Command and Staff College,
Quetta, Pakistan

Lieutenant General Saeed uz Zafar (Retired)

b1 In an Institution like the C&SC Quetta, it is not the individuals who contribute. It is the other way round. The dynamism of the institution takes everyone along, and in fact each person ends up gaining from the overpowering culture of the place.

It is said that command is difficult. But I must confess that in my case as the Commandant, of the College it was the most enjoyable and fulfilling phase of my career. I had the cream of the Army and the sister services at my disposal. Hardcore professional officers dedicated to the fulfilment of their missions and a pristine selection of young students, full of energy and ideas, anxious to be guided and moulded into leaders of tomorrow. One always kept wondering whether their talents and potential could ever be utilised fully. While administering the College, the cardinal principle is that it has to be kept updated and most current, both academically and administratively, to brace the challenges of the future. Sports and recreational activities in the community have to be maintained as they are very much a part of the spirit of the College.

It has to live up to its international stature as the alma mater of the upcoming military leaders and staff officers. Before the start of each course, the College has to be re-invigorated in all these aspects, not only to serve its basic purpose, but also to act as a model for the trainees.

There is always a compulsion for positive change, which has to be accomplished without cutting across the grain of the prevalent culture in the College and the Pakistan Army. Staff College has its aura. Other training institutions do leave their imprint, but not nostalgia. I tried to accentuate this phenomenon.

First of all, I modified the syllabus to make it more practical from theoretical, more interesting and thought provoking and to rid it of repetitive and redundant aspects which the students normally cover during other courses. To enhance their vision and to broaden their horizon, over fifty guest speakers of diverse fields or specialized experiences were invited every year. I tried to add serenity and wholesomeness to the community life through social and recreational activities. The sports activities were upgraded and expanded. Organized family outings and the College festival were revived. The campus landscape was re-laid e.g. the College swimming pool was tiled with the addition of the filtration plant, the museum and parks redone; living accommodation renovated and reconstructed. The Officers’ Mess and the bachelors living were upgraded. Guest rooms of stature were constructed for the visiting dignitaries. The children's Iqra School was expanded and modernised and it became the most sought after institution at Quetta. Rare and historical books in the library were preserved through lamination. An achievement worth mentioning is the contributions made by the Al Nisa (Ladies) Club in the form of community welfare. Their Vocational and Adult Literacy Centre became a model in the Province, and innumerable women and children of the lower ranks benefited from it. A modern, self contained Medical and Dental facility was established with special incentives for family planning.

The Flag Hoisting and Lowering Ceremony by students from the allied countries has added fervour and colour to the College activities.

There were many challenges to face from the dearth and frequent turnover of the Directing Staff to the acute shortage of water. However, I am proud to say that I did not let the historical Cedar Tree wither or die.