(2000-2007) - and First Petarian to become a Principal of CCP
Cdre. M. Abid Saleem -
Muhammad Abid Saleem
By Kazi Zulkader
Siddiqui, Kit no. 671, Latif
Cdre. Muhammad Abid Saleem, SI(M), kit no. 589//Latif House, joined
Cadet College Petaro in Class 8th in 1964 and passed out in 1969 after
completing his Intermediate.
He was the eleventh principal/commandant
of Cadet College Petaro. He remained in that position from 2000 to
2007. He also had the honour of being the first Petarian to
ever become the Principal of the college which was
also his alma mater.
He was born on
11 May 1951 and was married to Mrs. Rahila on 25
March 1980. They have 3 children - Haseeb, Moughis
Although I do have autographs of many of my other batch mates,
I have chosen to write about Abid
Saleem’s autograph with this collection of
autographs of teachers solely for the reason that he
finally rose up to the rank of Principal of Cadet College
Petaro - more than a generation later. Abid is my teacher in
some ways too (I do learn from every person), but I can safely
say that there have been times when I was his teacher as well.
joined Petaro in 1965 in Class 9, and Abid was the House
Prefect from our class. Over the next four years, we became
the best of friends, and alhamdu-lillah this
relationship continues to grow stronger.
from a humble background, Abid has built a career for himself
solely through his hard work. He is a man of high principles,
and this has been his hallmark throughout his life as I have
witnessed it. After leaving Petaro, he joined the Navy and
rose up through the ranks to eventually become a commodore.
This was the feather in his cap.
our days at Petaro, Abid was a star. He excelled in sports and
became the College Football Captain. In athletics, no one
could beat him at 400m, 800m and 1500m races.
Abid is the only other cadet to have been honoured by being a
member of the Famous Forties of 1966, 1967 and 1968.
Class, Abid, Raza Kamal (584), and
Khalid Jamil “Luddoo” (509)
were my room mates. We lived in the Latif House portion of “Sheesh
Mahal”. That was the hottest room in the college, acting
like a proper greenhouse. Sometimes we wondered if it was a
reward or a punishment to live there. But I guess others used
to envy us for having been given the honour since it was the
grandest room, with the best view over the grassy field.
we were in 12th Class, Abid was rightly chosen to
be the JUO of Latif House. And Abid,
Raza Kamal and I were the
room mates, living in the JUO room across from the Radio Room.
did prove his leadership qualities over the years throughout
his career and this last assignment as the Principal of CCP is
the crown in his cap. During these past 7 years, he has proven
his mettle. Being the first Petarian to become the Principal,
he has brought an understanding and love into the job which no
previous principal could.
these 7 years, there has been a major change in the college.
Not only have there been several infrastructure development
projects like the Squash Court, new mosque, Drinking Water
plant, houses of staff, etc, but his greatest achievement is
the security he brought to the college by getting legal
possession over the nearly 750 acres of land and building a
boundary wall around it. This also eliminated many of the
problems that emanated from outside elements and instilled
stronger discipline amongst the cadets.
also ensured that the flow of cadets to the Pakistan armed
forces resumed with full force. During the previous periods,
it had almost come down to a trickle.
Abid Saleem’s own handwriting and signature
main yahi apni dua hai har subh,
Rahein sar sabz
shajar phoolnay phalnay walay - Aatish”
Signed Abid Saleem
14th July, 1969
when I reflect on Abid’s autograph, I feel that maybe he was
examining his own ambitions in life. After all when you pray
for someone who is dear to you, the prayer does come back to
you. And Allah has honored Abid accordingly.
Indeed, it is our prayers that through our efforts may Allah
grant our college and our nation growth and productivity which
will make us into the best. And may Allah keep on honouring
Abid by taking him to even greater heights in this world and
My Father - the First Petarian Principal
Haseeb Abid, Kit no.
