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Fw: Old Wine - Birth of PMA

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  • Adil Hasan
    The Rising Crescent - Sunset of the Raj; Sunrise of a New Nation and Story of Birth of Pakistan Military Academy Hamid Hussain Indian Military Academy (IMA)
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2012

      The Rising Crescent - Sunset of the Raj; Sunrise of a New Nation and Story of Birth of Pakistan Military Academy
      Hamid Hussain
      Indian Military Academy (IMA) was established at Dehra Dun and it started to train Indians as commissioned officers in 1932.  In August 1947 when India and Pakistan emerged as independent nations, India inherited IMA while Pakistan had to start a new facility from scratch.  Muslim cadets training at IMA shifted to Pakistan in October 1947.  Senior cadets (second post-war IMA course) due to graduate in December 1947 were commissioned on their arrival in Pakistan.  IMA’s Cadet Battalion Adjutant Amir Gulistan Janjua (later Brigadier and Governor of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa province), Senior Under Officer (SUO) of Imphal Company Muhammad Saeed Azhar and Kamal Matinuddin (later Lieutenant General) were among the senior cadets commissioned on arrival in Pakistan (they were commissioned at GHQ by Adjutant General Major General N. A. M. Raza). 
      In August 1947, IMA staff consisting of British and Indians of all religions and ethnicities was busy training future Indian officers.  Table I shows the staff of IMA on the eve of independence.  Commandant Brigadier Adrian Bazeley Barltrop DSO, MC was from 2/3rd Gurkha Rifles. Academy adjutant Major James Wilson later served as Military Secretary (MS) to C-in-C of Pakistan General Frank Messervy and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in British army.  Major Tikka Khan (Artillery) later became Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan army.  Company Commander Major Atiq ur Rahman (4/12 Frontier Force Regiment, now 6 FF) nick named ‘Turk’ became Lieutenant General in Pakistan army and Major Zorawar Singh (Central India Horse) later became Major General in Indian army. 
      Brigadier Adrian Bazeley Barltrop, DSO, MC
      Colonel Fairbanks, MC
      Battalion Commandant
      Major James Wilson, MC
      Academy Adjutant
      Captain Canning
      Battalion Adjutant
      Major Tikka Khan
      Platoon Commander
      Major Atiq ur Rahman
      Company Commander
      Major Zorawar Singh
      Company Commander
      Major Ayyappa
      Company Commander
      Major Bealle
      Company Commander
      Sergeant Major J. McGarrity
      Chief Drill Instructor
      Table: I  IMA Staff in 1947
      Initially, it was planned that Muslim cadets destined for Pakistan will complete their training at IMA in December 1947 and then be transferred to Pakistan.  In October 1947, in view of deteriorating law and order situation and fratricidal killings in India and Pakistan, it was decided to evacuate Muslim cadets who had opted for Pakistan.  The operation was code named ‘Operation Exodus’.  These cadets were taken to Saharanpur air field and from there flown to Lahore.  It was so sudden that many cadets didn’t have time to think about coming events.  Young boys of eighteen and nineteen years of age were bewildered.  Out of the IMA class of 189, sixty six cadets of third post-war IMA course were heading to their new homeland.  Gentlemen Cadets Mukhtar Karim (later Brigadier), Anwar ul Haq (later Brigadier), Altaf Hussain, Gilani and Nooruz Zaman (later Lieutenant Colonel) were heading to Pakistan while Jasbir Singh Rana (later Lieutenant General), Mathew Thomas (later Lieutenant General), Brij Nath Dhar (later Major General), Amar Singh Cheema (later Brigadier), Giridhari Singh (later Colonel) and Don Blewit (later Colonel) were staying back in India.  There were many emotional farewells.   In an ironic twist twenty four years later same thing happened at Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul where young Bengali and non-Bengali boys were bewildered when East and West Pakistan were separating. 
      In October 1947, when IMA cadets were saying goodbye to each other, none of them knew that they will fight against each other in coming wars between the two countries.  Fate brought some of these gentlemen cadets together later in very strange circumstances.  After 1971 war, Major General H. Kaul then commanding a division in Madhya Pradesh came to know that one of his Muslim course mates at IMA was now at prisoner of war camp at Jabalpur.  Kaul took his old comrade for a lunch without any escort and Kaul later commented that ‘we met as friends and he treated me like a brother’.  After ceasefire in 1971, two opposing brigade commanders in Kargil sector were course mates in one of the last courses of IMA before partition.  Brigadier Balbir Singh Dayal was representing Indian army while Brigadier Safdar Hussain was representing Pakistan army.  When they first met at a flag meeting, Safdar asked Dayal about the IMA course and once both recognized each other, they were narrating stories of their cadet days while young officers of both armies standing there were amazed.  Probably the smoothest demarcation of line of control occurred in that sector. 
