Mr. Muhammad Kaleemullah

Administrative Officer (1957-1994) and Bursar (1985-1992)

Mr. Muhammad Kaleemullah – 2007

By Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui, 671/Latif


Mr. Muhammad Kaleemullah was one of the earliest employees of Cadet College Petaro. He joined the college in 1957 at Mirpurkhas, and was the key right hand man of Col. Coombes. He continued to play this very important role as Administrator until his retirement in 1994. When the Bursar Sheikh Jamil Ahmed expired in 1985, Kaleem Sb took on the extra charge of Bursar and remained in that position until 1992.

He was born on 17 December 1934 and got married to Mrs. Naeem Fatima on 1 December 1962. They have five children – Khajista, Uzma, Zafar Kaleem (79132/Liaquat), Saima and Fahar Kaleem Siddiqui, kit no. 89148/Latif.

Kaleem Sb belongs originally to Hyderabad Deccan. He was born at Taluka Bhongir, District Nalgunda in Hyderabad. His father was a contractor there.

He started his primary school education at a government school in Ambadh, District Aurangabad and studied there until class 2. He then moved to Hyderabad city and studied at the City Model School Azampura in Classes 3 and 4, and at Government High School Sultan Bazaar in Classes 5 to 7. He then moved to Government High School in Chanchalguda, Hyderabad from where he completed his Matric in 1949.

He had a desire to become a doctor. So he completed his Intermediate with pre-medical subjects from City College, Afzalganj in Hyderabad in 1951. Soon after completing his Intermediate, he migrated to Pakistan along with his family in 1952, and ended up in Shahdadpur, Sindh.

With his desire to get into the medical field, he applied for admission to Liaquat Medical College at Jamshoro. He got the good news that he has been granted admission. When he went to pay the fees, he was told that his name was not in the list of successful candidates. Unfortunately, the son of some influential person was granted his position. Dejected, he moved to Karachi.

The following year, he decided to join Islamia College in Karachi in the field of commerce. He was required to sit for the Intermediate exam once again since he had changed his field. Thus, he completed I.Com. in 1955. He then went on to join the B.Com. program at the same college.

He was in the evening program for his B.Com. education. One day, a neighbour Mr. Abdul Jabbar asked him what does he do during the day time. Mr. Kaleem replied that he is free. The neighbour gave him a piece of mind and told him to take up a job so that he could gain experience. The young Kaleem was not in a mood to do so and thought it unwise.

A few days later, Mr. Abdul Jabbar asked Kaleem Sb if he had ever visited Gandhi Garden (the zoo) where there were some African lions brought recently. He had never heard of the place. So Mr. Abdul Jabbar offered to take him to the zoo the next morning. They left home and arrived at the office of Mr. Abdul Jabbar at the Education Dept. Mr. Jabbar got an application letter written for a job, and pretended this was an application for entering the zoo. The young Mr. Kaleem signed it dutifully. This application was presented to Mr. A.M. Nizamani, who was the Deputy Director at that time. He was called in an interviewed and tested for general knowledge, typing skills, letter writing, etc. He was selected and told to start the job. The whole day passed this way, and there was no zoo in sight. And Mr. Kaleem was thoroughly frustrated.

When he was about to leave at 4pm for home, he was told to get to office at 9am next day. When he said he was not interested in the job, he was told that he has no choice or else the department would send the police to get him. Thus, he started his first job as a Junior Clerk in the Education Department.

Within 8 months he was promoted to the rank of a Senior Clerk, and was quite a favourite of Mr. A.M. Nizamani, who would take him along on his official trips as well.

Mr. Nizamani had a desire to set up a cadet college in Sindh. After the One Unit was created in 1955 and Lahore became the capital of West Pakistan, Mr. Kaleem was on an official trip with Mr. Nizamani to the ministry at Lahore. He was then instructed to prepare a PC-1 for a cadet college. This was prepared and submitted for the 1955-56 budget. It was rejected. He was then asked to prepare it once again, and a revised PC-1 for Rs. 27 lacs was submitted for the 1956-57 budget. In order to follow it up, Kaleem Sb was deputed to go to Lahore. On 13 January 1957, he presented himself to the Minister, who approved it immediately.

When he came back with this success story to Karachi, Mr. Nizamani got him to go all over Sindh in search of a building where the college could be started within the same budget year and the money could be utilized. He travelled to many towns, but could not find a suitable building. Dejected, he was sitting at a station considering the possibility of returning, when an inquisitive person sitting next to him got talking. And he pointed out that there is a new building at Mirpurkhas that may be worth looking at. Mr. Kaleem dashed to Mirpurkhas and discovered the building that was nearing completion with a hostel. It was built as a Teacher Training College under the Colombo Plan Pact. The site engineer pointed him to the office of the Education Advisor in Bolton Market, Karachi, who was responsible for the building.

