Command and Staff College,
Quetta, Pakistan

Emblem and Motto

b1The emblem of the College was the ‘Owl’, perched on crossed swords. According to legend, Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, always carried an owl on her arm, and was said to have received her knowledge from the wise old bird. The Owl as the emblem was, therefore, symbolic of learning and wisdom. Since the Staff College was concerned with inculcating professional wisdom in the students, the owl was considered, at the time of its inception, to be the most appropriate symbol for the College in line with the sister colleges of the British Commonwealth. The swords were the emblem of Mars, the Greek god of war. The ‘Owl’ and the ‘Swords’ combined thus depicted the character of this Institution; the seat of military knowledge and wisdom.

The motto inscribed on the scroll was “TAM MARTE QUAM MINERVA”, which means, “As much by the pen as the sword”. The same emblem was retained till 1950.


The emblem was changed in 1950 when the Latin motto 'By the pen as much as by the sword' was replaced with the Persian "PIR SHO BEYAMOZ, SAADI" which means, "Grow old learning, Saadi", by the famous Persian thinker and poet Saadi, who was born in Shiraz in 1184 A.D. and led a wandering life in quest of knowledge till his dying day in 1292 A.D.


In 1956, when Pakistan became a Republic, the crown from the Emblem was removed.

Finally, on 4 July 1979, the College bade farewell to the Owl after 74 years of its academic reign. The momentum necessary for the change of the emblem was initially provided by a member of the faculty, Lieutenant Colonel (later Lieutenant General) Syed Tanwir Husain Naqvi, in 1977. Main reason for the change has been the objections of a large majority to the Owl being the inspirational symbol of the College in contrast with our national, inspirational and cultural aspirations. The Owl was replaced with much more significant and potent epithet, "IQRA", which symbolises the first word of Command of the Almighty to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and, through him, to all mankind "IQRA BE ISME RABBEK ALLAZI KHALAQ" (Read in the name of thy Lord Who createth). It implies constant quest for multi-dimensional knowledge, application and effort.

b1 The College is proud that a member of the staff, Lieutenant Colonel Anwar Muniruddin, Punjab Regiment, had the privilege of designing the new crest. The centre piece of "IQRA" stands emblazoned on a gold and silver base which symbolizes molten earth in a perpetual state of evolutionary flux. Molten earth has been shown golden in the centre and of light silvery tinge at circumference, since a person of genuine scholarship and enlightenment ought to glow and serve as a beacon for others. The cross swords of the emblem are the traditional symbol of Pakistan Army. A scroll runs through the swords on which are inscribed the Persian words "PIR SHO BEYAMOZ, SAADI".

Grey and Maroon are twin colours of the College since its inception in 1905. Grey, the predominant colour of flags in the wars and tribal flag of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) symbolises a struggle for a just cause. Grey, a balanced mix of black and white, perfectly represents the essence of Islam i.e. balance and equality. Grey colour has also been universally associated with learning and wisdom; hence the term 'grey-coats' became popular for students of well-known schools in Europe. Grey colour also means experience (especially if it appears in the hair) which links to students of Staff Courses attaining priceless experience in the art of warfare here. Maroon colour symbolizes the material heritage and traditions of the region in which the Staff College is located i.e. Balochistan, the land of the warriors and horsemen. For centuries, the arid plains and mountains of this region have provided the canvas upon which countless tales of heroism and honour were written. The brave tribesmen would die willingly to preserve the honour of their tribe. Their bodies would be bathed in their own blood, which would dry up and take on the maroon hue.