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Columnist Col (Retd) EAS BOKHARI writes an eloquent obituary for the late General

Late Gen Khadim Hussain Raja

It was indeed painful to learn about the sad demise of Gen. Khadim Hussain Raja. He was one of the most illustrious gunner officers of his time. Strictly speaking he has had two careers in the Army - and he was initially commissioned in infantry (and not artillery as erroneously reported by ISPR).

I had known Gen Raja from the Pre-Partition days when he was one of my neighbours in Lahore - and had come all the way from Darapur (Jhelum) for studies in Lahore. He was a model student - and an inspiration for some of his juniors like me. He did very well in the Central Model School - and later joined Government College Lahore from where he was selected for Indian Military Academy Dehra Dun. It was only after the partition - when the Regiment of Artillery started expanding that some of the other arms officers were inducted into what was then called the 'Royal Pakistan Artillery.' He was one of these so-called 'Sheikh' officers.

I first met him in Peshawar in 1949 where he was posted as a Battery Captain - and I had just been inducted in the Regiment of Artillery. He saw active service in Kashmir. I met him last a decade back in Lahore where he had settled after retirement and had come to speak on the employment of artillery in Kashmir operations in a seminar arranged by Gen (Late) Riaz Ullah - the then DG ISPR.

It is not easy to change over say from Shakespeare to Galileo, but I suppose he had no difficulty in changing over from infantry to artillery - in fact this infantry background was an added qualification for higher command. a soft spoken - and a very capable officer - he rose rapidly in the army hierarchy. He was a DS (Directing Staff) in Tactical Wing of the Command & Staff College Quetta. He was later to become a DS in the Staff College too. He had done a staff course in the prestigious Fort Leavensworth USA - a distinction afforded to few officers only.

He commanded a divisional artillery in the later part of 1965 War in the Chawinda/Sialkot Sector. He also commanded a division in East Pakistan. After his retirement he was assigned to a number of diplomatic duties which he performed most admirably.

In his death - we have lost a quiet but highly regarded and illustrious gunner officer, and a very considerate person.

One can only pray that God bestows fortitude to the bereaved family - and his soul rests in Heaven. Amin.