“Composure of Our Company Commander”

By Maj (R) Aziz-ur-Rehman (15 War Course)

Colonel Syed Riaz Hussain Jafri, SignalsMajor Aziz-ur-Rehman (15 War Course), Air DefenceEditor’s Note: Maj Aziz-ur-Rehman is from Air Def. After the retirement, he has settled in Rawalpindi.

Keeping the cadets abreast of the current affairs, along with the subjects of military training was an important aspect of the curriculum in PMA. During our stay in PMA, Pueblo Crisis cropped up in January 1968. One fine morning, the newspapers were rife with sensational news of cold war tensions between USA and North Korea on the Pueblo Crisis, the details of which had already been broadcast on the radio a day earlier. An US naval Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) ship ‘USS Pueblo’ was taken into custody by North Korean troops. Americans contended that the vessel was in international waters whereas, North Korean authorities claimed that it had strayed into Korean waters and was being used for espionage.

USS Pueblo, the American ship which sparked Pueblo Crisis

Our Company Commander, Maj (later Col) Riaz Jafri, Signals, also known as ‘Musical Jafri’ in some army circles, tried to know our views on likely turn of events on that crisis. Unfortunately, we were all blank. Not a single cadet had the slightest idea about the crisis. 

Maj Jafri was apparently shocked and highly perturbed on our attitude, being oblivious to such an important development. We anticipated that we were likely to go for a long haul. However, he in a slightly angry tone uncharacteristic of the instructors of PMA, admonishing and castigating us, that  betrayed his disgust with us, ordered us to leave the hall. He did not shout. 

He lit a cigarette and after finishing it, he commanded us to enter the hall and it was again the same Maj Jafri with his light-hearted style of addressing and imparting training on us. This had a lasting impact on us.

Related Page:
Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)

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  1. Lt Col Masood Alam (retd) says:

    Such stories should keep on coming from the members. It makes own days of PMA remember and makes one smile.
    Good remembrance.

  2. Maj Gen (Retd) Ovais Mushtaq says:

    Col Riaz Jafri is a great person. I knew him as CO 39 Sig Bn in FWO (though later when I mentioned it to him once, he didn’t recollect) but he was an epitome of a noble and upright officer and respected by everyone. His letters to editor on a variety of issues are still widely appreciated for some subtle that they carry.
    May he be blessed with health and long life. Aameen

  3. Maj Aziz,
    It’s a nice anecdote.
    We are curious to know why your Company Commander was known as ‘Musical Jafri’ in some army circles?
    This article is being forwarded to Col Riaz Jafri too.

  4. Tariq Masud says:

    Government of Pakistan should review its anti-smoking policy.

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