Military Jackets in 1977; a Fashion or Requirement?

By Lt Col Masood Alam (retd), 2nd SSC

Lt Col Masood Alam

Lt Col Masood Alam

Editor’s Note: Lt Col Masood Alam (Retd) is from Air Defence.  After the retirement, he has settled in Karachi.

When I joined 41 HAA Regt in July 1972, promotion examinations were not taken seriously. Passing of examination was also no hurdle in promotion. In those days I remember there were some Majors on very important appointments who, not to talk about Capt to Maj promotion exam, had not even passed Lt to Capt promotion exam.

During winters of 1977, GHQ ordered that all those officers who have not cleared their promotion exam must revert back to the rank which they are eligible for. Dead line was given many times before but never implemented, but this time GHQ meant business. I remember many Majors/Capts who were on the appointments of GSO-2 and GSO-3 were made Lt and returned to their units.

Military jacketThe demotion order came in winters and thus lots of jackets were sold. A large number of affected officers were seen wearing jackets not due to cold weather but to hide their ranks as in those days badges of ranks were not displayed on the jacket. There were officers who used to put on their actual rank in unit while the demoted rank at home. It created a very funny situation. Their spouses and other relatives did not know about their demotion, though their batmen and office orderlies shared their secret. Thanks God no such officer was in our unit.

Editor: At that time American jackets were not available in the market, they flooded the market only after Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Officers mostly wore Korean jackets which had come for a trial and officers could buy them from COD on a nominal price.

Related Pages:
Army Jokes ( in Urdu/Punjabi)
Army Jokes  (in English)
Humour in Uniform
Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)

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  1. Arshad Ansari says:

    We had a very complicated case when one of our Battery Comd (25 Field Regt Arty) was demoted as Lt, we all the subalterns then got him cleared in Prom Exams….. the peculiar thing was that his wife was a Capt ( in AMC). He did not wear the uniform for the entire duration till he cleared the exams, coming to office or going to his home.

  2. Lt Col Kamran Gul Abdullah says:

    My issue was the other way round. Cleared all papers Lt to Capt in Sep 1974 at Multan. I was at Kohlu and had plenty of time to study. However, when I went to Quetta in Apr 1975 for the Spec to Arm (Part II) Exam, I could not clear. Same happened in Dec 75 at Mangla Cantt. Later I was told by the Board presidents in both cases that I was too young to be cleared because they were under pressure to clear the senior lot first (quota).
    I lost interest in this exam but some how cleared it in Sep 1976 with some pressure applied to avoid the embarrassment of demotion. This is how it goes in the Army.

    • Lt col Masood Alam(retd) says:

      Dear Kamran,
      Thanks for your comments. With all the hurdles you still managed not to wear the jacket by clearing the exam well in time. Regards

  3. Lt Col (Retd) Waseem Rashid says:

    Hi Sirs………Masood and Cheema (the Editor),
    Thanks for taking us down the memory lane. We did have some demotions in 89 LAA. Thanks for enlivening the nostalgia.
    It was nice reading comments of Gen Tahir Qazi in this Post and the memory drive drifted to GSC-22 (Gunnery Staff Course) at AD School Malir back in 1984. Passing through Col Cheema’s IP on a radar, ‘Super Fledermaus’, it culminated at a piece of humorous poetry by Col Cheema about Gen Qazi’s Toyota car in Final Dinner as ………….
    ” Wafadari bashart-e-ustawari hai. Jiss ko chareet lagi woh car to humari hai”.

    • Lt col Masood Alam(retd) says:

      Thanks Waseem for reading my article. Yes, I have written an exclusive story on GSC O/22 which is ready for up loading now that is up to our great editor to give permission for uploading. Regards

  4. Brig (R) Aslam Khan, 33 PMA says:

    Yes, very interesting re-capitulation. Many reverted back from EREs, Staff & instructional duties grew tall in the eyes of innocent juniors, especially ORs. When asked some demotees told yarns about their MARDAANA braveries without permission of seniors which led to the demotion – in the true spirit of military discipline. But, they have no regrets. Their stories ranged from “jumping into a well to save a young MUTYAR (village girl) at the peril of personal life (which Army rightly takes as Army property) to killing an Indian recce patrol on the way to Pakistan while the Indian GOVERNMENT stated that their patrol was yet in No Man’s land, etc”.

    The seniors acted as if they did not notice the demoted rank Slip Sheath that they wore before they entered the unit premises and pocketed them to reveal the previous ranks when going back home. In units where the seniors did not play ball, the demotees entered units in bush shirts and put on the uniform shirt placed in offices, etc. To ever-suspicious wives they explained in most serious tone “Its security, woman; security orders. Don’t you even know yet.” And when told that neighbour Major XYZ does not do so, the prompt retort was something like “I am different category which I am not allowed to discuss, Its security and Top Secret matters. So be a good Army girl and seal your mouth”, etc. Of course, Maj XYZ re-confirmed the statement of his neighbour.

    Good old days that are the true treasure of us veterans. Pak Army; great Army because of the great soldiers that constitute it.

    Thanks to all that help us re-live Army through this blog.

