Tribute to My Platoon Commander Brig Muhammad Zaheer Malik

By Lt Col Qadeer Ahmed Ch. (SSH-2)

Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad (SSH-2)

Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad

Zaheer Malik

Maj Zaheer Malik in, Tobe Camp PMA.

Brig Zaheer Malik (Late) was my Platoon Comd (SSH-2 Platoon) since the day I joined PMA till passing out. He was a very fine officer, thorough professional, down to earth soldier, a great leader and above all a superb human being. He was passionate and a man of very lovable & strong personality. Once our platoon was out on outdoor map reading exercise in the close vicinity of his residence. It was terribly cold. At the end of the exercise he ordered the whole platoon to stay there. All of a sudden we saw two chaps coming out of his house with tea and other eatables (Pakoras, samosas and biscuits). We all enjoyed the hot and tasty tea break which I still remember and think that how sweet and hospitable was our Platoon Comd.
During my Army service, probably in 1982, when he was in MS Branch or MS with The President of Pakistan, I made a phone call to him, introduced myself and requested him for some help. He did the needful promptly.

Maj Zaheer Malik as Refree during Boxing Bouts, 1972

Maj Zaheer Malik as Refree during Boxing Bouts, 1972.

In 1994 when I was AQ Sta HQ Sialkot, I saw him roaming in Sta HQ with his sister and her small kid. I recognized and brought him to my office. That was my first and last meeting with him after PMA. He didn’t recognize me. Without disclosing to him my affiliation with him, I told the Mess waiter to bring tea break for my surprise guests.

During the tea I asked him the purpose of his visit. He told me that he had come all the way from Rawalpindi to Cantt Board Sialkot to get Birth Certificate of his sister who was living abroad and the Cantt Executive Officer (CEO) had told him to fill the requisite form, deposit the fees and the Birth Certificate will be issued after one week. His sister was to go to USA the very next day. Brig Zaheer was looking over-fatigued, depressed and had visited Sta HQ for some assistance.

Then I disclosed to him my identity and saluted him. I told him, “Sir, you just relax now.Your job is over and now my duty starts”.

I called the CEO and his relevant staff with requisite record in the Sta HQ where the Birth Certificate was prepared within 10 minutes and handed over to Brig Zaheer. He took a sigh of relief and felt so happy and pleased that I can’t explain in words. I requested him for lunch at home or in Sta HQ but he regretted due to paucity of time and left for Rawalpindi. After a year or so I learnt that he had expired.
At the end, for that great personality (Brig Zaheer Malik – My platoon Comd), I pray to Allah to bless the deceased’s soul in eternal peace in Jannat-ul-Firdaus. Aameen.

Maj Zaheer Malik conducting Saluting Test of Cadets of SSH-4 Platoon, 1972.

Maj Zaheer Malik at Saluting Test of cadets, 1972

Related Articles:
Tribute to Pl/Coy Comds 
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”.

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Comments

  1. Dr. Muhammad Abdul Qadir Faruqi (SSH-2) says:

    Assalamo Alaikum,
    I was lucky to be relegated from 1st Pak to be to be inducted in Great Maj Zaheer Malik’s SSH-2 Platoon. I was very depressed on my relegation but the moment I met my Platoon Commander he made me feel as if I haven’t suffered any loss. He gave me full moral support by introducing me to the Platoon mates by saying that GC Qadir Faruqi is a very fine cadet and he is not at all less than any one of you. Then he turned towards me and said I and SSH-2 welcome you. I don’t have words to express my feelings for this great human being, great officer and the height of his character.
    Throughout my training in PMA he never let me feel that I was a religee. I Alhamdolillah put all my efforts to proove my worth. In boxing I had a great contest with Jameel. I won the fight and after dinner Maj Zaheer Malik came to our dorm/barrack and burst out loudly with all the appreciation for me.
    After Passing Out I used to remain in touch with Maj Zaheer Malik. He always asked about my professional status and my and my family’s well being. Once I had some problem and it was related with my posting. I was in sargodha. He helped me positively and fully. Then he said, “Qadir, my in-laws live in Sargodha and nowadays your bhabi is also there, so you must visit them”. I obeyed and visited the family. They treated me with full respect and dignity. Their hospitality was second to none.
    My dear course mates, to me he was an angel on earth. In PMA we all saw his very high professional calibre. Finest soldier, finest officer and finest human being. I pray from the depth of my heart that Allah grant him maghferat and highest place in jannah. Aameen!!

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

    My dear Qadeer,
    Assalamoalykum.
    I really appreciate you for writing down such a good article. As a mater of fact you have represented all the cadets of Sher Shah Coy and have done justice by writing this tribute. Thank you very much. I am from SSH-3, while in PMA I always wanted to be in Maj Zaheer Malik’s platoon. I would have loved to have him as my platoon commander. But it was not to be. It was always a pleasure to hear or talk to him. I never met him but always heard about him after the Passing Out. One of my regiment officers, Capt Qadir Farooqi, who was his cadet would always talk about him and told me that he regularly talks with him. He also told me as to how he helped him when he was in MS Branch, Regards.