      Three Muslim cadets belonging to Delhi were not present at the time of air lift as they had gone to Delhi with Major Tikka Khan to look for their families.  These three were Syed Shafaat Ali (later Lieutenant Colonel), Waheed Qadir and Rahimuddin Khan (later General).  Rahim was nephew of Dr. Zakir Hussain who later became President of India and Waheed was son of Abdul Qadir who later became Governor of State Bank of Pakistan.  These three cadets came to Pakistan via Bombay when Major Atiq ur Rahman brought remainder Muslim elements of IMA and many Muslim soldiers of various units.
      PMA Kakul started from a very humble beginning.  Colonel (later Brigadier) Francis Herman Barlay Ingall (6th Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers) nick named ‘Bingle’ was appointed first commandant of PMA and assigned the gigantic task of setting up a first rate institution for training Pakistani officers.  He was also given the task of finding a suitable location for the academy.  During his military career, Ingall used to spend his summer holidays in Abbottabad, therefore he chose Kakul.  Abbottabad was a large military station and legendry 13th Frontier Force Rifles as well as 5th and 6th Gurkha Rifles called Abbottabad their home.  Kakul was a small military station and in 1920s school of artillery was located at Kakul until 1926 when it was moved to Deolali.  British artillery units were stationed at Kakul until training school for Royal Indian Army Service Corps (RIASC) officers was established during Second World War.
      There were no dedicated resources available for starting up the academy and the story of PMA became the story of the newly independent country with very meager resources.  In Rawalpindi, Ingall met a deeply depressed British officer at the bar of Officer’s Mess.  The officer was dejected that he had to say goodbye to his beloved ‘Punjabi Mussalmans’ of his Engineer company because it was being disbanded.  Ingall offered him to make the farewell a memorable event for his soldiers for arranging a farewell feast of ‘Bara Khana’ at Kakul.  The only caveat was that they had to bring all their equipment to Kakul to clear some area.  The Engineer company completed the task in few days.  They were given a memorable farewell.  The army accounts bureaucracy went berserk and sent Ingall a bill of 104,000 Rupees for unauthorized use of military equipment causing wear and tear with a note that this amount will be deducted from his pay until the whole balance was paid.  Ingall informed Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan who smiled and took the bill from Ingall remarking ‘that is one of the better stories of the founding of our country’. 
      The first cadet battalion of PMA started with two companies named Tariq and Khalid.  Later two more named Qasim and Salahuddin were added.  Ingall chose many first rate officers as instructing staff at nascent PMA.  First cadet battalion commander was Colonel M. A. Latif (Baluch Regiment) and Captain S. G. Mehdi nick named ‘Killer Mehdi’ was first battalion adjutant of PMA.  Khalid company commander was Major Tikka Khan and Tariq company commander was Major Abid Bligrami (later Major General).  Lieutenant Colonel Atiq ur Rahman was chief instructor and Major Abdul Hamid Khan (later Lieutenant General) was G-2 training; he succeeded Tikka as Khalid company commander.   
      Legendry Regimental Sergeant Major V. C. Duffield of 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards was the first chief drill instructor.  Some other British drill staff members from England were not up to the standard and were sent back quickly.  Duffield built a dedicated first class cadre of Pakistani drill instructors.  Many first rate Pakistani drill instructors like Rafiullah (the drill square of PMA is named after him), Drill Battalion Havaldar Major Ali Zaman, Company Havaldar Major Rab Nawaz, Lal Khan and Abid Hussain maintained the high standards set up by Duffield.  When PMA was being set up, an old Hindu dhobi (washer man) showed up at Brigadier Ingall’s house.  Ingall was surprised as all Hindus had migrated to India.  The old man told Ingall that he was the third generation serving the regiments stationed in Kakul.  His children had migrated to India but he refused to leave.  Even the prospect of certain death in those frenzied times didn’t deter the old man to leave his beloved cantonment.  Ingall’s batman Adalat Khan took the dedicated proud old man under his wings.  Muslim servants took care of him and during those terrible days of hatred and bigotry kept their humanity.  They didn’t allow him to go to bazaar but brought his food and other items to his house so that he was not harassed. 
