Syed Hassan Haider Rizvi, 894/Iqbal


Flt.Lt. Syed Hassan Haider Rizvi

By Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui, 671/Latif

Syed Hassan Haider Rizvi, kit no. 894/Iqbal House joined Cadet College Petaro in 1967 in 8th Class and left the college in 1972 after completing his Intermediate.

He was born on 10 September 1954, and died in an air crash at PAF Mauripur Base at Karachi in August 1979. 

Hassan Haider is one of the celebrated ex-cadets of Petaro. He is remembered with great fondness by his colleagues and teachers. He had an illustrious performance during his stay at Petaro.

He was awarded the Badge of Honour in for the year 1969-70 for all rounded performance in his Matric year and the Stick of Honour for the year 1971-1972 for all rounded performance in his Inter years. During his last year at Petaro, he was given the highest honour by being appointed the Senior Under Officer (SUO) of the college.

He excelled in his academic career and stood third in the entire Board in Intermediate examinations (pre-engineering). At the same time, he excelled in sports as well. He was a fast attack bowler (left handed) in the College Cricket Team from 1969-1972 and the Iqbal House Cricket Team from 1968-1972.

In other activities, he was the President of Numismatic Club in 1967-68 and the President of Urdu Debating Club in 1969-70. He was into debating, quiz competitions and drama as well in which he excelled.

He used to be very regular in his namaz and was extremely well liked by both his seniors and juniors.

After leaving Petaro in 1972, Hassan Haider chose to join the Pakistan Air Force as a GD Pilot. He was commissioned in the PAF in the 59th GD(P) in 1973 and was awarded the Sword of Honour from PAF Academy Risalpur upon graduation.

Hassan Haider was based at PAF Mauripur with No.17 Squadron in 1979 where he was flying F-6 fighter planes. It was during a test mission that his plane crashed in August that year while he was trying to bring his aircraft back to the base. His death a great loss to PAF and Pakistan

May Allah grant jannah to Flt.Lt. Syed Hassan Haider Rizvi.



My Recollections of Hassan Haider Rizvi

By Syed Shabieh Haider Zaidi, 7102/Liaquat

My recollection of Hassan Haider Rizvi is more mythical than factual. To me, he represented something loftier than achievable. He was a textbook example of what a youth ought to be – intelligent, athletic, charismatic, amiable, respectful, responsible, spiritual and accomplished. In 1971 he was the SUO when I joined as a plebe.

Unbeknown to me, my father had written to him (as also to Bhatti Sab, Commander Feroz Shah and the Adjutant) asking that he keep an eye on me and guide me through the first year…So it was quite a shock when after the morning assembly he called my name and asked me to stay back. After all dispersed, he asked me if my father knew him; to which I replied that I did not believe he did. For some odd reason he decided then to take me under his wings.

It was through him that I learnt the art of public speaking and developed the ability to debate and discuss issues. From my very first speech made when I could actually feel my legs shake and mouth go dry, to just last month when I made a presentation on Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he has always been the source that keeps pumping adrenaline when I speak!

My interactions with him were few and most were limited to preparation for some debate or declamation; all through my first year at Petaro I looked up at him, never for once considering him a friend or mentor, but seeing him more as a demigod! One month before his death, I met him at a restaurant and simply went over to his table and began babbling, not realizing he was not alone…He greeted me and then introduced me to the girl who was with him. He then asked me to meet him later that evening, because there was something he wanted to ask me – I did. He told me he wanted to marry that girl and we talked. For the first time I found out that he considered me not only a friend but perhaps a sibling or even a peer! We talked late into the night and I left thinking what a good couple they made…a month later he died.

I am not sure of the year but it was perhaps 1981 when I was sitting at his grave in deep reflection. I suddenly became aware of the presence of someone else; it was a couple who were offering fateha. I stood up and was about to leave when the lady stopped me and asked if I remembered her; I did not. She said she remembered me to be the person Hassan spoke of often and said she met me at a restaurant before his crash…she introduced me to her husband, who seemed to share our love for the man beneath the earth…such is life!