Prof. Abdul Ahad Khan

The sixth Vice Principal (1993-1996) and Professor / Head of Dept of Chemistry (1970-1996)

Prof. Abdul Ahad Khan - 1996

By Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui, 671/Latif

Prof. Abdul Ahad Khan joined Cadet College Petaro in 1965 and retired from the college at the rank of Vice Principal in 1996.

He was born in 1934, but his official date of birth is 20 March 1936. It was not uncommon in the early part of the twentieth century for parents to declare a year or two less as the official birth date in order to gain on retirement age.

He was born at Jind Estate in Kaliana, District Dalmiya Dadri (now known as Charkhi Dadri), which is located in the present Haryana State in India. At present, the areas comes under the Bhiwani District of Haryana State. Kaliana is located around 100Km from Delhi.

He was married to the late Mrs. Shamim Akhtar (who also belonged to a Kaliana family) on 1 January 1966 within months of joining Cadet College Petaro. They had seven children - Muhammad Taqi (late - died an infant), Shahnaz Bano, Shahzad Khan Sherwani, kit no. 8378/I, Shehryar Khan, Shahbaz Khan, Sarfaraz Khan and Durre Shahwar.

Abdul Ahad Sb died at Karachi on 25 January 2003 of a cardiac arrest.

Ahad Sb's father was Abdul Samad Khan who was a police officer, while his grandfather Abdul Yaqoob Khan was "Lumberdar" (sometimes called Numberdar) - a revenue officer - over 40 villages of the area. His grandfather was known for being a strict man - a characteristic which seems to have been inherited by his grandson.  His mother's name was Umm-e-Salma.

He had only one sister - Fazal un Nisa - and no brothers. He remained very close to his sister throughout his life.

The young Abdul Ahad Khan was sent off to Delhi for his primary education. He was still in school at Delhi when Pakistan gained independence in 1947. Abdul Ahad's father Abdul Samad Khan decided to migrate to Pakistan amidst the chaos and mass killings. The family ended up at Matli in District Badin, Sindh, where they settled down, and the father Abdul Samad Khan joined the Pakistan Police force. He was posted at Hyderabad.

After completing his H.S.S.C. (Intermediate) with distinction, he obtained his B.Sc.(Hons) and M.Sc. in Chemistry from Sindh University. Soon thereafter, he joined Govt College Hala as lecturer in Chemistry in BPS 17 and remained there until he joined Cadet College Petaro in 1965.

After his retirement, his parents settled down with him at Petaro. His father expired in 1979 and was buried at the Petaro graveyard. This was a tough time for Ahad Sb, and with the loss of his father, he seemed to have lost his humour and smiles. Four years later, his mother expired in 1983 and was also buried at the Petaro graveyard. This was the end of an era for him.

Ahad Sb gave most of his career to Cadet College Petaro with full dedication.

During his years at Petaro, Ahad sahib was appointed the Officer In Charge / Head of the Chemistry Department in 1970 when Mr. Feroz Yusuf Khan left the college. He got his next promotion to the rank of Assistant Professor (BPS-18) in 1973, and subsequently as Professor (BPS-19) in 1990. While he was still a Professor, he got a move-over to BPS-20 in 1993.

He was initially the Assistant House Master of Qasim House, and was then appointed the House Master of Qasim House from 1976 to 1989. He was appointed the Vice Principal of the College in 1993, and he remained in that position until his retirement in 1996.

He also held several other administrative positions. At different periods of time, he was the Officer In Charge of Scouting, Office In Charge of the Poultry Farm, Office In Charge of Central Stores, Messing Officer, Office In Charge of Chemical Hobbies Club, Divisional Coordination Officer, Chairman Purchase Committee, Member of Scholarship Committee, Member of Purchase / Contract Committee, Member of the Academic Council / College Council / Appointment Committee.

In recognition of his overall excellent performance, he was given the "Best Teacher Award" in 1992-93.

Ahad Sahib was amongst the most unique personalities of Petaro. His style of talking and his sarcasm is remembered by every single student of Petaro over those nearly three decades of his stay at the College. His personal behaviour, sense of the strict discipline, moral values and exemplary character, coupled with mature outlook and insatiable love for work, left a lasting impression on the developing young minds of the cadets.

