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Pakistan Army inducts first Sikh officer

a youth hailing from the birth place of Guru Nanak near Lahore has earned the distinction of being commissioned into the Army as the first Sikh officer.

india Updated: Apr 16, 2006 17:16 IST

After a Hindu created history by briefly becoming the Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court last year, a youth hailing from the birth place of Guru Nanak near Lahore has earned the distinction of being commissioned into the Army as the first Sikh officer.

Last year, Judge Bhagwan Das briefly became the Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court when the incumbent Iftakar Muhammad Choudhary went on a foreign tour.

Hercharan Singh, a Sikh youth hailing from Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak, on Saturday made the history by becoming the first Sikh to be commissioned into Pakistan Army.

The Pakistan Army had a few Christian officers in its ranks in the past.

Wearing a turban and sporting a beard, Singh marched to the military tunes at the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) where Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz commissioned a large batch of cadets at a ceremony on Saturday.

Singh dressed in the military uniform shaking hands with Aziz after the ceremony was featured on the front pages of all Pakistani newspapers on Sunday.

"I am proud to be a Pakistani and of joining Pakistan Army. Being the first Sikh cadet, I wish and pray also to be the first one to be a 'shaheed' (martyr)," he said.

Cadet Singh has a younger brother and regularly writes home about his daily routine.

He had joined the National College of Arts, but opted to serve as an officer in the Army, which in a military-dominated Pakistan offered a lucrative career and lifestyle.

Pakistan has a few dozen Sikh families scattered in Punjab and North West Frontier Provinces (NWFP). The Sikh and Hindus live in close proximity in these provinces.

First Published: Apr 16, 2006 17:13 IST