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Making of a Military Commander By Brig (r) Atique Ur Rehman

Will Durant writes in his book lessons of history that first lesson of history is modesty and life is all about survival of the fittest. Global system also dictates that security of a state is its own responsibility. Pakistan’s existence is outcome of our nation’s resilience and professionalism of its armed force. Indian hawkish leadership would never spare an opportunity to bruise Pakistan. Had we been weak, our adversaries would have taken us down much earlier.
Pakistan Army always maintain highest standard of operational readiness and vigil on the borders. Army takes it a priority job to train and groom its officers and men right from beginning. Brian Cloughly, one of the leading global military analyst states in his book ‘ a history of the Pakistan Army’ that the army of Pakistan maintains the tradition of the regiment, to which loyalty is an essential part of their creed; indeed it is the cornerstone of discipline; the building block of military professionalism. Soldiers who may have only the shakiest notion of the cause for which their country commits them to action will perform heroic deeds for the sake of the honour of their units. The combination of good leadership and proud units can be an important factor in winning battles”.
This is one of the biggest factor for doing so well by Pakistan Army troops.
Officers and troop’s selection process involves best techniques to pick up future military leaders who can learn, groom and rise up to the occassion when needed.
PMA and OTS training module focused to bring best out of raw material which joins straight from civil life. OTS was more tough as they had to complete same training module in half the time which was being practiced at PMA, two years.
Transition period for converting a raw youth fresh from college into a cadet is very tough, both mentally and physically. PMA cadet is called gentleman cadet ( GC). Right from day one it is imbibed in cadet’s head that they are gentlemen and they have to maintain highest standard of discipline and moral obligations while performing their sacred duty. Getting commission in Army as 2/Lt is only a beginning, military life starts after one joins the regiment. Army is not a profession but a life style. It teaches a simple, clean, and disciplined life within means. Due to extensive operational commitments, officers mostly remain deployed in forward areas away from their families.
Beside rigours of training, military career revolves around three fundamentals, achievements in training and academic pursuits, ability to command and get best out of your men during operations and training as well as in peace time and personal character traits of the officer. Army has a flawless system of promotion beyond the rank of Major. There is no exception for anyone to pass through those parameters set for promotion. Hardly 1% or 2% makes upto two star out of a batch of 300. It is tough climb because it is competitive and zero sum game, only few can maintain balance till end. There is hardly a lull period in Army. If You are not marching, you r definitely planning for it.
Average age of a newly commissioned officer is around 21. It is quiet a young age to command troops in the field, particularly for an Army committed in operations. But rigor of military training and basic tactical skills at training schools polish the young lieutenants into a professional junior leaders. In war against terrorism the ratio of Martyrdom between soldiers to men is highest in the world. Our young officers lead from the front, never afraid of danger, may it be on the line of control or conducting operations against terrorists. Our officers and men have come out of this war “most battle hardened soldiers in human history”. They are fearless, trained and highly motivated.
Office of chief of army staff is highly respected, prestigious and worthy of the appointment holders. Gen Ayub was first indigenous Army Chief of Pakistan Army. First two commander in chiefs were British officers, Gen Messervy and Gracy. Gen Asim Munir is 17th Chief of Army Staff of the most professional military outfit in the world. He joins the company of most professional military leaders having an impeccable military career spanned over 36 years.
General Asim Munir has spoken his mind on 30 April, 2023, at PMA passing out parade. He clearly stated
“To us, nothing is more sacred than the safety and security of our people and no duty is more binding than the defence of our motherland. We will ensure that the bond between Armed Forces and People of Pakistan is preserved and further solidified.We will continue to provide political, moral and diplomatic support to our Kashmiri brothers and Pakistan firmly stands with its Kashmiri brethren in their historic struggle for basic human rights and their legitimate quest for the right to self-determination”.
Like any officer, Asim Munir has traversed his military career through commitment and dedication right from joining officers training school Mangla in 1985.
One of his staff course mate, states that during the staff course in 1998, then Maj Asim Munir would prepare his assignments himself in an immaculate way, and was always very confident and smiling in class and never in panic. He would speak very less but to the point. He obtained best grade in staff course. Gen Asim did his basic courses in 1987 when he was Lieutenant,at school of Infantry and tactics. He distinguished himself among whole bunch of talented young officers and was among first two in weapon training and tactics course. He won coveted sword of honour at OTS in 1986 and joined frontier force regiment. His course mates and friends of academy days keep him in highest esteem. He is soberly and very well mannered. His war course mates at NDU, appreciated his wisdom in military strategy, sobriety, conduct and mutual respect he enjoyed among participants of the course.
He is first Army Chief who has held the office of DG ISI and DG MI, which provides him added advantage and an edge over his contemporaries. He is also first Army Chief who won sword of honour at academy. Gen Ayub and Gen Asif Nawaz were both sandhurst commission ( royal military academy). In his illustrious military career, Gen Asim Munir commanded FCNA (infantry division deployed on LoC and Siachin) and Gujranwala Corps. He was Chief of Staff of strike corps.
Since taking over command of Pakistan Army, six months ago, Gen Asim Munir has distanced Army from domestic politics. He has focused on professional matters related to Army, particularly operational readiness on east and western borders, training of troops and military diplomacy to assist and pull country out of economic crisis.
Visibility of military press release has been reduced. Only a necessary statement focusing on professional commitment is issued.
Defence of motherland is collective responsibility of whole nation. Soldiers need nation’s support and nation needs a prosperous and happy life, both are mutually exclusive only till the country is safe.