He also enjoyed a good reputation among his colleagues, subordinates and cadets. He was genuinely respected for his cordial human relations, able guidance and advice. As an effective Professor of Chemistry, he always went about his job unobstrusively and was an asset to this prestigious College.

As a teacher, he was one of the best. He taught me only for one year during my 11th class. It was teachers like him and Feroz Yusuf Khan Sb who were able to bring out the best in my understanding of Chemistry.

After his retirement from Petaro in 1996, Prof. Abdul Ahad Khan continued to work as a teacher. At first he moved to Karachi and worked at the Kalyana Academy for a year.

1997 was a very difficult year for him. His dear wife and life long partner Mrs. Shamim Akhtar expired when it was least expected. He could not absorb the loss, and became a heart patient himself.

In order to overcome this unbearable loss, he moved to Islamabad in 1997 upon the invitation of the ex-Principal of Petaro Cdre. S.I. Malik to teach Chemistry at the Bahria College. He was also appointed the Vice Principal of the college. He remained in this position for a year and a half until 1999.

He then became one of the founding members of Cadet College Murree at Sunny Bank along with Prof. Hafiz Mushtaq Sipra, Petarian Nisar Dastagir, kit no. 7345/A and a few others. He left Murree at the beginning of 2001 along with Sipra Sb and returned to Karachi to lead a retired life. He remained at Murree until 2001. However with asthma problems, he was advised by doctors to move back to Karachi, which he did so in 2001. While he was still at Murree, he also performed Hajj in 2000.

When Capt.PN Altaf Nabi Dar (Kit no. N-1 from Petaro) who was the Principal/Commandant of Cadet College Sanghar, found out that Ahad Sb had settled down in Karachi, he was able to convince him to join Sanghar as the Vice Principal in 2001. During the next two years, Ahad Sb made the difference at that college to bring up its academic standards.

He was still working at Cadet College Sanghar when he died. He had not been keeping very good health and was spending more time at Karachi. However, on 18 January 2003, he came all the way to Sanghar on the Navy bus to attend the Parents' Day despite ill health. He insisted on being present. He then returned to Karachi the same day. A week later he collapsed all of a sudden and expired on 25 January 2003 of a cardiac arrest while he was having dinner. He did not go through any period of suffering, which was a great mercy of Allah on him. He was buried at the Kalyana Qabrastan at Karachi.

I met Ahad Sahib last on December 28th, 2002 at the Petaro Parents Day function. He was one of our ex-teachers who was present at Petaro that day. In fact, I had met him for the first time since 1969. It was a brief meeting. What did surprise me was that he recognized me immediately despite this passage of 33 years. His mind was as alert and sharp as it was in 1969 - and so was his typical sarcastic wit, which most of us loved. It is so unfortunate that it was the only occasion when I did meet him after all those years, and he was called back by His Lord to eternal life soon thereafter. The news of his death came as a thunderbolt to all of us.

May Allah have mercy on his soul and grant him a place in Jannatul Firdaus.

In Memory of Prof. Ahad Khan

By Sohail Malik, Kit no. 83140, Qasim House

During a frosty Texas evening, I sat down with an agnostic friend of mine with a warm brew of Java at the local coffee shop.  This evening, as it had become customary of our friendship, the conversation turned from mundane things to a heated debate about faith.  Andy, my agnostic friend and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum about role of religion and its impact on human evolution.  During this discussion I asked how he could define the purpose of our lives without borrowing from religion and his answer was something I will never forget.  According to Andy, the purpose of human life is simple.  We are born into this world to touch other human beings.  If we have a positive impact, we are good human beings and if we affect others around us negatively, then we are evil.  While I do not buy into this simple philosophy, this criterion provides an interesting insight when I reflect upon the lives of people I have come across.  

Abdul Ahad Khan Sahib was a complex individual shouldering a great responsibility of touching the lives of many impressionable youths that were entrusted under his supervision.  His profession demanded that he play a role of a teacher, a friend, a guardian, a mentor, a father, a disciplinarian all the while juggling the challenges of raising his own family.  His legacy without doubt is profound; his influence the catalyst that transformed so many of cadets that were fortunate to be his students. Judging by an agnostic’s criteria Ahad Sahib more than fulfilled his purpose on this earth by molding so many of us into honorable men. 

