By Amjad Iqbal
Established in 1952 by Ayub Khan, the Hassanabdal Cadet College was the first quasi-military boarding school of its kind in Pakistan.
The first principal of the college was Hugh Catchpole, a British educationist from the Rashtriya Indian Military College in Dehradun who was eventually buried on the college premises. The two principals who followed Catchpole, A.W.E. Winlaw and Lt Col J.D.H. Chapman, were also British.
The college was built in the colonial style in red brick, and the campus includes horse-riding, swimming and athletics facilities.
Catchpole gave the institutional a remarkable start, which was carried out by successive generations of principals, teachers and Abdalians – the term for the college’s alumni.
The college prepares cadets from the Secondary School Certificate and Higher Secondary School Certificate examinations, as well as O Level examinations. Students from the college often secure the top positions in the Rawalpindi board examination.
According to the college principal, retired Maj Gen Najeeb Tariq, there are currently 520 caders enrolled at the college who are selected in batches of around 110 in the eighth grade after qualifying in the examination.