By Nabeel Anwar Dhakku
CHAKWAL: Retired Lt-Gen Abdul Majeed Malik remained a powerful character of some important events that shaped political course of not only United India but of Pakistan as well.
Despite being a retired army general, he set a rare example of getting elected to the National Assembly five consecutive times.
He passed away on Friday night in Islamabad at the age of 97 and was buried in his native village on Saturday.
His funeral prayer was attended by thousands of people including Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and PML-N leader Raja Zafarul Haq.
“At 11:45pm he suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away within five minutes,” his son, Qaisar Majeed Malik, the additional secretary at the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), told Dawn.
“He was hospitalised four months ago when he felt pain in his chest but was discharged a week ago,” he said, adding that Mr Malik was quite normal on Friday and even went to the mosque to offer prayers.
Born in Jand Awan, a remote village of Chakwal district, in 1919, Mr Malik received his early education from a school built by Hindus in nearby Hasola village.
After passing the middle class exam from Hasola School in 1935, Mr Malik got admitted to Government High School Chakwal which was upgraded to a college in 1949 and today is known as Government Postgraduate College Chakwal.
He joined the Indian army as a sepoy in 1939 and was assigned a clerical job in Punjab Regiment. He took part in the World War II.
In 1943, Mr Malik got selected as commissioned officer in the Indian army. He observed the partition of the subcontinent closely. He was also assigned the security duty of Mahatma Gandhi when dialogues to quell the 1946 Hindu-Muslim riots in Kolkata (then Calcutta) were held between Gandhi and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy.
The country’s first martial law was also drafted by Mr Malik in 1958. He became commander of Army’s Special Services Group during 1965 war and later commanded 21 Brigade Lahore.
He was appointed Director Military Operations at General Headquarters in 1969. He also took part in the 1971 war.
After Musharraf’s coup in 1999 Mr Malik joined Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) and fielded his nephew and son-in-law retired Major Tahir Iqbal.
In 2008, he returned to the PML-N and decided to support its candidate, Ayaz Amir, instead of contesting election himself.
Ayaz Amir won the election with a record heavy mandate.
Expressing deep sorrow over the demise of Gen Majeed Malik, senior advocate Syed Ziaul Hassan Zaidi said he gave voice and power to the poor people of Chakwal.
“With his death, PML-N suffered a huge loss. He was a central figure in the party who kept all the local leaders united,” said Yunus Awan, a senior local journalist.
Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2016