Honouring the sons of the soil
Few people are blessed enough to serve the nation and this service is so utter that they do it at the cost of their life. The history of Pakistan is so enriched with the real life stories of such heroes who undoubtedly served the whole Nation. Since Independence, Pakistan and India were in contention over several issues, primarily on border disputes. Kashmir was and is the major divisive issue between both the nations. At that time there were other border disputes as well, most notably over the Rann of Kutch, a barren region in the Indian state of Gujarat.
Though the erstwhile princely state of Junagadh was integrated into India, its borders especially in the marshlands to the west were ambiguous. This gave rise to a dispute between Pakistan and India. On March 20 1965, and again in April 1965, fighting broke out between both countries in the Rann of Kutch. The month of September has so much to discuss. On September 6, 1965 early in the morning Indian army crossed the international borders of Pakistan.
It was a time when not just our brave soldiers but the whole nation was cast into the mould of a cohesive unit to defend the motherland and defeated the enemy and made them retrieving on all fronts. On September 6, the 15th Infantry Division of the Indian Army battled a massive counterattack by Pakistan near the west bank of the BRB Canal. A second attempt to cross over the BRB Canal was made through the bridge in the village of Barki, just east of Lahore by the Indian Army.
The largest engagement of the war has taken place in the Sialkot sector where 400 to 600 tanks square off in an inconclusive battle. Pakistan has hold India to a stalemate during the 17 days war and it was nothing short of a miracle brought about by the sheer bravery and an indomitable will of our fighting men and particularly our magnificent great Air force which was outnumbered five to one but scored an aerial victory by all accounts.
Pakistan Navy conducted Operation Dwarka on September 7, 1965 to relieve pressure on the fighting forces up north, and divert the attention of Indian Air Force from major cities in northern Pakistan. The Navy launched an attack on the Indian city of Dwarka to destroy a radar installation which was guiding Indian bombers. Pakistan Navy planned to launch the offensive with a fleet of seven naval vessels, which aimed to lure Indian ships at Mumbai into engaging these vessels, clearing the path for PNS Ghazi to attack important targets.
Within no time the defenders came out and wrote with their blood tales of matchless valour and commitment to protect the motherland. Names of capt Sarwar Shaheed, Major Aziz Bhatti Shaheed and Shafqat Baloch rose to the top in the people’s pantheon of heroes. The list soon grew with the addition of more heroes like Sarfaraz Rafiqui Shaheed, Cecil Chaudhry and M.M. Alam who shot down many planes in the air and on the ground.
The Lahore front was soon stabilised and quick victory was won in the Khem Karan sector. The Lahorites could not decide what they liked better, the spectacle of aerial dogfight in daytime or the roar of Rani (a heavy gun) at night. Soon afterwards the tank battle at Chawinda in the Sialkot sector caught the people’s imagination.
The battle was grim but the spirits were high. Poets offered soul lifting lyrics and Noor Jahan led a galaxy of singers to inspire soldiers and citizens alike. When it comes to valour, outstanding commitment to the mission, tactical brilliance, and courage, there was no shortage in 1965. Now after almost 54 years, India is again trying to escalate tensions in the region. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has revoked a decade’s old constitutionally provided limited autonomy for the two thirds part of the divided Muslim-majority territory occupied by India.
New Delhi also has since imposed curfew restrictions in IOK, deployed tens of thousands of additional troops there, cut off all communication and arrested thousands of people, including mainstream Kashmiri politicians and activists. Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s speech on the defence and martyrs day truly depicts the sentiment of every Pakistani.
He categorically reveled that Jammu & Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the completion of Pakistan and it will remain so until the outstanding dispute is resolved in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiri people. Indeed the sacrifices of our martyrs will not go in vain.
Writer is the Assistant Editor ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’, ‘The Asian Telegraph’ & Project Coordinator (COPAIR); a degree holder in
communication & media sciences.