Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has congratulated Julian Moazzam James, a Pakistan Army officer belonging to the Christian community, on his promotion to the rank of major general.

The prime minister expressed his good wishes to Major General James for his future, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a press release on Sunday.

“Major General James’s professional capabilities and his hard work and passion had been a beacon of guidance for the young generation,” he added.

The prime minister further said that the contributions of the Christian community to the progress, prosperity and defence of the country were unforgettable.

Mushahid Hussain Sayed, a former senator and head of Pakistan-China Institute and Pakistan-Africa Institute for Development & Research, lauded James for becoming the first non-Muslim in the military’s Special Services Group to attain the rank of a two-star general.

“Matter of pride that Pakistan Army has inclusive approach of merit-based promotions … Equality of opportunity for All Pakistanis, irrespective of caste, creed or religion!”

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman echoed the same thought, saying that inclusion and merit should be “paramount in all vertical mobility”.

Last month, Dr Helen Mary Roberts was promoted to the rank of brigadier in the Pakistan Army Medical Corps, making her the first female brigadier to hail from the country’s Christian community.

The Inter Services Public Relations had said that Robert was “another living example of merit and national representation” in the Pakistan Army.

In September 2023, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Asim Munir had commended the Christian community’s contributions to Pakistan’s national development and praised their “outstanding” role in defending the motherland.

The army chief had made the remarks during a meeting with President Bishops (Church of Pakistan and Bishop of Raiwind) along with a 13-member delegation of the Christian Community who called on him at the General Headquarters.

The meeting came a month after a violent mob of hundreds ransacked and torched nearly two dozen churches, attacked the residences of members of the Christian community and the office of the local assistant commissioner in Jaranwala, sparking nationwide outrage and condemnation.

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