The president, also the supreme commander of the armed forces, was conspicuously absent from the Namaz-i-Janaza of a serving major general and Peshawar corps commander's son who was martyred in the unfortunate and most tragic Parade Lane mosque terrorist attack. This event, held in the highly fortified Chaklala Garrison was, however, attended by the PM. It would have been most befitting for the supreme commander to be present to show solidarity with the grieving families. A few days later he did, however, visit the CMH to inquire about the health of those injured in this tragedy. While security concerns for the VVIPs including the head of state in such a situation are justified, the same should not deter the presence of the top most civilian leadership to stand shoulder to shoulder with the sufferers in their hour of trial. However, it is pertinent to mention that ensuring the VVIP's safety during such events, which are held in high security military compounds, remains the prime responsibility of the military and security agencies. The relationship between the armed forces and their supreme commander is traditional as well as sacred in the best and most difficult of times. For instance, all the three services chiefs make a courtesy call on the presidency to extend Eid Greetings to their supreme commander. Then On March 23 every year, after reviewing the Joint Services parade, it is customary for the president to attend the Bara Khana with the participating troops. Undoubtedly, the Guard Battalion at the presidency will give their lives to protect their supreme commander. On many occasions in the past have we witnessed the US president and the British PM paying short visits to their troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially on Christmas. Frequent visits by the US congressmen and senators, both Republican and Democrats, to these war ravaged countries aim to get first hand information of the state of the troops and their morale in battlefield conditions. The primary aim of such visits remains to convey the gratitude and support of the country's leadership and the nation. As for Pakistan, our top national leadership has yet to visit the troops fighting the militants in South Waziristan. Such visits by the supreme commander, the PM and CMs, duly staggered catering for security implications, would not only serve to acknowledge and honour the sacrifices of the gallant officers and men fighting the anti-Pakistan forces, but also boost the jawans spirit and determination. Being amongst officers over a cup of tea would indeed win the hearts of those, always willing to lay down their lives for the country. More so, it would reflect cohesion and trust between the armed forces and the country's political leadership with an expression of national unity and resolve to fight militancy. If security considerations prevent such a visit, perhaps the supreme commander may opt to visit the well-guarded PAF base to laud the efforts of the pilots for their grand service to the nation during operations Rah-i-Rast and Rah-i-Nijat. It is no secret that the intensive PAF precision air strikes in support of the army's ground offensives were instrumental in the destruction of the well-established command, control and communication network of the militants in these areas. For the troops in the battlefield it is always a great morale booster to find their commander in their midst. In line with his professional duties, General Kayani has been extremely particular in regularly visiting troops in Swat and Waziristan. Moreover, the impact of such visits became significant when the COAS pinned gallantry medals on the soldiers' chests in the battlefield. One can imagine a soldier's delight if the supreme commander were to perform the same honours. The air chief has also displayed a remarkable moral support to the troops fighting in Swat and Waziristan. He visited Mingora along with the COAS after this town was regained from the militants control earlier this year. Recently, he accompanied the COAS to meet the troops in South Waziristan. General Kayani, too, visited PAF base to pay tributes to the personnel taking part in the air offensive in Swat and Waziristan. Most impressive were the heliborne visits by girls and boys of schools and colleges on Eid-ul-Azha to meet troops deployed on remote hilltops. While the presentation of gifts to the combat soldiers was purely symbolic, this sweet and loving gesture by the young students surely was a moving sight and displayed the affection of the nation for their men in arms. At a recent national security session of the Pakistan National Forum in Lahore, the participants including many senior retired officers of the three services, too, called upon the country's leadership to visit the war zone to express solidarity with the troops. How would the nation rate those handful of 'prominent and elite' Pakistanis who found it befitting to enjoy the musical and merrymaking night at the Indian high commissioner's residence on the day when the nation mourned the tragic loss of its brave civilians, military men and their families in the Parade Lane, Moon Market and Multan Cantt terrorist attacks. If only these fun loving few had declined the invitation like many other invitees to show respect for the victims and their families. Leadership is all about facing risks and rendering sacrifices. BB Shaheed knew the threats and dangers to her life. Yet, like a truly great and courageous leader of her people, she boldly ventured and died in their midst with her boots on. Pakistan is in a state of war. No sacrifice is too great when it comes to defending the nation's integrity. Swat was won with the blood of our finest young officers and men and the prayers of the countrymen. Similar stories of valour and courage emanate from South Waziristan, too, as the army continues to offer sacrifices in the defence of the motherland. Will our leadership show a greater heart and courage to honour their brave? The writer is a retired brigadier Email: fhkhan54@gmail.com