6 Sept, day of celebration and reckoning

1999

Tariq Khalil
THE night was dark but September breeze was refreshing at mid night. Whole day we were hauling our equipment to Kasur area, where we were expected to deploy. I thought to have a short nap before sun light. Suddenly all hell was broken and we found deafening sound of gun fire from Badian border, which was nearest to us. Since Rann of Kachh battles the army remained on alert. War with India had begun. I asked my battery Subedar to disperse the troops and meanwhile I rushed to Kasur Railway Station to find out status of my guns (155 Heavies). It was night of 5/6 Sep 1965. In the morning President Ayub addressed the nation. By next day we were in offensive in Khaim Kiran Sector moving toward Amritsar. X Ray Force (Later converted to 11Div)under General Hameed in defensive , Pakistan’s solitary Armoured Division captured Khaim Kiran and was moving ahead of Voltoa, a village short of Amritsar.
Reportedly, there was complete confusion in Indian High Command. Meanwhile we destroyed Ferozpore Indian Radar by long range artillery. It was a unique operation, we took long range guns to zero point near Qaiser Hind Tower and destroyed the radar. Indians did not expect this and hence PAF had complete supremacy in this sector. This was acknowledged in a special communique . It was that fearing fall of Amritsar , India attacked with its Armoured Division in Sialkot Sector. As Pakistan had limited resources, our advance to wards Amritsar had to be halted and Armoured Division was moved to Sialkot Sector, which witnessed greatest battles since WW 2. Meanwhile, attack on Lahore was stalled where Pakistan Army displaced exemplary courage. It was the site where extreme acts of bravery were displayed. The nation displayed patriotism unparalleled. Karachi to Peshawar nation was one never seen before and after. It was a war which has many critics positive and negative. But a close examination , Pakistan stopped Indian army five time larger in its designs to capture Lahore. Their assault at Sialkot was thwarted.
We had failures , like Chamb operation was halted by Indians. The greater loss was emergence of alienation among East Pakistan . The strategy , defence of East Pakistan lay in offensive in the West proved faulty. There were small actions on the border of East Pakistan. But it exposed the vulnerability of that part of Pakistan. Bengalis felt betrayed. They became victim of subversion by India who quickly assessed the weakness in Pakistan’s strategy. I was in that part early 1970 and felt the feeling of not only people but amongst Bengali officers. Soon Indian-hatched Agartala Conspiracy was unearthed. Mujib ur Rahman along with other suspects was arrested and trial commenced . Our short sighted politicians forced Mujib be released . And , that was the beginning of the end. RAW was established in 1968 and first task given to this organisation by Indra was to create subversion in the rank and file of East Pakistan, within two years RAW successfully accomplished this task. And rest is history. Thus the war started on 6 Sep , technically never ended rather it gave birth to another war with India which is till continuing. Let there be no doubt with annexation of India-occupied Kashmir , Pakistan is at war , a hot war. The spectrum continued to expand and Pakistan remained hot bed of Indian intrigues . They were successful in creating hundreds of sleeping cells in west , now Pakistan . They used every lever , religious, ethnic , economic and political fault lines. Indian political leader ship publicly boasted to break Pakistan. Bereft of lIndian grand designs our politicians continued policy of appeasement resulting in to s Indian narrative to snatch back Azad Kashmir.
As we are celebrating this momentous day, since then , the nation has crossed many a catastrophe , loss of East Pakistan , Afghan crisis of eighties , influx of over 4 million refugees, above all menace of terrorism at the hands of TTP, created and funded by RAW again . The nation was corrupted to core a la Ajit Doval doctrine, fracture it from within. Never the less , having crossed river of blood, sacrificing over hundred thousand both from the forces , security agencies and civilian , the nation showed extreme resilience. Defeated the dragon of terrorism . The nation has woken up and altered the status quo and army is battle hardened. But many a bridges have to be crossed, India has thrown new challenge, Kashmir is burning again, Daesh is perpetuating terrorism again funded by RAW. Regional tensions are engulfing Pakistan. Great game is being played in a different and treacherous form. This momentous day once again demand unity faith and discipline. Every one of us from a common man to every segment in Pakistan’s polity has to rise once again to defeat the enemy that is not tired of taunting Pakistan’s internal fissures. The answer in unison. We are not a small nation. Remember our ancestors ruled India though in minority.
—The writer, a retired Brigadier, is decorated veteran of 65 & 71 wars and a defence analyst based in Lahore.