He joined Government College, Lahore for further studies but he received call to join Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul before he could complete his studies. Sharif had an outstanding stay at the military academy and was given the prestigious ‘Sword of Honor’ on passing out. He was commissioned in Pakistan Army on 19th April, 1964 and was posted to 6th Battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment (FF).
Shabbir Sharif participated in the 1965 Indo-Pak war as a young Lieutenant. He led many successful assaults on Indian forces. During the war, he got injured and was admitted in the Military Hospital but he escaped to rejoin his unit. He was later awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat for his bravery.
In 1971, Pakistan Army decided to launch an offensive on the Western front to ease pressure on its forces fighting in the Eastern Front in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Sharif by then had rose to the rank of Major by then. Major Shabbir Sharif was ordered to capture and attack an important linking bridge called ‘Gurmakhera Bridge’.
Major Sharif and his troops carried out a successful assault despite of being outnumbered by Indian troops. In one of the fights with Indian troops, he engaged his counterpart Major Naryan Singh of 4 Jat in a man-to-man battle and was successful in killing him.
But in the process his right shoulder was badly burnt. Another offensive was launched by Indian Army to eliminate Major Sharif’s troops on 6th December, 1971. He kept leading his troops from the front despite of heaving injuries.
On the morning of 6th December, 1971 heaving shelling started from Indian tanks. One of the shells landed near Major Shabbir Sharif throwing him and other troops in air. He embraced martyrdom few seconds later after falling on ground. His lasts words were “don’t lose the bridge’.
Major Shabbir Sharif was buried in his hometown with full military honors. He was posthumously awarded ‘Nishan-e-Haider’. He is the only person who has been awarded both highest gallantry awards; Sitara-e-Jurat and Nishan-e-Haider which makes him the highest decorated soldier of Pakistan Armed Forces.