When Zia-ul Haq was punished in Shimla

Shimla : He was a Pakistani dictator feared by many, but there was a time when Zia-ul Haq found himself at the receiving end. The incident dates back to a time when he was a student in a school in Shimla , Himachal Pradesh .

The late president of Pakistan was imposed a fine of two annas for bunking school, now known as Government Boys Senior Secondary School in Lalpani, in the year 1939, says its principal.

“Zia was imposed a fine for bunking school April 3, 1939. At that time he was in Class 10 B,” school principal R.C. Rangra said .

He said there was no record whether Zia had paid the fine or not. Even his class teacher had no entry in this regard in the attendance register. “Just a tick was marked in front of the fine column.”

According to the school’s attendance register, Zia’s admission number was 2,442 and his roll number was 33 when he was in Class 10. At that time there were 38 students in the class.

“At that time the school was up to Class 10, this means he had passed the last class from this school,” Rangra added.

The register, however, mentions ‘grade first’ in front of Zia’s name. This means, the principal said, his overall performance in academic and extra-curricular activities was outstanding.

The school, which turned 164 Wednesday, has no other record of Zia, except the Class 10 attendance register.

Major (Retd) Sunder Lal Chauhan, the school’s National Cadet Corps instructor, said: “Zia asked for a school leaving certificate Oct 2, 1939. But a day later he was re-admitted to the school. It’s believed that earlier he was planning to quit the school. On Oct 4, he was given a new admission number (2,605) and roll number (36).”

According to him, the school was closed during break from Oct 8 to Oct 23 and Zia was on leave from Oct 24 to Nov 8, 1939. His attendance was 100 percent between May and August 1939. He took one leave and was marked absent once in September.

The school has been a prominent boys’ school in Shimla right from the day it opened Feb 29, 1848. Initially it was a primary school. It also boasts of alumni like former Supreme Court judge Justice D.P. Wadhwa.

At present, the school has over 1,100 students. It is affiliated to the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education and has senior secondary classes since 1986.

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