    • Lt Col Qadeer A Chaudhry (SSH - 2) says:

      Dear Masood,
      Asslam o Alaikum.
      Your comments are very encouraging and valuable for me. For the last about 3 years, I am not in touch with Dr. Farooqi. Can you send me his cell or land line number?. My cell no is: 03335146888. Thanks and regards.

      • Lt Col Masood Alam (SSH-3) says:

        Dear Qadeer,
        Walaikum Assalam.
        Capt (Dr.) M. A. Qadir Farooqui is in Saudi Arabia. I am sorry I do not have his contact presently. But whenever he comes next time to Pakistan I shall take his contact and send to you. Best regards.

        • Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad Chaudhry (SSH-2) says:

          Dear Masood,
          Asslam o Alaikum.
          Thanks. It appears Farooqi has moved to Saudi Arabia with his family. May Allah bless him and his family. Regards.

  3. Maj Rauf Shad (ABD-3) says:

    Brig Zaheer Malik’s native town is KATARIAN, A prominent village 10 Km from Rawat on Rawat-Chak Beli Road. Almost every house in this village has representation in Army specially in Baluch Regt.

    • Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad Ch (SSH - 2) says:

      Dear Rauf
      Thanks for providing info about tha native town of Late Brig Zaheer Malik. May Allah bless the deceased in Junna.

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

    Late Brig Zaheer Malik was a decent and soft-spoken Officer. During 1976-77, he was serving in MS Branch while I was in CGS Secretariat. Whenever some one with a genuine problem approached me, I would walk over to the MS Branch and ask Maj Zaheer Malik to help. Knowing that I would recommend only a very genuine case, each time he obliged. Remember that he was only a Major and he had to get the approval of his AMS and Dy MS before doing the needful. I preferred to seek his help rather than approach the AMS (who was an old friend) or the DyMS (with whom I had attended the Staff Course) because I had more confidence in Zaheer Malik that he would cooperate.

    In PMA days, our GSO-3, Capt Asad (13 Baluch) would once a month go to Zaheer’s residence during office hours and tell Mrs. Zaheer that Maj Zaheer had invited two officers for lunch and the menu should be such and such item. First time, Asad and Maj Aslam Cheema (ABD-2 Pl Comd), after the office hours, asked Maj Zaheer that they would accompany him for lunch. Zaheer protested that his wife needed some warning time to prepare extra food, but he was told by Asad that they won’t mind the available Daal-roti. They traveled in Zaheer’s car because they did not have tpt of their own. On reaching home, Zaheer rushed inside to inform his wife that he had two guests and she should do something to feed them. To his utter surprise, Mrs. Zaheer replied that she had already prepared the dishes as desired by him. Shell-shocked, Zaheer realized that he had been tricked by his friends. Imagine, rather than let down his friends, he told his wife, “Oh! I forgot that I had informed you.” This ruse went on till the end of the course but Zaheer never let his wife know that he was being taken for a ride by his bachelor friends.

    After attending Australian Staff Course he commanded 8 Ak Bn in Landi Kotal before getting posted as APS to the President. (He had been transferred from Baluch Regt).

    This is just a humble effort to add to the excellent tribute paid by Col Qadeer to his Pl Comd .

    Let us pray for the maghfarat of the departed soul.

    • Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad Ch. (SSH-2) says:

      Dear Col Zafar Mustafa,
      Asslam o Alaikum,
      Sir, I feel obliged to you for adding more info to our knowledge about Late Brig Zaheer Malik, which as cadets, we never knew. His wife is also a decent, graceful and respectable lady. Sir, I also appreciate your nice comments. May Allah bless you good health. Prosperity and happiness. Regards.

  5. Lt Col Kamran Gul Abdullah (SSH-1) says:

    This gem of a person was my sister’s neighbour in Satellite Town Rawalpindi, where Brig Zaheer’s parents and all his siblings lived together. After our Passing Out I was occasionally in contact with him. He was AMS, later Acting MS and then MS to President Zia. Zia could not find a suitabe choice other than Brig Zaheer after Brig Muzaffar left.

    During one of my visits I asked him about his promotion, knowing that he was very close to the Chief. His reply was that his last 5 ACRs had not yet been written by Gen Zia because he did not have the time to write. He had already requested him for it as his NDC nomination was at stake. He told me that he had become so politicised in this appointment that he could only make it if Zia continues as the Chief. But what left a deep impact on my mind was when he said, “Kamran, I’ll have no regrets, I have traveled all over the world. I have met and dined with the President of the US, Margaret Thatcher and with the heads of states that I cannot even recollect. Which serving general or even the Vice Chief would enjoy this honour and protocol?”

