History of Command & Staff College


The Command and Staff College, Quetta, is the oldest and the most prestigious institution of the Pakistan Army. It was established temporarily in 1905 at Deolali, near Bombay in India by Lord Kitchener, Commander-in-Chief of the British Indian Army. On 1 April the same year, Brigadier General A.W.S. Bayly assumed his appointment as the Commandant, and the first batch of 24 officers commenced their studies. In 1907, the College was moved from Deolali to its permanent location at Quetta.

In the disastrous earthquake of 31 May 1935, which claimed 40,000 lives, the College fortunately escaped major damage. It was, however, decided to rebuild the Staff College in earthquake proof construction. The present Officers Mess building and some of the instructional staff quarters were built in 1936, but work on the main building could not begin due to various compulsions.
The main building of the College was demolished on 26 March 1971 and in its stead was built an imposing modern structure. This building, completed in 1975, with its unique clock tower, the flanking wings of the model rooms, the library and the auditorium, and the terraced garden in front, symbolises the commitment of the College towards dynamic growth and progress, while taking pride in the solidity of its glorious past.

The Command and Staff College has been the alma mater of many renowned soldiers from countries the world over. Some of the distinguished personalities include Field Marshals Wavell, Montgomery, Auchinleck and Slim (UK), Blamey (Australia), Ayub Khan (Pakistan) and Manekshaw (India). Generals Muhammad Musa, Yahya Khan, Gul Hassan, Tikka Khan, Zia Ul Haq, Aslam Beg, Asif Nawaz and Abdul Waheed, who all rose to be Pakistan Army's Chiefs, are graduates of the College.

Years 2000 and 2001 saw major changes in the teaching methodology under Lt Gen Tariq Waseem Ghazi. The ‘IT’ plans were finalized and extensive uplift and beautification work was undertaken. In 2001, under Major General Malik Arif Hayat, the computer hardware was deployed. By 2003 the Computer Project was fully operative. With all essential modules in place by February, Staff Course 2004 was conducted under a fully ‘IT’ environment.

The year 2005 saw the hundred years of the college and the Centenary Celebrations were schedule from 1st to 3rd April 2005, with the President of Pakistan, Gen Pervez Musharraf, a graduate and an ex faculty member, as the Chief Guest.

The year 2008 saw a major policy change in the rescheduling of the Staff Course from July instead of usual January. This has been done to bring it synchronization with the postings schedule of the Army.

The Emblem
Since the Staff College is concerned with inculcating professional wisdom in the students, the 'OWL' was considered, at the time of its inception, to be the most appropriate symbol for the College. The emblem of the College perched on crossed swords. The 'OWL', symbol of learning and wisdom, and the swords, the Greek god of War, combined, thus, depict the character of this institution - the seat of military knowledge and wisdom.

The same emblem was retained till 1950 when the Latin motto 'By the Pen as much as by the Sword' was replaced by the Persian Couplet, "Pir sho, beyamoz, Saadi". This is a quotation from Saadi the famous Persian poet and thinker.

In 1956 as Pakistan became a Republic the crown was removed.

The symbol 'OWL' for 74 years, was replaced by much more significant and potent epithet, "IQRA", which symbolises the first word of command of the Almighty to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and, through him, to all mankind "IQRA BE ISME RABBEK ALLAZI KHALAQ" (Read in the name of thy Lord who createth). It implies constant quest for multi-dimensional knowledge, application and effort. This centre piece stands emblazoned on a gold and silver base which symbolizes molten earth in a perpetual state of evolutionary flux. Molten earth has been shown golden in the centre and light silvery at the circumference since a person of genuine scholarship and enlightenment ought to glow and serve as a beacon for others. The cross swords of the emblem are the traditional symbol of the Pakistan Army.

The Motto:


A scroll runs through the swords on which are inscribed the Persian words "PIR SHO BIYAMOOZ - SAADI". Its literal translation is ''Grow old by learning, Saadi"(famous Persian poet). When paraphrased, it means, "Go on learning and acquiring knowledge until you are old".

College Colors
Grey and Maroon are twin colours of the College since its inception in 1905. The College monogram, stationery, flags, crockery and magazines have traditionally been carrying the maroon and grey colours. The two colours have a special symbolic value:-



First and foremost grey colour was the predominant colour in the war and tribal flag of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

As such it symbolises a struggle for a just cause, grey, a balanced mix of black and white perfectly represent the essence of Islam, i.e., balance moderation and equality. Grey colour has also been universally associated with learning and wisdom, hence the term 'grey-coats' became popular for students of well-known schools in Europe. Grey colour also means experience (especially if it appears in the hair). Students of Staff Courses attain priceless experience in the art of warfare here.


Maroon colour symbolizes the material heritage and traditions of the region in which the staff college is located. Balochistan, the land of the warriors and horsemen. For centuries the arid plains and mountains of this region have provided the canvass upon which countless tales of heroism and honour were written. The Baloch Charge was famous for its rapidity and brute efficiency. KAI KAI BALOCH was the battles cry. The brave tribesmen would die willingly to preserve the honour of their tribe. Their bodies would be bathed in their own blood, which would dry up and take on the maroon hue

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