By Maj Aziz-ur-Rehman, Retd (15th War Course)
My ex Commanding Officer, Lt Col Mir Hadayat Ullah, Retd, (31st PMA seniority), has narrated this anecdote. He was commanding an Air Defence unit in Malir Cantt. One fine morning, he was informed by a RP Sepoy, “Sir, aik General Sahib aap ko milna chahtay hain”.
That RP Sepoy was deputed at the barrier placed near the entry point to Malir Cantt to check the traffic coming from Malir Halt direction. He was tasked not to allow all incoming traffic from Malir Halt to pass through the unit lines, that provided a short cut to Malir Cantt destined vehicles.
As a gesture of courtesy, CO came out of the office to greet the guest (General Sahib). He was awestruck to see Maj Gen Aboobaker Osman Mitha (Retd), standing close to his Suzuki Pick-up which he himself drove, wearing an ordinary shirt and shorts, with a pipe in his mouth.
The CO saluted him. The General shook his hand with a pleasant smile on his face. After the initial pleasantries, Gen Mitha asked Col Hidayat, “Can you do me a little favour, please?”
“Sure, Sir”, replied the Col.
The Gen said, “I am running a poultry farm in Damloti Farms and have to frequently commute from Karachi to my farm in this Suzuki pick-up. Can you please allow me, being an ex soldier, to pass through your unit lines area? It is quite a short cut which will save much of my time.”
Since General Mitha had a reputation of a hard-taskmaster and during his tenure as Commandant PMA would appear at unimaginable time and places during the Cadets exercises, witnessing him in that attire and down to earth demeanour was perplexing for Col Hidayat Ullah.
He immediately ordered the RP Sepoy not to stop the Gen in future and let him pass through the unit lines.
Such were the officers of that vintage!! Simple and workaholic.
Editor: Brig Mitha (Later Maj Gen) was Comdt PMA from 15 November 1966 to 5 February 1969. Here is a tribute to Gen Mitha by Maj Gen Parvez Akmal (pen name ‘P.A. Lala’). ‘P. A. Lala’ is from 42nd PMA Long Course, he was a cadet when Brig Mitha was Comdt PMA.
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