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Glaring Memoirs of September 1965


By: Daily.pk

The Pakistani nation will celebrate 44th defence day of Pakistan on 6 September with great enthusiasm. The defence day marked the September 1965 war and the valiant defence put up by the armed forces against the Indian aggression. The day reminds us of the untold sacrifices rendered by armed forces while the nation showed unprecedented spirit of unity and determination to repulse the attack and safeguard the territorial integrity of the homeland.

India launched her ignominious, undeclared and blatant aggression on Pakistan on 6 September 1965. The invaders appear to have been under the impression that they would not meet much opposition in securing their objectives, including the city of Lahore. The confident and boastful promise, which General Choudhuri made to his officers that he would meet them at Lahore Gymkhana Club, was not fulfilled. The Indian forces faced severe retaliation from Pakistani forces, which stabilized the situation and gained complete control over it within hours of start of fighting.

The attack on West Pakistan was launched on a very wide front, from Sialkot to Kasur, to disperse Pakistani forces. But India failed to achieve its aim. On 12 September Patric Seale of the ‘Observer’, London, expressed a similar view by saying, “On the ground India has been driven to a stalemate. Seeking to disperse Pakistan’s smaller force she had dispersed her own. She has not made a single thrust in overwhelming strength on any sector of the front”.

Dhakarta Daily Mail of 11 September has described the battle on West Pakistan front in these words, “Pakistan forces have not only repulsed Indian attack at Wagah sector of Lahore front but have also penetrated into the Indian territory and have captured a number of Indian posts. Foreign correspondent based in India and Pakistan were more or less unanimous in their assessment, as revealed in their despatches and reports that the Indian offensive has failed to make any appreciable dent into Pakistan’s defense”. Similar views were published by Times of India on 16 September, “It is clear from the fury with which the enemy (Pakistan) is fighting on all fronts that it has not been easy for the Indian army to advance into Pakistan territory”. Times of India quoted two senior Indian Army Officers as saying, “Pakistan Army consists not of disorganized rabble but of professional soldiers”.

There were a lot of heroes, most recognized, many unsung, we remember them always particularly in September. Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed, Nishan-i-Haider, was martyred while defending the strategic BRB canal when an enemy tank shell hit him on 10 September 1965. Squadron Leader Mohammad Mahmood Alam on 6 September shot down two enemy Hunter aircrafts and damaged three others. On 7 September he destroyed five more enemy hunter aircrafts in less than a minute. For his exceptional flying skills and valour shown by him in aerial combats with the enemy he was awarded Sitara-i-Jurat. There are many other names such as Squadron Leader Sarfaraz Ahmed Rafiqui Shaheed, Flt Lt Yunus Hussain Shaheed who gave their lives while defending the country.

The invasion had an electrifying effect on the country. Completely unruffled, Pakistani people accepted India’s challenge defiantly, stood resolutely behind their armed forces and thus were a source of strength and inspiration for them. During the war hardly any social crime was reported from any part of the country. Similarly, the prices of the essential commodities came down. Thousands of people rushed to blood bank centers to donate blood for war wounded. It became difficult for the blood bank centers to store and preserves such large quantities of blood. The National Defence Fund was opened on the demand of public, who donated large sums of money within few weeks. The people of Lahore instead of running away from the city went to Wagah border with cooked food for the soldiers and hordes of displaced people who vacated the border areas. They also helped out the jawans by providing buckets of water to help the gunners to keep canon barrel cool.

Pakistani artists, poets, composers, painters and newspapermen, made an inspiring contribution to the war effort in their own way to keep the national morale at its peak. Radio Pakistan broadcasted patriotic songs in the voice of Noor Jehan, which prompted every soldier to fight harder.

The Civil Defence Organization worked around the clock, holding demonstrations and training classes for the people. These classes attracted a large number of volunteers.

The Pakistan Red Cross played a praiseworthy role throughout the war and after the cease-fire. It provided amenities to Pakistani troops. The West Pakistan branch of Red Cross was headed by Begum Viqar-un-Nisa Noon. Under her guidance, volunteers mostly women, spent plenty of their time in collecting, knitting and sewing clothes for the fighting men. People contributed blankets, clothes and other amenities in large quantities. These were collected and distributed by the Red Cross. All these activities were undertaken without any reward because those who took part in them were imbued with patriotism and selflessness.

Similarly, Pakistan Railways played an important role in the war by transporting men, stores, patrol, oil, lubricants, rations etc. Railway employees had worked under air attacks. All concerned in the Railway administration scrupulously maintained secrecy about troop’s movements and transportation of military hardware.

India was unable to withstand the patriotism of Pakistani forces and people and signed a ceasefire agreement with Pakistan after fighting only for 22 days. When the ceasefire came, Pakistan was in occupation of more Indian territory than the enemy had captured in Pakistan. Even Time magazine reported that “despite claims from both sides the awkward fact is Khem Karan is under Pakistan administration”. The Globe and Mail, Canada of 27 September said, “The Pakistanis still hold Khem Karan and an area around its six miles wide that extends three miles deep into Indian territory. This is apparently why civil servants in New Delhi were never told the story. They did not want to admit that Pakistan had gained a foothold in the Indian Punjab”. India suffered more casualties, the ratio between the two sides was, 1:3 against India. Pakistan captured more prisoners than India. In the Untold Story, Lieutenant General B.M. Kaul stated, “All I will say here is that we failed to defeat Pakistan -a smaller power than us- which we should have done”.

Pakistani nation will never forget the Shuhada (Martyrs) of 1965 who gave their lives while defending the motherland. There is need that Pakistani nation should exhibit the spirit of 6 September 1965 and make the country a progressive, enlightened and democratic Islamic welfare state, as envisaged by its founding fathers.

Written by: Mamoona Ali Kazmi

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