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Indian Muslim Officer becomes Commander-In-Chief of the Southern Command – Entire village celebrates


An entire village and members of a family in the southern Indian state of Kerala are euphoric over the assumption of duty by Lt. Gen. P.M. Hariz as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Command of the Indian Army.

Banners congratulating the ‘Great Son of the Village’ were raised in the village of Kuttikadavu, Cheruppa, 16 km from the city of Kozhikode, after news about Hariz assuming command of the largest geographical formation of the Indian Army recently.

Lt. Gen. Hariz took over the post from Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat, who has proceeded to Delhi to assume duties of Vice Chief of Army Staff, Saudi Gazette newspaper reported.

Speaking to the newspaper, many family members and neighbors of Lt. Gen. Hariz said that his new position gave them big joy and excitement, and they are proud of his dedicated service at such a senior level in one of the largest armies in the world.

Lt. Gen. Hariz is the eldest son of Pattiarimmal Mohamed Ali, who died in 2009 after retiring from service as Communications Officer of Trichy airport in the state of Tamil Nadu.

His mother Amina, daughter of late Mammumaster of Poolakkadavu, Kozhikode, was a teacher who expired early in 1962.

His father Mohammed Ali later married Fathima, who hails from Mathilakam of Trichur District. Late Fathima Mohammed Ali had served as Superintendent of Women Vigilance Homes in Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Department.

Zarina Hariz, daughter of Late Col. E.P.M. Rahman from Wandoor in the Malappuram district, is his wife. Zarina is closely associated with activities of Army Welfare Association and is actively involved in empowerment of women with special emphasis on education and healthcare.

The couple have one son and daughter — Zoheb and Shaistha. Zoheb is a commissioned officer in a Mechanized Infantry Battalion of the Indian Army, while Shaistha is a special educator in the British Council School, New Delhi. She will be going to UK for her Master’s degree in special education at University College of London.

Hariz has two siblings; his sister Adv. Shameem has been practicing for more than 30 years and is currently a senior lawyer at Bandra Family Court in Mumbai.

Younger brother Arif had served in the Indian Navy as a Commander and after taking voluntary retirement now works with Crimson Energy Experts Pvt. Ltd as Senior Engineering Consultant while his wife Sahana Arif from Kodungallur is the principal of Vidyashilp Public School Pune.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette over phone from Mumbai, Shameem said that the entire family was extremely excited and jubilant over the new appointment of her elder brother.

She said, “He is a role model for our family. His best quality is his down-to-earth character and maintaining close association with family members. His qualities of professionalism, hard work, dedication, honesty, perseverance, and high spirit of patriotism have enabled him to scale the ladder of success. In spite of his success he is humble and empathetic to one and all, and has maintained very good rapport with his kith and kin.”

She added that her entire family feels honored having presented a great son to serve the army of this great nation.

Shameem lives in Mumbai along with her husband Dr. Syed Ismail, who is an engineer and is now engaged in business. The couple have a daughter Jennifer who is doing her MBA at the University of San Diego.

“My brother has a residential apartment in Kozhikode where he stays whenever he comes on leave. During all his visits, he and his wife Zarina always visit their family members and relatives. Last year, during his visit in Ramadan, he organized an iftar party for family members with whom he always maintains close contacts,” she added.

Lt. Gen. Hariz has a vast experience of serving on prestigious staff and command appointments. He also has the unique distinction of holding various United Nations appointments, including a combined tenure as Military Observer, Chief Personnel Officer, and Regional Commander in Angola.

He served as instructor at Infantry School in Mhow and also at the prestigious Defense Services Staff College in Wellington.

He has commanded a Battalion, Brigade, Division and Corps in the Western Sector. He also commanded an operational sub-area and has been on staff appointments at various levels at the Integrated Headquarters (Army) in New Delhi.

The officer was decorated with Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal, and Vishisht Seva Medal.

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