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College History

The Birth of the College-DEOLALI PERIOD (1905 – 1907)

The birth of the Staff College in British India was preceded by a long incubation period of thirty years, for it was in 1875 that a proposal was first floated to establish an institution in India similar to that at Camberley, UK, with the object of providing trained staff officers for the British Indian Army. The first proposal; however, failed to find enough support in the British War Office and the matter was shelved. Instead, the War Office sanctioned a scheme by which a small number of officers of the Indian Staff Corps were permitted to attend course at the Camberley Staff College.

But this small number proved insufficient for the British Indian Army. The College, however, owes its being to the arrival of Field Marshal Viscount Kitchener as Commander-in-Chief in India, whose reorganisation of the Army in India in 1902 created more staff appointments and revealed a dearth of trained staff officers. The former practice of sending six selected officers to the Camberley was obviously inadequate. Camberley was also not prepared to offer any increase in vacancies to the Army in India. Lord Kitchener’s recommendations to the Government had proposed a parallel institution in India. His suggestions were accepted by the Indian Government and the proposal to build a Staff College at Quetta was sanctioned finally along with an expenditure of Rupees 6, 33,440, in January 1905.

On 21 March, the same year, an Indian Army Order provided for temporary establishment of the Staff College at Deolali, near Bombay, pending completion of the building at Quetta. It was named the “Indian Staff College”. Initially, the College had a staff of one Colonel and five Lieutenant Colonels under Brigadier General A.W.L. Bayly for the first course of 24 officers which commenced on 1 July 1905. The College was to open in the building of Musketeer School at Deolali, which was eventually converted to provide three lecture halls, a library, College offices, a map department, a reproduction office and a photographic dark room through considerable alterations. No accommodation; however, could be arranged for the Commandant and the Professors. They had to hire civilian bungalows in the neighbourhood. Such was the state of infrastructure for first two years of the College.

The charter of the College was to train staff officers for the Indian Staff Corps. The same regulations, entrance examination syllabus and methods of training as those at Camberley were to be adopted. Students were selected for the courses partly by competitive examination and partly by nomination. Lord Kitchener also ordered that, as far as possible, staff appointments should be filled by the College graduates. In addition to training selected officers for staff appointments in the British Indian Army, the College was to provide them with the background required for higher command.

In 1905, the Staff Course was of two years duration divided into two divisions, the Junior and Senior Divisions; though of course, it was not until 1906 that the second division came into being. The War Office had laid that the syllabus for the Course should be similar to that of Camberley. In the curriculum, the subjects included Military History and Strategy, Geography,

Tactics, Military Engineering, Staff Duties, Administration, Economics and Law. The curriculum allowed time for polo, shooting and fishing, and there is no record of students burning the midnight oil for anything other than their own pleasure! Conclusion of the first year at College saw various modifications made to the curriculum in the light of experience gained to suit the Indian environment.

Evolution Of Command And Staff College (1907 – 1955)

Two years spent at Deolali, before shifting to Quetta, laid a solid academic, professional and traditional foundation of the College. It was on 1st June 1907 that the College was formally inaugurated by General Officer Commanding 4th Division (Quetta) whose personal interest had made establishment of the College at Quetta possible. The College Building was set in barren and stony surroundings which had to be transformed into green lawns through a lot of hard-work. The weather at Quetta forced setting of instructional year from 20th February to 20th December, a tradition which continued as such until 2008. 1909 saw the arrival of first allied students to the College in the shape of two Australian officers. Next year, an effort was started to beautify College surroundings including brass and bronze cannon pieces seen in its grounds today. In 1912, Major A. Skeen was taken as first Directing Staff from Graduates of the College. In 1914, mutual honourary Mess membership was extended to the graduates of Camberley and Staff College, Quetta. Meanwhile outbreak of World War I forced closure of the College on 15th September 1914.

After the war, the Staff College reopened in 1919 with short duration courses incorporating Air Force officers as well for the first time. 1920 Course is still remembered for its record of 60 decorations for 54 officers besides 15 of them making it up to the rank of General. Next year, first publication of the College magazine under the name of “Owl Pie” took place which was modified as “The Owl” following year. It is important to highlight that most of the study tours in that period were conducted abroad incorporating visits to various battlefields of the world.

