Analysis of three Indo-Pak wars
When these wars were fought they were supported by the public opinion as national wars. The first Kashmir war in 1948 was counted as a just action against Indian intervention in Kashmir. Similarly, public support to 1965 war was seldom equaled in modern history by any military action except the Vietnam war, although Pak war with India lasted a few days.. The other view which emerged several years later was critical of use of military means, it was futile because Pakistan was militarily weak vis-à-vis India.
In the Third war on Bangla Desh, Pakistan slipped into a war by circumstances created by Indian military support to Bangla Desh movement and their use of Awami League in this regard. Wiser after the disaster, many claimed that the handling of the B D Crisis by Pakistan was wrong True It was certainly a political blunder to go to use military means instead of going for a political decision in dealing with the Bangla Desh issue. But when the military action was taken important political leaders viewed the use of military action as saving Pakistan..
Analysis of such vital decisions can best be done long after the events. The following account will show that in 1948 Kashmir situation the country’s political leadership headed by Liaquat and military command were too late in deciding the use of force against Indian attempt to grab Kashmir , perhaps thinking that UN would stop Indian aggression whereas the public sentiments were for immediate counter-action and a group of military officers who took military action on their own , did realize what was coming . In chaotic conditions and turmoil following creation of Pakistan in 1948 State structure had yet to know how to del with such emergencies. British Officers were dominant in the GHQ. It is said that the British Cin C of Pak Army had refused to obey Q-i-Azam to send troops to Kashmir saying that he will do so if such orders were endorsed by F M Auchenlake, Supreme Commander in Delhi . Perhaps Liaquat considered UN a kind of law enforcement agency where all cases were decided on merits. The points remain: Why Pakistan’s political and military leadership did not intervene in Kashmir immediately when India did, and why they accepted a Cease Fire without pushing India to a more satisfactory position?
Let me add some personal reminiscences of the Kashmir war in 1948. As a youngman in Lahore living as a temporary guest with my brother in law, late Colonel ( at that time Major} Sardar Mohammed Aslam Khan of FF Rifles, a Pakhtun from Abbotabad , then 30. serving as a GSO1 in the so-called Lahore Division under another Pakhtun then Brigadier ( later Major General ) Akbar Khan . Lahore then hardly had a Brigade outlandishly called “Division”. It was headed by a Brigadier who had a couple of staff officers , a Lt.Col, and a few majors and captains in the Divisional Headquarter . Yet one should have seen their confidence in themselves. They felt as if they were successors of Ahmed Shah Abdali, Shahbuddin Ghori, Ghaznavi , Babur. I was then 22 ran and had first arrived with the family from Delhi to Karachi . I left Karachi for Lahore and temporarily stayed at 107,St John’s Park, with my elder sister. Lahore was a beautiful enchanting city, and had some of the aura of Muslim history that my former home Delhi had. Since then my love for Lahore has been somewhat like love for Delhi that silent witness to the thousand year old Muslim grandeur. I was at Aslam Khan’s house when the Kashmir conflict began . There was cry for Jihad in Kashmir.
As for the 1965 India-Pak War, I was in Japan in 65 My Ambassador was Lt. General K M Shaikh, who had been one of the four General who joined Ayub’s Coup in Sept 1958. Some ideas on how to solve Kashmir Dispute were being floated in those days. Some days before the clashes in Occupied Kashmir, President Ayub Khan through a personal letter called General Shaikh. to Pakistan . It was said that some senior officers who were retired recently were also recalled to be available to take over command in the field if required. As D C M I took over the Embassy from General Shaikh.He remained In Pakistan till 16 September. About 17t September he returned to Tokyo via Afghanistan-Paris- Soviet Union . We all anxiously went to receive him at the Air Port to learn from him what was the situation in Pakistan. Immediately on arrival I asked him how war was going on, because the Japanese press had reported that Ayub Khan had offered Cease Fire to India and differences had arisen between President Ayub and Foreign Minister Bhutto. General Shaikh parried to answer me and only said tomorrow, tomorrow in the Office. General Shaikh confirmed the reports in the press and said that Ayub Khan had secluded himself in his residence and was not seeing any one. What he told me is giving on page 131 of my book Diplomats and Diplomacy: Story of an Era” published in 1986. General Abdul Ali Malik was a Brigadier Commanding the famous Chawinda Front, where the decisive tank battle took place when the Indians badly beaten, turned away , gave up the idea of cutting Punjab into two on which he was awarded Hilal-i-Juraat . Indian General had announced on his surruptitous assault on Lahore that he would celebrate his capture of Lahore in Lahore Gymkhana the same evening . General Sarfraz Malik was reported by American broadcasts as having died in the tank battle on Qusur front and his dead body was said to have been found in a tank. Then American broadcast denied the report much later.
Those who believed that accepting a UN Cease Fire in Jan 1949 and in 1965 wars was wrong because by then military initiative on the ground was going in Pakistan’s favor might or might not have been right but wars should not be fought for seeking UN intervention. Either one goes for it to achieve certain minimum objectives and unless those objectives are achieved no cease fire is agreed upon or one just should not opt for war. In those days India was hardly a military power. A war is no joke. In wars borders become fluid, cities fall but are regained. Fall of some city or the other should not bring the war to an end A war is a sum total of all battles.
The only other war in which Pakistan did wll militarily was on the Rann of Kutch. It was pure and simple a military matter. There was unanimity between all sides of leadership on the objectives, I should like to add a short note on the Asian Trophy Cricket games at Dhaka, Bangla Desh. It was a cricket match between the two country’s cricket team. Correctly speaking it was a draw and a victory by a very negligible margin. Not worth the great jubilation that was exhibited on it. Just a technical victory.