The next day, he accompanied Mr. Nizamani to Bolton Market where the Education Advisor – Mr. Syed Abdul Khaliq – kindly gave his consent to use the building on loan for the cadet college. All permissions were signed and approved, and the new Government Cadet College Mirpurkhas was born.

The next few months were hectic to say the least. Everything had to be prepared for the college. And all the tasks for coordination of work were given to the young Mr. Kaleem who was a trusted lieutenant of Mr. Nizamani. Right from printing the prospectus to arranging for furniture, utensils, books, hiring staff, etc fell on his shoulders. But he had no experience for such a huge task. On request of the Department, Sqn.Ldr.(R) Nisar Ali Baig who was the Vice Principal of Cadet College Hasan Abdal was deputed for a period of 2 months to help in all the set up and arrangements. Kaleem Sb was attached to him throughout this period.

All departments were very helpful in making arrangements. The Treasury Officer Baloch in particular ensured that the funds were released for all the purchases and expenses.

Advertisements were given in newspapers to attract students. But parents were highly skeptical. Many of them thought that this was some kind of a trap to get the Sindhis from rural areas to join the armed forces and then get killed in battles. Kaleem Sb would go from door to door at offices to encourage government officers and parents to send their children to this college, and to gain their confidence. It was a very tough job of convincing. No one was willing to fill up the application forms. Even a person like the Sessions Judge Laghari was initially very rude with Kaleem, but later relented when he sent his son Khalid Laghari to be part of the first batch. With great efforts, they finally got 30 cadets to sign up, and the college came into being on 27 August 1957.

Mr. Hasnain was appointed the In Charge Principal (Acting). He was brought from Shikarpur. Since Mr. Kaleem had been involved in the entire set up right from its inception, Mr. Hasnain requested Mr. Nizamani to transfer him to the college on a permanent basis. Mr. Kaleem was reluctant to join, but the orders were issued and he was appointed the Caretaker of the college on 6 September 1957, barely 10 days after the college started to function. He was responsible for the assets of the college, its security, cleanliness, etc.

When Col. Coombes joined the college as Principal in 1958, Mr. Kaleem was given the additional responsiblities of office work.

In the meantime, the government had issued orders to construct the permanent campus for the college. Although there were offers to build the campus at Mirpurkhas, the late G.M. Syed put pressure on the Minister of Defence Mr. Ayub Khuhro to have it located in District Dadu which was a backward area. Thus, Petaro was selected as a location.

The main architect for the campus was Mr. Goldthorp who was the Chief Architect at PWD. He was assisted by Mr. Nooruddin, Architect. The campus was funded and constructed by the PWD. Mr. Kaleem was deputed as the college representative, and he would have to travel to Petaro every couple of weeks to monitor the progress of construction.

In June 1959, while Col. Coombes was in the UK for holidays, he sent instructions to Mr. Kaleem to make arrangements to shift the college to Petaro. Thus, the responsibility was on his shoulders once again.

A year later, the Colonel decided to appoint a Head Clerk for the college. The position was advertised in the newspapers on all Pakistan basis. Mr. Kaleem was reluctant to apply for the job. But on insistence of some of the teachers at Petaro, he travelled to Lahore to be interviewed for the job. He was placed third. The successful candidate was Mr. Haq Nawaz who joined the college and left 3 months later being disgusted with the conditions at the college. The second candidate was summoned. He joined but was rounded up by police under warrant for a legal case a month later. Thus, Mr. Kaleem was appointed the Head Clerk in 1960.

During the period of Cdr. Firoz Shah, he was promoted to the rank of a Superintendent in 1967-68. His next promotion was to a Grade 16 officer during the period of Mr. S.S. Azimas principal, and as Grade 17 Officer with the rank of Administrative Officer during the period of Cdr. Shukruddin in 1975. During the 1980s, he was given a move over and promoted to Grade 18. He retired from service at Petaro in 1994.

Kaleemullah Sb moved to Karachi initially after his retirement. During the next few years, he kept on moving, although he spent most of his time at Karachi. Initially he was asked to move to Islamabad to work for the set up schools under the Naval Headquarters. He then moved to Hattar in 1995 to work as factory Manager for Cdre. S.I. Malik who owned a stone factory there. He did not last for more than a few months due to his son’s insistence. Thus, he moved back to Karachi and set up his own marble business.

In the year 2001, he joined Cadet College Sanghar as the Administrative Officer. He served that college for a decade and was retired from there in 2011. He was awarded the Best Officer Award in 2010 at Sanghar.

He now leads a retired life in Karachi.

Kaleemullah Sahib has been a regular visitor to Petaro as well. He was present at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Cadet College Petaro on 24 February 2007 at Petaro. His speech is worth listening to. Please click here to listen to his words of wisdom.

Kaleemullah Sahib had also written an excellent article on Col. Coombes in which he has described so many of his experiences of the early days of Petaro.  Please click here to read his article.