Celebrating the Prowess of the Best Men of Our Country

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When in October 1947, a two-month old country with meager resources was confronted with a blitz and an evil plot, its military troops fought for her with utmost valor. An undeclared offense which was carried at midnight of 5/6 September 1965 on Lahore and Kasur Fronts was perfectly defended by the men at arms of the state. The conspiracy of 1971 was also dealt with absolute gallantry. Even this recent operation, Zarb e Azab which has been launched to eradicate terrorism from the country has made a breakthrough in achieving its goal and continues to do so. The best men of our country, that is, the military forces have every single time risen to the occasion and protected our beloved Pakistan.

The year 2015 is consequential to Pakistan. A lot of significant political, military, social and economical occurrences have taken place which will play a major role in shaping the future of this country and Asia. Along with all these happenings, Pakistan is celebrating its golden jubilee of the remarkable performance of its armed forces in the battle of 1965 against India. Among all the other battles which Pakistan has fought against India, this one holds a special place in history. The extraordinaire element of this war was that it was an undeclared and unprovoked attack from India who possessed better military equipment and vast forces. In spite of these advantages India failed in its plans and our soldiers protected our motherland. The biggest tank war after World War II was fought at Chawinda Front. Pakistan Air Force Pilot, Squadron Leader M.M. Alam made an unbeaten world record by shooting down five Indian Air Force attacking Hunter aircrafts in a single sortie in his F-86 Sabre.

A series of scuffles that occurred between April 1965 and September 1965 between the two rival neighbours led to the second Indo-Pak war of 1965 which is also known as Second Kashmir War. On August 15, 1965, Indian forces crossed the ceasefire line without any formal declaration and launched an attack on Pakistan administered Kashmir, marking an official beginning to the war. In the beginning, the Indian Army met with considerable success in the northern sector (Kashmir) but after few weeks when Pakistan strengthened its position and defended with equal vigour, it made up for its losses.

This war was mainly fought on land with substantial support from the air forces. India crossed the International Border on the Western front on 6th September; some officially claim this to be the beginning of the war. On September 6, the 15th Infantry Division of the Indian Army, under World War II veteran Major General Prasad battled a massive counterattack by our jawans near the west bank of the Ichhogil Canal (BRB Canal), which was a de facto border of India and Pakistan. The General’s entourage itself was ambushed and he was forced to abandon and flee his vehicle.

The same day, a counter offensive consisting of an armored division and infantry division supported by Pakistan Air Force Sabres rained down on the Indian 15th Division forcing it to withdraw to its starting point. India’s 1st Armored Division, labeled as the “pride of the Indian Army”, launched an offensive towards Sialkot. The Division divided itself into two prongs and came under heavy Pakistani tank fire at Taroah and was forced to withdraw.

The war was heading for a stalemate, with both nations holding territory of the other. India, in this battle lost 3000 men, 175 tanks, 60-75 aircrafts and 545 Km of land to Pakistan. While Pakistan incurred the loss of 3800 valuable soldiers, 20 aircrafts, 200 tanks and 1840 Km of land to India.

India approached United Nations for a ceasefire so on 22nd September the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that called for an unconditional ceasefire from both nations. After six weeks of bloodshed and destruction, the war ended on 23rd September 1965. The Soviet Union, led by Premier Alexey Kosygin, brokered a ceasefire in Tashkent, where Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan signed an agreement to withdraw their forces from the territory occupied during this war.

As a result of impeccable bravery, a couple of awards were conferred upon the most gallant soldiers. Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed was honoured with the highest military award; Nishan e Haider. The famous Flight Lieutenant Yousaf Ali Khan, who brought back the damaged Sabre home, was awarded with Sitara i Jurat along with Lieutenant Colonel Naseer Ullah Babar who by mistake landed at an Indian post and captured more than 50 Indian soldiers. Squadron Leader Sarfaraz Ahmed was awarded both, Sitara i Jurat and Hilal e Jurat for his relentless courage and leadership during the war.

In these changing times, warfare has also been revolutionized. Now, in order to cripple a state, terrorism is induced in it. Our army, which comes in the top ten armies of the world launched an operation in June 2014 to uproot terrorism and eliminate anti-state activities. This operation, which was conducted in South Waziristan and some parts of North Waziristan is named after Prophet Muhammed’s (P.B.U.H) sword; Zarb e Azab. This military operation is in its final stages and has up till now killed over 3000 terrorists, destroyed their bases, distorted their communication and has yielded 18,087 weapons including heavy machine guns, light machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers and AK-47s. Its activities are still going on in Shawwal Valley and are expected to end by the end of this year.

India has endeavored to harm this country in every possible way, be it traditional warfare, annexation or instigating internal unrest through planned terrorism in the country. But every single time our men in uniforms have guarded our homeland. Rangers, a paramilitary force is carrying out its operation in Karachi which is plagued by extreme crime and corruption. They have been quite successful in their mission and have curbed terrorism of a greater magnitude. It is also alleged that India is also involved in Karachi’s unrest. In short, India is our ultimate enemy and doesn’t seem to stop and what these Indians don’t get through their thick skulls is that we Pakistanis will also not stop defending it. Bring it on!

This homage is not only for the martyrs of 1965’s war or the participants of Zarb e Azab but for all men at arms who in spite of multiple hurdles and draw backs have protected our country and continue to do so. Sometimes people, who live in the comfort of their houses fail to understand the heavy sacrifices which these men give so at different occasions we celebrate their bravery. May Allah bless Pakistan with these kind of soldiers forever and protect Pakistan from the evil clutches of our enemies. (Ameen)

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Zahabia is an aspiring journalist pursuing a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi. She tweets @zkmotorwala and can be reached at zahabiakhuzema@gmail.com

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