At a time when the proliferation of information has led to a deluge of fake news, the responsibility of mainstream media and writers/journalists to step forward and amplify the truth is that much enhanced. And one of the most important facts that risk being drowned in the ongoing political noise storm is the achievements and contributions of the Pakistani armed forces, especially its commander in chief; to peace, security and prosperity in this country. It’s easily forgotten that when Gen Bajwa was made chief of army staff, the security forces were just winding up their Operation Zarb e Azb, which smashed the terrorist network and sleeper cells up and down the country. Gen Bajwa then oversaw the transition to intelligence-based operations (IBOs) all over the country to hunt down and eliminate remnants of terror outfits that had scattered all along and planned to proceed with another round of insurgency. No sooner had the general wiped the country of the most potent terrorist threat, did it start suffering financial troubles, particularly economic isolation. And when successive administrations were falling all over themselves, and each other, in trying to secure and/or stay in power, it was Gen Bajwa whose visits to important countries, from Gulf allies like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, etc, to our more transactional friends like the US, broke the ice each time and secured life-saving loans and grants, even promises of direct investment. His success on each front is a testament to the high standards of the Pakistani army. It was his efforts that led to Pakistan’s gradual removal from the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), finally making it easier to float sovereign bonds and secure loans in the international debt market. It was the commander of the armed forces that blunted India’s designs to have Pakistan demoted even further into the blacklist. Had that happened, the IMF program would have been cancelled, the markets would have collapsed, and the country would have been downgraded and surely defaulted on its debt by now. Every Pakistani who would have had to suffer economic hardships because of it owes Gen Bajwa a debt of gratitude for working tirelessly, above and beyond the call of duty, for the country we love and he swore to serve. Then, when the Covid pandemic came and paralysed the world, Pakistan stood out as the country that came out of lockdowns ahead of almost all other countries because of the way Gen Bajwa marshalled the resources of the Pakistani military. Other countries with similar growth and debt profiles suffered a lot longer only because they did not have the kind of leadership that could have guided them through the darkest part of it. Most of them have still not recovered. Lately, when the worst floods in the world hit Pakistan earlier this year, he was already at the front, making sure the military would minimise the damage as much as humanly possible. He made sure that the army worked day and night, even in ten feet of stagnant water, to carry out relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction work. In between these crises, he was also shuttling from country to country to argue Pakistan’s case. It was his efforts that got the reluctant Saudi leadership to revive its loan and oil facility to Pakistan, and later to roll it over for three more years; just like it was his effort that made the Emiratis make a similar revision of their earlier refusal to the political leadership. It was he that convinced the Chinese that he was personally monitoring a revival of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) activity, which was beginning to disappoint Beijing. And it was this thaw that led to crucial financial aid from China as well, including the currency swap arrangement which will enable non-dollar bilateral trade. His success on each front is a testament to the high standards of the Pakistani army and even further proof that to get to its top you have to outperform the very best in the business. Under his command, Pakistani military forces continued their dominating performances in drills and war games across the world. His achievements are simply too many to be contained in one newspaper article. But for the most obvious ones, the nation salutes him. Following are just some highlights. In June 2022, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman awarded him the King Abdul Aziz medal. In October 2019, Jordan’s King Abdullah awarded him the order of military medal. The Chinese defence minister acknowledged and appreciated is efforts for regional peace and the provision of security for CPEC projects. His efforts in the Reko Diq case saved the country $11 billion. His efforts made Pakistan exit the FATF grey list in 2022. Our war against a terrorist insurgency was won under his command. To keep the peace between Pakistan and Afghanistan the 2,600km border fence was completed during his tenure. On top of all this, he has also been a general that leads from the front. He was always among ‘his men’, on the ground, visiting one formation after another to make sure their morale remained elevated. That army rank and file, in turn, showered him with fierce loyalty, following his commands to the end and putting the country’s interests ahead of their own. As he makes his last bow, it is the responsibility of the media to lead the nation in saluting this great son of the soil. He has quietly put his head down and served this great country. He has had to face tough and sometimes vile headwinds, created by the self-serving and timid, yet he has faced all onslaughts gracefully and triumphed each and every time. And such is the standard of the Pak army that you can be sure that he will be replaced by one just as worthy of the charge and just as eager to serve Pakistan and its people. People like Gen Bajwa remind us why this land is so great and how the Pak army is central to holding it together. The writer is an old Aitchisonian who believes in freedom of expression, a freelance columnist, entrepreneur and social activist.