ISLAMABAD - It was a fine winter evening, when on November 28 2016, Army House of Rawalpindi was bidding farewell to its ‘outgoing’ chief before the official ceremony of command change in GHQ on November 2016.
It was the ceremony attended General Raheel Sharif and General Qamar Javed Bajwa and General Raheel Sharif was ‘outgoing’ army chief. It was the last day and the last evening of General Raheel Sharif as COAS in uniform as next day the command was to be given to the new chief.
[image: Gen Raheel Sharif hands over the baton of command to Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. ─ Photo courtesy ISPR]
My friend, who is more like being caring elder sister to me, and I should also add ‘daring’ as only she could make possible from impossible, was invited to the ceremony.
From there in Army House after the ceremony, she sent me a historic photograph of herself with the two chiefs along with beautiful note that was the crux of the whole ceremony. She wrote:
*“… as the beautiful Maghrib Azaan was called, General Raheel Sharif looked up at the sky with a smile (perhaps Thanking Allah, perhaps missing his brother) and made that one last “final walk” back home as COAS… before hanging up his boots !*
I had mixed emotions filming this historic picture… blessed to be present yet saddened to see him go! 40 years in uniform and an amazing three years as chief – THE ONE & ONLY GENERAL RAHEEL SHARIF … Pakistan was blessed to have him”
Next day on 29th November 2016, General Raheel Sharif passed his baton of command to the new chief, General Qamar Bajwa. He walked out with grace and glam, with dignity and pride, with his head high and heart satisfied after handing over the COMMAND CANE as GENERAL RETIRED RAHEEL SHARIF .
He did not stop at this but left the Army House after the ceremony and set off to Lahore!
What a Legacy Sir!
When he was appointed as Chief of Army Staff on 27th November 2013, terrorism was on rise.
Not a single day passed without a blast, Karachi was bleeding and Balochistan was burning while Taliban were playing football with the heads of soldiers that they had chopped off in the severe act of barbarism in the Bazaars of North Waziristan.
On 15 June 2014, General Raheel Sharif launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb that was initially started in the tough mountainous terrains of North Waziristan and then extended to the whole country.
The whole world then witnessed the change of tide in Pakistan.
By the time he retired after in 2016, terrorism declined to 70 – 80%, peace returned to Karachi and Pakistan flag was fluttering high in the skies of Balochistan and Waziristan with many Baloch insurgents surrendering and joining the mainstream; cricket stadiums and parks constructed while business of locals thriving and children playing happily and peacefully in the bazaars of Waziristan.
Leading from the front, with his boys or spending Eids with them at the battle grounds of Waziristan, the General always stood with his men and nation.
From being always first to reach on the site of terror plots after blasts and visiting victims in hospitals, offering Janazas of Shuhadas and consoling their families or natural disasters of any kind, he was always there with his nation.
He became the most popular army chief in Pakistan’s history and is still popular. His legacy, the RAHEEL SHARIF LEGACY is shining and unmatched.
Today he is proud Commander-in-Chief of IMCTC (Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition) comprising 41 countries as the world has acknowledged his services and efforts in eradication of menace of terrorism in his homeland and valued him with such a high and prestigious command. He is now not only the asset to Pakistan but also toMuslim World.
Retired from office but not from the hearts, it was hard to bid HIM FAREWELL , the Finest Sipa Salaar of his era and a thorough professional soldier , the Zarb-e-Azb HERO known as THE GENERAL RAHEEL SHARIF!!!
Two years have passed but you are still missed …
Your services for your motherland will always be remembered in golden words.
BY: Tabarik Unnisa