Senate of Pakistan

Martyrs for the Motherland

September 18, 2013

September 15, 2013 marked a black day in Pakistan's history when the people of Pakistan suffered another blow in the war on terror. A roadside Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off to claim, among others, the life of an outstanding two star general, Major General Sanaullah Khan, in Upper Dir area.  The late general is the fourth among generals to embrace martyrdom in the cause of war on terror and has thus added immensely to the colossal sacrifices made by the armed forces of Pakistan in defense of their motherland.

Following is an account of the lives and services of the four generals of Pakistan Army who paid tribute to the motherland with their lives.

Major General Sanaullah Khan

Major General Sanaullah Khan was a renowned figure in the Pakistan Army who hailed from Niazi tribe of Daudkhel area in Mianwali and contributed with an immaculate service of thirty years, starting with commission at Baloch regiment.  Later, he achieved qualification in war and tactical courses and went on to teach at the Staff College, Quetta. He was at the forefront in the war on terror, having served on many perilous fronts which developed his in-depth insight in to the various aspects and contexts of the region. Hailed a “kind-hearted genius” by his colleagues, Gen. Sanaullah was a natural leader who took special interest in his subordinates and jawaans, keeping close contact and boosting their morale on the frontlines.

In February, 2013, the general was appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Swat and Malakand Division which produced far reaching impacts for the region. As GOC, Sanaullah developed and worked vigorously on counterinsurgency programme and post-conflict rehabilitation. The measures implemented aimed at promotion and revival of culture, arts and tourism in the war rampaged areas of Swat and Malakand; the objective was to establish peace and produce employment for the locals.

In this effort, the general has many notable achievements to his name. He organized Malam Jabba Snow Festival which skiers and tourists from all across the country; this was, upon his direction, facilitated by pavement of Kalam road before the tourist season. Swat Summer Festival was later held which marked the first cultural event since Swat Operations against militants. The activities particularly focused on sports, a special interest of the general; Sports Gala was launched for the youth, Kabal Golf course was reopened and national golf tournament was hosted in Swat which featured 200 athletes for the first time in 20 years. An art exhibition was also held for the first time in Swat.

The general’s ephemeral, yet substantive, stint as GOC of Swat and Malakand would always be celebrated as exemplary and trend setting. He played a vital role in establishing peace in Swat and its people which is why his absence would be acutely felt by all.

Major General Javed Sultan

Major General Javed Sultan was the first general from Mianwali to give his life in action on war on terror. He, along with two brigadiers and four other army officials, was martyred when an army helicopter tragically crashed in Wana, South Waziristan Agency on February 6, 2008.

The general was a bright, energetic and thoroughly professional official who rapidly climbed the ladder of army hierarchy since his graduation from PMA. Sultan served as Defense Attache at Pakistan High Commission in India for almost three years where his role was widely acclaimed.

Upon his return from India, his performance was duly rewarded with his appointment as a major general; this promotion was precocious by almost a year compared to his 12 other course mates.  He was later posted as General Officer Commanding Kohat in which capacity he served for a year until his death. During that time, he was leading troops in the operations against militants in South Waziristan.

The general’s death was a great loss to Pakistan in the effort against terrorism and militancy. Javed Sultan was particularly engaged in fighting militants and foreign insurgents in South Waziristan, particularly those supported by Baitullah Mehsud; he was returning from a routine meeting with senior officers in Wana when his helicopter crashed. A popular and widely appreciated official, his funeral attracted droves of people from all over Pakistan and abroad, including President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Soomro.

Lt Gen Mushtaq Ahmad Baig

The Surgeon General of Pakistan Army, Lt Gen Mustaq Ahmad Baig was specifically targeted while returning home in a suicide bomb blast at traffic signal of GPO chowk, Rawalpindi, in February 2008.

A deeply religious man, Mushtaq Ahmad was a hafiz-e-quran who hailed from Lehr Sultanpur Village in Chakwal District where he was born in 1951. From quite humble beginnings, the general went on to study medicine at the country most prestigious King Edwards Medical University and successfully graduated in 1974. In 1976, Mushtaq Ahmad gained his military commission and was thus inducted in Army Medical Corps. He went on obtain Masters of Surgery degree and Doctorate in Ophthalmology from Army Medical College.

The general made an illustrious career at the Armed Forces. He also held the office of Director General Medical Services (inter Services) and in this capacity, he introduced many praiseworthy innovations and improvements.

As an Ophthalmologist, Gen. Mushtaq’s eminence was observed in extensive publications and participation in numerous national and international workshops.

In 2003, after achieving the rank of Major General, Mushtaq Ahmad served as commandant at Army Medical College Rawalpindi, a role in which he was much loved by students and faculty members alike.

The General was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz in recognition of his outstanding services and contributions in the year 2006. In the same year, he was also promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. It was in 2007 that he was made Surgeon General of Pakistan Army and Colonel Commandant of Army Medical Corp, a role in which he served for a year until his death.

He is remembered as a very down-to-earth and helpful person who made significant contributions in serving the humanity.

Maj Gen Bilal Omar Khan

Major General Bilal Omar Khan embraced martyrdom in the Parade Lane Mosque attack in December 4, 2009 while grappling with armed terrorists who attacked worshippers during Friday prayers in Rawalpindi Cantonment. He was shot at close range to put down his aggressive opposition and thus he passed away fighting till the last breath while saving many lives with his selfless act.

Bilal Omar Khan, popularly known as Billy to his friend, was born in 1954 and belonged to the Burki tribe settled in Lahore. He was commissioned in the armed forces in 1973 in the 19th Lancers and later went on obtain master’s degree from Colorado University in US. He was serving as the Director General of Pakistan Armoured Corps at the time of his death.

The general is particularly remembered for his avidness in sports, specifically polo and hunting. He was the President of Pakistan Polo Association and Chairman Equestrian Federation; he represented Pakistan in 2007 Polo World Cup in New Zealand. He is known to have hunted in some of the world’s toughest terrains and was a winner of Marco Polo Sheep Trophy. He mentored many young polo players and junior officers at Rawalpindi Polo Club.

Bilal Omar is also remembered for his courage, gallantry and devoutness; all proven by the way in which he died fighting for protection of innocent lives. In recognition of his bravery, the government of Pakistan conferred Sitara-e-Basalat upon him.

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