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Command and Staff College

The Command and Staff College, Quetta, is the oldest and the most prestigious institution of the Pakistan Army. It was establised 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 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 place was built an imposing modern structure. This building, was 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.   It symbolizes 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), Blarney (Australia), Ayub Khan (Pakistan) and Manekshaw (India).



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.                                                                                 top

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 Pakistan Army.                    top



The Command and Staff College is located at Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan, at the entrance to the picturesque Urak Valley. To the north, south-east and south-west stand the lonely sentinels of "TAKATU" "MURDARGARH" AND "CHILIAN", rising to heights of 10,000 to 11,000 feet, stark, bare and ostensibly inhospitable citadels of sheer rock structure, but enchanting, in a strange way, to the primeval memory of man. Lower than the "MURDARGARH" and closer to the Staff College, the SLEEPING BEAUTY displays her charms, undiminished by the ravages of that dreaded hangman, Time. This hill feature, takes its name from its uncanny resemblance to a lady in repose. She is at her best when the first winter snow throws her in sharp contrast against the skyline.

Quetta has a dry and healthy climate with no factory chimneys to pollute its fresh, invigorating, and mountain air. Winter sets in by November and lasts till end February. Snowfall is light, though it is not unusual to have one as late as March. Quetta winters are severe and minimum temperatures of minus 15 degree Celsius are not uncommon. Providentially the College is closed during the peak winter period.

Quetta can boast of the best spring and autumn in Pakistan. Although summers are warm, the maximum temperature rarely exceeds 41 degrees Celcius. The evenings are extremely pleasant, characterised by a breeze that springs to life an hour or two after sunset. Fans are required during the months of May through August/September.


Educational Philosophy

The Command and Staff College is dedicated to the highest standards of training, education and professional excellence. Student Officers and the faculty commit themselves to the primary goal of preparing officers for multi-dimensional duties in which war time duties figure prominently.

Instruction is designed to develop student officer's reasoning and decision-making abilities, character, expression and teamwork.

The Faculty

A syndicate is assigned to a Directing Staff of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel for a period of one term. The directing Staff have high academic credentials and are amongst the best officers of the Army. They impart instructions, guide and direct the students for the entire duration of the term, after which new syndicates are formed. Hence, each student has four Directing Staff during the academic year. This arrangement provides a fair chance to each student officer to be evaluated and assessed for his performance in the Course.

The Staff Course is a self generating course and student officers have a Directing Staff for guidance, learning and teaching is through a process of individual study, group discussions, critiques, implementation of plans and formulation of written papers. The Course generally, is challenging and demands considerable interest from the participants.

The College uses the latest methodology and modern technology to provide the highest quality of education and learning environment. The syndicate method is employed to exchange ideas and benefit from the varied experiences, qualifications and opinions of Pakistani and allied officers. Self paced instruction is used for learning facts, techniques and procedures. The College thus blends various methods of teaching
techniques to optimise learning.


The Courses

The college conducts only one course in a year. The Course starts in mid February and terminates in the third week of December.

  • The duration of the Course is 44 weeks. This period is divided into four terms, each of 8 to 11 weeks duration.
  •  The student officers are grouped into the divisions. A division has 9 syndicates of 10 officers each. Each syndicate has one or two allied officers. One faculty member acts as the Directing Staff for a syndicate.
  • Most of the instructions are imparted on a syndicate basis. The medium of instruction is English.
  • A 15 days pre-course training is organized for allied officers on arrival. This training helps in settling down and understanding the functioning of the College.
  • Sunday is a closed holiday and Saturday is a private study/research day.

The curriculum has been divided into three main groups of studies i.e. Professional Studies, Developmental Studies and Research Studies. The College strives to produce a dynamic staff officer who, with experience, should be able to assume higher command responsibilities.

Professional Studies
  • Operations

This is the most important aspect of the Course wherein student officers study four major operations of war in detail. Special emphasis is laid on defence and attack at brigade and division levels in corps environments.

  • War Games

Five war games and telephone battles are conducted during the Course. Each lasts for a week and has a different focus, objective, methodology and operational setting.

  • Staff Duties

    The aim is to familiarize student officers with operational and peace time staff duties thus enabling them to apply this knowledge for production of completed staff work at division and brigade levels. The subject has been divided into two categories:
    • Operational staff work
    • Routine staff work
  • Basic Subjects.

     The basic subjects include Fighting and Supporting Arms, Logistics, Security, Leadership and Military History.

  • Management

Instructions on modern techniques of management also form part of the Leadership series.