    Zia died and Brig Zaheer retired honourably. Hota haa woh jo Manzoor-e- Khuda hota hai. May Allah bless him. Aameen.

    • Lt Col Zafar Mustafa (Abdali Coy Comd) says:

      I want to confirm that not only Zia but also my CGS at that time loathed going through file work or writing ACRs.

  6. Major Munir Ahmed (HDR-3) says:

    Dear Col Qadeer,
    It is really great of you to pay tribute to a man who very rightly deserves this. Being from HDR Coy, though I had a very little inter action with him, yet found him a man with very soft tone. Such great people must be remembered with nice words. Treating cadets with hot cup of tea in chilling cold with biscuits, samosa & pakoras speak very high of a platoon commander. Indeed, he was a man of a high stature. May Allah bless the departed soul with His infinite mercy (Aameen).

  7. Lt.Col Ali Muzaffar Zaidi (SSH-1) says:

    Dear Qadeer,
    I appreciate your effort of writing about the honorable Pl Comd. He was really a personality to be remembered ever in our prayers. May Allah bless the noble soul in eternal peace and elite place in Jannah. Ameen.

    I wish you, Col Qadeer, best of health, prosperity and long life. Ameen.

    • Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad Ch. (SSH - 2) says:

      Zaidi Jee,
      Thanks for your nice comments and prayers. May Allah bless you and your family good health, long life and prosperity. Regards.

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

    In fact 2nd SSC was a lucky lot and indeed God blessed us with Directing Staff having exceptional qualities and at the top of it every one of them was a Gem in real sense. They brought us up and nurtured us with love, care and made us a useful member of Army and society as well . It was that outstanding lot of great leaders who gave us confidence and instilled the qualities they possessed in us which made 2nd SSC exceptional as well.

    Brig Zaheer Malik was one of the brightest and finest star of that galaxy of Directing Staff we possessed in PMA. Qadeer, well done. May the departed soul rest in peace Aameen.

  9. Brig Tariq Saeed (SSH-2) says:

    Thank you very much Qadeer for writing tribute to Brig Zaheer Malik, a lovable personality. He was really a man of great acumen. As platoon commander he was so kind, sober and graceful that he never lost his temper and never scolded anyone like others. Once he was very annoyed with the platoon for some stupidity we had committed, so he told drill staff to go for three days seveer punishment to the platoon. We kept waiting for that punishment but it never came. Probably he had stopped the staff to implement his orders. He would only say, you are a bum.

    After PMA I only met him once in CMH Rawalpind where he had brought his mother for some treatment. He was Lt Col at that time. The moment he saw me he recognized me and said, “Tariq bum! where are you?” It was really a great pleasure to meet him after a long time.

    It is true that you seldom come across such great people in your life. May Allah Almighty bless his soul with eternal peace in Jannah.

    For Brig Asad Hakeem: Brig Zaheer Malik was from a village near Ckak Beli Khan, Dist. Rawalpindi. One of his brothers was Brig Zareef Malik from AC.

  10. Qadeer, indeed a befitting tribute to a humane person.

    After my brief inter-action with him in PMA (refer to my article ‘Ordeals at Tobe Camp’) my only meeting with him was when he was a Bde Comd (not mine) and attended my squadron Ex along with the GOC near Iftekharabad. After the attack the GOC and Brig Zaheer had paratha breakfast sitting on my tank. When they were about to leave, he asked if I had ‘Moong Phalli’ and ‘Raoris’. As such items are carried by tankers during exercises, I gave him the whole packet for the journey. Who wouldn’t go to war under such commanders?

    Rooh Ullah and all the others who were more in touch with such a great personality were sure lucky.
    May he stay blessed ALWAYS.

  11. Maj Rehmat Elahi (GHR-3) says:

    A nice & encouraging tribute to our late brother officer in a beautiful article. GOD gives everlasting peace to Brig Zaheer Malik, Aameen.

  12. Col Ruhullah Malik (ABD-2) says:

    I am very grateful to Qadeer for paying tribute to Brig Zaheer. I am one of the luckiest person for having served under Brig Zaheer as his BM in 4 AK Bde for two years (1988-1990). Indeed a gem of a person, Brig Zaheer taught me so many wonderful things in life for I shall always remain indebted to him. He was a very dynamic, inspiring and competent officer who was loved by everyone. Normally the units would seldom desire a Comd’s visit without an essential official requirement but in his Bde, COs used to force me to bring Brig Zaheer to their units all the time.
    He was an extremely compassionate person who would only benefit and never harm anyone who came in contact with him . It’s true the best people do not stay longer in this world. May Allah bless his soul and grant him a high place in the Heavens. Amen

  13. Maj Shabbir Ahmed Malik (HDR-5),USA says:

    A very nice & good tribute paid to the great Pl Comd by Qadeer.
    Cheema also deserves some “THAPPKEE” for creating a forum for us. Whenever I receive an e-mail from Cheema regarding some article about PMA days, I go back to my teenage & then a film of MY PAST life starts in my eyes. The good/bad events keep on coming in front. People who came & parted away from my past life are again in front of me daily. That’s why I put my teenage photo at Facebook so that if some old friend comes across, he should be able to recognize me & can contact.

    • Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad Ch. (SSH-2) says:

      Shabbir Jee,
      Thanks for appreciating my effort. Stay blessed.
      Cheema does not deserve some “Thapkee” but “Thapkees” because he motivated me to write this article.

  14. Col Faiz Afridi (SSH-2) says:

    Qadeer,
    Brig Zaheer really deserved all the compliments you have mentioned. He was also my Pl Comd and I had a number of meetings with him during the service. He was a gem of a man. May Allah bless his soul in high stations, Ameen.

  15. Col Qaisar Rashid (SSH-4) says:

    It was for Maj Zaheer Malik, one of the most inspiring Pl Comds of PMA, that I joined his unit 14 Baloch Regt. In sha Allah I will some day pen down the story.
    A very well written tribute. Qadeer deserves our appreciations.
    I think he was from Rawalpindi and Qadeer is referring to his Army accn close to Tobe Camp.

    • Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad Ch. (SSH-2) says:

      Dear Qaisar,
      You are right, it is the same area between Tobe Camp and Mansehra Road where staff were fond of taking the GCs for RWR. Stay blessed.

  16. Azam Gill (HDR-1), France says:

    Qadeer Jee,

    Every single adjective you have used for Major (as I remember him) Zaheer Malik is more than justified

    Qadeer:
    “I made a phone call to him, introduced myself and requested him for some help. He did the needful promptly.”
    Gill:
    He sent me a message through one of our course-mates, received me at his house in ‘Pindi, and put me on the path to a new life. I am so overwhelmed that I find it difficult to write about it. But I will.

    Qadeer:
    “Then I disclosed to him my identity”
    Gill:
    I salute you for not embarrassing him for not having recognized you, until it was unavoidable.

    Qadeer: “Sir, you just relax now.Your job is over and now my duty starts”.
    Gill: I am always overwhelmed when the virtues of my native culture, including family upbringing are put into action.

    I hope one day I can buy you a drink for this article.

    • Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad Ch. (SSH - 2) says:

      Dear Gill,
      I feel highly elevated and emotional for the comments you have endorsed. Every one of us has to leave this transitory world but it is the personality (bad or good) which is remembered by his deeds after his death. Your valuable comments are an asset to my credit. Many thanks and stay blessed. Regards.

  17. Brig Asad Hakeem (GHR-2) says:

    Well done Quadeer. Can you recall the name of the village? It will be a news to me if he was from Hazara. Yes, he was a very nice soul and was in the CMLA HQ in Gen Zia’s time.

    • Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad Ch. (SSH-2) says:

      Dear Asad,
      I express my gratitude for your nice remarks. The area was the same between Tobe Camp and Mansehra Road where the PMA staff used to take us for RWR. Late Brig Zaheer was living with his family in one of the scattred houses between Tobe Camp and Mansehra Road. He introduced his wife to the whole platoon as she had prepared and arranged that Tea Break. She is also a graceful and respectable lady.

  18. Lt Col Rashid Zia Cheema (ABD-1) says:

    Dear Qadeer,
    A good tribute to your Pl Comd. Brig Zaheer Malik was a lovable personality in PMA. I still remember his repeated utterances of ‘Good Boy” during Boxing Bouts whenever he acted as a Referee. He was subsequently nick-named as “Good Boy”. May Allah bless his soul, Ameen.

    Are you happy with the selection of appropriate photos added in your article?

    Lt Col Kamran Gul Abdullah: Brig Zaheer Malik is related to you. Please do send the link of this article to his family. Don’t forget to give the password.

    • Lt Col Qadeer Ahmad Ch. (SSH - 2) says:

      Dear Cheema,
      I feel highly indebted to you for inspiring, guiding, providing such a big forum and editing, re-arranging, selecting the best snaps, giving space in the website and above all publishing and appreciating. I pray to Allah for you and your family’s good health and prosperity. Aameen. Stay blessed for ever.

    • Lt Col Kamran Gul Abdullah (SSH-1) says:

      Cheema Jee,
      I have contacted my nephew so many times to send me the email address of Brig Zaheer’s son, who is is USA. The ‘bum’ doesn’t react. I’ll have to take his class now.

      • Lt Col Rashid Zia Cheema (ABD-1) says:

        Dear Kamran,
        Yes, it is now high time to take his (your nephew’s) ‘class’. 🙂
        Regards.

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