capt. Roohullah and Muhammad Ali, who was injured, for their demonstration of bravery in fighting the terrorists and foiling their designs.
Roohullah was awarded the Tamgha-e-Jurat, while Muhammad Ali received the Tamgha-e-Basalat.
Pakistanis united against terrorism
The two soldiers gave a loud and clear message to the terrorists that the Pakistani nation is united against terrorism and will do everything to root them out, Pakistani citizens say.
Roohullah, 27, was laid to rest with military honours at his ancestral village of Shabqadar Tehsil, Charsadda District.
He was born in Peshawar, the son of Dr. Habibullah, and was the eldest of four children.
Roohullah obtained his army commission in 2012 and participated in counter-terrorism operations in South Waziristan. He was part of the operational team that responded to the terrorist attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda in January.
His father said he feels like the most privileged man on Earth to be the father of a martyr.
"I am proud of my son's martyrdom," Dr. Habibullah told Pakistan Forward. "Roohullah saved the lives of many young would-be soldiers by sacrificing his own, and this has made the entire family and his hometown of Shabqadar proud."
"He was a lovely son and a humble human being," he said. "Although we wanted him to be a doctor, he had a passion to join the army."
"Roohullah was to be married after three months, but it is Allah Almighty's will; we are happy he is a martyr," he said.
Roohullah's 22-year-old brother Kashif said that his brother's bravery inspired him.
"I am lucky to be the brother of martyr Capt. Roohullah as he made us all proud and as he is respected by the nation," Kashif told Pakistan Forward.
"I will also follow in Capt. Roohullah's footsteps and join the army to crush the enemies of Pakistan," he said.
Roohullah's friend and cousin, Muhammad Asif, reminisced about Roohullah's cheery disposition.
"He was really a jolly and friendly person; I can never forget his smiling face," Asif told Pakistan Forward.
"Roohullah was jolly but dedicated to his duty and always preferred to have his boots on to safeguard his country and people," he said.
Captain Roohullah: courage of a lion, pride of the nation
Abdullah Khan, one of the army recruits who witnessed Capt. Roohullah's bravery, said that after rescuing the cadets from their barracks, Roohullah challenged a suicide bomber hiding under a charpoy and threw himself over the terrorist before the fatal explosion.
"Captain Roohullah had the courage of a lion as he never hesitated and took us to safety before sacrificing his life to save ours," Khan told Pakistan Forward. "We salute him."
"We are telling the terrorists clearly that they attacked us in darkness, but we will be coming after them in the open sun, soon," he said.
"Not only his family members and comrades, the members of the armed forces, but the entire Pakistani public, politicians, youngsters and people from all walks, praise Capt. Roohullah's sacrifice and say the brave son of the soil will live in their hearts forever," Khan said.
Awami National Party Joint Secretary Shagufta Malik paid tribute to the martyred captain.
"The young Pashtun soldier has sacrificed his life but saved many others," she told Pakistan Forward. "We love and respect him. Although he will not be back, he will live forever in our hearts."
"The sacrifice of Capt. Roohullah proves he was out to root out terror, and this is a message to the terrorists they cannot defeat our will and commitment," she said.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly Member Javed Naseem of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said, "Captain Roohullah was a brave son of the soil; we are proud of him and his courage."
"Roohullah's bravery and courage will be a beacon for all of us," said Muhammad Yasir, a University of Peshawar student. "We are proud of him."
Captain Roohullah's actions were inspiring, another college student from Peshawar, Jawad Karim, said.
"He gave us a lesson of hope and a message to the terrorists that every Pakistani youngster is standing firm when it comes to defending the land and saving lives," he told Pakistan Forward.