  • Military History

Each student officer is given a Military History theme and is expected to prepare a presentation script. A 20 minute presentation is made in respective syndicates during the First Term.

  • Specialized Operations

Those operations of war, which are of a peculiar nature and derived from the four major operations, are grouped under this heading. These include Armour Operations, Attack Across Water Obstacles, Built up Area Operations, Operations in Aid of Civil Power, Desert Warfare, Mountain Warfare, Psychological Warfare and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare.

  • Joint Warfare

This subject deals with basic knowledge about the use of the air force in support of the army, the fundamentals of naval operations and the employment of all three services in joint operations.

  • Training

This forms an important segment of the curriculum; the aim being to develop an understanding of the mechanics of planning and conduct of training at the brigade and division levels.

  • Developmental Studies

Whereas Professional Studies are mainly related to hard core subjects, Developmental Studies include such fields of knowledge which help student officers in broadening their outlook. The subjects included in Developmental Studies are Analytical Papers, Pakistan Studies, Strategic Studies, Communicative Arts, Seminars and Study Tours.

  • Analytical Papers

For compilation of Analytical Papers, complex and original problems are presented to the student officers. Free from unnecessary constraints of format, they are required to develop independent and objective analysis in their papers.

  • Research Studies

Research Studies primarily aim at enhancing the abilities of student officers to carry out research on subjects of general interest and the military profession, and consist of Individual Research Paper (IRP) and Group Research Paper (GRP).

  • Bachelor of Science (B.Sc Honours) War Studies Degree Programme

The College is affiliated with the University of Baluchistan, for the grant of Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree in War Studies to the officers who possess a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree (i.e., Civilian education for 14 years) and successfully complete the Staff Course.

Successful graduates of the Course are also awarded the symbol of “psc" (passed staff course).

  • Languages

The College has two modern language laboratories, which are instrumental in imparting instructions in foreign languages to our student officers. Essentially this facility is used for teaching Arabic and English to Pakistani officers. An equally important function of this facility is to impart a functional knowledge of Urdu to our allied officers.

Selection Criteria

The Pakistani student officers who attend the Course need to fulfill the following prerequisites and qualifications:

  • Rank/Service

    Captains/Majors with 8-12 years service.
  • Courses

Respective arm/service mid career course.

  • Selection Criteria

Selection is based on a competitive examination.

  • Civil

Preferably Bachelor of Arts/Science to earn Bachelor of Science Honours (War Studies) degree from the University of Balochistan.

Extra Curricular Activities

  The Command and Staff College recognises that extra curricular activities are an essential part of a student officer's life. Therefore, participation in diversified recreational and social activities is encouraged. We offer a broad range of activities to fill up a student officers' leisure hours. A wide range of facilities and equipment are available for pursuit of interests in hockey, tennis, golf, cricket, volleyball, basketball, swimming, squash, gymnasium, riding and polo.


The Clubs
  Shikar (Shooting) Club

There is good shooting within motoring distance of the College and Shikar trips are occasionally organized by the Club.

  • Saddle Club

The College has 30 ponies for officers interested in riding. The membership of this Club is also open to ladies and children above eight years of age. Interested officers are expected to bring their own riding kit. Traditionally, this Club is extensively patronized by the allied officers community.

  • Polo

Polo is played with enthusiasm, even if sometimes without matching skills. The polo season extends from April to November.

  • Al-Nisa Club

The College traditionally runs a very active ladies club which is known for it's colourful and interesting activities. Meetings are normally held once a fortnight.

  • Allied Officers Cell

This cell functions under the Senior Instructor Training and deals with all matters related to guidance and welfare of the Allied Officers. A member of the faculty and a Pakistani student officer is assigned to each Allied Officer to make his stay pleasant and comfortable.                                                                                            top

  • Libraries

The Command and Staff College has a Main and a Fiction Library. The Fiction Library has a good selection of weekly and monthly magazines in addition to books that offer a variety of light readings. The Main Library houses books, mainly of professional nature. A large number of international newspapers and magazines on professional and general subjects are also available in the Main Library.

  • Museum

The College has a small museum, which was inaugurated on 16 May 1979. This Museum houses various items of interest and historical value pertaining to the College.

  • Officers Mess

The Officers Mess is lodged in an elegant building with an impressive interior decor in traditional style. Most of the formal functions are held in the Mess. The Mess premises are also used for hosting private parties in accordance with the Mess Instructions. A Snack Bar next to the Mess, functions in the evening.

  • Children's Schooling

The College runs an English medium secondary School and College, the Iqra Army Public School and College, for the benefit to the children of the student officers and the

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