When I was asked
to write an essay about my father, Commodore Muhammad Abid
Saleem SI(M) ONM(Fr), focusing on his achievements and
personality, I thought it would be a very easy task. But as I
sat down to write, I found myself lost in words. There is so
much I would like to share with the Petarian community that it
is difficult to condense all my thoughts into a few pages.
Ever since I came
of age and started to appreciate my father’s presence, I have
a pretty good track record of his postings, his friends, his
achievements, and good and bad times. But when I sit down to
pen those down, I find that in reality I know very little
about his life before his marriage. Anyways, I will try to
share with you all what little I do know.
My father was
born on the 11th of May, 1951, somewhere in District Sargodha,
to Chaudhry Noor M. Khan Saleem (late) and Naimat Begum. He
was the third of six siblings. His early education was at
Faisalabad, the city where he originally hailed from. In my
conversations with him, I know for a fact that he had always
been interested in joining the Army. I once asked him as to
what took him to Petaro. He told me that someone from his
village Jehangir Kallan showed him an ad in the newspaper
about interviews being held in Lahore for the new entry in
Cadet College Petaro. He was under the impression that if he
got admission into Petaro, he would automatically be granted
commission in the Army as an officer. It was only after
reaching Petaro when he found out that the path to the Army
was not guaranteed. Petaro produces good citizens and that is
So it was with
this misconception in his mind, he asked his father’s
permission to sit for the Petaro entrance exam and interview
at Lahore, who initially refused him, simply because Petaro
was so far away from Faisalabad. But upon my father’s repeated
requests, my grandfather finally agreed. He also said to my
grandmother that “He’s just a kid who wants to go to Lahore……
Let him go………. It is not that he’s going get admission
anyways……… He’ll be back in a few days”. As fate would have
it, he succeeded and was on his way to Petaro.
The young Abid
Saleem joined Cadet College Petaro in 1964. This is the part
of his life that he calls the ‘Golden Years’. Whenever, he
achieved something, he would always remind me that this would
not have been possible had he not been for Petaro. I have
heard fairy tale like stories about his five-year stay at
Petaro. Some from him, while others I found out after becoming
a cadet, myself.
When I was
growing up he used to talk a lot about his friends from
Petaro, especially his roommates Kazi Zulkader uncle and
Zubair uncle. He had always been very close to Dr Kamal
Qureshi as well. Then there was TJ Uncle (Captain T J
Siddiqui), and he always talked very highly of
and Brig Arshad Zaman. His entry mate ‘Muneeb’, who achieved
‘Shahadat’ in 1971 held a very special place in his heart. I
remember that, one of the first things he did after becoming
Commandant CCP was to have Lieut. Muneeb shaheed’s name
engraved on the plaque reserved for ‘Shuhada’. My
father used to tell me stories of his friend “Tarzan”
(probably the best footballer in the history of Petaro), and
as to how the goalkeeper used to be scared of him; and how he
could tear the net with one kick.
Many of the
senior Petarians, especially the class of 64, are better aware
of my father’s days in Cadet College Petaro. But I will
highlight a few achievements of his at Petaro. He had always
been very good in athletics and especially football. He joined
the college football team in 9th class, if I am not wrong, and
eventually became the college team captain. He was given the
Badge of Honour in 10th class and at the end of his stay in
Petaro he was Junior Under Officer of Latif Division. When I
joined Petaro, I was overcome by seeing his name splashed all
over the outer walls of Quaid Hall. My awe and respect for his
achievements increased many fold.
After passing out
of Petaro, my father applied for commission. Upon the advice
of one of his father’s friends, he opted to join Pakistan Navy
instead of the Army which he had dreamed of as a teenager. I
have always known my father to love the Navy. He is very
passionate about the service. His career in the Navy has taken
him across the globe and also to the remotest regions of
Pakistan. My father got to see action on board PNS Babur, soon
after getting commission in 1971. Had East Pakistan not been
lost, he was next in line to be posted to Chittagong. That
never realized. Subsequently, there was a string of postings
on board destroyers, frigates and the famous Tug of Pakistan
Navy, PNS Madadgar. It was on board Madadgar that he got to
sail from Shanghai, China to Toulon, France. He would never
tire of telling stories about his sea experiences. One often
hears from others that sea life gets to be very monotonous.
