“A Man for All Seasons”: Tribute to Maj Aslam Cheema (ABD-2 Pl Comd)

By Col Syed Asif Jamal, Engrs (ABD-2)

Col Asif Jamal (A-2)

Maj Aslam Cheema (Pl Comd A-2)

Maj Aslam Cheema

Generally speaking, Pl Comds are always regarded as ideals and heroes for cadets. Though all the Pl Comds/Coy Comds at Tobe Camp were excellent bunch of officers from Pak Army but the person, in my opinion stands tall amongst them was my Pl Comd, Maj Mohammad Aslam Cheema from 9 Baluch Regiment.

A thorough professional. Held different appoitments in School of Inf & Tacs, PMA, posted as GSO-2 to CGS, attended Staff Course at Camberley (UK), posted as DS at Comd & Staff College Quetta, and in MO Dte after attending the War Course. He was set to attain high rank in the Army but was medically boarded out as a Lt Col. Allah had his own plans. After the retirement, he was very successful in business.

A few instances I wish to share with you which amazed me and helped me to form my opinion about him and may have changed the course of my life :-

I remember, in PMA I was weak in physicals and gradually reached to a conclusion that this type of curriculum was not for me and I better get rid of it as quickly as possible and started checking with my friends the best way to do it.

One platoon mate told me,”Asif, just fail in FIVE subjects in midterm exam, you will after which be withdrawn and gone.”

I applied this trick and to be on the safe side, failed in SIX subjects. Maj Aslam Cheema called me next day and said, “Asif, I know you very well. Even if you fail in all TEN subjects, you will not be withdrawn. Go back and do your best, I know you can do it.” All my dreams of freedom and liberty vanished!

In 1976-77, through a tough competition I was selected for EDP-4 Course in ADM Dte GHQ. I was doing well, among top five officers who were tipped to be selected to go for further courses abroad and permanently posted to that Dte. Halfway through that course I went to see my worthy Pl Comd who was serving as GSO-2 to CGS, and when I proudly told him about my progress in the course, he firmly told me “Asif don’t waste your time here and go back to your corps, you are doing well.” I followed.

In 1991, when I was promoted to the rank of Lt Col, but was still serving as GE in Rawalpindi, a smiling Pl Comd entered my office, congratulated me and told me the purpose of his visit as “ I just wanted to see you in this rank.”

These are only few reflections that how he cared. WHAT A MAN !!!

We, his cadets from A-2 Platoon, love him from the core of our hearts and wish him best of health and happiness.

Related Pages:
Photos of Aslam Cheema
Tribute to Course Mates

Editor’s Note: Please do write a very brief comment at the end of this page under the heading “Leave a Reply here”.  The writer has taken time to share it with us. It will encourage him to contribute more for the Course website.

Please do write your platoon in brackets after your name.


  1. Brig Farooq Maan (ABD-4) says:

    Although COL ASLAM CHEEMA was not my Pl Comd, but being from same Company, we had lot of interaction. He was always very kind and caring to us as cadets. I still have a photo of mine as SGC handing over parade state to him. Had he been there in the Army it might not have been facing the embarrasment which it is facing today. Praying for his health well being.

  2. Maj Inam Ullah Khan (ABD-2) says:

    Indeed what a fine gentleman we are talking about here. We all hold him close to our hearts and minds. And shall always pray for his health, happiness and long life.

  3. Lt Col Zafar Mustafa (Abdali Coy Comd) says:

    At the end of an exercise in PMA, some Coy/Pl Comds were having gup-shup with the Commandant (late Maj Gen Abdullah Saeed, one of the finest senior officers that I had the honour to serve under) when I expressed my view: “Maj Aslam Cheema is the future C-in-C of Pakistan Army”. Everyone was stunned to hear this “out of the blue” remark of a Maj about another Maj. I went on to explain that during 14 years of service I had not come across a junior officer with comparable qualities of head and heart.
    It was a loss to the Army when Cheema was medically down categorised and he put up for premature retirement. Had the illness not curtailed his Army career, he would have been a senior Lt Gen on the normal retirement of Gen Jehangir Karamat ( Musharraf and others of 29 PMA would have retired couple of months earlier). One only has to remember “Man proposes ,God disposes.” I for one, firmly believe that if a door is closed on a man, Allah opens hundred doors for him. May Allah keep Col Aslam Cheema in good health. Amen!!!