      Partition caused large scale migration in both directions.  A large number of highly educated Muslims had migrated from India and were out of work.  PMA was lucky to find some of the most talented educationalists of the era to teach its cadets.  When PMA first advertised about vacancies for education staff, it was flooded with applications from highly qualified individuals.  One applicant had doctorates in philosophy from Edinburgh, Bonn and Leiden universities.  This laid the foundation for first rate academic training in addition to military training at PMA. 
      Cadets from IMA arrived in October 1947 and new cadets for Ist PMA Long Course and Ist Graduates Course were selected in Pakistan and training started officially in January 1948.  Two hundred and seven cadets started their training in January 1948. (see Table: II).  Cadet appointments were made and first Battalion Senior Under Officer (SUO) was Sadiq ur Rasheed Muhammad Abbasi. He was from the royal house of the princely state of Bahawalpur.  He won the coveted Sword of Honor and later rose to become Lieutenant General and governor of Sindh province.  F. B. Ali won Norman Gold Medal and later rose to become Brigadier.  In one of their course mate’s words Abbasi was a ‘time efficient, practical gunner’ while Ali also a ‘gunner of very considerable repute and acumen’ was ‘an intellectual and thinker’.  Battalion Junior Under Officer (JUO) was Iqbal Shafi.  He later became Brigadier and fought in 1971 war in East Pakistan as commander of 53rd Brigade.  Tariq Company SUO was Fazle Haq while JUO was Tariq Mir.  Fazle Haq joined 10th Guides Cavalry and became Lieutenant General and Governor of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa province.  Tariq became brigadier and was commanding 51st Brigade of 18th Division in Sindh area during 1971 war.  He also served as ambassador to Ceylon after retirement.  Khalid Company SUO was Waheed Qadir who left army early in his career.  Waheed’s brother Saeed Qadir (EME) was also at PMA and later rose to the rank of Lieutenant General. 
      Number of Cadets
      University Graduates (First Graduates Course)
      First PMA Long Course
      Table II: IMA/PMA Courses January 1948
      Some other cadet Platoon Commanders were M.M.A. Beg (later Lieutenant Colonel), Rahim Khan (later Major General), A. Majid (later Major General), Fazle Raziq and Bashir Ahmad (later Brigadier).  Fazle Raziq was brother of Fazle Haq and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General.  Some other graduates of the IMA/PMA course and Ist Graduates Course were Rahimuddin Khan (later General), Ejaz Bukhari (later Colonel), S.D. Ahmad (later Colonel), Ejaz Azeem (later Lieutenant General) Ijaz Mahmood (later Brigadier), Kamal Rabbani (later Brigadier), Anwar Ahmad (later Colonel), Iftikhar Muhammad (later Major General) Kazim Ali Kayani and Abdullah Saeed (later served as commandant of PMA and at Major General rank commanded a division and served as Martial Law Administrator of Baluchistan province). One cadet was from the ruling al-Said family of Sultanate of Oman; he later became defense minister of Oman.  The training period of these two courses was shortened due to India-Pakistan war in Kashmir and they passed out in November 1948; Governor General Khawaja Nazimuddin took the salute at this first PMA passing out parade (those cadets selected for EME branch had left for England in September to start their course at Royal School of Military Engineering at Loughborough and were commissioned on the same date). 
      The cadets who passed out in 1948 were the first officers to be trained in independent Pakistan and they went on to leave their mark on the history of Pakistan.  They set very high standards for those who followed in their foot steps.  In the last sixty years, PMA has expanded to a large, modern and well equipped facility to train officers of Pakistan army. Primary task of a military training institution is to train young men in the art of warfare and at the same time instill certain qualities so that they can lead their soldiers in war and peace.  PMA is performing this task for the last sixty years and gentlemen cadets of 129th PMA Long course are continuing the traditions set by the gentlemen cadets of the IMA/PMA and Ist Graduates Courses.  
      Acknowledgement: Author thanks many for their valuable input and corrections.  Special thanks to Brigadier ® F. B. Ali for stimulating my interest in IMA/PMA and Ist Graduates courses and also providing detailed information about cadets of these pioneer courses. 
      -          Lieutenant Colonel ® Syed Shafaat Ali.  The Soldier: A Memoir  (Karachi: Royal Book Company, 2007)
      -          Brigadier ® Francis B. Ingall.  The Last of The Bengal Lancers (California: Presidio Press, 1988)
      -          Major General ® Shaukat Raza.  The Pakistan Army 1947-1949 (Lahore: WAJIDALIS Limited, 1989)
      -          Frontline.  Volume 25; Issue 21, October 11-24, 2008, http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2521/stories/20081024252109100.htm
      -          Colonel EAS Bokhari.  Late Lt. General SM Abbasi.  Defence Journal, April 2002

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