Command and Staff College,
Quetta, Pakistan

History Command and Staff College, Quetta


b1Two 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.b1 But this closure did not linger for long, as on 11th May 1915, the College premises was used to establish Cadet College, Quetta, the British Indian equivalent of Sandhurst. A couple of rolls of honour in College corridors commemorate memories of this Cadet College.

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.b1 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. b1

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.b1 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.

b1Another 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.

b1Appointment 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.