Being compiled by Lt Col (R) Rashid Zia Cheema (2nd SSC)
Editor’s Note: This Post is under compilation. Retired officers are requested to send their ISSB photos (showing Chest Number) to the Editor at: email@example.com
In Pakistan ISSB is performing the important role of selecting future leadership for defence forces of Pakistan. In order to determine suitability for commission in Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force, tests and interviews of candidates are held for four days at ISSB Kohat / Gujranwala / Malir / Quetta Cantonments.
The present selection system for defence forces of Pakistan owes its origin to World War II. Before World War II the selection of officers in the British Army was based on recommendations from Commanding Officers, interviews and written examination. During World War II, in 1942, War Office Selection Board was established. These selection boards composed of a president, psychologist and a military testing officer. The board conducted two to three days examinations and only selected the best suitable candidates.
In February 1943, the British established first such board in India after bringing some changes according to local environment. At the time of Partition two such boards came to the share of Pakistan and started functioning at Rawalpindi. In 1952, the two boards were amalgamated into what we now call as Inter Services Selection Board, commonly known as ISSB and it was established at Kohat. Later with the increase in induction in Pakistan defence forces, two ISSB detachments were opened in Gujranwala and Malir in 1984 and 1987 respectively. To encourage candidates appearing from Balochistan a mobile detachment was also established for Quetta in 1999.
I went to ISSB Kohat, soon after my FSc exams somewhere in mid 1972, I do not remember the dates. I found it to be a thrilling experience where you made new friends. In my batch there were a few whom I distinctly remember and others who have faded away in my memory.
We underwent written tests, group discussions, psychological evaluations and individual as well as group activities involving problem solving, physical fitness, etc. It was really an all-encompassing experience, which left me much wiser and confident. One of my group mates was Ayyaz Saleem Rana, who eventually won the coveted Sword of Honour from our course, the 50th Long Course. He was extremely fit and confident at that time too and we could see him tossing away heavy logs and drums to solve the group tasks.
The final day is the zenith of expectations as you see everyone anxiously awaiting the results. Some of the dejected ones who are not selected, console themselves by saying,’ I was not selected being over intelligent for the Armed Forces’.
Waqar Ahmad Kingravi
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