When I was asked to write a short essay to be published in the Petarians Golden Jubilee Souvenir writing about Ahad Sahib was an easy selection.  Nevertheless, I found it extremely difficult to find words that would do justice to his legacy.  Ahad Sahib was an indulgent person with contrasting capricious temper.  He woke up every morning to make sure we became better human beings by each passing day.  He was man unequaled in his commitment to the cadets and his commitment to his profession was unparalleled.  Drunk with the inanities of teenage years we made fun of him, mocked him, tried to defy and disobey him.  Yet, his unyielding desire and efforts to mold us into honorable human beings demands that we respect and honor him.  He may have left us but his legacy thrives in the souls and personalities of all those who passed through the gates of Petaro.  His memory is alive in our psyche, his principles guide us in our daily lives, his teachings define our personality, and his love and compassion serves as the beacon of humility, selflessness and sacrifice.

The sad and sudden news of Ahad Sahib’s death hit me on a personal level.  My association with Ahad Sahib was a personal one (he was our house master for 5 years at Qasim House).  Our days began with him yanking covers off us for Fajr Namaz and ended when we whisked pass him at the gates of Qasim House after night muster.  In between were surprise visits during evening “prep” times, occasional yelling for untidy beds and dirty shoe racks.  The teenage rebellion in us found his dictatorial demeanor galling at times and we complained endlessly about his strict adherence to the rules. But there were the times when you were in a real bind and had no hope left, he would surprise you with his compassion.  Whether it was trouble with college administration or personal family crises, he would go out of his way to help you like you’re his own son.   Today I can rarely recount personal caning, scolding or beatings he gave me in my 5 years at Petaro.  However, I can vividly describe how he defended me when I almost got expelled or when he unleashed his wrath on college doctor when he did not render proper medical care. 

Ahad Sahib cared to no end for all his students.  His honesty is legendary, his hard work exemplifying, his teaching methodology unconventional but highly effective.  He was an accomplished academician and excelled at making a dry subject like chemistry interesting.  He did not have an ego, admitted when he was wrong, and defended his position like a warrior when he was right.  Ahad Sahib was human, with his own faults and shortcomings.  Nevertheless, he was more than perfect as a teacher and undeniably one of the few individuals who gave their lives to make Petaro the great institution it is today.  He touched every person that came in contact with him positively and that alone should define his legacy.    

It’s been almost 24 years when I walked into those gates of Petaro for the first time.  At times I sit down and reminisce about my personal journey through this maze of life.  With all my shortcomings and failures, my victories and accomplishments, I realize what a profound effect he has had on my life.  I never take anything for its word; I have a craving to dig into details.  From issues relating to religion to purely academic pursuits, I cannot help but question what, when, why and how.  This has worked wonders for me.  It has made me a better person and most definitely a better academician.  Ahad Sahib was the one who (along with few other great teachers at Petaro) lit that fire and nurtured it and to this day it burns.  What a fool I was to think I would have been better off being in another house with more lenient teachers.  For whatever I am today I thank God for giving me the privilege to be under Ahad Sahib’s tutelage.

Ahad Sahib, you will not be forgotten and will surely be missed.  May Allah rest his soul in peace….

Prof. Ahad Khan

By M. Kashif Iqbal, Kit no. 91133, Jinnah House

Ahad sahab had a unique personality, I think no Petarian can ever forget Ahad Sahab. What a simple and attractive personality he had. He was so full of life, ready-witted, selfless and devoted  person. I can never forget him throughout my life.

I still remember my first conversation with Ahad sahab when I was in 8th Class in 1991. Upon my query, I came to know that he only teaches the 2nd year students.

It was from that very day that I prayed to Almighty Allah that may I be honoured to get into that section of 2nd
year where Ahad Sahab would teach. He was the only teacher through out my student life for whom I prayed as such.

And the moments which I spend with Ahad Sahab are amongst the most precious treasures of my life.

There are few people who live for some cause, and he is the person who spent his entire life for Petaro.  In that sense, he is amongst the pioneers of Petaro. Whatever fame the college has today is just because of teachers like Ahad Sahab.

His style, his words, and his personality are unforgettable. The only thing we can do for our great teacher is pray for him. Dear colleagues, do remember him in your prayers forever.