May 12 , 2017
Pakistan army major says training Sandhurst cadets ‘humbling’
LONDON: A Pakistan Army officer, who is training cadets at the British Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, has said his appointment as a trainer at the prestigious military academy is acknowledgement of the professionalism of Pakistan army soldiers who undergo a tough training regime in addition to the reliance on Pakistan by leading countries of the world.
Major Uqbah Malik, who graduated from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in April 2007 and underwent training alongside the Duke of Cambridge Prince William, told The News in an interview on an Reunion event at Sandhurst that Pakistan’s successful counter-insurgency campaign against terrorists has won acknowledgement all over the world. Today, Pakistan leads and is seen as a role model for countering armed militancy, he said.
Major Uqbah returned to train officers at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in August 2015 and will be returning in August this year to Pakistan to join his parent battalion, the 1st Sindh Regiment in Waziristan. “My experience at the Sandhurst has been humbling and brilliant. I have been serving here as a platoon commander and I have thoroughly enjoyed imparting skills that I learnt at Kakul, the Pakistan Military Academy as well as my practical involvement in the war against terrorism when I served in Waziristan for 3 years before coming to the UK.”
Major Uqbah said that the British and Pakistani governments agreed to send a trainer from Pakistan with preferences of knowledge about the counter-insurgency skills. Major Uqbah was picked up because he had experienced operational fronts in Waziristan and Afghan Border in addition to serving in Azad (Independent) Kashmir bordering India.
Quoting Commander Filed Army, Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders who spoke at an event on Saturday the 6th of May that Major Uqbah Malik hosted at Sandhurst commemorating the first ever Pakistani Sandhurst graduates reunion and 70 years of Pakistan-UK relationship, later published in an article by this correspondent that appeared in The News and Geo, that Pakistan Army has achieved in Waziristan what British couldn’t achieve in 150 years in Waziristan through out its time in British India, Major Uqbah said that remarks by the British military commander showed how much Pakistan has achieved against terrorists. “This admission by Commander Field Field Army not only shows the respect the British have for Pakistan but an immense level of trust also. There is no match to what Pakistan has achieved purely through their extreme level of sound professionalism.”
A few months back, a video went viral showed officer cadets of Sandhurst singing Pakistan's National Anthem, “Pak Sar Zaameen Shaad Baad” while their platoon commander Major Uqbah stood alongside in respect. Major Uqbah shared with Geo News that he was surprised when the cadets started singing Pakistan’s national anthem all of a sudden and it was clear that they had been secretly preparing for that for sometime.
He said: “This was my second batch of the platoon. There is a saluting test within the army training before which the platoon commander carries out an inspection in the lines. My second platoon (33 Platoon) thought that I had spent a year with my first platoon (30 Platoon) and believed I had more association with them than the 33 platoon. They asked me if that was the case and I admitted. So they thought of doing something special to show their affection and respect to me. When I went there for the final saluting inspection I saw them standing in the queue and as soon as I appeared they started the amazing rendition. I felt proud and I was amazed at such a unique gesture.”
Major Uqbah shared that Sandhurst follows strict discipline rules and cadets are developed in a number of ways. He said that a typical day starts at 6am and cadets are taught leadership, character development and management, war tactics, map reading and personality development. There are breaks in the evening and then there is another round of activities, all aimed at developing a top quality professional soldier. There are days where sometimes we work here for around 20 hours a day and without any weekends off to exclude talking about outdoor field exercises which is a round the clock engagement.”