ARMOUR OFFICERS

01 March 2021

 

Correction & more musings

 

In obituary of Brigadier F.B. Ali there were some errors pointed to me by respected officers.  This also resulted in exchanges and more information.

 

First PMA Course – I mentioned that Brigadier Ali was from First PMA.  This is incorrect.  The first course commissioned from PMA Kakul is called IMA/PMA & Ist Graduate Course. The confusion is because Pakistan had to establish military academy from scratch and cadets under training at IMA Dehra Dun who came to Pakistan had already done some of their training.  The first batch of cadets consisted of 66 cadets who came from IMA, 63 university graduates for Ist Graduate Course and 78 cadets of Ist PMA Long course. Training started in January 1948 but due to 1947-48 Indo-Pakistan war in Kashmir, course was shortened and commissioned in November 1948. Battalion Senior Under Officer (BSUO) Sadiq ur Rasheed Muhammad Abbasi was the best cadet and won sword of honor.

 

 

Ist PMA course commissioned on 04 February 1950.  Major Raja Aziz Bhatti was winner of sword of honor of this course.  He was killed in action in 1965 war and awarded with highest gallantry award Nishan-e-Haider.  However, there was some controversy about this award.

 

Two General Rahims - I mentioned that F.B. Ali was GSO-1 of Major General Rahimuddin Khan which is incorrect.  It was a different Major General Rahim Khan.

 

Rahim 1 – Major General Rahim Khan was a Kashmiri of Sudhan tribe from Rawlakot.  He was commissioned in 1943 and belonged to 4 Baloch Regiment. He was graduate of Staff College Camberley in United Kingdom.  He commanded 18 Division where F.B. Ali was his GSO-1.  In 1972, he was Brigadier Martial Law duties in East Pakistan.  He commanded 39 Ad Hoc Division in East Pakistan.  He was wounded while withdrawing his headquarters from Chandpur and evacuated to West Pakistan just before surrender on 16 December 1971.  He served as Chief of General Staff (CGS).  After retirement, he served as secretary of Defence and Chairman of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). He was involved in education of post children in Kashmir. In army circles, it was alleged that he was not severely wounded and got out on one of the last helicopter flights to Burma just before surrender. His sympathizers suggest that he was severely wounded and that is why evacuated.

 

Rahim 2 – Rahimuddin Khan was a Rohilla Pathan of United Province (UP). In 1947, he was at IMA Dehra Dun.  In October 1947, Muslim cadets were taken to Saharanpur airfield and flown to Pakistan but Rahimuddin was not among them.  He went to Delhi to check on his family.  He was accompanied by two fellow cadets with families in Delhi Shafat Ahmad and Wahid Qadir & IMA Platoon commander Captain (later Colonel) S. G. M. Mehdi whose family was in Karnal near Delhi. Platoon commander at IMA Prithipal Singh also joined them as his family had migrated from western Punjab and was in a refugee camp in Delhi.  Major (later General) Tikka Khan took all these fellows to Delhi.

 

He was commissioned in 12 Baloch Regiment and later commanded 6 Baloch.  He attended command and staff college at Fort Leavenworth in United States.  He did not participate in 1965 war as he had sprained/broken his ankle.  In 1971, he was commanding 111 Brigade of 23 Division.  He was appointed head of court martial to try Shaikh Mujib ur Rahman at Montgomery (now Sahiwal) jail. He did not participate in 1971 war and 111 Brigade was commanded by Brigadier (later Major General) Naseerullah Khan Babar.  One story suggests that he wanted to re-join his brigade, but Yahya Khan wanted him to complete the trial and sentence Mujib.  His GOC Major General Iftikhar Khan was furious with him and threatened to court martial him but died in a helicopter crash during operation.

 

He was appointed Corps Commander of II Corps in Multan in 1978.  He holds the record of longest tenure for a Corps Commander of five and a half years.  He insisted on holding his Corps Command despite appointed as Governor of Baluchistan.  He served Baluchistan governor for six hears (1978-84).  He was given fourth star and appointed Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff (1984-87).  After retiring in 1987, he was appointed governor of Sindh in May 1988 when civilian government was dismissed.  He served until the death of general Zia ul Haq in a plane crash in August 1988.

 

Two General Ghulam Muhammads (GM) – The confusion was since both were nick named GM.

 

GM – 1 - Major General Ghulam Muhammad was from 17/10 Baloch Regiment (later re-designated 19 Baloch) that was designated to be converted to Special Services Group (SSG). He served with SSG for long time and in 1971 war was commander of SSG.  In 1977, he was commanding 35 Division.  He witnessed election rigging and when agitation started against Bhutto, in formation commander conference, he was of the view that government had lost the legitimacy and army should not support Bhutto.  When agitation against Bhutto increased, he advocated army take over at formation commander conferences held between March and July 1977. After Martial law, he was sent to command 33 Division in Quetta and in this capacity he became Martial Law Administrator of Baluchistan. When Zia delayed elections, now at formation commanders conference GM advocated for elections and handing over power to civilians.  Zia was not comfortable keeping him as Martial law administrator of Baluchistan and brought him to command 17 Division.  In the next formation commander conference, when GM repeated his views then he was removed from command and appointed Director General National Guards (DGNG).

 

GM – 2 – Lieutenant General Ghulam Muhammad Malik is alumni of prestigious Pakistan Air Force (PAF) College Sargodha.  He joined 21st Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Long Course.  He was the best cadet and selected to attend British Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in 1960.  He was the first foreign cadet to win Queen’s Gold Medal.  He was commissioned in 12th Baloch Regiment. He had an illustrious career.  He commanded Murree based 12th Infantry Division and served at commandant of PMA at Major General rank. He was promoted Lieutenant General and served as Commander of Rawalpindi based X Corps.  He has the distinction of being the longest serving Corps Commander of X Corps (June 1991 – October 1995).  He retired in 1995 and was involved with a charity organization Al Mustafa Trust.

 

His son Asim Malik followed his father’s footsteps.  He was declared best cadet of 80th PMA Long Course and awarded the coveted Sword of Honor.   He was commissioned in his father’s 12th Baloch Regiment.  He has done his command and instructional tenures and currently Vice Chief of General Staff.  In the next promotion cycle to Lieutenant General rank, he is among the top contenders. 

 

Major General Bashir Ahmad – He was a Qaim Khani from Jaipur that provided best cavalry men for Indian army. He joined in the ranks and later commissioned.  He was from 19 Lancers.  He had a good reputation and commanded 6 Armored division and raised and commanded 23 and 37 Divisions.  His two sons Major Zafar Bashir and Brigadier Hamid Bashir also joined 19 Lancers.

 

Acknowledgements: Author thanks several respected officers for corrections and providing additional details.

 

Hamid Hussain

coeusconsultant@optonline.net