Throughout human History, one comes across individuals who made their mark for all time to come. Changez khan, Alexander, Napoleon - just to mention a few of the Greats. Of course our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was the greatest of them all who forever changed the history of mankind. They all exemplified the power of a single individual.

Nearer home there were two outstanding individuals in the Indo-Pak sub-continent who towered well above their contemporaries. One, Allama Iqbal, our National poet, who shook the conscience of the down trodden Muslims under the British Raj, by his inspiring poetry and gave the vision of a homeland to the Muslims of the subcontinent.

The other, our beloved Qaid-e-Azam, turned that vision into reality – literally all “alone”. It was nothing short of a miracle, considering the tooth and nail opposition by the ruling British and the Hindu majority. Such then is the power of a single Individual who can change the destiny of an entire nation.

Coming down to the recent times, I would like to mention some outstanding commanders of our armed forces. Having served the Air force for 36 years I believe I have some locus stand¡ to express my views about them. However, before I do so let me hasten to add that the commanders of all the three services, by and large, were professionally competent men. However, we shall consider only the most outstanding.

Air Marshal Asghar Khan was one of these men. He was the architect of the modern PAF which trounced the IAF, more than tree times its size, during the 65’ war. Air Marshal Nur Khan was another great individual who took PIA to its greatest height and while doing so guided National Hockey, cricket and squash teams to win international laurels. He was no less as an outstanding commander who having taken over the command of PAF just a few months prior to 65’ war, conducted it admirably well.

Coming down to the present times, the incumbent services Chiefs are all highly professional commanders, yet General Raheel Sharif at the helm of our proud and professional Army has proved his mettle as a highly successful commander by effectively taking on the TTP (mercenary terrorists of India’s RAW) head on and visibly achieving commendable results in FATA, B’tan and Karachi.

While Pak Army under his watch has achieved great results in eliminating TTP/BLA/urban terrorists etc to a large extent, a super power just across the western border had singularly failed to subdue the Afghan Talibans inspite of having spent 3illions of Dollars over a decade. The nation salutes our valiant armed forces.

It is true that no one is indispensable yet it is even truer that some individuals are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to replace. Considering the critical times our beloved country is passing through and the fact that we along with our all-weather friend China have launched into the most vital CPEC project, we can ill afford to let General Raheel Sharif go in November, when he is due to retire.

His services should be retained for at least one more year. Incase, he does not agree to the extension (as one hears so), then the services of all the present Chiefs be extended by one year considering that we are in a state of war. (It may be noted that the tenure of the three Services Chief’s used to be four years not long ago). Ideally, the four-year tenure may be restored, as three years may not be sufficient to accomplish all that a Chief desires.

It would not be out of place here to mention that on the eve of the Indian aggression against “East Pakistan”, the Indian PM Indira Gandhi extended the tenure of all the three Service Chiefs by one year. On the other hand, Air Marshal Asghar Khan, the architect of ‘65 Air war plan, was retired just a few months prior to that war. This showed the difference in the mind set of Indian and Pakistani leadership. Had Asghar Khan been asked to stay a while longer we could have hurt the Indian Air force much more on day one as he had planned. (The Israel Air force destroyed most of the Egyptian Air force on the ground on the first day of 67’Arab-Israeli war – taking a page out of PAF’S original war plan).

Pakistan is passing through critical times. Our political leaders must rise above themselves to act and to decide what is in the best National Interest.

“Let it not be said that we did not prove equal to the task”- Quaid-e-Azam