A complete victory | By Brig Tariq Khalil (R)

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A complete victory

IN the history of nations, war and peace are the cycles they endure to survive. Pakistan right from its inception was subject to wars more than once by the Indians.

Just two months after the independence, in October 1947, the Kashmir war broke out as the Maharaja of Kashmir deviating from his commitment to Jinnah, signed the accession agreement with Indian Congress at the behest of Patel.

Pakistan had no army but for few battalions, the share it had, at the time of the partition. These Battalions were dispersed within India and they were just getting reorganized to move to Pakistan.

The people of Kashmir themselves rose in revolt against Maharaja to gain independence from his clutches.

The valiant veterans who were free from the Second World War joined hands with the freedom fighters.

It was, when they were near Srinagar airport, Indian government rushed to United Nations for the cease fire.

Pakistan lost a golden opportunity to capture Srinagar airport and all area north of it.

The problem of Kashmir therefore continued to simmer till 1962 when China India war started.

That was another golden opportunity Pakistan lost to walk into Kashmir and regain its territory.

Again, American and Russian pressure prevailed and Pakistan was told not to take advantage of this situation.

USA promised that they will mediate to solve the Kashmir problem. After the war with China.

Americans did try mediation but it failed. The Kashmiris were being subjected to all sorts of torture and pressures.

Subsequently operation Gibraltar was planned to take advantage of unrest within Kashmir and if Pakistan could help Kashmiris attain their due rights.

The operation did not succeed the way it was planned but it created immense pressure on the Indian leadership who threatened Pakistan with the befitting response.

Earlier Indians were beaten in Run of Kutch dispute. Prime Minister of India Shastri threatened to attack Pakistan at the time and place of their own choosing.

September 6th was the day India selected for that attack with the strategic aim to capture Lahore.

It was planned by Indians to attack Lahore on two axis Wagah and Badian with plus two divisions and supported by maxim artillery and Air Force.

The attack commenced in the early hours of 6 Sept. Pakistan army was partially deployed both in Lahore and Kasur sectors.

The Indian aim was to encircle Lahore by D+1 and then expand the bridgehead for further attacks.

Pakistan Army’ timely response supported by maximum number of guns of artillery and Pakistan Air Force effectively managed to halt this advance East of BRB canal.

It was there that Indian remained stuck till the ceasefire on September the 20th.

On night7/8Pakistan launched its offensive with the aim to encircle the rear of the Indian attack in Lahore Sector and press towards Amritsar.

Having failed to defend themselves in Kasur sector where Pakistan’ advancing Columns had virtually reached in the suburbs of Voltha in the out skirts of Amritsar.

Indian riposte with the armoured division plus launched in Sialkot sector with tanks in lead. The battle ensued in Chowinda is termed one of the fieriest battles after the World War Two between the tank regiments.

Indian offensive efforts were made in Kashmir and in South sectors. Therefore, we can see that Pakistan army completely routed the aim of Indian army to capture Lahore and Sialkot, then expand its operation towards GT Road.

57years down the line there are some vested interests, part of the 5th generation who have been questioning what Pakistan’s army achieved in 1965, 1971and other operations like Kargil.

In this article, I will dwell on 1965war. Regrettably some politicians also fell prey to this propaganda and has been echoing the same against the army.

Indeed, a very sad affair. There is always a difference between the war and the battles. The Battles are won and lost within the ambit of war.

Every war is initiated with specific strategic aim. In the case of 1965 war, the strategic aim of the India was to capture Lahore and Sialkot by D + 2.

This aim was thoroughly defeated by the Pakistan defence forces. Though Pakistan Army was in much smaller number but had the backing of the people of Pakistan, better trained and had a superior motive to save home land.

Had India succeeded in this mission to captured Lahore and Sialkot map of subcontinent would have been entirely different.

The Muslims of India that include Pakistan India and Bangladesh would have become subservient to Hindu majority for times to come.

The valiant forces of Pakistan bravely defeated the advancing Indian offensive both in Lahore and Sialkot sector.

Pakistan on 8 September launched its offensive against Amritsar from Kasur Sector. I had the honour to provide artillery support of my heavy guns with the advancing Armoured columns moving toward Amritsar.

In spite of the shortage of the troops Pakistan army quickly captured Khem Kiran 10 mile inside the Indian territory and moved towards Voltha town and soon they were in the outskirts of Voltha.

They were on the verge of capturing the town when Indians attacked in Sialkot sector. The battle to capture Amritsar was a very ambitious plan of the Pakistan army and it was well executed but for two reasons we had to stop the offensive.

First, Indian attacked Sialkot sector with superior armoured force, Pakistan had no option but to stop that offensive and pull-out forces for Sialkot.

India could have cut GT road had they been successful. The Indian attack was launched in panic as Indian high command feared loss of Amritsar, Pakistan army crossing Bias River threatening strategic objectives short of Delhi.

Later it transpired that Indian army had virtually ordered the withdrawal of their forces on the home side of the river Bias.

It was the state of panic within Indian army high command. Naturally it had political ramifications. Having failed in been stalled in Lahore sector Indian army felt stuck.

There was a stalemate in the operations in these two sectors. Whereas Pakistan had gains in Chamb sector and also in Rajasthan.

By now the India was clear that they have already failed in the attainment of strategic objectives and they were amiable to international pressures.

There are two important aspects of this war, the role of Pakistan Artillery and Pakistani Air Force.

Both made spectacular gains against superior Indian artillery and IAF ensuring they do not succeed in their advances both in Lahore and Sialkot sectors.

International observers as well as military analysts lauded Pakistan artillery for their excellent performance during 1965.

In spite of the fact being lesser in numbers but for new strategy and professional approach they managed to bring superior fire on the advancing Indian columns forcing them not only to bog down but also inflict heavy casualties on Infantry and armour.

On night of8th September undersigned took a battery of 155 heavy guns across zero line in the thick of war opposite Firozpur to gain range for the artillery and destroyed Indian Air Force Radar located within the cantonment area.

This blinded the Indian Air Force and they disappeared from this sector. Pakistan Air Force then on had a complete sway in this area.

In the seas Pakistan Navy had spectacular successes against the Indian Navy while defending Karachi port area from the naval attacks.

To conclude I must say and I reiterate that that elements who are criticizing Pakistan Army after more than half a century on the performance on the sketchy information or with specific agenda need a check.

Pakistan had attained complete victory by completely nullifying and defeating India in its tactical and strategic objects.

Had India succeeded geo strategic map of subcontinent would have been altered for times to come. I have the honour be part of operations in this war with honours earned.

—The author, a retied Brigadier, is a decorated veteran of 1965 and 1971 wars and a senior defence analyst

 

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