But my dad never seemed to get bored from it. He truly loves
the white uniform and as far as I know him, he will never take
it off until the Navy bids him “goodbye”.
Cdre. Abid Saleem
was one of the lucky ones in the Navy. He got the opportunity
to sail on several cruises on board the naval vessels. He did
his PWO course in 1978 from UK. In 1985 he proceeded to USA
for an Intelligence Course. In 1988 he again proceeded to UK,
this time for his Staff Course, after topping in his class. In
1993, he proceeded to UK, a third time, for the acquisition of
PNS Babur as captain. In 1997, he was appointed as Army and
Naval Attaché in Paris, France. It is rather uncanny that his
promotions took place when he was posted abroad. He was
promoted to “Commander” in 1988 when he was in UK doing his
staff course. He was promoted to “Captain”, when he was in UK
for acquisition of PNS Babur and he was promoted to
“Commodore” in 2000 when he was Army and Naval Attaché in
Paris. It was his sheer hard work, dedication to duty and
blessings of Almighty Allah that he got to proceed abroad so
My father did
three tenures at the Naval Headquarters in Islamabad. He was
first posted there as a Lt Cdr in the Protocol Department,
then as Commander he was appointed as Assistant Director Naval
Intelligence and as Captain he was appointed Director Projects
Ships. His on sea command include that of a submarine chaser
PNS Baluchistan, a frigate PNS Aslat and a destroyer PNS Babur.
While commanding Baluchistan and Aslat, his ships won the
Annual Fleet Efficiency awards; whereas on Babur, he finished
second after a nail biting and thrilling competition.
his tenure as Army and Naval Attaché in Paris France he
proceeded to command his alma mater, Cadet College Petaro in
October of 2000. What a stroke of fate indeed! It is rare that
a person would actually come to the pinnacle of the same
institution that nurtured him. Cdre. Abid owes everything he
has to Petaro and he is ever grateful to this institution.
in Petaro as Commandant and Principal speaks for itself. The
college land had never been secured. It was his sheer efforts
and uphill battles against all odds that officially allotted
over 700 acres of land to the college. Only time will tell as
to how important this is for our progeny. It has safeguarded
the college for all times to come.
In addition to
this, the discipline, the academics, sports and all areas have
improved massively. Various improvements in infrastructure
have taken place like the construction of the
Court by his batch mates, improvement of roads network,
potable filtered water for all residents of Petaro, housing
for lower employees, etc.
In recognition of
my father’s services he has been awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz
(Military) by the President of Pakistan. He also has the
distinct honour of being awarded “Order National du Merit of
France” by the French President in recognition of his services
as Army and Naval Attaché in Paris, France.
professional life, I have always found him to be very kind,
gentle and a very simple and down-to-earth person. He is a
very caring and a loving husband to my mom, Rahila, and a
great father to me, my brother Mughees and sister Merium. I
have always looked up to him for advice, sometimes by asking
and most of the times by just simply observing him. He gets
full marks for bringing up such a wonderful family like ours.
We got the best from him.
Sometime ago I was had to go for
a job interview. The interviewer asked me “Who do I look up to
in life?” I said, without a moment’s hesitation “My Father”.
She asked me again “Anybody besides him?” I said “No, just
Golden Jubilee Thoughts
Muhammad Abid Saleem SI(M), Principal, Cadet College Petaro
February, 2007 at the Golden Jubilee of CCP
I just cannot express my true exhilaration
at the fact that the honourable President of Pakistan has
chosen to be amongst us on this unique occasion of the Golden
Jubilee of Cadet College Petaro. I would like to thank him on
behalf of the management of this college and on behalf of all
the cadets and all Petarians for this noble gesture. This will
be a day for us to remember and will go down in the history of
this institution as another key turning point.
