The passing-out parade of the 142nd PMA Long Course was held at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul, in the garrison city of Abbottabad. Among the cadets, 15 were from the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Similarly, 54 passing out cadets were from Balochistan, among them the son of Senator Hafiz Hamad Ullah, who belongs to the Maulana Fazlur Rehman-led faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.
In October 2019, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) declared Hamd Ullah an alien, setting off a controversy. At the time, Nadra alleged that Hamd Ullah was an Afghan national who had ‘fraudulently obtained’ his computerised national identity card (CNIC) that has now been cancelled.
However, later the Islamabad High Court rescinded Nadra’s decision and restored Hamd Ullah’s CNIC.
At the passing out parade, the President’s Gold Medal went to Battalion Senior Under Officer Junaid Khan, who hails from Wana, the headquarters of the South Waziristan tribal district. The Academy Senior Under Officer joins the 3 Punjab Regiment.
Wana was once the epicentre of terrorism in the erstwhile tribal regions where a potpourri of local terrorists and their foreign cohorts held sway until they were routed in a massive military operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Azab.
Addressing the passing out parade, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told the cadets: “Remember, we are all soldiers of Pakistan regardless of our caste, creed, sect and ethnicity and we will always stand together as one, as this is our strength.”
He further told them to “keep in mind that not only you have to discern light from the darkness, but also protect your men from sedition. The best way to do it is to just follow the SOPs, traditions and time tested ethos of the army”.