Saluting the Quaid

The day at Karachi would start with a morning fall-in and move to Mazar-e-Quaid. The Quaid’s mausoleum would often bask in the morning light and present a spectacular sight. Its marble’s white was complemented by the Khakis and the colourful attire of the brass band.

 

Armed Forces of Pakistan have always inspired youth of the country. Significant to note is the Army, which though the largest service, had representation from women’s cadre only in the field of medical. When it decided to open its doors to the women for other fields including education, engineering and services, it struck me as a God given opportunity to realize my dreams of being an independent, responsible and vibrant addition to the cadre of military officers.
I was inspired by the charm, respect, honour and steady career development opportunities. Moreover, you can take a hike into adventure zone, travel all across the country and world (if such opportunity comes along the way), build memories and serve your nation in parallel. Being the first ‘lady cadet course’, it was a leap into the dark and a trailblazer for others to follow. Many years down the lane, I can say with certainty that joining this profession was more than a dream fulfilled.
Training at PMA was both intense and demanding. It initially hit us like a giant wave and took quite some time to get used to the routine. From walking on the PMA road to making your bed, there were rules everywhere. However, the scenic beauty of Kakul coupled with an emerging bond of friendship amongst us was something beyond the ordinary. There were moments of joy and laughter enmeshed with rigours of the training and fatigue.
The authorities at PMA were keen to project the success of this transformation though representation of lady cadets at various forums. One of them was the Quaid Guard. Amongst few, I was also the lucky cadet to be selected for this task and underwent many long hours of strenuous drill practices. Our drill sergeants left no stone unturned in perfecting our drill standards before clearing us for the task. At Karachi, we were stationed in one of the Officers’ Mess and daily routine comprised of drill practices at Mazar-e-Quaid while evenings were relatively free and often utilized for sight-seeing around the city.
The day at Karachi would start with a morning fall-in and move to Mazar-e-Quaid. The Quaid’s mausoleum would often bask in the morning light and present a spectacular sight. Its marble’s white was complimented by the Khakis and the colourful attire of the brass band. Everyday, we would practice with the swords and rifles including marching in formation, climbing the stairs, marching into the mausoleum and presenting the salute. On the anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam, President Islamic Republic of Pakistan General Pervez Musharaf visited Quaid’s mausoleum and laid the wreath while the guard presented the salute. For me, it was all fascinating and magical as the opportunity to be part of Quaid Guard was both enthralling and a matter of honour. The weather at Karachi complemented my feelings and the majestic aura of the Mazar-e-Quaid left a permanent impression 0n my mind.


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