 Another highlight of that time was close interaction between the College and Quetta Division incorporating field exercises and demonstrations. Two famous quotes describe environment of the College at that time: Sir Richard said, “The work was never allowed to interfere with the fun”, and Field Marshal Auckinleck said, “Quetta in those days was ahead of Camberley in the practical nature of its teaching, the greater realism of its exercises and its generally liberal and forward outlook”.1930 gave way to another healthy and important tradition of the College, the Pantomime, which continues to this day. These were the days when military technology was undergoing revolutionary changes with the introduction of armour and air power. 1933 was also important from the perspective that first Indian Officer, Captain Kodandera Madappa Cariappa graduated from the College, who later became Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army in 1949.

1935 proved to be the most disastrous year in the history of Quetta as a massive earthquake nearly wiped out the entire city. However, Staff College remained very fortunate as not a single building collapsed and damages to the building did not go beyond few cracks here and there. Nevertheless, College community did not hold back and took active part in the relief work. In 1936, work on new Officers’ Mess commenced as part of earthquake proof construction and was completed in 1939. The beginning of World War II forced shortening of two-years Course to six months initially and then three months only. The arrival of first two Officers who, later, were the part of Pakistan Army, namely Captain (later Brigadier) K. M. Idris and Captain (later Major General) Nazir Ahmed, gave a special significance to the July 1940 Course.

By 1947, the shortened courses gave way to one year Course with enhanced intake of 180 students. The College was reorganised into three divisions. The first Pakistani to serve on the faculty was Lieutenant Colonel (later Major General) Muhammad Iftikhar Khan, who was posted as Directing Staff in 1943. The shorter War Courses also saw some female students at the College for a brief period of time, though none out of them could return as Directing Staff. 1947, the year of Independence, necessitated the termination of the Course prematurely to allow for departure of Indian and British officers. The College resumed its proceedings on 7th July 1948 with a British Commandant and a mixed Faculty of Pakistani and British officers thus ensuring a smooth transition post-Independence. It was beginning of a glorious era in 43 years old history of the College. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah honoured the College with his visit on 14th June 1948 along with Miss Fatima Jinnah.

Another change during 1948 was the shifting of The Tactical School from Dehra Dun to Quetta as a wing of Staff College. The combined Institution got a new name i.e. Command and Staff College. However, this change did not last long and the College was redesignated as Staff College with move out of Tactical Wing. The College also retained its international and inter-services character in post partition period by welcoming students from Commonwealth countries and sister services. By 1955, the College was receiving students from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the United States, France, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. The College also retained Commonwealth tri-service exercise conducted in October every year at Karachi. During this part of post-Independence period, the College was honoured to have the two Prime Ministers of Pakistan, Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan and Mr. KhawajaNazim-ud-Din as guest speakers in conformity with the tradition of enriching knowledge of its students through interaction with learned personalities. Another distinction of the period was arrival of Major General Muhammad Ayub Khan as a student for 2nd time to participate in Senior Officers’ Course held in May 1950. This conduct of Senior Officers’ Course continued for next few years, as and when required. During this period, the College was also visited by some renowned personalities of international stature like His Imperial Majesty, Shehanshah of Iran, Raza Shah Pehalvi, King Faisal II of Iraq and Chief of Imperial General Staff, Field Marshal, Sir William Slim.

Appointment of Major General M.A. Latif Khan as first Pakistani Commandant in 1954 practically heralded another era in rich history of the College. On 1st July 1955, the College marked attainment of 50 years milestone with Golden Jubilee celebrations spanning over three days and involving extensive preparations by the staff and students. The event was attended by a large number of foreign dignitaries besides old graduates. The event was commemorated by placing a large silver model of the College Building at entrance of the Officers’ Mess.

March Towards a New Dawn (1956 – 1976)

This section of the book illustrates beginning of another period in the College history wherein it was shifted into New Building, a true reflection of the College aspirations for future. The tone for this change was set by change of emblem in 1956 as Pakistan became an Islamic Republic. The College transited towards its new attire with lot of hope, spirit and ambition to provide Pakistan with a trustworthy training institution for middle tier of officers’ leadership hierarchy. This period is also important from the viewpoint that Pakistan went into war with India twice i.e., 1965 and 1971, which afforded our Graduates an opportunity to bring laurels to themselves and the Alma Mater, and demonstrate excellence of training acquired at the College.

