Monday, March 24, 2008

16 April 1977 - The D Day of 55 PMA Long Course

16 April 1977 was a bright sunny day - a day that we all awaited for the last two years since May 1977 when we first stepped inside the gates of PMA and were hauled up by the howling and shouting staff and our immediate seniors (uppers ex 54 PMA Long Course), who had recently put on the second bar on their shoulders and were very excited to avenge their "welcome" from us. But on our passing out day, everything was forgotten since a new life was awaiting a few hours away.

The Rafi Ullah drill square of PMA was brightly decorated with colourful flags and buntings. The visitors' gallery was full with our parents and relatives, equally emotional, excited and joyous. The chief guest for the day was General Muhammad Sharif, the CJCSC, accompanied by General Zia Ul Haq, COAS. Being the odd numbered course, the course was the baby of First Pakistan Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel GM and Major Zahid Omar Khan as his adjutant. The parade marched in under BSUO First Pakistan Battalion Fahim Khawar.

After the parade review, Qasim Company was awarded with the Quaid-e-Azam banner, which was previously held by Tariq Company. This banner is given to the best company of the academy based on its performance in all fields of training, sports, curricular and co-curricular activities.

Thereafter the adjutant, riding on the traditional white horse, arrayed the parade for the march past. 

After the slow march past, the senior division marched forward for oath taking ceremony. The hair raising recitation of the Holy Quran (Sura Anfal) followed by oath taking. Thereafter BSUO Tariq Khan, CSUO Ahmed Najeeb Khan and Course Under Officer of the graduate course Owais Mustafa were called forward for the award of the Sword of honour, President's Medal and COAS cane respectively.

Battalion SUO Tariq Khan receiving the coveted Sword of Honour
Company SUO Ahmed Najeed Khan receiving the president's medal 

Then the chief guest addressed the parade and congratulated the passing out cadets. He also congratulated the two Malaysian cadets who were part of the 55 PMA Long Course and passed out with it. Thereafter the final emotional moment came when the senior division, led by the senior under officers of the course, marched out of the drill square in slow march towards the 1st Pakistan Battalion Mess and exited the drill square for the last time - carrying sweet nostalgic memories of the last two years which shall be treasured for times immemorial. After the exit of the senior division, the junior division marched out of the drill square and the parade ceremony ended at 10.45 hours.

The convocation was held at the 1st Pakistan Battalion Mess at 12.00 hours. The recipient of the BA / B Sc degrees and various medals were dressed in grey suits and black gowns. The cadets marched in slow motion on the drum beat of the band in two rows. After the chief guest's address, the convocation ceremony finally ended at 13.05 hours.

 CSUO Ahmed Najeeb Khan received two medals: the Prime Minister's Gold Medal for overall best in educational pursuits and the Army Engineers Award for best in Physics and Mathematics. GC Jalal Hameed Bhatti was awarded with AEC Gold Medal for securing first position in the Humanities Group. Sgt Mukhtar Hussain was awarded with Signals Corps Medal for best in Science Group. 

 Engineers Medal for CSUO Ahmed Najeeb Khan 
 AEC Medal for GC Jalal Hameed Bhatti  
 Signals Medal for Sgt Mukhtar Hussain

Before the passing out day, a few other awards were given to the following cadets for their excellence in miscellaneous fields of studies and activities:

Artillery Medal - CSUO Azhar Ali Shah (He must have laughed on this award!!) 
Tactics Plaque - BSM Agha Umer Farooq
 PT Medal - GC Muneer Ahmed Butt
Shooting Plaque - CJUO Khalid Pervez

The happy degree holders: Tassawar - Safdar - Arshad

The jubilant successful cadets then flocked out of the PMA with their parents and relatives to spread out in the nook and corner of the country to assume their responsibilities as second lieutenants in various units of Pakistan Army and serve the country. Who knows one out of the lot may one day rises to the highest of the glory and becomes the chief guest at PMA as COAS Pakistan Army....