Pak's first female army cadets guard Jinnah's tomb | india | Hindustan Times
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Pak's first female army cadets guard Jinnah's tomb

india Updated: Dec 25, 2006 18:00 IST
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A batch of smartly-dressed women cadets from the army became the first female honour guards in the history of Pakistan to take part in the mounting ceremony at the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah on the occasion of his 130th birth anniversary.

Standing guard at the mausoleum, also for the very first time, was Harcharan Singh, the first Sikh to be inducted in the Pakistan Army.

Expressing his pleasure at the involvement of minorities and women in the military, President Pervez Musharraf, who attended the ceremony along with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, said the cadets represented a bright and prosperous future for the country.

Musharraf became the first President of Pakistan to visit the 'mazar' on the birth anniversary of the Qaid-e-Azam.

"On this very auspicious occasion of the 130th birthday of the Qaid, I pledge to take Pakistan on the path defined by him. We shall further his vision in letter and spirit," he wrote in the visitors book.

Musharraf said the government was keen to have a modernized and enlightened society in which the Pakistanis could move forward with the world.

The rights of the minorities are being safeguarded as the Qaid envisioned and they had a role to play in the development of the country, he said.

Harcharan was inducted in the Pakistan Army in December 2005. He is currently serving his second term of the 116 Long Course.

Singh left the National College of Arts to fulfil his dream of serving as an officer in the Pakistan Army.

Karachi is home to the largest number of Christians in the country, particularly to thousands of Goans.

Security has been stepped up at all churches and clubs. In 2002 unidentified gunmen barged into a Christian charity office in Karachi's central business district and gunned down seven persons.

There have been other incidents of attacks on missionaries and Christian places of worship in the country in the past, believed to be carried out by Islamic militant outfits.