  4. Maj Gen Khalid Jaffery (ABD-2) says:

    Undoubtedly, Col Aslam Cheema is one of the finest officer this Army has produced, and I was lucky to have been in his platoon. I also had the opportunity of serving as a platoon comd for nearly five and a half years, in PMA and OTS. Invariably I used to emulate Col Cheema when dealing with various situations. He continued to be a role model for all of us in our subsequent careers. We all pray for his health and long life.

  5. Col Aslam Cheema is a giant of a man, a fatherly figure who is always ready to extend a helping hand to anyone in distress. His wife left for her eternal abode two years back. He feels lonely and my heart really aches to see his solo flight. May Allah give him best of happiness and health, Ameen.

  6. Lt Col Masood Alam (SSH-3) says:

    In PMA, Col Aslam Cheema was one of those Pl Comds who impressed me the most. After PMA I did not come across him until one fine morning to my great surprise he walked into my office. At that time I was GSO-2 (Trg) in School of Army Air Defence in Malir. I was very happy to see him. I tried my best to make him as much comfortable as I could and gave him maximum respect. When he told me that he had left Army I was shocked. He told me that he has joined a firm which was supplying weapon system to Pakistan Army. He was representing that firm and had come to supervise the weapon trials which were being conducted by Air Def School. He stayed for a few days during which he used to visit my office on daily basis. We used to have coffee and lot of gup-shup.There it was also revealed that he was relative of our Course mate Rashid Zia Cheema. Best Regards.

  7. Capt M Tariq Zaid Rahmani (ABD-5) says:

    I was in Col Aslam Cheema’s platoon (ABD-2), but later on creation of ABD-5, I was shifted there. His photo still hangs in my library, wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses and holding a stick. One day in 1998, I was coming with my elder son from Islamabad College for Boys G-6/4, enroute Col Aslam Cheema met us walking. He asked our well being, advised my son to get admission in FSc (not pre-Engr/Pre-med), in spite scoring 85% my son took admission in Maths+Physics+Stats+computer science. Today he is among the best software developers in Pakistan, consultant to many organisations including World Bank. His last assignment since last four years was raising and operating Benazir Income Support Programme as team leader.
    I pray for long life and health with good eman for Col Aslam Cheema.

  8. Maj Khalid Saeed Shah (GHR-3) says:

    I use to dream and wonder that during my service in the Army would I be able to see an officer commanding hearts and minds of his under command. Frankly the Allah has been kind and I came across Lt Col Aslam Cheema when he was commanding one of the finest outfit of Infantry, the 9 Baluch Regt at Bahawalnagar. I was honored to be with the unit as an Arty observer. I would be requiring bundles of papers to write down the moments spent under adroit and benovolent leadership of a person like him. The days spent with NINE ABBASSIA could be termed as my finest days in Army. I have no words to write down about the qualities of the Man he was, a real HEAD OF THE FAMILY. I must share the remarks of my CO Lt Col Zafar Mustafa about Col Aslam Cheema. He said, ” I have yet to come across a brilliant officer like Cheema.” Just to remind you that Col Aslam Cheema remained under Col Zafar Mustafa in PMA and at CGS Dte in GHQ.
    In Col Cheema I found a very professional senior officer, a compassionate father, elder brother and a caring head of the family. My Salam to Col Aslam Cheema, salam to 9 Baluch Regt, my home. And my salam to Maj Rana Saeed Bhatti who is from A-2 Platoon and 9 Baluch Regt.

  9. Maj Rana Saeed Bhatti (ABD-2), USA says:

    I have long association with Lt Col Aslam Cheema. He was my Pl Comd in PMA, my CO in 9 Baluch, my business partner after retirement and my guest in USA. We played golf together in Pakistan and USA. He is also elder brother of my class fellow (Lt Col Mohammad Afzal Cheema, Late from Armoured Corps). He is friend of my brothers and my entire family. We all pray for his health and long life.

  10. I’m sure it must have been great getting trained by a professional, not only militarily but psychologically. I guess humane leadership gives better results.

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