In 1957, the College was visited by a special United States Nuclear Warfare Team. This visit proved most useful and resulted in modification and revision of the old syllabus. In 1959, for the first time in the history of the College, there was a joint exercise with the Pakistan Air Force Staff College. This served as a forerunner for such exercises to be held every year, thereafter such interaction helped nurture a closer and warmer relationship between the sister services. Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Phillip visited the College on 5th February 1961 whereas Mr Tunku Abdul Rehman Putra, the Prime Minister of Malaya visited in October 1962. The Staff College had the privilege of receiving in 1963 Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck. He had been a student of this College and later a member of the Directing Staff. His visit and a few days stay at the College proved inspiring for everyone.

With the outbreak of 1965 war, the normal Staff Course was terminated earlier and students were awarded the ‘psc’. The staff moved to the war front and the College remained closed till it was reopened in April 1966 for three short courses of six months. The year 1968 saw the recommencement of regular, one-year Staff Courses. The intake too was increased to 120 students which included 16 officers from allied countries. Consequent to this increase in the intake, the Course was divided into A and B Divisions.

The morning of 26 March 1971 holds particular significance in the history of the College as a sombre demolition ceremony held in the College lawns bade farewell to the Old Building to give way to an earthquake proof modern Building. Dressed in ceremonial attire, the officers drew up in three ranks with a pipe band of the Punjab Regiment in the centre and paid homage to the Old Building. Each one of the assembled officers understood the law that the old must give way to the new, but all were also conscious of the fact that the silent building which faced them was the symbol of a bygone era in which men like Montgomery, Auchinleck, Slim and Ayub Khan walked its corridors. To the traditionalists, the College could never be the same again but to the more modernists it was imperative to stay abreast with contemporary environment. The oldest buildings, a reminiscent of our past, include the Main Mess building and 30 earthquake-proof concrete bungalows, presently occupied by the Directing Staff. In 1971 again, the call for the defence of the motherland interrupted the Staff Course. It was cut short by a few weeks and dispersed in early November. The usual post war change over to the short courses held good for 1972; however, this time only one short Staff Course was conducted.

Modern History Of Command And Staff Cllege (1976 to date)

The building project was conceived in right earnest in 1966 and planned in 1967. Consequently a competition was held at national level, inviting for the design of a suitable and modern earthquake-proof building. Out of a total of 32 entries, the design presented by Messrs Tajuddin M Bhamani and Company was declared the best and accepted by the General Headquarters Committee. In 1969 the firm was awarded the contract to prepare the documents, invite tenders and supervise the construction. Soon after, the engineers to be associated with the construction toured most of the staff colleges of the world to pick up ideas for the new building. The foundation stone of the New Building was laid in September 1972 by General Tikka Khan, the then COAS.

The New Building of the College was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, at 1630 hours on 7 April 1976. The elegant ceremony was attended by a large number of high ranking government functionaries and senior military officers. The event marked the commencement of a new era in the long and splendid history of this Institution.

The shifting of the College into New Building in 1976 set in motion a sequel of changes in various other spheres as well. These modifications had become essential in conformity with drive of modernization prevalent all around the globe. It is heartening to find that the College has been quick to respond to changes in curriculum warranted by transformations in operational roles of the army or trends in military thought in the world.

Sequel to change of the College Emblem in 1979, name of ‘The Owl’ – the College magazine was renamed as ‘The Review’ from 1979 issue onwards. The magazine provides a good pictorial round up of activities at the College. The professional publication of the College known as ‘The Citadel’ was first published in 1984 and provides a forum for expression of thoughts on doctrinal and conceptual issues. Publication of the Al Nisa Club known as ‘Al Nisa’ was first published in 1983 and has blossomed into a fine forum for expression of thoughts and ideas of the College ladies community.