Gentlemen, we have turned fifty. Happy
Fiftieth Birthday to us - that is, to this great college, to
all staff members, to all cadets, and all ex-cadets. We are
the GOLDEN PETARIANS finally.
This has been a long march for us - through
every season and through the rough and difficult times too.
This college was built in 1957 at Mirpurkhas and then moved to
this location in 1959 when the initial buildings of this
campus were barely constructed and the land was in floods. We
had a rough beginning, but with the Grace of Allah we made it.
It was the vision of the then Hyderabad
Director of Education, Mr. A.M. Nizamani with the sanction of
Mr. M. Ayub Khuhro, the Defence Minister of Pakistan, that
made this college into a reality. On this occasion, I would
like to pay my humble tribute and pray for the souls of both
Mr. A.M. Nizamani and Mr. Ayub Khuhro, who are no longer with
us in this world. They had the vision and the others who
followed them in guiding and managing this college over these
fifty years have lived up to their expectations to make this
into a great institution.
In particular sir, I would like to mention
the passionate (late) Colonel Coombes who was the first
full-time Principal of this college. It was his sheer love for
this college - which was almost to the point of madness - that
set the standard and the pace for all future work at this
institution. His hard work with dedication paid off. The
Pakistani principals who followed him kept up the tradition,
and guided all the staff members accordingly. These included
Cdr. Firoz Shah,
Mr. S.S. Azim, late
Cdr. Asrarullah, late
Capt.PN Amin Khan, late
Cdre. S.I. Malik, and
Cdre. S.Q. Raza. My address today would have been incomplete
if I had not mentioned these great stalwarts who ensured the
place of this college on the map of Pakistan. And they had the
finest of staff members, who worked hand in glove with them as
a tremendous team.
We have prepared a set of books on this
auspicious occasion, which will give all you a pretty good
idea about this college and its developments over the past 50
years. I hope you will keep these as a memento and as a
constant remembrance of this great institution for all times
The college was built to produce the finest
young Pakistanis who would serve this country in every sphere
of life with excellence. Being a cadet college, there was a
planned focus on encouraging young boys from rural Sindh to
enter the armed forces, while leaving options open for them to
pursue their careers in government, business, engineering,
medicine, and other professions. By the Grace of Allah, we
have succeeded as you see eminent Petarians in almost every
walk of life in Pakistan and overseas.
The college started with humble beginnings,
admitting only 30 cadets in the first year at Mirpurkhas. With
rapid construction of facilities, the population of cadets
rose to over 540 by the mid-1960s. Currently, we have 880
cadets studying at the college - making Cadet College Petaro
to be the largest of the cadet colleges in Pakistan today.
With the construction of the eighth house that is planned,
this college will have a capacity of over 1,000 boys.
During these past 50 years, nearly 7,200
cadets have passed through our corridors. Of these, nearly 20%
entered the armed forces, and 15-20% went abroad to acquire
higher education. The Petarian presence on the Pakistani
political scene and in government services is clear evidence
of our service orientation.
Cadet College Petaro’s education is based
on discipline and strong values. At every stage, a Petarian is
imbibed with values that are required for success in their
future destinies. The boys are groomed to acquire professional
ethics, discipline and leadership qualities, which are
combined with strong academic skills and physical education
and sports to make them prepared to be amongst the best.
I am proud to say that despite the erosion
in the quality of education in Pakistan over these decades, we
have tried to keep up our standards through dedication and
devotion. I would like to emphasize that the staff members of
this institution and its employees are the ones that make the
difference. I would like to salute these unnamed thousands of
men and women who have been the foundation and pillars of this
institution over this past half a century.
This place was a desert in 1957, inhabited
primarily by snakes and scorpions. Today, it is a garden town
with many facilities and villages in the vicinity. This
college has contributed tremendously towards development of
this part of Sindh, and we hope that future developments will
make this into a prosperous area. It is our desire to have a
world class technical university built in this vicinity which
will provide vertical possibilities for our cadets in their
career paths. Of course, such an institution will also become
a source of higher education possibilities for all Pakistanis.
