Indeed it was a complete victory — 06 Sept 1965
THE plans of Indian to capture Lahore by evening were thwarted by a handful of young officers’ deployed as screens on Wahga and Harikai Rd in Lahore sector. Major Aziz Bhatti was on Wahga Road and Capt Malik as observer. Screens are normally section strength just to report movement.
Over confident Indian advance columns when hit the odd crack officers deployed they got suspicious thinking there is a trap ahead by Pakistan forces. They halted the advance for a short while. This proved fatal for Indians as Pakistan’s 10 Division quickly fanned out and deployed.
The artillery which was already getting in to positions struck with full might on Indian advancing columns and destroyed leading tanks creating complete chaos.
Capt Malik innocently hit the Indian Brigade Commander asking him what the hell they were up to. He was promptly taken prisoner. By then he had alerted the Regiment. At first light PAF struck in both advancing Indian formations and played hell with advancing columns.
The blow was so sudden and strong that Indian GOC had to abandon his jeep and save himself. The jeep is still resting in Pakistan Army museum. By morning all Pakistan India border was active with shelling and air strikes.
By then in Lahore sector Indians were halted at BRB Canal where they remained bogged down till the end of war.
On night 5/6 September heavy artillery was moved to Kasur Sector on getting warning about Indian moves. Vehicle columns moved by road but tanks and guns were moving by train to Kasur Railway Station.
Indian Air Force at first light on 6 Sep attacked Kasur Railway Station but PAF reacted and made them run away having lost a few aircraft. By now shelling was reported all along Pakistan and Kashmir front.
By evening my heavy guns were in place covering Ferozpore and Khem Kiran Sectors. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s advance in Chamb Sector got halted due to change of command and attack in Lahore Sector.
In the morning President Ayub addressing the nation declared war on India. He informed the nation about attack on Lahore. His address was to have electrifying effect. The entire nation rose as one solid rock.
There was complete unity in the nation. From students to elders all vowed to fight last man last bullet. Pakistan Air Force played hell with Indian Air Force and made history in the Air warfare.
Squadron Leader M M Alam made a record to hit six aircraft in one go, it is still unbeaten world over. Meanwhile Pakistan planned to attack India in the khem Kiran Sector with a view to attacking and capturing Amritsar. X Ray Force (later converted 11Div) was to provide base.
We moved heavy guns short of Rohi Drain to gain range. On the night of 7/8 September at first light Pakistan’s Armor struck on two axis, Badian Khem Kiran and Kasur Khem Kiran. Thus first tank battle on the soil of the subcontinent commenced.
Three Artillery formations, Artillery of First Amour Division (SP), X Ray Force artillery and Corp artillery, were assembled to open the front with one of the heaviest artillery offensives after World War-II.
Indian resistance was intense but spearhead captured area Khem Kiran and were moving toward Voltoa, a town just short of Amritsar.
The Indian high command was in total panic. They were to order to fall back East of River Bias. I moved my guns short of Khem Kiran . There was hell over in the skies as both Air Forces clashed.
Advance towards Amritsar was progressing as planned. Then Indians attacked back with their Armour in Skargarh Sialkot Sector. Pakistan scanty forces in the sector came under intense pressure.
Fear was, enemy may not capture Sialkot. Pakistan had no choice but to hold the advance on Amritsar and divert the Armor towards Sialkot being short of Armour and troops in that Sector.
It was gigantic task to move whole division in the shortest possible time. This was achieved with success. The fiercest and largest tank battles were fought in following days, known as battle of Chivindah.
In South Pakistan managed to capture large area up to Monabao. Meanwhile I had the honour to destroy Ferozpore Indian Radar with heavy gun fire by moving guns to zero lines plus. This gave complete supremacy to PAF. Pakistan thwarted all the Indian objectives and cease fire took place around 22 September.
The victory of Pakistan was unparalleled against an enemy five time bigger. The world acknowledged the mastery of Pakistan Artillery, professional edge of PAF, and unparalleled courage of young officers.
The nation was like a rock. The youth of Pakistan offered their services for the defence of motherland.
Even young girls were swarming to front line and they had to be stopped. Barring Radio, there was no media as it exist today.
Our singer and writers came up with splendid songs to warm the heart of the nation and soldiers alike. The negative impact was in East Pakistan.
They felt isolated and left out at the mercy of India. Had India had enough forces they would had easy run. Thus when RAW planned subversion in East they had easy success.
What happened later is history. We lost what we gained due to our immature, self serving politicians and flawed planning in 1971. The war of 1965 thus is still continuing in one form and the other.
—The writer is a veteran of 1965, 1971 wars decorated with SJ, SI (M) Gallantry.