    • Lt col Masood Alam(retd) says:

      Thanks for finding time to read my write up. I am happy that I have managed to stir your memories of good old days. Regards

  5. Maj (R) Nadeem Ahmad (3rd SSC) says:

    Old soldiers raking up the past.
    What about those officers who had passed their exams on first attempt and their achievements were never recognized.
    To top it all, these officers (demoted) continued to hold their appointments even after demotions. Commanding officers senior to them at least in rank.
    I can see the humor but facts are facts.

  6. Gen (R) Tahir Mahmud Qazi says:

    Dear Masood,
    You really took us back in time. Actually this relaxation was due to 1971 War. As for officers, the promotion exam criterion was relaxed and for ORs, the promotion was being done under SPAO rather than Manual of Qualification. And you all remember that for Lt to Capt, there used to be only one paper and for Capt to Maj, three. For officers the orders came in perhaps 1977, but for JCOs and NCOs, it kept on lingering till 90s. By then these promotees had otherwise retired.

    • Lt col Masood Alam(retd) says:

      Dear Gen Qazi,
      Sir thanks for finding time to read and write comments on my write up. I am happy that I took you to the good old days. I am sure in future too you will comment on my write ups (as you did during my IP) it will be lot of encouragement for me. Regards.

  7. Lt Col Amir Afzal Khan (Retd), 40 PMA L/C says:

    Dear Masood,
    Nice article. I too remember this and thank you for dialing the past. Keep writing.

  8. Major (R) Munir Ahmed says:

    Dear Masood,
    Thank you so much for sharing an event, we all witnessed but never became victim of it as the rule was implemented in true letter & spirit at the time of our entry. I know Major Akram, officiating commanding officer of 23 Punjab Regt who was demoted as captain & was very embarrassing not only for him but for the whole unit as well.
    Please keep writing more anecdotes.

    • Lt col Masood Alam(retd) says:

      Thanks Munir for the good words. I am happy that you never required any jacket. Regards

  9. Maj (R) Khalid Saeed Shah says:

    Dear Masood,
    Well-done!! good article. Many thanks for sharing. Try to recollect good days spent at Arty Centre Attock as well.

  10. Lt Col Masood Alam (retd) says:

    Thanks all for reading my article and finding time to comment. It was a rare event in those days so I thought to share with you all. Please take it lightly and as a humor in uniform. Regards

  11. Maj (R) Muhammad Javaid-ul-Hussan says:

    Dear Masood,

    Thanks a lot for reminding all of us such a, not funny, but interesting event. I at least know a few officers one of them is a retired Brig, but as you said the action was the same, and I never saw this officer wearing jacket. At that time I was commanding Ord Coy of a Div at Sialkot and so many officers contacted me for Jackets and I helped them in this affair. Any how, congratulations to all officers who suffered this pain and now they retired after attaining a higher rank.

    • Lt col Masood Alam(retd) says:

      Dear Javaid,
      Thanks for the comments. It was nice to know that you provided jackets to the deserving officers and they must have been thankful to you for this act of social welfare. I remember I had lunch at your residence when you were in Sialkot, commanding the Ordnance Company. Regards

  12. Maj (R) Javed Yusuf says:

    Good article and nice remembrance of old good days!!

  13. Maj (R) Rehmat Elahi says:

    It was the embarrassed & awesome moment for our brother officers.

  14. Lt Col (R) Qadeer A Chaudhry says:

    Masood Jee,
    AoA. Well done, a good fact in homour. Keep it up.

  15. Azam Gill, France says:

    Thanks Masood Jee, for another fine and well-written piece about something unusual. I heard from a civilian friend that promotion exams and selection procedures have been streamlined, something for which Ashfaq Kiyani can take credit. At the end of the day, nothing is perfect. An officer who’s poor in the field can always mug up for a written exam, and for the orals, brush his teeth energetically, shave his face and slap on after-shave!

    • Lt col Masood Alam(retd) says:

      Thanks Gill for your comments. Very true observation regarding those who are very good in written work but don’t know what to do in the field/practicle. While it is the opposite in some case. Please read my write up “Officer who could not top Coy Comd Course”, it will confirm what you have written.

  16. Lt Col (R) Muhammad Arshad Meer says:

    What an interesting happening you have reminded. My 2IC was among the victims. We all youngsters helped him in promotion examinations afterwards. I was his invigilator.

  17. Maj (R) Amjid Quamber says:

    This is quite so. I was in Dera Bugti and came back to clear my Capt to Maj Promotion exam. Which I did much to the horror of many senior officers. It was a shock to many who were considered high and mighty to find they were unqualified .

    • Major(R) Nadeem Ahmad says:

      Very appropriate comment.

    • Lt col Masood Alam(retd) says:

      Well done Quamber you must be now smiling after remembering good old days and this is my mission to remind you all the good old days and spread smiles.

  18. Lt Col (R) Rashid Zia Cheema says:

    Dear Masood,
    Thanks for this article.
    I was in Avn when these demotions took place. At Dhamial Rawalpindi, a few Majs who had been demoted always wore flying coveralls to avoid the embarrassment, their COs were very cooperative and didn’t say them anything for wearing the coverall all the time.

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