Bashir Ahmad Vistro, 50/Ayub

Capt. Bashir A. Vistro

By Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui, 671/Latif

Bashir Ahmad Vistro, kit no. 50/Ayub House joined Cadet College Petaro in 1958 and left the college in 1964 after completing his Intermediate.

He was born on 24 October 1945, and was married to Mrs. Naseem on 10 September 1971. They have four children (Samir, Afshan, Zameer and Ayesha). He now lives in Karachi.

Bashir Vistro Bhai has been one of the most active members of the Petarian Association Managing Committee over the years. He has been a beacon of light for the Association.

 

He was the Captain of the Ayub House Boxing team at Petaro.

He joined the Merchant Navy soon after passing out from Petaro. He joined the Pakistan Mercantile Marine Academy, Juldia, Chittagong in 1964. Subsequently, he acquired an MSc in Fleet Management from the World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden in 1985. He is the first Pakistani graduate of this university.

In later years and became a Captain of the ships he sailed, with over 25 years of sailing experience. This includes command experience of 3 years. He has sailed on general cargo, passenger, tanker and container vessels of the Pakistan Mercantile Fleet. He also served as harbour pilot in Karachi Port Trust for three years. In his later years, he worked in a General Manager position with the PNSC, and then finally as senior instructor at the Pakistan Marine Academy.


Bashir Vistro in 1959

A Gnatís Challenge Must be Accepted

I joined Cadet College Petaro in 1962. The college was still in its nascent years, and the spirit of competition and challenge was at its height. The college management was keen to see a strong development of a character in sports and in academics.

The sport that encouraged individual challenge and personal character building was boxing. Unlike other sports where team effort is paramount, the boxer is all on his own.

Soon after I joined, I decided to take up the challenge, and took to boxing during the very first session in 1962. The trainers were good and so were the other young boxers. To my surprise, I found myself winning the bouts. I always thought that being small in size (I was rather slim and short then) would be a disadvantage. But very soon I got the hang of it, and the tricks of trade.

I was prepared to be a fighter. The day arrived when I was confident that I would be chosen to be a member of the Ayub House boxing team. I was rejected - for being underweight. My weight was less than the minimum required for the "Gnat Weight" class - the last category. Was I dejected! I could have cried.

There were many well-wishers amongst my seniors in Ayub House. They seemed to like my style and felt sure that I could win the Gnat Weight trophy. The greatest appreciation came from Bashir Vistro 50/A, who was the Ayub House Boxing Champion. Bashir used to watch me fight keenly every day, appreciating my style, zeal and agility. As the Captain of the house boxing team, he would make us practice regularly.

On the last day of the practice, the day before the championships were to be held, my seniors called ma and made a plan to get me into the ring. I was briefed by Ashiq Hussain Shah 203/A, Najmuddin Kazi 205, Afzal and my J.U.O. Masood Aziz to enter the ring and challenge everybody in my weight. The seniors would arrange to get me into the ring. They seemed to have the ear of Capt. Alam Jan Mahsud, the adjutant (now retired Lt. General).

As instructed, I walked into the ring on the night of the Championships without being called. Then there was an announcement, "Young cadet Najmi from Ayub House has a message for all of you!" The announcement was still echoing in my ears, when I found myself in the centre of the ring, facing the VIP enclosure where the Principal Col. Coombes, the Adjutant Capt. Alam Jan Mahsud and all the teachers were sitting and looking at this curious little boy standing before them. It must have been the encouraging smile on their faces that gave me the courage to raise my right arm, and I shouted with confidence, "I challenge all in my weight!"  There was a pin drop silence that followed, sending the shivers down my spine. I had never faced such a crowd before. A confusion crept into my mind. What should be my next move? Or was I feeling feverish?

The time passed and there was no response from the crowd. The seniors from Jinnah, Liaquat and Latif houses (there were only 4 houses in those days) got busy, trying to find some boxer in the Gnat weight to accept the challenger. The whispers and the suggestions of names got louder. But I could see no one coming forth.

I stood in the middle of the ring, wearing the boxing kit, boxing gloves, etc., bouncing around trying to scare any one who would dare to accept the challenge. Then there was an announcement. The referee declared me to be the winner, since no one had accepted the challenge. It was a clear walkover. As I crossed the ring ropes, Ashiq Hussain and Afzal lifted me on their shoulders in celebration. It was one of the most unforgettable moments of my life.

Later on I found out that Capt. Alam Jan Mahsud reprimanded seniors of the other houses for not finding a cadet who would accept the challenge. He always believed that a challenge must be accepted, even though one may lose. That is the sign of bravery and courage, which is the hallmark of the Armed Forces as well.