1980 holds a special significance for the College as Platinum Jubilee was celebrated on 18th September. The College underwent a major uplift in this connection. New College Mosque was constructed in 1980 alongside uplift of polo ground to provide polo facility at Quetta. The concept of College Educational Television was also introduced this year which has flourished to a full fledged entertainment channel besides being a source of information and media support about activities of Al Nisa Club and curricular and co-curricular activities of the College. In 1989, a new building of Al Nisa was completed and inaugurated along with present day Medical Inspection Room. The Club with the new concept of its attractive refinement classes for Ladies has become a great attraction these days.

The Faculty of Research and Doctrinal Studies, commonly known as FORADS, was established in 1985 to identify and formulate goals for research and doctrinal evaluation. Famous operational war games ‘Sandstorm’ and ‘Ravi Blitz’ were added to the curriculum in 1986 and 1989, respectively.

The extension plan of College Building incorporating construction of present day new College Library and Student Officers Tea Lounge (Kurshid Lounge, earlier Safdar Lounge) was approved in 1983. However, the construction of Library Complex took a very long time and was ultimately inaugurated on 21st June 1993 by the Chief of Army Staff, General Abdul Waheed. The design of the new library is both modern and historical in character, symbolically injecting the concept of unity in the architectural theme.College Library has a fumigation chamber and a computer section for internet access to Higher Education Commission and National Defense University libraries.

The Commandant Major General Tanwir Husain Naqvi took personal interest and directed to form a board for analyzing / planning space management and recommending apt utilization of rooms being vacated after commissioning of new Library Complex. In January 1992 Library located at the present Faculity Conference Room on second floor, moved to the new Library Complex.

Interestingly, the Commandant’s present office was Directing Staff Tea Lounge until 1993 when Tea Lounge was made available. It was in the same year that introduction of early morning recitation of Quranic verses along with English translation on Educational Television Network was made which is still a regular feature of beginning of each academic day. The Flag Hoisting Ceremony of Allied Countries was also introduced that year.

In consonance with norms of the educational systems around the world, Staff College undertook a massive computer based learning drive in 2001 and implemented a near paper-free environment. This system has been transformed by development of new College Application in 2011 which is based on thin client laptops for enhanced security of networking based computer environment. In 2003, the College started conferring Maste’s of Science Degree in ‘Art and Science of Warfare’ to the Graduates.

The year 2005 held a special significance for the College due to centennial celebrations on completion of hundred years of establishment of the College. This remarkable feat was celebrated by commemorative projects like construction of Centenary Monument to replicate old College Clock Tower, one time Centenary Medal for Directing Staff and students, commemorative postage stamp by Pakistan Postal Services, publication of numerous commemorative documents including College History Book and construction of new College entrance.

In 2008, a historic change in schedule of the Staff Course took place in conformity with a drive of other changes at Army level introduced by Military Secretary Branch. Consequently, the Course began in July and terminated in June next year, though it began with a six months delay. The same year, a new block was added to the main Building to create enough syndicate rooms and offices due to the increased intake.

In year 2010-11, the College underwent some major construction, renovation and uplifting projects. These included the renovation of the Main Building, uplifting of the Directing Staff accommodation, construction of students and Allied Officers’ accommodation and uplifting of Javed Sultan Park as well as construction of a Coffee Shop and Pizza Point within its premises.

The process of progress carried through year 2012-13 with visible additions in and around College Building. Javed Sultan Park was further uplifted and converted to an amusement-cum-theme Park.

Within College Building, major improvement work was carried out in CSW (Computer Support Wing) which, in view of its enhanced scope, from provisioning / repair of computers to ‘Information Technology Services’, was renamed as ITW (Information Technology Wing) in Nov 2013. Complete College networking was upgraded after 2001.

The greatest evolutionary process was seen by the Exam Cell which was raised on 11 January 2011 as an entity to implement the new MCQ based SCEE/ Regime.

The years 2015 and 2016 have also seen phenomenal improvement in the academic and optical spheres of the College aiming at the enhancement of all-inclusive teaching-learning environment and betterment of community life at the College.

During last year construction of Ashfaq Kayani Auditorium (AKA) was completed which can accommodate 1100 students.

New building of Alnisa Club is aslo nearing completion. Current construction has been completely revamped in the light of future requirements of the Army.