New Delhi, December 18 (NIA): If Lt.Gen. P.M.Hariz had been appointed Chief of Staff of the Indian army instead of junior officer Lt.Gen.Bipin Rawat, he would have been the first Muslim and the first Malayali to command the 1.2 million-strong Indian army.
The Indian Air Force had had a Muslim chief, Air Marshal Idris Latif (1978 to 81) but not the Army or the navy.
Lt.Gen.P.M.Hariz hails from Kozhikode in Kerala, and did his schooling from Sainik School, Amravatinagar in Tamil Nadu. He is an alumnus of the National Defense Academy, Khadakwasla
General P M Hariz had taken over as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Command from Lt. Gen. General Bipin Rawat who proceeded to Delhi to assume duties of Vice Chief of Army Staff.
On completion of basic military training from Indian Military Academy in Dehradun in 1978, he was commissioned into 12 Mechanised Infantry Battalion, and later commanded 19 Mechanised Infantry Battalion (Recce and Support), a press release from the Defence PRO said.
He has attended the Staff Course at Camberly (UK), Higher Command Course in Mhow and National Defence College in Delhi. He has held various United Nations appointments, which include a combined tenure as Military Observer, Chief Personnel Officer and Regional Commander in Angola.
The officer was instructor at Infantry School in Mhow and also at the prestigious Defence Services Staff College in Wellington. He has commanded a Battalion, Brigade, Division and Corps in the Western Sector.
His wife Zarina Hariz is actively involved in empowerment of women with special emphasis on education and health care.
His son is a commissioned officer in a mechanzsed infantry battalion and his daughter s a special educator, stated the release.