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Trip to Pak Navy
During summer holidays a program was organized by the college management for a tour of Karachi, to give firsthand information to the cadets regarding operational working of Pakistan navy and air force. This tour was named as three M’s party. As many of my friends had enrolled themselves for the tour, I also consented to be part of study tour. We were about thirty cadets in the group. Our base camp was PNS Karsaz where we were provided with reasonable accommodation and where we were to stay for about ten days. It is one of the largest naval establishments with its primary role to conduct professional courses of all trades associated with naval fleet.
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Briefing by Pak Navy
While we were having breakfast the next day, our tour organizer Mr. Abdullah Khadim Hussain, summoned us for a briefing. Mr. Khadim Hussain was one of the senior-most members and in fact a founding member of the staff. He was a thorough professional and had risen to the highest tier of bureaucracy and retired as secretary education, government of Pakistan. He was our English teacher. It was a treat to watch when he would deliver his lecture on Shakespeare and his dramas.
He would be totally absorbed and it would appear to us that we were literally drawn to the era of Shakespeare. But today he was our tour organizer and was briefing us on the day’s programme:
“We have a fantastic programme for you today. Pakistan navy is conducting its naval exercises. We had coordinated with them and had asked them to allow our young cadets to witness these exercises. They have acceded to our request for which we are grateful to them.”
Pak Navy Ships
This was exciting news for us that we will sail for the first time in open sea today. As we reached naval dockyard in west wharf of Karachi harbour, we saw two navy ships PNS Babar and PNS Badar, at the berths. We boarded PNS Babar which was the biggest ship in naval fleet at that time.
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PNS Babar Pak Navy
As the anchors were lifted and we started our journey, one of the crew members took us round the ship. He showed us the rooms which were temporarily allotted to us. While we were being escorted and shown various sections of the ship, the sailors warmly greeted their young visitors and this was a rare sight for them also. It was a fun-filled adventure of sailing on a ship for the first time in our life.
Pak Navy Practice
As we approached deep sea, guns of the ship opened fire and the entire ship started rolling like a tiny boat in troubled waters. We were told that exercises had begun in which they were given some dummy targets in deep sea which were to be hit. This exercise continued for some time and each time the ship would open fire, our friends would scream, some of them in excitement and some of them in fear.
PNS Badar Pak Navy
In their next exercise we saw another ship coming close to us. This was PNS Badar which had sailed from dockyard along with us. Both ships came parallel to each other. Our ship fired a shot and we saw that through this fire a heavy manila rope was sent across to the other ship and both the ships were now connected through this rope. As a next step they started transferring people and cargo from one ship to the other. They told us that in the event of war if one of the ships needed cargo or people or ammunition, they could transfer it without going to harbour and without wasting any time.
I was watching all this with keen interest when I noticed that I was the only cadet of our group at the deck. I enquired as to where had my friends gone. They told me that they had caught seasickness and were in the rooms which were allotted to us.
“What is seasickness?” I asked, as my friends were hale and hearty a short while ago.
Decision to join or quit Pak Navy
I was told that when a ship rolls up and down and sideways due to waves and current of sea, some people cannot withstand it and start vomiting.
“Oh my God! I must go and help my friends”. I muttered to myself.
The moment I entered the room, I noticed typical pungent smell and the sight of my friends having plastic bottles in front of them and vomiting. This was unbearable for me. Here I go. And then I vomited and vomited until I couldn’t do any more. I fainted and fell unconscious, didn’t know how long I had been sleeping but when I woke up, I found the room empty. I hurriedly washed myself and went to the deck only to see that it was almost sunset time and we were heading back to harbour. At this time my only desire was to lay my feet on ground. The day was blissfully over. We were now going back to Karsaz in our yellow college bus, and I was engrossed in my thoughts:
“Never again. I won’t be comfortable in navy”.
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