We are fortunate that METUPAK Foundation has been able to
conclude an MOU with Middle East Technical University, which
is the finest technical university in the region to provide
technical expertise and manpower. I am hopeful and confident
that the government of Pakistan will endorse and support this
project. It will be a great honour for all of us Petarians,
and for me personally as well upon my exit from Petaro after
these fruitful seven years.
It would be out of place if I did not
mention the tremendous support this college has received from
the government of Sindh under the able leadership of
Ghulam Rahim, who is himself a product of Petaro. His
unstinting love for his alma mater is admirable and shows his
great qualities. I have experienced this myself during my 7
seven years as Principal and Commandant of this college, when
we have seen massive developments at this college in every
sphere. I am also grateful to him for his support in ensuring
that the land of this college is legally secure and free from
encroachments. This is a national asset, and shall remain so.
In addition, our Petarian ministers
Liaquat Ali Jatoi and Ch. Nauraiz Shakoor have always
supported this college in various ways. Amongst our ex-cadets,
Lt. Gen. S.P. Shahid has been a source of massive support to
us at every stage. His latest support is in the form of the
Citizens Foundation School that has been set up.
Over these years, the college has received
massive support from the pioneers of Petarian unity. In
particular, I would like to thank Dr. Hadi Bux Jatoi (kit no.
171), Mr. Bashiruddin Memon (kit no. 63),
Ashfaque Beg (kit no. 69), and
Mr. Noor Ahmed Nizamani (kit
I am unable to name every single Petarian
who has dedicated his time and money for the sake of this
institution. There are tens if not hundreds of them. I salute
each and every one of them, and I hope they will excuse me for
not mentioning their names individually. It is their love and
strong ties of brotherhood and fraternity that makes us into a
However, I would like to mention that
Petarians have done a great job of keeping their brotherhood
strong. Several Petarian organizations sprung up over these
decades that have engendered a strong sense of Petarian-ism.
Starting with the Petaro Old Boys Association in the 1960s, we
evolved into the Petarian Association of Karachi which
celebrated it Silver Jubilee in 2006. The role of the Petarian
Association in bringing Petarians on one platform must be
Petarians have also been grouping together
in other cities of Pakistan like Hyderabad, Islamabad, Lahore,
Sukkur, and Quetta. It is pleasing to note that the overseas
Petarians have also organized themselves as well. In
particular, I would like to mention PANA (North America),
(Saudi Arabia), and PAE (Europe).
Petarian Foundation has also played an
exemplary role as an NGO aimed at service of Petaro and
Petarians. I am indeed grateful to the Foundation for having
provided Scholarships to Petarian cadets for the past 3 years,
Scholarships for ex-cadets for past 3 years, Teacher Training
programs over the past 2 years, Hajj sponsorship of a college
employee this year, and welfare fund for Petarians and college
employees. Their role in the Earthquake Relief and
Rehabilitation in Azad Jammu & Kashmir had done us all proud.
And lastly, the First Convention organized by them at Petaro
in 2004 set the standard for all Petarians on how to serve
this nation to its best.
We also look towards your patronage and
guidance of the honourable President of Pakistan, which will
enhance this institution further. In the recent years, this
college has gone through many financial crises, which have
been capped to a great extent. However, we still need support
from the government of Pakistan to enable bright young
candidates to study here, but whose families cannot afford to
pay for this education. We need more scholarships for such
cadets, who will be an asset to this nation.
Lastly, we do need further continual
developments, for which support of the government of Pakistan
and the government of Sindh are crucial. It is through their
support that we will insha Allah continue to grow this
institution into a centre of excellence.
Let me thank all of you - Petarians and
guests - who are taking time out from your very precious and
busy schedules to be with us, and for giving us this
importance on this happy occasion.
Long Live Petaro! Long Live Petaro! Long
Live Petaro! Fifty times over again!
And Pakistan Paindabad! Pakistan Paindabad!
Pakistan Paindabad! Millions of times over!