His native Alwar State is located between Delhi
and Jaipur State. After the 1857 war, it is said
that the Mughal princes who survived hid in Alwar
State shortly after the war, and the British had
their spies there to catch them and summarily
Ashfaque Beg's great
grandfather joined the cavalry of Alwar State and
his grandfather followed in the steps of his
father to do the same. His father on the other
hand chose to study Urdu (which was the official
language of Jaipur State), and joined the
government of Jaipur. He died in June 1945 - two
years before Independence of Pakistan - while he
was still in service and at a position of na'ib
Soon after the
announcement of Independence on 14 August 1947,
Hindu-Muslim riots started and the chaos and
killings of Muslims were rampant particularly in
the states adjoining West Pakistan. Ashfaque Beg's
family was targeted by the Hindus from Mewat. With
the help of a Rajput woman and other Hindus of the
area, they gained temporary protection, and then
fled on foot to his maternal
grandfather's place in Jaipur - leaving at dawn
and arriving there late at 8pm the same day. Other
maternal relatives also gathered at the same
place, and finally the entire contingent of the
family clan left for Pakistan by train at the end
of August 1947. They arrived at Hyderabad and
stayed at the refugee camp near the railway
station. And then the entire clan moved
on to Shahdadpur.
Ashfaque Beg was
admitted to the Shahdadpur Municipal High School
where he got his early primary education. However,
the situation at Shahdadpur was not very conducive
for the education of the children. So the family
finally moved to Mirpurkhas in 1952-1953 where
they stayed with his brother in law who had also
moved to Pakistan. A year later in 1954, he joined
Mirpurkhas Govt High School in Class 5.
When Cadet College
Mirpurkhas moved to Petaro in 1959, the young
Ashfaque Beg also joined Cadet College Petaro that
year in 9th Class.
He excelled in studies at Petaro and
stood second in the Hyderabad Board during his
Intermediate Examinations in 1963 and was awarded
the Stick of Honour
in 1962-63. He was the Section Leader of Liaquat
House in 1960-1962 and JUO of
in his final year 1962-1963 at Petaro.
He was not much of a
sportsman and was a lot more into academics and
intellectual extra-curricular activities. He was
the founding President of the Code of Honour
Committee in 1962-1963, Editor in Chief of
Cadet Magazine in 1963 and Urdu Section Editor
of The Cadet Magazine in 1961-1962.
During 1961-1963, he
was the Captain of the College Quiz and Spelling
Bee teams that participated in the ISSST
tournament between the cadet colleges. He
was also the captain of Liaquat House Quiz and
Spelling Bee teams.
He was instrumental
in organizing a seminar on Basic Democracy in
1962, and also organizing and conducting an adult
literacy program at Petaro for teaching lower
staff and bearers.
He was also
appointed Sergeant and Chief Air Scout of the
Petaro contingent of the Shaheen Air Training
program during 1961-1963.
Soon after leaving Petaro in 1963, he was admitted
to Sindh University Engineering College (now known
as Mehran University of Engineering & Technology)
in the first batch and as the first student.
However, his elder brother (who had been
supporting him financially during his Petaro
years) was unable to continue supporting him for
his higher studies.
Therefore Mirza Ashfaque Beg very quietly applied
and joined the Pakistan Navy in 1964. He was
commissioned as an officer in 1967 in the
Engineering Branch after completing his Bachelor
of Engineering (Mechanical) from Karachi
University the same year. He was from the
second batch of Pakistan Navy Engineering College
During the 1965 war,
he was deployed at PAF Mauripur for the protection
of the hangars. He also participated in the 1971
During 1972-1973, he was sent on specialized
training to the Royal Naval Engineering College in
He also qualified from PN Staff College Course in
During his early service period, he was posted on
the PN ships Babur, Khaibar and Jahangir.
From 1977-1980, he
was posted as Staff Officer Ship Management at the
Naval Headquarters. The next three years 1980-1983
were spent at Kuwait where he was sent on
deputation to the Kuwait Naval Force, Ministry
of Defence. Upon return to Pakistan he was posted
as Training Commander Engineering at the PNS
Karsaz from 1983-1985.
During 1985-1986, he
served as Chief Engineer on board PNS Dacca (fuel
tanker), and then as Deputy Director and Director
for maintenance at NHQ from 1986-1990. From
1990-1993, he was appointed Chief Engineer of the
Naval Fleet Maintenance Group at Fleet HQ,
Karachi, and then as General Manager Ship Rebuild
and Construction at PN Dockyard from 1993-1994. He
was then promoted to the rank of Commodore and
Director, Ship Management in PNSC from 1994-1997.
During his last year of service (1997-1998), he
served as Director General, Inspection and
Technical Development. He retired from the Navy as
a commodore in 1998.
retirement, he worked with the Defence Authority,
Karachi as Director for setting up the
Desalination Plant and as Director Horticulture
from 2000-2004. Since then he has been leading a
retired life at Karachi.
Ashfaque Bhai was one of the earliest members of
the Petarian Association. He served the
association as its President twice - during
1990-92 and 1995-96. He served the Managing
Committee in different capacities as well during
other years. He his highly respected in Petarian
Cdre. Ashfaque Beg has been known to be a good writer.
He has written several articles on Petaro of the
early days and about Col. Coombes.
He has always been like an elder brother to me, and has
always showered his love on me and on all Petarians. His voice
is a voice of moderation and seeking to bring people together.
He is a thorough
gentleman and a man of principles and upright
character. I am honoured to have known him since
1998 when he walked into my office and introduced
himself. He has demonstrated time and again that
he is indeed our bhaijan.