My college was established in the year 1959. This was the second oldest cadet college after Hassan Abdal, and had started its education activities in Mirpur Khas in 1958 but due to inadequate land it was relocated at the present site of Petaro, which is spread over an area of 700 acres. This place is about 30 km from Hyderabad which is the second largest city of Sindh after Karachi. It was my happiest day of life when I entered through the gates of college in 1962, and was enrolled as a student, bearing Kit no 363.
This place would mean everything to me for the next five years for my education starting from class eight to class twelve. During those days there were two residential blocks each having two houses namely Jinnah house, Liaquat house, Ayub house and Latif house. I was placed in Latif house comprising dormitories, each dormitory accommodating twelve students.
Graduating in College
We were enjoying the grandeur of this place and were entranced in its beauty while we were being escorted to our new place of our residence. Normally it takes some time for a person to settle down at new place with unknown people, but for us it was an excitement coupled with curiosity of what else was there in store for us. All inmates in my dormitory were of same age and we intermingled and became friends in no time. The next day we were supplied with uniforms, sports kits and formal suites, ties and blazers for dining and formal occasions. We were also briefed about our daily schedule. This schedule was comprehensive starting from sunrise till going to bed at night. It was too hectic a schedule by any standard. Sunday was the only holiday which we cherished generously.
Liaquat Ali Jatoi
The senior cadets were very cooperative and helped us in taking us around the place and we were amazed at sporting facilities and recreational areas which would be available to us for the next five years. A couple of senior cadets were from my district and I had known them before joining Petaro. Liaquat Ali Jatoi, kit no 195, Jinnah house, was two years senior to me and belonged to my district Dadu. I had known his father Abdul Hamid Khan Jatoi, who was a friend of my father. My father and Abdul Hamid were class fellows and had studied together in government high school Mehar, a tehsil town of Dadu district.
Abdul Hamid Jatoi
Abdul Hamid Jatoi was a veteran and seasoned politician and unlike majority of politicians that we find in political arena, Mr. Jatoi was a man of principles who never bargained on the interests of common man for his personal gains. In general elections of 1970, which are considered as the most transparent elections of the country, Mr. Jatoi was elected as member of national Assembly on PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) ticket. Mr. Bhutto was the most powerful leader who would not tolerate any one in his party to act against his will. An issue of water distribution among the provinces was being discussed in the Assembly.
Bhutto was tilted towards the majority decision of Punjab. Mr. Jatoi thought that the proposed bill brought before the Assembly was against the interests of Sindh. In spite of sitting on the treasury benches, Mr. Jatoi opposed the move of government by saying that he cannot be a party to a bill which was likely to turn fertile agricultural land of Sindh into dry barren land. Mr. Jatoi’s principled stand invited the ire of Bhutto and he had to face persecutions of all kinds, but he didn’t give in and stood like a rock. Liaquat Jatoi picked up politics as his family trait and went on to become the chief minister of Sindh. While being the chief minister, I happened to meet Liaquat Jatoi once in a wedding party of our common friend. He warmly greeted me and said to me:
“Where have you been Razzaq? I have been thinking about you but you have never come to chief minister house to meet me”.
Responding to his query I told him:
“Indeed, I will love to come to you but you are a busy man and always surrounded by people. And I don’t want to be a reason to distract you from your hectic administrative assignments”.
Cadet Altaf Shaikh
I fall short of words when I have to describe cadet Altaf Shaikh, kit no 47, Liaquat house. He was part of first batch of students who had joined cadet college in 1958 when it was in Mirpur Khas. As a cadet four years senior to me, not only did he help me during my initial days in Petaro, he was in the forefront and available to all and sundry, for assistance and guidance. Altaf Shaikh had a knack of writing from his childhood and he used to write in our college magazine. Since he was fond of travelling and visiting new places, he chose the profession of shipping which would nourish his appetite and would take him round the world.
During his sailings to different ports and remote islands of the world, he would observe the culture, traditions and different aspects of various nationalities. His series of books are an encyclopedia for travelers. He has written hundreds of books in Sindhi most of which are travelogues. He has also published storybooks particularly relating to children. Many of his books have been translated into Urdu. I am grateful to him that he dedicated one of his storybooks to me. The title of the book is “jalpari jee agg kathi”, which if translated in English means” forecast of a mermaid”.
Tahmgha e Imtiaz
It is a mere coincidence that when we were studying together in Petaro, our would-be wives were also classmates and were studying together in government girls’ high school Dadu. His services for Sindh in particular and Pakistan in general, are far too many. In recognition of his extraordinary services, he was conferred with the prestigious national award of Tamgha e Imtiaz