LONDON: A platoon of cadets at UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), led by a Pakistan Army major, has been declared as the best platoon of the course this year for demonstrating outstanding skills, with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth praising the Pakistani officer for “outstanding achievement.”
Major Umar Farooq from Pakistan Army joined British Army’s military academy last year as an instructor — taking over from Major Uqbah who returned to Pakistan last year after serving as the first Pakistani military instructor. UK’s chief of General Staff Gen Mark Carlton Smith was the chief guest.
On Friday, Sovereign’s Parade of Commission Course 173 was held at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, with UK’s Chief of General Staff General Mark Carlton Smith as the chief guest. Major Farooq was platoon commander of the course and trained cadets for over a year.
Out of eight platoons, his was declared the best platoon of the course at the ceremony, which was attended by a large number of people, including retired and serving military officers, families of cadets and ambassadors from dozens of countries.
Pakistan High Commissioner Sahebzada Ahmed Khan attended the parade and congratulated Major Farooq and his platoon for achieving this coveted position.
In recognition of his outstanding performance, the Pakistan Army officer has received a letter of appreciation from Her Majesty the Queen. His name has been written on the Sovereign’s platoon board in Royal Military Academy library, which is an honour for Pakistan Army.
This correspondent has seen a copy of the appreciation letter sent by the Buckingham Palace to Major Farooq.
Queen Elizabeth wrote that she was “delighted to learn that Number 12 Platoon The Somme Company has won the Sovereign’s Banner Competition this term.”
Her majesty added: “I send my warm congratulations to you, Colour Sergeant R. Kirkbrigght THE YORKSHIRE REGIMENT and all members of the Platoon on this outstanding achievement.”
Major Farooq is from 44 SP Artillery. Before coming to RMAS, he has served in Pakistan Military Academy Kakul as Adjutant and Platoon Commander.
At the parade, 173rd Commission Course passed out and two cadets from Pakistan Army were also among the ones completing the course.