Cadet College Petaro - Introduction & History

By Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui, 671/Latif

Cadet College Petaro is located around 20 miles from Hyderabad in District Jamshoro in the Province of Sindh, Pakistan. It is situated on the west bank of the River Indus on the road from Hyderabad to Dadu/Larkana/Quetta, and occupies an area of around 750 acres of land.


           Govt Cadet College Mirpurkhas, 1958         Cadet College Petaro (Main Admin Building) - 2004


The college was initially founded in August 1957 at Mirpurkhas, Sindh as a residential institution. It was established under the name of "Government Cadet College Mirpurkhas". The college came into being due to the vision and efforts of Mr. A.M. Nizamani, the then Director of Education of Hyderabad Region. It was in 1954 that during the Chief Ministership of Mr. Abdul Sattar Pirzada that the idea of establishing a cadet college in the region was first floated. During the following year 1955, Mr. M. Ayub Khuhro, Defence Minister of Pakistan finally sanctioned it, and the Government of Pakistan approved a non-recurring expenditure of two and a half million rupees for the year 1955-56 for the construction of a college for 300 cadets along with all its infrastructure.

The first batch of teachers joined the college on 25th of August 1957 at Mirpurkhas while the college building was still under preparation. These five teachers were Mr. Abdullah Khadim Hussain, Mr. Feroz Yusuf Khan, Mr. Aziz Ahmed Faruqui, Mr. Hasan Masud Zuberi, and Mr. Syed Zahoorul Hasan. While the government had advertised for the position of Principal of the college, Mr. Muhammad Hasnain was appointed as the In Charge (Acting) Principal on August 25, 1957 for the initial few months. He was soon succeeded by Col.(retd) J.H.H. Coombes on March 20, 1958.

The first batch of 30 students joined the college on 27th August 1957 in class VIII. This was a great day - the birth of an institution that has since produced thousands of students, many of whom have achieved a position of eminence in Pakistan and abroad.

In 1958, a new site was sought in order to build a permanent campus for the college. After an extensive search, the site was chosen at Petaro, a few miles up the river from Jamshoro. The construction of a purpose built campus began almost immediately. Mr. Habib-ur-Rehman, Minister of Education, laid the foundation stone of the college on 16th of January 1959. The initial cost of construction of the buildings of the college sanctioned by the government of West Pakistan was Rs. 2,700,000. The college finally moved to its new premises at Petaro in August 1959. At the time of the move, the River Indus was in flood, and Petaro was also submerged under its waters. The building in Mirpurkhas that originally housed Cadet College Petaro was given over to the Government College Mirpurkhas.

Campus, Facilities and Administration

The college is a residential institution for around 900 full-time students at present, providing education from Class 8 to Class 12 (Intermediate). At the time it was first constructed, it was designed to accommodate only 360 students in four houses (or hostels). The capacity was expanded to 570 with the construction of 2 more houses in the late 1960s. The number of students has grown gradually over the years since, and the capacity is now set at around 900.

The main body of students is admitted each year to Class 8. Until the academic year 1998-99, the college used to admit a small contingent of boys from the rural districts of Sindh to Class 7, to prepare them for competitive success with the new entry into Class 8. However, it was decided by the Board of Governors of the college to discontinue Class 7 from 1999 onwards. From the academic year 2011 onwards, Class 7 has been reintroduced again.  In addition, the college started an "O" Levels program as since 2011 in addition to the Matric/Intermediate curriculum under the BISE, Hyderabad.

The College is governed by an autonomous Board of Governors, headed by the Commander Karachi (COMKAR) of the Pakistan Navy as it Chairman. Since 1975, the Principal is a serving officer of the Pakistan Navy as well. In the early years from 1957-1970, all adjutants were captains from Pakistan Army. However, the Navy decided to appoint naval officers from 1970 onwards. These were lieutenants and lieutenant commanders. It was decided to reintroduce serving army officers once again since 2010, and officers of the rank of captain and major are now deputed to the college.

The first principal of the college was Col.(retd) J.H.H. Coombes who retired from the college in 1965. He was followed by Cdr.(retd) Firoz Shah, who remained at the helm of affairs at the college until 1972.

The campus is practically a small township with its own electricity, water supply, sewerage, security and other infrastructure. The College is controlled and patronised by the Pakistan Navy. Since 1975, the Principal posted was at least of the rank of a serving Captain of the Navy with vast and varied experience mainly concerned with the administration. Since 1998, the officer posted as Principal is now a Commodore. His tenure is normally for 3 years which can be extended. Likewise the Pakistan Navy provides an Adjutant of the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and other training staff like Chief Petty Officers, Petty Officers and Sailors for military training of the cadets. The College is staffed by 40-45 teachers (professors, assistant professors and lecturers) who have at least a Master's Degree. There are other officers like the Medical Officer, Administrative Officer, Bursar, Librarian and Office Superintendent. In addition, there are around 215 board employees and over 100 college employees of various categories who constitute the force that makes the operation of this residential institution possible.


A Petarian is expected to be a person of exemplary character, superior intelligence, extremely hardworking, ultimate piety, ultimate bravery and courage, honest, outspoken, creative, despising corruption, fighting oppression, seeking national unity. He is a soldier for national integrity and a builder of the nation. In front of the Quaid Hall in the main Administration Building, you will find two large wooden boards with the Code of Conduct of a Petarian. Please click on the link to view this code.

The college has established a position of great repute for itself in Pakistan. Without a doubt, it is considered to be one of the finest institutions in the country, providing quality education and an opportunity to develop a well-rounded personality. This is reflected in the very large number of Petarians who have excelled in almost every field of life within Pakistan and abroad. They attained positions of eminence in every walk of life - in the Armed Forces of Pakistan, in government services (Civil Services and elected offices), in Police services, in Industry, in Business & Trade, in Management, in Technology, in Medicine, in Educational Institutions, in Agriculture, in Journalism, in national Sports, in public service and in the Entertainment industry.

Other Related Articles about Petaro history: