Monthly Archives: February 2014

Deja vu

Published: February 25, 2014

The writer is a lawyer and author of the book A Comparative Analysis of Media and Media Laws in Pakistan. She tweets at @yasmeen_9

On February 18, 2014, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed a $183 million credit agreement. One dealt with the construction of a hydro-power project in Chitral, while the other pertained to the import of urea fertiliser from Saudi Arabia. This news was accompanied by another; that of Pakistan having decided to support Saudi Arabia in its demand to replace Bashar al Assad’s regime with an interim government. Interestingly, on the very same date, Iran issued a threat to Pakistan to send forces within its borders should it fail to rescue the five Iranian border guards abducted 10 days ago. Ten days ago? Whoa!

Enter Syria. Syria will determine the balance of Middle East politics. Syria holds a hugely important position for Iran. With Hezbollah, Iraq and Syria, Iran converges to form a religious school of thought. The US and Saudi Arabia are on the same page on this one, opposing Iran. Vali Nasr in The Japan Times says, “Syria is now a proxy war, the outcome of which will determine the regional pecking order. In the Mideast, aura of power decides strategic advantage.” (Published June 8, 2013.)

Now enter Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai visited Iran in December 2013. Both countries agreed to sign a “pact of friendship and cooperation”. This comes on the heels of a security agreement, which both countries entered into in 2013 to further enhance security cooperation. Trade between them is healthy and is expected to grow further once the Chahbahar Port becomes operative for heavier traffic.

Moving too close to Saudi Arabia at a time when the US is on the eve of pulling out its combat forces from Afghanistan, with increasing Iranian and Indian interest in Afghanistan, unleashing of terror incidents in Pakistan and growing schismatic clashes, one wrong step can lead Pakistan into a more ferocious proxy war on its soil than so far witnessed.

Shopping for a sugar daddy, Pakistan needs to understand that its interests and those of the sugar daddy may converge on some levels and may diverge on others. A pragmatic evaluation of the long-term national interest of Pakistan needs to be made in the light of the changing geopolitical scenario. Pakistan alone should define Pakistan’s national interest. When lollipops are accepted from a sugar daddy, there is always a price to pay. Pakistan must strive to build a balanced foreign policy, not based on imbalances. Imbalances lead to skewed relationships. Skewed relationships lead to an inevitable mess and inevitable messes to bitterness and mistrust.

Pakistan and the US, too, have had a relationship marked with varying expectations from each other. The fact that the interests of both diverged on many levels was maybe never appreciated by either. “The relationship needs redefinition, based on recognition of divergent interests …” (Husain Haqqani writing in Magnificent Delusions page 350). Somehow, Pakistan seems to be ready to commit the same mistake all over again with a country, it hopes, may invest in its economy. How economic help can translate on the ground in a country fraught with terrorism, and severe power and gas shortages will be a challenge in itself. Not to forget the dangerously volatile and precarious nature of changing regional dynamics.

It is deja vu!

Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2014.

Cross post:


Pawns of terrorism

ArticleYAAYasmeen Aftab Ali

When proxies turn on their masters

 The Westgate mall siege in Nairobi taking lives of 72 people including six security personnel and five militants sharply brought to focus the rise of asymmetrical warfare. Al-Shabab joined Al-Qaeda in 2012 and laid claim to this attack.“Kenya’s foreign minister, Amina Mohamed, said that two or three Americans and one female British national were among the attackers.” (The GuardianSeptember 24, 2013) CNN says Al-Shabaab has over the past many years now had strong links within the United States. “Some fifteen Americans have died fighting for Al-Shabaab, as many as four of them as suicide bombers in Somalia, and an American citizen even took up a leadership role in the group.”

Terrorism is spreading globally using unconventional warfare. It transcends geographical borders, bringing on one platform people from different religions, different cultural backgrounds and targeting innocent people. NYT shares; a former Navy reservist killed at least 12 people in a mass shooting at a secure military facility in America. (September 16, 2013) The enormity of such actions cannot be ignored because it was carried out by individuals. Then there is the Ku Klux Clan.Believing in supremacy of the white, it’s a racist and anti-sematic movement. Founded in 1866, it is dubbed as America’s first terrorist group. Initially against the African-Americans, the group spread its base, with time enveloping others in its hate list.

Though most would agree upon certain acts to be part of terrorism, no single, internationally acceptable definition exists. According to the US Department of Defense terrorism is, “The calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.” Terrorists act outside the ambit of law; aimed to bring pressure upon the government. New causes result in emerging of new groups whose interests may overlap at some levels and diverge on others. The number of incidents of terrorism has increased over the years. Societies are becoming increasingly more desensitized towards these human tragedies. Media has a lot to answer in terms of playing a mentionable role in this desensitization by increasingly sensationalized reporting. Terrorists may feel they must enact bigger and increasingly more gruesome acts, in order to gain media attention.


“The trend of state sponsorship of terrorism aimed to retain supremacy locally, regionally or globally will continue. No amount of lip service to dealing with terrorism without governments deciding not to support it themselves will make any difference in the final analysis.”


Asymmetrical warfare is wedded to terrorism. Proxy wars are an example of asymmetrical war. Governments may use proxy wars, so can non-state actors. Proxy wars may be fought along with full-scale conflicts or more typically, during cold wars. An obvious example is of the Vietnam War from 1959 to mid-1975 between the US and its Western allies on one side and Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China on the other. A more recent example is the war between the Mujahedeen/Taliban and the Soviets in Afghanistan. The danger of creating a third force to fight a proxy war can never be undermined. The Frankenstein’s monster can develop a mind and will of its own, smashing the control in the hand of its creator.

Pakistan in recent years has become a hotbed of sectarian violence.Many elements play their part including economics, external interference and religious intolerance! There can be no political independence without economic independence. The cascading effects are devastating; creating wedges between different sects and religions, destabilizing a peaceful environment thereby damaging the economy, creating internal security threats and politicization of religion to name a few. The step-up in sectarian violence may also be due to the fact that many sectarian based organizations are allowed greater space to operate. Multiple explosions in Shama Cinema Peshawar, killing 11 and leaving 19 injured is a more recent act of terrorism.

Questions spring to mind. First, are pawns, in their simplicity being conned to fight each other and commit violence in the name of religion by their leaders – egging them on for vested interests? In many cases, particularly in the case of Taliban suicide bombers, they are indeed brainwashed into believing the righteousness of their deeds. Is this an extension of the proxy war as witnessed in Syria? Vali Nasr in Japan Times says, “Syria is now a proxy war, the outcome of which will determine the regional pecking order. In the Mideast, aura of power decides strategic advantage.” (Published June 8, 2013)

Terrorism once spreads base, takes years, nay, decades to control. Whether home grown or otherwise, it must be weeded out. Better sooner than later. The first tactic to curb terrorism is using force. Unfortunately, though this tactic may reduce the ability of a terrorist outfit to create greater havoc and orchestrate more killings, force alone may not work if the base of terrorism is laid beyond borders, with terrorist groups forging alliances backed by vested interests,receiving training and being funded to buy state-of-the-art weapons. Negotiations or “talks” with the terrorist outfits is another method of handling terrorism. Nations and people may deny talking to terrorists for crimes committed by them; however “back channel” talks may work in some situations. Britain had refused to negotiate with the Irish Republican Army. Once out of the public eye that places pressures on both parties and provokes them into greater rigidity of stances. Negotiations did take place, finally leading to the Good Friday Agreements, which were instrumental in eventually ending the terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland. The third tactic is engaging in international agreements. Organizations like the United Nations can play a positive role in bringing member nations together for better understanding and world peace. Kofi Annan says, “More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that is why we have the United Nations.” However, in order to achieve this objective, organizations entrusted with a role, must play a strongly independent oneand free from influences.

The trend of state sponsorship of terrorism aimed to retain supremacy locally, regionally or globally will continue. No amount of lip service to dealing with terrorism without governments deciding not to support it themselves will make any difference in the final analysis. Nick Turse commenting on America’s support for proxies, writing for The Nation International states, “Right now, the United States is once again training, advising, and conducting joint exercises all over the world with proxy war on its mind and the concept of “unintended consequences” nowhere in sight in Washington.” (August 9, 2012)

Brian Whitaker (The Guardian, May 7, 20o1) commenting upon what terrorism is, states wittingly “…It also points towards a simpler – and perhaps more honest – definition: terrorism is violence committed by those we disapprove of.”

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: and tweets at @yasmeen_9.

This is a cross post from:

Go Green Pakistan!

Black DPYasmeen Aftab Ali

When I was a child, I often heard my elders saying, “Do a good deed. A good deed is akin to planting a tree in heaven.” The elders are no more, the priorities have changed, and so have the slogans. Everything that is environment friendly, everything that involves the people in owning their country in form of steps that help them integrating as a nation has gone flying out of the window. In its stead are sectarian divides, attacks and criticisms between parties. When calls are given by parties for its supporters; it’s to protest against this or that. When was the last time they came together to do something positive for the country? Or for their province? Or even for the area representatives live in?

Yet there are so many meaningful ways each of us can contribute towards having our children more grounded to Pakistan and inculcate in them the desire to give rather than to take from their motherland.  Unfortunately our leaders are not investing in our biggest asset: our children. There is a lack of vision, a lack of sense of direction one observes at every level.

But then, I use the term leader. A leader influences people to work towards and achieve a certain goal. A leader does not work from the back benches. He (or she) leads from the front. Letting others follow his example.  The leader must also have the vision; to view an organization or his country at different year-benchmarks down the road. Jack Welch Chairman and CEO of General Electric for two decades talks about being a leader to be, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

Tree plantation is one such method of being productive on ground. Literally. According to a local newspaper the floods in 2010 and heavy rains of 2011 damaged thousands of trees.  An absorbing article by the Sunday Herald Scotland states, “If Pakistan’s authorities continued to allow the country’s timber mafia and a benighted and oppressed peasantry to strip the country’s forests at a faster rate than anywhere else in Asia, as is happening; floods of Biblical proportions would be inevitable. They would not be acts of God. They would be man-made catastrophes.” Published August 29, 2010 it goes on to say, “Trees felled by so-called illegal loggers – an infamous “timber mafia” that has representatives in the Pakistan Parliament in Islamabad and connections right to the top of government and the military – are stacked in the innumerable nullahs [steep narrow valleys], gorges and ravines leading into the main rivers. From there they are fed into the legal trade, earning the mafia billions of dollars yearly. …….But this month the mud and water deluge cascaded off the tree-bare mountains and hills with exceptional force and barrelled down towards the plains in mammoth fury.” These mountains, gorges and gulley are the usual areas of upper Indus River track, meaning thereby the Kohistan, Hazara and lower Gilgat-Baltistan regions. Traditionally, the riverine forests have always been a check on floods but unfortunately, in the last two decades or so, massive deforestation has taken place. Once dense forests are now totally denuded giving pathway to floods and devastation. The article quoted expounds, “Relief workers said bridges, homes and people were destroyed and swept away by the hurtling and swirling logs before the waters spread on to the plains below, engulfing an area of more than 60,000 square miles, more than twice the land area of Scotland.”

On the flip side, there have been campaigns for tree plantation. In June 2013, the Pakistan Reconstruction Program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) held one for planting trees. Though many laws exist both on the national and provincial level to protect the environment but the degree of their implementation is questionable. To quote one example only; Sindh Plantation, Maintenance of Trees and Public Parks Ordinance of 2002 states, “no person shall remove, cut, damage, or displace any plant, shrub, tree or a branch at any public place, including parks.” A local newspaper on the other hands comments, “The data collected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which according to their website, is the oldest global environmental organization since 1948, states that only about 2.5 per cent of Karachi is green.” (Published April 18, 2013)

To our pride; “ Pakistan set the Guinness World Record for tree planting, 541,176 young mangroves trees planted by 300 volunteers from the local fishermen communities just in one day, the country broke the previous 447,874 record held by historical rival India,”  according to a report published in June 2009 on the official website of  WWF Global.

Trees are important for many reasons. Trees prevent soil erosion; they strengthen the soil thereby reducing the impact of rain and wind, they protect the banks of streams when floods come. They give out oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide. According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “eleven of the last twelve years (1995 to 2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (records since 1850)”. These changes in Earth’s temperature have correspondingly been associated with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (as well as methane and nitrous oxide) levels in the atmosphere,” states Steve Nix a professional forester and natural resource consultant. In places having snow fall, trees can have a noticeable reduction on snowdrifts. In warmer climates, trees help reducing temperature; this in turn can reduce electricity costs. In urban areas, beautifully laid out residences and residential areas enhance the value of the property.

Due to increasing urbanization, more and more trees are being cut away to provide space for expanding population needs. They are being cut also to provide much needed firewood in extreme cold. Increasing population has led to increased consumer demand; demand for furniture is one. Wood consumption for industries is another reason. In any case, these trees are not being replaced with more trees being planted. Chanting slogans, promising the sun, moon and stars to the people who entrusted the winning political candidates and made them successful is just not good enough. They want a change. Change is not just related to passing resolutions in the National Assembly for Protecting Pakistan but the will to do so must be reflected in actions not in words alone.

Government can support and promote tree plantation in many ways. It can encourage multinationals and local organizations to promote plant a tree campaign in given areas. The government may offer incentives to the organizations involved in tree plantation. The companies can hold a Tree Plantation Day, which can be used as a sales promotion springboard offering excellent publicity opportunity and product(s), service awareness their company offers. Company giveaway kits can be given to participants.  The government can start a website as done by the’ Billion Tree Campaign’ by United Nations to growing a billion (1 000 000 000) trees all around the world during 2007. Pictures of people planting trees can be sent and posted on the website.

What is needed is for the government not to keep the initiative at the political level alone. But to involve companies, organizations, people at mohalla levels to get involved. Earth Day may be a great time to organize Tree Plantation events around the country. It can be turned into an exciting national activity.

I am reminded here of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ”

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book, ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media and Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She tweets at @yasmeen_9 her mail ID is: 


Naveed Tajammal

Part 1 can be read at


         Major General Akbar Khan

During the period Brig.Akbar Khan commanded the Kashmir Operations in his sector, he remained unhappy with the way things developing, he was facing countless intrigues against himself in the GHQ, even though assigned on his task by the Prime Minister, he was deprived of three months command pay, on the grounds that he was absent from service, and too add insult to the injury he was also passed over in his promotion to the next rank by the GHQ during his absence in the Kashmir war.

In the middle of Feb 1948,he requested the Prime Minister to be relieved of his duties in Kashmir and be allowed to revert to his Army assignment as earlier to his delegation on the Kashmir Front Brig.Akbar Khan had been posted as the Director. Weapons in the Equipment Directorate at GHQ. Where he had come across from the records that 4000 [.303] rifles were lying in the stores for the Police, which he had sent to the Kashmir Freedom fighters based on his subsequent plan called, ‘Armed Revolt inside Kashmir”-The objective being to strengthen the Kashmiri freedom fighter within the than Dogra state against the Maharaja’s army of 9000; out of which 2000 were Muslims and were sympathetic to the cause of Liberation-The major portion[2800] of these rifles were allocated for this role, the other 1000 rifles were for the guerrilla bands who were to raise obstructions on the Jammu-Kathua road,and 200 rifles were for the small guerrilla bands to cover the Srinagar Airport. And that all co-ordinations be done through the former INA officers ,JCO & NCO’s,using the numerous de-mobbed ex-servicemen from First world war and second world wars,which numbered around 70,000 men, mainly, all from Poonch, Bagh and Mirpur; the frontier districts of the Dogra State.

Brig.Akbar Khan along with other minor details within this plan above mentioned, handed it over to Mian Iftikhar ud din,who was in Murree coordinating meetings with freedom fighter leaders of Kashmir- in the second week of September 1947.On 12 September 1947 Brig.Akbar Khan  was asked to attend a meeting with the Prime minister on his invitation. However earlier in the morning he was invited for another meeting under the chair of Sardar.Shaukat Hyat who had been designated, as a minister for Kashmir war, on at the provincial level. Here Brig.Akbar Khan was surprised to see a new plan, as thought out by Shaukat Hyat himself, whom he found totally unaware of the ground realities, This plan focused on just two sectors-one across Jammu-Punjab border to be commanded by M.Z.Kiani a former INA officer who had joined the British Indian Army in the ranks 1927,and later, had topped the entry test of for Military Academy Dehra Dun and had joined it in 1933 and been commissioned from Dehra Dun in 1935,He was awarded the Sword of Honour and a Gold Medal for having stood First in all the Papers and had joined 1st/14th Punjab Regiment [later 5 Punjab]taken prisoner on the Burma front and had joined INA [Indian national army of Subhas Chandra Bose],was appointed the First INA Division GOC and fought General Gracey at Imphal and designated as the Head of Provisional Azad Hind in the absence of Bose. Later after 1945, seeing the evil designs of congress he left INA and reverted back to his village at Atial near Bara Kau, Rawalpindi, ,another sector being north of Rawalpindi was to be under the command of Maj. Khurshid Anwar a near relation of  Ghulam Mohammad[central finance minister] and was currently the Commander of the Muslim League National Guards, he had been commissioned during the 2nd world war emergency recruitment in the ‘Supply corps’.

However Shaukat Hyat blames Maj.Khurshid Anwar for spoiling the surprise in the Kashmir war as he went soon after the meeting to raise Lashkars from NWFP and had contacted Brig.Iftikhar Khan [later Major-General] who was then posted in Nowshera and had asked him to provide him with Machine Guns for the fourth planned covert action in Kashmir-who the same hour had reported these plans to the British C in C Pakistan Army-who without loss of time reported the same to Field Marshal Auchinleck the Joint Commander of both forces-India & Pakistan who reported the matter to Lord Mountbatten the Governor General of India. So a breach of security was done by Brig.Iftikhar Khan.

Later at 6 PM on 12 Oct, the Prime minister held his meeting. However this again was based on the morning plan of action as envisaged by Shaukat Hyat. This meeting was attended by Ghulam Mohammad,Mian Iftikhar ud din,Akbar Khan; the sector commanders and Shaukat hHyat the overall Commander. However Akbar Khan was not pleased with the proceedings of this meeting, according to him, ”This conference was even more informal than the one in the morning no serious discussion took place on the operational details of the proposed plan” Not once were the views of Akbar Khan asked ,as he was the sole professional soldier present in the meeting.[Raiders in Kashmir-1992.Akbar Khan-p-21/3].

In the post 14 Aug 1947 period up to the third week of October 1947,the GOP made no efforts in this war except for providing volunteer’s from the de-mobbed British Army or material in a limited way,

However the progress made by the purely internal revolt led by de-mobbed British Indian army men of WW 1 and WW 2 under INA officers and JCO’s made a slow but steady progress and was resulting in more and more areas going out of Dogra’ state control.

It was the sheer ineptness on the part of GOP under Liaqat Ali Khan which after accepting the standstill agreement, continued to focus on Hyderabad, which if seen now in hindsight cost us Kashmir. On 29 September Sh.Abdullah was released from the prison along with other National Conference leaders. However, Ghulam Abbas and the Muslim Conference leaders were not released. That should have been a signal enough for Liaqat Ali Khan but he in his befuddled mind continued to live in his fool’s paradise of getting Hyderabad. Ghulam Abbas was released only in March 1948[Saraf-Kashmiris fight for freedom,’p-1290 Vol 2,] by then the war had been lost. The pro-India Sh.Abdullah party further helped India and Nehru in their Quest to take over Kashmir-henceforth the role of Sh.Abdullah was that of a tutored parrot perched on Nehru’s shoulder.

Meanwhile Gen.Akbar returned back to GHQ as he had not been assigned any task in this approved plan [Shaukat Hyat version plan] however once back on duty he took in confidence the DMI- Brig.Sher Khan so kept him informed of the latest developments through the intelligence reports. However quite a few army officers in their own ways possible without the British senior officers coming aware of were helping the freedom fighters by secretly supplying ammunition condemned by the supporting Ordnance officers, handling the Army Ammunition depots[p-94 Rawalpindi conspiracy case].From the Air force side-Air Commodore. Mohammad Khan Janjua had provided, winter clothing ,ammunition, and some weapons from the Air force stores to the freedom fighters.

The population of Kashmir as per the 1941- census was 4 million out of which, only 8 lakh were non-Muslims of different faiths as Ladakh was still Buddhist. Rest of 3.2 million were Muslims. even Jammu, the smallest of the three, Kashmir state provinces had 60 % Muslim population in 1941.however the Hindu retained 80 % of the state jobs as per the arms act of this state , a, Hindu need not apply for a weapon license.
All lands had been parcelled out to Hindu land owners. the condition of the Muslim peasantry was worse than the Russian, “serf”. Of the Czar days in the last 100 years or so till 1947 the Muslim had, lived the life in squalor, penury and terror. Forced labour, extortionist methods of tax collection were a norm. Police state it was, the judiciary was too, of Hindu. a Muslim could appeal to none.
During, 1946 and early, 1947, Top ranking. Congress leaders, including khan Ghaffar khan, Dr. Sinha, Chaman Lal, Asif Ali, Acharya Kirpalani, and Ghandi had vested Kashmir on their own agenda’s. None paid any attention to the condition of the Muslim. The RSSS had been allowed by the maharaja, to recruit volunteers, in Kashmir since 1942. Besides Srinagar, it had branches in Mirpur, Kotli, Sambha, Udhampur and Kathua.
The chief of the RSSS, in Kashmir was ”Swami Sant Dev” the spiritual Guru of the maharaja had been termed by people as the ”Rasputin” of the Kashmir court.
As Hazara, had already been ear marked part of new Pakistan, by the RSSS, by early, 1946,already a considerable, number of Hindu’s and Sikhs, had sold out and shifted to Kashmir. Out of the first batch, 2000 youth of this lot had become members of the RSSS. The Sikh evacuee’s, of Hazara, had organized themselves, as ”Singh Naujawan Sabhas.” and were located at Muzzafarabad and Srinagar.
From March 1947 onwards, a further influx of RSSS, workers, members of Punjab. United provinces and other parts of British India had been called in Kashmir. In July 1947, Basant Rao Agrekor, one of the provincial organizers, had visited Kashmir to inspect and advice his force. The Sikhs too, had sent in gangs from, the Sikh states of, Nabha, Faridkot and Patiala.
The pathetic condition of the Muslim of Poonch, can be visualized, by reading the report, of Richard Symonds, who wrote for the”statesman” new Dehli. On 4th February 1948, he wrote”60,000 Poonchi’s, had served in the British Indian army in 2nd world war. When the war ended they returned home (bulk being Muslims) to find that the old Raja of Poonch, had been disposed of his state, by a law suit. and the direct rule of the Maharaja had been imposed on the Poonchi’s.
Now there was a tax, on every hearth, every window for the sunlight, each buffalo, goat or a cow, cat or a dog, not even the wife was exempted. He, who had more than one, was most grieved to top it the zaildari tax was levied” To pay for the charges incurred in the collection of tax’s”. The first revolt started on 27 august 1947 at Nila Butt. When Abdul Quyyum, a young zamindar and his friends started it. soon after, the bulk of the ex-service men too, joined in, the Dogra state troops now re-sought to burning down complete villages, and rendering the people homeless, earlier as per the plan, in June the state had ensured that no weapon, not even long knives, where left with the Muslims, and the house searches had ensured this. Two small boys, who seen their mothers being molested by the RSSS and troops, had tried to hit them with their fists, in the village, ”Ali Sojar”, on 15th august 1947,both, Mohammad Saidu and Lal Hussain, where shot dead, in front of the raped women, and hung on the nearest tree.
Just to name a few villages where this routine continued, and men and boys hung, who reacted, Nar, Bagh, Khas BAGH, Sar Saddhan, Beerut, Jheri, Sangola and Rawli. All these reports, could, even to a bystander conjure a picture of a gunpowder trail, blazed across the country side, village after village went up in flames, the Dogra and RSSS, with their ”BREN GUNS”, killed and raped whom they pleased, it was a sport time for this lot.
In Jammu province of the state, a similar tragic chain of events unfolded, all attempts were to push out as many excess Muslims out, to upcoming Pakistan territory, as they possibly could. They had been directed to proceed to Sialkot unofficially, and a slow line of miserable, old and young, wounded and injured people came. The young girls never made it. they had been abducted much earlier in the other regions the state had created ”camps; which became the death traps.12000.muslim refugees, had assembled at the Jammu, aerodrome (airport).in the first week of November, they were machine gunned, by Dogra and RSSS men, 4000 died. Later at night 2000 died on account of the grenades, thrown in the crowds of compact men, women and children. Before this incident, on 17 October, the Muslim population of ”Ranbir Singhpura Tehsil”, had sought shelter at the state ”electric power house, at ”Miran Sahib.” numbering 25,000.and soon after ”Mehr Chand Majhan” the Dewan of the Maharajah, arrived in a convoy, accompanied by ‘Bharat Bhusan”, the local ‘tehsildar’, and an active member of RSSS.
The women and children were asked to move towards the trucks, as they may be transported out. After their departure’ hell broke loose” as all were butchered. the convoy stopped ahead, presentable girls and women were segregated, rest too met the fate of a bullet and were thrown in the ravines. On 19 October, a convoy of 30,000 travelling on foot, where halted at ”Jammu-Tawi”, station, all were blocked in, and machine gunned by the RSSS and the state troops at night times, (as people now had started this time) all places where a movement of Muslim was reported, jeeps, mounted with machine guns, where launched, who surrounded them girls where first removed for the nights fun, rest butchered. A slight resistance or reluctance to obey the orders was met by a bullet or a bayonet.

Reverting back to the events unfolding-At the end of September 1947,a meeting was called by Hameed ullah khan-at Murree [fair view hotel] which was attended by Sardar. Ibrahim, Mrs.Nasim Akbar [accused in 1951 coup] & sardar Shariff. Major.Khurshid anwar briefed them about the tribal Lashkar plans.

What most remain unaware off is that the bulk of area which is now AJK had already been acquired through the efforts of the freedom fighters-Liaqat Ali Khan or Shaukat Hyat were either by design or sheer incompetence unaware of these facts, as all sectors and their HQ were fully functional by 13 September 1947,mainly through the efforts of Gen. M.Z.Kiani, Col.R.M.Arshad, Col.M.A.Khan ,Col. Taj Mohammad Khanzada, Col. Tajammal Hussain and Capt. Saif-ullah.

The Wanton part played by Liaqat Ali Khan’s lackeys was seen, when the promised 4000, .303 bolt action rifles were handed over by GHQ for the Freedom fighters through the civil administration. Mr. Qurban Ali Khan the Inspector General of Police who was responsible for this transfer, with-held the British made rifles and replaced them with Dara-made rifles.[p-885,Kashmiris Fight for Freedom,VOL.2, by.Chief Justice [r] AJK High Court. M.Y. Saraf.

[To be continued….]








This is a cross post from:


“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”
Bertrand Russell

1 It was a captured Pakistan Survey map, one inch to a mile -1964 edition, an American Field Telephone TA-1/PT serial No 15838, a water bottle, a pair of binoculars and an American bayonet, alongwith a couple of B&W photographs of the ‘65 operations taken by my father that finally persuaded me to do some research about the battle of Barki, which almost saw the Indian Army knocking (unsucessfully) at the gates of Lahore. I had just come back home on the annual term break from BCS Simla to Ferozepur, where my father, Lt Col (then Maj) H S Sarao, SM was posted as a Battery Commander in 165 Field Regiment (7Artillery Brigade /7Infantry Division). It did help that after the cease-fire, when Barki village was declared ‘open’ for civilians, media, politicians and families, I too had managed a ‘conducted’ tour of Barki. Years later, as the second – in – command of a medium regiment when I was posted to the same formation in Ferozepur, I had an excellent opportunity to go through some pretty accurate war records of the ‘65 operations as available in the Divisional and Artillery Brigade archives.

2 The operations of 7 Infantry Division in the Barki area are well recorded and a vast amount of material is available in various war diaries, newspaper clippings, magazines as also on the net, but I decided to add a personal note by recounting the experiences of some of the dramatis personae who actually fought the battle. A tremendous amount of information of the battle as it unfolded was provided by my father. I also interviewed Maj Gen J S Bhullar, AVSM, VSM a close friend of my father and the CO 16 Punjab in 1965, now leading a retired life in Chandigarh. I had also met late Brig Desmond Hayde, MVC who was the CO 3 Jat (Batapur and Dograi fame) during the ‘65 operations. Brig Hayde , a fearless soldier passed away in 2013. He had come for a Jat Regimental re-union to Barielly in 2009 and I had obtained first hand information from him of his experiences of the ‘65 and ‘71 wars.
3 I did manage to get a lot of historical data, specially anecdotes pertaining to the other side of the hill , from Naveed Tajammal TAJAMMULHussain Malik, son of the much respected Major Gen Tajammul Hussian Malik of the Pak Army. Gen Tajammal (then Lt Col) was the CO 3 Baluch opposite the Indian 15 Infantry Division sector in 1965. Later , during the ’71 war, as a Brigade Commander (Pak 205 Infantry Brigade at Bogra.– Eastern sector) he held the singular distinction of not surrendering with some of his units which continued fighting even after Pak forces formally surrendered to Indian forces in Dhaka. Gen Lacchman Singh who was Gen Tajammals opposing commander in the Hilli-Bogra sector(1971 war) has written about this in his book, ‘Indian sword strikes in East Pakistan’. Interestingly, Gen Tajammal had been commissioned from OTS Bangalore and had joined the 7 Rajput Regt in Feb1946. The two officers from 7 Rajput who were transferred to the Pak Army after partition were Tajammal and his senior, Nawaz Malik, both posted to 3rd/8th Punjab which later became 3 Baluch in 1957. Both officers rose to the rank of General officers in the Pak Army.
4 The Gen was indicted and imprisoned for a coup attempt against Gen Zia-ul-Haq in 1980 along with his son Naveed Malik who had also been commissioned in 3 Baluch and was the Adjutant of the Battalion at that time. It is not common knowledge that there were two earlier coup attempts, the first in Feb1976 and the second on 26 June 1977 which went undetected, till the third one in which Gen Tajammal and Naveed were implicated in March 1980 .Both were tried by a FGCM on a joint – single Charge Sheet,with nine different charges. Gen Tajammal was given life imprisonment and Naveed got 10 years RI. It was in the jail that the Gen dictated Naveed his book,’The Story of My Struggle‘, later published by Jhang publishers. Gen Tajammal was released in 1988 after Zia’s mysterious plane crash and passed away in 2003. His book covers certain aspects of both the ‘65 and ‘71 wars.
5 I found it strange that though in all the material authored by Indian writers and in various records available on the Indian side, the commencement of the Indo-Pak hostilities was squarely attributed to Pakistan whereas a large number of books and research papers/commentaries by Pak authors claim that the ’65 war was started by India, when it launched its counter offensive by crossing the IB. As far as a true military commentary on the operations in the Punjab sector are concerned, Maj (retd) A H Amin, 11 PAVO Cavalry, Pakistan, in his article (‘The Battle for Ravi-Sutlej Corridor 1965 – A Strategic and Operational Analysis’) gives perhaps one of the most truthful and dispassionate analysis of the happenings specially in the Ravi-Satluj corridor. On the other extreme are various papers/write-ups/commentaries of not much military/historical significance. A lot of writers (Yasin Khan for one) also tend to gravitate more towards hype, romanticism and mythology.

How The War Started-Some Myths and SomeTruths

6  Who started the war or to put it more palatably – how did the war start ?? Just as it would be naïve for the Indians to keep repeating that the ‘71 war was started by Pakistan it would be extremely myopic to continue haranguing now, almost half a century after that war, that India was the aggressor in 1965. In 1971 Indian regular troops were already making forays across the IB in what was then East Pakistan. All that happened was that Pakistan pre-empted the planned Indian offensive by commencing hostilities along the Western front on 03 December whereas the Indians had planned to launch their offensive for 04 December.
7 Emboldened by the rather timid and weak response of the Indian politico-military leadership during the Kutch crisis , Operation Gibraltar was conceived to get back the Indian part of Kashmir through a covert operation. A plan which almost all Pakistani and neutral analysts have maintained was ‘a clumsy attempt’ to wrest control of ‘Indian Occupied Kashmir’ and was doomed to collapse. It is interesting that the Pak columnist Lt Col (retd) Mukhtar Ahmad Gilani (‘Panoramic Analysis —Senior and Junior Leaders —Aug 1947 to Dec 1971‘ calls the Pak foray into J&K as a ‘counter-offensive’. He states that ‘’After launching the counter offensive (sic) in Chamb-Jaurian Sector the Pakistan high command (the President, the C-in-C and the CGS) had failed to foresee the strategic counter action of the Indian Army against Sialkot, Lahore and Kasur, in view of the foreign office assurance, that India would confine its retaliation to the territorial limits of Kashmir’’. It is a known fact that the Indian thrust across the IB was infact a counter offensive in retaliation to ‘Gibraltor / Grand Slam’.
8 According to then Chief of the Pakistan Air Force, Air Marshal Nur Khan, there was little coordination amongst the military services on the impending operation. In any case the plan went completely awry in execution . The infiltrating troops and a large number of irregular and ‘volunteers’ known as the ‘Gibraltar Force’ were organized and commanded by GOC 12 Infantry Division , Major General Akhtar Malik, subsequently awarded the Hilal-i-Jurat for his role in the planning and execution of Gibraltar. In one of the biggest mysteries and blunders related to the inept Pak handling and lack of higher direction of war (not that the Indians did any better, in this war atleast), he was in-explicably replaced by Maj Gen Yahya Khan (later Chief) just when Akhnur was within the grasp of the Pak Army !
9  Ahmad Faruqui, the well known defense analyst and economist (‘Rethinking the National Security of Pakistan’) says that when he asked Sajjad Haider, a retired Air Commodore (author of the book,’ Flight of the Falcon – Demolishing myths of Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971‘, to name the aggressor, ’ Nosy’ Haider, a PAF fighter pilot (‘jaunty-angled cap, silk scarves, special boots, and even the way they stand’), known for his rather controversial but no holds barred comments, not mincing any words said very unequivocally, ‘Ayub perpetrated the war.’
10  Any how, be that as it may , Gibraltar was launched and India after an initial phase of set backs , in a series of retaliatory operations, managed to eliminate the saboteurs and capture some tactically advantageous Pak posts across the Cease Fire Line. The loss of Hajipir Pass in August ’65 along with Indian successes in the Neelam Valley and opposite Uri unnerved the Pakistani GHQ which assumed that Muzaffarabad was about to be addressed next . It was under these circumstances that the Pak GHQ ordered launch of Operation Grand Slam on 01 September 1965 to cut off the Indian supply lines to J& K. So was Grand Slam initiated as a result of Indian aggression or was it a continuum of the already initiated but now precariously poised Pakistani plan to whip up the local Kashmiri population to a frenzy, so that the larger plan to integrate the state of J & K to Pakistan could be fructified??
11  Brig (retd) Shaukat Qadir, an impartial and independent analyst clearly mentions that Pakistan’s Operation Grand Slam was ‘one of a number of contingency plans that had been prepared to support Gibraltar’. Operation Grand Slam basically intended to sever the road link between India and Indian held Kashmir once the valley was up in flames. Operation Grand Slam was four phased says Shaukat Qadir ( ‘The 1965 War-A Comedy of Errors)’: the capture of Chamb, the crossing of river Tawi and consolidation, followed by the capture of Akhnur, and finally severing the Indian lines of communication and capturing Rajauri. As mentioned earlier , the failure of Gibraltar resulted in the loss of some key Pak posts in Kashmir, and it was then that Operation Grand Slam was undertaken to relieve pressure on the Pak troops in Kashmir.
12  Maj (Retd) Agha Humayun Amin (‘Grand Slam-A Battle of Lost Opportunities’) mentions that on being briefed by Major General Akhtar Malik (GOC 12 Infantry Division) on the Gibraltar plan, Ayub suggested that 12 Infantry Division should also capture Akhnur. This attack was codenamed ‘Operation Grand Slam’ and was planned as a sequel to ‘Gibraltar’. Similarly Shaukat Riza, the official historian (Pak) of the 1965 War has admitted that by 31 August once the Indians had ruptured 12 Infantry Division’s defences across the cease fire line, the Pak GHQ decided to launch Grand Slam to ease pressure on the Division by capturing Chamb and threatening Akhnur. In an extremely aggressive, well planned and confident move, Pak infantry units backed by armour overran the Indian outpost in Chamb in the initial phase itself, crossed the Tawi river and were headed towards Akhnur in order to cut off India’s line of communication with Srinagar.

13 The Indians were now under tremendous pressure and the military situation was getting precarious in the Kashmir sector. Ahmad Faruqui puts it on record ‘’ that the Indian response on Sept 06 across the international border at Lahore was a natural counter-response, not an act of aggression.’’ To relieve forces almost cut off in their part of Kashmir, the Indian Government took the momentous decision, as advised by Gen J N Chaudhuri, to open another front across the IB. The aim was to relieve the pressure in J&K where the situation was getting uncomfortable for the Indian Army.

The Western Front –The Indian Riposte

14 Following this, the Indian Army then counterattacked by crossing the international border thus opening the Western front in Pakistan Punjab to force the Pakistan Army to relocate troops and distract the Pak Army’s attention and resources away from Operation Grand Slam. And thus started the second Indo – Pak war of 1965. Yes, there were no declarations of war made by the adversaries, either when the Pak troops crossed over in J&K nor later when the Indian troops crossed over in the Punjab. Circumstances and perceptions may differ on warring sides, but historical facts cannot be changed or misrepresented for partisan reasons. In this article, to be fair, events as they unfolded have been recorded as viewed from both sides.

The XI Corps Plan (India)

15 Coming on now to the Indian counter-offensive which entailed the opening of the second front. This study is being restricted to the operations of XI Corps ( Lt Gen J S Dhillon who later rose to be Central Army Commander ) in so far as 7 Infantry Div and the Barki battle are concerned. The Indian plan envisaged a major attack in the Ravi-Sutlej Corridor employing XI Corps with its three Divisions , 4 Mountain Division (Maj Gen Gurbaksh Singh), 7 Infantry Division (Maj Gen S K Sibbal) and 15 Infantry Division (Maj Gen Niranjan Prasad , later sacked), along the three axis with15 Infantry Division on the Amritsar-Lahore axis, 7 Infantry Division on the Khalra-Barki-Lahore axis and 4 Mountain Division on the Khem Karan-Kasur axis. Each division had two brigades while their third brigade was held by 11 Corps as reserve, for other tasks. The Divisions had their organic artillery brigades( mainly 25 Pdrs). 21 Independent Artillery Brigade consisting of one medium 5.5’’and one heavy regiment (7.2’’ howitzer ) was also part of 11 Corps. Pradeep Barua in his book ,’The State At War In South Asia’ (Chapter 10 ,The Second Indo Pakistan War) gives a fairly good over-view of XI Corps operations on the Lahore front. The only factual error made here is when he mentions that , ‘’ The Pakistani’s had blown up the bridge (Hudiara), which meant that Indian Army engineers had to construct a Bailey bridge that afternoon under air and artillery attack.’’ There was no air activity by, either PAF or the IAF and neither did the bridging site come under artillery fire.

Pak 1 Corps

16 On the Pak side in this sector was 1 Corps (Khariyan) under Lt Gen Bukhtiar Rana, MC, the Corps Commander with 10 Division (Major General Sarfaraz Khan) and 11 Division (Maj Gen Abdul Hamid Khan). 10 Division had seven infantry battalions, 23 Cavalry, 30 TDU and some Rangers and was defending Lahore and Bedian area with its three Brigades (22,103 and 114). 103 Brigade with two battalions and a squadron of 30 TDU had about 20,000 yards of front with the Burki Road and Hudiara Siphon crossings of the BRBL. 11 Infantry Division with two Brigades (21 and 106) was deployed southwards up to Kasur. Noteworthy here is the strong artillery complement which the Pak formations enjoyed at the time , an advantage they were to permanently lose in subsequent years. Pak 10 Division artillery included 30 Heavy Regiment consisting of eight 155 mm guns (American) and four 8’’ Howitzers (American). In addition, the Division had three medium regiments supporting its three infantry Brigades plus one more medium regiment and two locating batteries. Pak 11 Infantry Division had three field regiments, one mortar troop, one medium regiment, one heavy regiment (eight 8‘’ Howitzers and four 155 mm guns) and a corps locating regiment.

Khalra-Barki-Lahore Axis-7 Div Operations

17 In accordance with the plan , on the night of 05/06 September 1965, the Indian XI Corps began its operations by advancing towards Lahore along three axis : Amritsar-Lahore, Khalra-Burki- Lahore and Khem Karan-Kasur roads. For operations along Khalra –Burki-Lahore axis , 7 Infantry Division was given a two phase plan for the capture of Barki and the advance upto the Ichogil Canal. In Phase One, it was to advance with 48 Infantry Brigade (Brig KJS Shahane) supported by a tank squadron less one troop Central India Horse ( CO Lt Col SC Joshi later KIA , Sep 12) along axis Khalra-Barki capturing Barki and securing the adjacent bridge over the Ichogil Canal (BRBL) by last light 06 September. Simultaneously, 17 Rajput (Lt Col AS Gill) of 48 Inf Bde was independently tasked to block any Pak ingress from Bedian .
18 The Division plan envisaged establishment of a firm base by 65 Infantry Brigade (Brig. L. Farras) and then an advance along axis Wan – Bedian to secure Bedian by the evening of 06 Sep. 65 Infantry Brigade was thereafter to send one battalion to secure and destroy the bridge over Ichhogil Canal near village Hira. Subsequently in Phase Two, 65 Infantry Brigade was to carry out mopping up operations up to the Eastern bank of Ichhogil Canal. To put things in the right perspective Hudiara was about 4 Kms from the IB , Barki 9.5 Kms and Lahore about 33.5 Kms from the IB.
19 In addition to its integral artillery , the Division had a Battery of 40 Medium Regiment in support. Simultaneously an independent task force directly under 7 Division HQ comprising 17 Rajput and one tank troop (Central India Horse), supported by a regiment strength of artillery and a field company of engineers was to cross the border at axis Wan-Bedian and secure Bedian by last light 06 Sep. In Phase Two, 65 Infantry Brigade was to carry out mopping up operations along BRBL and also destroy all bridges on BRBL within 7 Division area of responsibility.

The Indian Advance Upto Hudiara

20 Accordingly, 48 Infantry Brigade concentrated at Sidhwan – Mughal Chak and 65 Infantry Brigade at Marimegha with one of its battalions (17 Rajput) at Marikamboke. On 06 Sep ’65 morning, 7 Indian Infantry Division crossed the IB at about 0430 hours and headed for Ichhogil Canal, along the Khalra-Burki-Lahore axis. 4 Sikh (65 Infantry Brigade) and 6/8 Gorkha Rifles (48 Infantry Brigade) captured the assigned Pakistani Border Out Posts (BOPs) overcoming minor opposition of the Pak Sutlej Rangers and the Customs Check Post near Bedian. The Rangers posts at Theh Sarja Marja and Rakh Hardit Singh were cleared by 4 Sikh and the post at Ghawindi Barrier by 6/8 GR. It was at Ghawindi Barrier that an incident (not many are aware of it, neither is it recorded anywhere) took place which deserves mention. Once the Barrier was captured and the Pak Rangers were being disarmed , one of the Pak Rangers bayoneted an Indian officer (6/8 GR) , there is only conjecture as to the provocation but with adrenalin running high on both sides, the response of the Gurkha soldiers was swift and angry. Further details are lost in the mists of time.
21 6/8 GR (Lt Col GA Nagle) now leading reached the Hudiara Drain by about 07 00 hours where the advance , till now almost unopposed, stalled because of Pak artillery fire and opposition by a Pak advance position.The Indian troops drew fire from Hudiara village, Hudiara Bridge area and Nurpur village. By 1000 hours Hudiara village was secured. Nurpur village, Hudiara Drain and the area around was finally captured by 6/8 GR and 5 Guards (Lt Col FS Sondhi) with Squadron CIH by late evening by an outflanking manoeuvre, though the planned timings and the progress of operations had already gone awry to some extent. But there is a story here related to 48 Infantry Brigade’s advance and subsequent capture of the Hudiara Bridge, as from this point onwards the Commander 48 Infantry Brigade was ’relieved’.
22 On the other side , Major Shafqat Baloch , Company Commander , Delta Company 17 Punjab Regiment (Haidris) though wounded in the action here, had opposed the Indian advance valiantly and was later awarded the “Sitara-e-Jurrat” for his action. His citation reads, “But for this officer’s gallant, bold and inspiring leadership the whole defence of Lahore would have been jeopardized’’. Interestingly, there was no major battle here though the well lead Pak troops (probably less than a platoon) did manage to delay the leading elements of 48 Infantry Brigade and unnerve the Brigade Commander. A number of Pakistani civilians from bordering towns and villages were taken as POWs and both sides did suffer a few casualities. It therefore is inconsistent with the facts on ground when Lt Col (retd) Syed Shahid Abbas (‘Nine Crucial Hours – When Courage Outmaneuvered Strength’) writes that ‘‘after the declaration of ceasefire on 23 September as per the information received from across the border, the Indians had suffered 400 casualities’’. Equally incongruous is that Gen Harbaksh in his book ‘War Despatches’ (Para 43,Page 49 ) mentions —‘’General Officer Commanding 7 Division appreciating that 48 Infantry Brigade had suffered fairly heavy casualities in the battle for Hudiara Drain, switched 65 Infantry Brigade Group into the lead—‘’ . This was certainly not the case as we shall see later on. Infact the same can be verified from 48 Infantry Brigade records and from the casuality returns of 7 Infantry Division even today.

No move, No Provocative Action !!

23 Let us go back for a moment now and see what was happening on the Pak side as the Indian Army was approaching its jump off positions to open a second front. Maj (retd) A H Amin says that on 04 Sep night the Pakistani GHQ had sent a signal to all formations asking them to take “necessary defensive measures” against India. War had not yet broken out but Pakistan had already launched an infantry division/armored brigade size attack in Indian Held Kashmir on 01 Sep. The signal read ——-

‘‘ PakArmy DTE Sept 042230:Latest Intelligence reports indicate Indian concentration on both East and West Pakistan and such flash announcements on All India Radio as QUOTE Pakistanis attacking Jammu etc. UNQUOTE indicate their aggressive intention, formations will take necessary defensive measures (.) All Informed.’’
24 This signal from the Pak GHQ appears to be a classic case of what is known in Army parlance as ‘keeping one’s tail clear’. It is on record that on the night of Sep 05/06, HQ 10 Infantry Division (Pak) checked with the Military Operations Directorate regarding move of troops to their operational positions on the border. They were told that “the Foreign Ministry had not yet given clearance for such a move, therefore, the GHQ cannot order this move in writing. However, the local Garrison Commander can of course, use his own discretion.” One of the reasons contributing to many such indecisions and lack of clarity as well as inability to exploit fleeting windows of opportunity in the absence of a broader combat picture was, as Brig(retd) Shaukat Qadir (Why Pakistan lost Akhnur-Operation Grand Slam) has pointed out , because the Pak Army at that time did not have the concept of a Corps HQ between the Div and the GHQ!! During the 65’ war there was only one Corps HQ in the Pak Army and only two officers of Lt Gen rank, Bakhtir Rana and Altaf Qadir, one of them on secondment to CENTO). In this case the Brigade Commander (Brig Aftab) responsible for the defence of this sector did take up the matter, unsuccessfully, with Gen Sarfraz, GOC 10 Infantry Division that if the troops were not permitted to take up battle positions ‘’the Indian tanks would obviously have a free run.’’
25 With the instructions being what they were ( no move, no provocative action), the matter was not taken up with either the Corps Commander Gen Bukhtiar Rana at Khariyan or the Army Chief, Gen Musa, none the less, ‘’some younger battalion commanders used their discretion and moved out by 6 pm from the cantonment reaching the BRB by midnight” (Some anecdotes of 1965 war-Ikramullah). In any case , none of the troops which moved to their defensive locations were in a position to either dig their defensive positions or lay any mines due to paucity of time. In fact Maj Shafqat Baloch with some troops had reached Hudiara Drain by 0200 hours on September 06 while the Indian advancing elements reached Hudiara drain around 0730 hours. It was a very close call but for the initiative shown by some young Pak company and battalion commanders in both 10 and 11 Division sectors.

A Brigade Commander Is Sacked

26 Coming back to the advance of 48 Infantry Brigade, where after the capture of Hudiara, an interesting development was taking place. The advance of 48 Infantry Brigade had been slow mainly because of the spirited opposition and caution imposed by Maj Shaquat and his Company though ultimately Hudiara village was taken by 1030 hours and Hudiara Drain and Nurpur village were cleared by late afternoon. 48 Infantry Brigade had suffered some losses, certainly not alarming or as debilitating as the Commander made out to be during its advance and subsequent capture of the Hudiara Bridge and Nurpur village. The Brigade was then ordered to firm-in astride the axis along Hudiara Drain while the Engineers were ordered to construct a Bailey bridge over Hudiara Drain not far from the original site. It was sometime in the afternoon of 07 Sep that the Army Commander ( Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh , VrC ), the Corps Commander ( Lt Gen J S Dhillon ) and the GOC 7 Inf Div ( Maj Gen H K Sibal ) arrived in the area to review the situation. Not happy with the progress of operations and noting a discernible reluctance and lack of an aggressive mind set on part of the Commander 48 Infantry Brigade to further progress the operations, ‘because of casualities suffered’, (which at that point of time were neither large nor alarming in respect of both the adversaries), the Commander was sacked on the spot with – ‘report to Army HQ , they will find a suitable job for you’, or words to that effect. His replacement, the new Commander, Brig Piara Singh MC,VrC later took over the Brigade on 16 Sep.

Onwards To Barki

27 By 06 Sep Barki village was held by a platoon of 17 Punjab under Major Aziz Bhatti (Company Commander Alpha Company) reinforced with another platoon of 12 Punjab along with some elements which had fallen back from Hudiara. Two companies 17 Punjab were also reportedly on the West bank of Ichhogil Canal and the bridge area on the Eastern side. The canal itself was a formidable obstacle 112 feet wide, 30 feet deep with water depth of about 20 feet. The Western bank was higher having bunkers and defence works. In addition there were elements of Reconnaissance & Support Battalion in the area. A few tanks were also reported on the West of the Canal. Thus, to secure the bridge it was imperative to capture Barki village. Duncan Mcleod in his book (‘India and Pakistan: Friends, Rivals Or Enemies?’) mentions that it was this irrigation canal, part of the Punjab’s elaborate irrigation system which stopped the Indian forces from reaching Lahore.
28 Barki village is situated on the East bank of Ichhogil Canal. Eleven concrete pill-boxes with good fields of fire dominated the approaches to the village. Each pill-box was 15 feet square, with 3 feet thick walls and roof made of reinforced cement concrete. Three of the four walls had each a steel-shuttered aperture for weapons, while the fourth side had the entrance door. Each pill-box was a formidable nest manned by three men with automatic weapons and was stocked with ample ammunition.
29 On 07 Sep the advance by 65 Infantry Brigade, 4 Sikh leading commenced from Hudiara with CIH (less Alpha squadron) under command. 165 Field Regiment was in direct support with balance 7Artillery Brigade plus one Battery each of 66 Field Regiment and 82 Light Regiment in support. As the advance progressed artillery fire was being constantly provided to the infantry with Pak positions in and around Barki being engaged. Most of Sep 07, 08 and 09 were taken to complete certain preliminary operations and in cleaning up the area of Pak snipers and stragglers. In between there was a false alarm when the advancing Indian troops, now consolidating their positions ahead of Hudiara and preparing for the assault on Barki were ordered ro pull back to Bhikiwind, perhaps to reinforce the Khemkaran sector where an armour threat had developed. It was entirely due to the confusion and uncertainity which exists during battle that the Pak forces had not got wind of this withdrawal. The fog of war had helped the Indians and quietly 65 Infantry Brigade retraced its steps and the troops were back in the positions they had vacated just sometime back. Maj Gen Bhullar (then Lt Col , CO 16 Punjab) confirmed to me that unfortunately the IAF was not active in the Barki sector and by 07 Sep even the FAC with the Brigade was withdrawn. No air support was thus available. But fortunately even the PAF was not seen in this sector though the adjoining Indian 15 Infantry Division suffered a number of air strikes during their advance.
30 4 Sikh was tasked for the capture of Barki alongwith CIH less a Squadron , 7Arty Brigade plus 66 Field Regiment, 82 Light Regiment and 5 Field Regiment (less a Battery). Armour was to lead the assault of 4 Sikh along the main axis . The Battalion was then to move to the east of the village and reorganise after capture of the objective. A company of 4 Sikh was also tasked to assist tanks in crossing the Barki Drain as exploitation, once the main objective was captured.
31 As part of the preliminary operations it was necessary to secure certain villages and strongpoints outlying Barki village itself. 9 Madras (Lt Col B.K. Satyan) secured Barka Kalan on 07 Sep and 4 Sikh secured Barka Khurd on 08 Sep. 16 Punjab secured Brahmanabad and completed the extension of the firm base for attack on Barki by the evening of 09 Sep. Since accurate and observed fire was continuously being directed on the Indian troops from Barki village, Maj H S Sarao , the Battery Commander with 16 Punjab was asked to engage Pak positions in and around the village. A three storey house in the village, suspected by the officer to be a Pak observation post came under special attention and heavy Indian artillery fire. It is confirmed from the records maintained by Gen Tajammul that, ‘’Maj Aziz Bhatti and Capt Mahmood Anwar Shiekh of(Pak) 24 Medium Regiment had positioned themselves on the roof top of a house in village Barki’’. Captain Mehmood Anwar was the Pak artillery observer with Maj Bhatti’s platoon. After the capture of Barki, CO 16 Punjab Lt Col Bhullar and his Artillery Battery Commander Maj Sarao had gone and searched this very house on 11 Sep.
32 It was decided to put in a night attack to capture Barki. The attack on Barki began on the night 10 Sep 1965. From 1930 to 2000 hours there was an exceptionally heavy barrage let lose by the Indian artillery on Barki and the East bank of Ichhogil. After two hours of fighting, Barki was ultimately in Indian hands. 4 Sikh lived up to its reputation and added the Battle Honour Barki to their list of battle honours. Subedar Ajit Singh of the Battalion was posthumously awarded Maha Vir Chakra. The Battalion also earned three Vir Chakras, three Sena Medals and four COAS Commendation Cards. Naib Risaldar Jagdish Singh of the CIH was also awarded Vir Chakra.
33 There were casualities on both sides but nothing like the four truckloads of corpses including the dead body of Maj Aziz Bhati—‘’ lifted from the battle field by the Pakistanis after permission was given for collection of their dead.’’ This excerpt as mentioned in Para 47 Page 53 by Gen Harbaksh in his book ‘War Despatches’ needs to be corrected. Maj Bhatti died the next day ie 11 Sep because of Indian artillery shelling while directing Pak artillery fire in support of Maj Abdul Habib Khan. The Maj was from the same 12 Punjab Company which was with the Pak 17 Punjab Company earlier in Hudiara and Barki areas. Major Habib Khan and seven soldiers of Pak 12 Punjab were killed by machine gun fire in an operation on 11 Sep while trying to evict the Indian (16 Punjab) lodgement on the West bank. Maj Bhatti too was mortally wounded by Indian artillery shelling in the same operation at almost the same time. It has been incorrectly written at a number of places that Maj Bhatti was hit by a tank shell or that he died in action on 10 Sep (or even 12 Sep as mentioned elsewhere). Maj A H Amin (‘The Battle for Ravi-Sutlej Corridor 1965- A Strategic and Operational Analysis’) also confirms that, ’’ Major Aziz Bhatti who was later awarded the Nishan-I-Haidar was the 17 Punjab Company Commander at Barki and survived this action. He was killed by enemy shelling on 11th September on the West bank of the BRBL the next day .’’ More details of this episode follow later.
34 Once Barki was in Indian hands and with sporadic firing and Pak Artillery shelling still continuing, 16 Punjab along with tanks of the CIH started moving towards Ichhogil Canal to secure the East bank . Intense artillery, machine gun, RCL and missile fire was brought down on the advancing Indian troops. During the move from the forming up place (FUP) to the objective the forward observation officer (FOO lost contact with the attacking Company and also the guns. Once again the Battery Commander with 16 Punjab though now wounded because of Pak shelling, retrieved the situation by moving up ahead with the assaulting troops and controlling the fire plan as well as engaging targets. The Battalion reached the East bank by 2145 hours but the retreating Pak forces were successful in blowing up the bridge. Lance Naik Balam Ram, 16 Punjab, was awarded the Vir Chakra in this operation.
35 The next day , 11 September ,once the Indian troops were day-lighted , heavy artillery fire was again brought down a number of times by the Indian Battery Commander, Maj H S Sarao on Pak positions on the far bank as 16 Punjab re-organised and consolidated its positions. As per the war diary maintained by Gen Tajammal (then CO 3 Baluch and who was in the adjoining sector), it was on 11 Sep that Maj Bhatti who was a taking a shoot in support of an attack on one of the Indian positions was mortally wounded. Lt Col Sial , the CO 24 Medium Regiment (Pak) had earlier replaced the OP officer Captain Mahmood Anwar Shiekh by a JCO OP, Sub Sher Dil . The JCO had lost communications with his guns and not being effective, Maj Bhatti, after his stand at Barki, took over the task of directing artillery fire at a crucial moment.
36 As per my interaction with Naveed Tajammal -‘‘Maj Aiziz Bhatti was hit by splinters of a stray shell while he was sitting on a branch of large tree [tah’li] on the home bank of BRB canal watching,through his binoculars, the action of Major Habib’s Company of 12 Punjab’’. Maj Bhatti was infact directing artillery fire to support Maj Habib who was leading a frontal attack on an Indian post (16 Punjab) and died along with seven other soldiers in a hail of Indian machine gun fire. There is a mention of this action in the Generals book,’ The Story Of My Struggle’. Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, the saviour of Lahore, was awarded the Nishan-e-Haider, Pakistan’s highest military award for gallantry, for the exemplary courage he displayed till his death in stemming the Indian advance from Hudiara onwards. It is a twist of fate that since 12 Punjab and its Commanding Officer were under a cloud for poor battlefield performance elsewhere, the equally heroic action of Maj Habib Khan and the seven Pak soldiers was to go unsung and unwept.
37 Meanwhile as 4 Sikh and 16 Punjab were consolidating their gains in Barki and the East bank of the canal , the same night ie 10 September, 48 Infantry Brigade was given the task of capturing and demolishing the bridge on the Ichhogil Canal West of Jahman. The task was to be carried out by 5 Guards supported by two troops of CIH. This operation did not meet with success.
38 Subsequently, on 15 September Brig Piara Singh took over command of 48 Infantry Brigade and was tasked to capture Jahman village latest by 19 September 1965. Supported by approximately a squadron of armour, 6/8 Gorkha Rifles launched the attack from the South and 19 Maratha Light Infantry from the North. Pak troops withdrew from Jahman, when the two battalions converged on their objectives. Thus, Jahman was captured but not without losses. Captain RC Bakshi of 6/8 Gorkha Rifles, who had led the assault on Jahman sacrificed his life and was awarded the Vir Chakra posthumously for bravery in severe hand-to-hand fighting. Except for one more sharp engagement undertaken by 9 Madras on night 22/23 Sep at the time of the ceasefire, this sector then generally remained dormant.

Epilogue—Verbatim Extract From The Citation Of IC 9926 Maj H S Sarao

39 ‘’—-On 10 Sep 1965 an Infantry Brigade Group launched a two phase night attack. The second phase of the attack was launched by 16 Punjab with the area of the Brigade on the ICHOGIL canal near the village of BARKI as their objective.
As the battalion was forming up preparatory to the assault on the objective, it came under heavy concentration of enemy field, medium and heavy guns. During this period the forward observation officer with the advancing Infantry lost his way. Major HS SARAO, without a moment’s hesitation went up to the leading company to act as the forward observation officer. He was at this time hit by a splinter in the leg but with utter disregard to the injury he accompanied the leading company and was with them till the objective was captured.
On reaching the objective, the wireless set of the officer stopped functioning. The officer returned to the firm base at BARKI in spite of heavy enemy shelling to get another set from 4 SIKH , the battalion which had captured the village of BARKI in the first phase earlier. With his communication now restored , he effectively engaged possible defensive fire tasks on the WEST of ICHOGIL canal in order to foil any counter attack by the enemy. Phase two of the attack was then successfully completed and the battalion consolidated its gains.
On 11 Sep 65 , after engaging targets on the Ichogil canal bank , Major HS SARAO went and searched a house in BARKI village where he had, on the afternoon of 10 Sep 65, suspected an enemy observation post and had also engaged the same from his previous location at BARKA KHURD. To his surprise and satisfaction he found that an enemy OP had in fact been occupying the house on 10 Sep 65. Major HS SARAO recovered from the house the enemy Artillery Task Tables and PAKISTANI maps which were of great assistance in avoiding the areas on our side which the enemy had registered as defensive fire tasks. He saw a pool of blood at the spot and reckoned the enemy observation post officer must have either been killed or wounded and evacuated—-’’

And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?
Thomas B. Macaulay

He was born in Hong Kong in 1928. He moved to Pakistan before it became independent in 1947, living in the village of Ladian, in the district of Gujrat. There he enlisted with the newly formed Pakistani Army and was commissioned to the Punjab Regiment in 1950. Throughout his career, he was a brilliant officer and stood out in his class. He did very well at the Academy and was awarded the Sword of Honour best in his year’s batch of 300 officers, and the Norman Medal. He received his honours from Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan.

List of Banned Outfits in Pakistan

February 5th, 2014 | 



List of Banned Organizations in Pakistan

 Sr.  Organization  Former Name  Sect./Group  Leader Area ofInfluence YearBanned
 1  Balochistan Bunyad Parast Army Political(Settlers)  Balochistan  Aug 4, 12
 2  Tehreek Nafaz‐e‐ Aman Political(Pashtoon)  Balochistan  Aug 4, 12
3 Tahafuz Hadudullah Deobandi KP Aug 4, 12
 4  Balochisan Waja Liberation Army Political (Baloch ethnic)  Balochistan  Aug 4, 12
 5  Baloch Republican Party (Azad) Political (Baloch ethnic)  Balochistan  Aug 4, 12
 6  Balochistan United Army Political (Baloch ethnic)  Balochistan  Aug 4, 12
 7  Islam Mujahideen  Deobandi KP, FATA,Afghanistan  Aug 4, 12
8 Jaishe Islam Deobandi FATA (Bajaur) Aug 4, 12
 9  Balochistan National Liberation Army Political (Baloch ethnic)  Balochistan  Aug 4, 12
10 Anjuman‐e‐ Imamia Shiite Gilgit‐Baltistan Apr 24, 12
11 Muslim Students Organisation Deobandi Gilgit‐Baltistan Apr 24, 12
 12  AI Harmain Foundation Wahabist /Salafi  Karachi, KP  Mar 6, 12
 13  Rabita Trust Wahabist / Salafi Pakistan,Afghanistan, Global  Mar 6, 12
 14  Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat  Siph-e-Sahaba Pakistan  Deobandi Central/ Southern Punjab  February 15, 12
15 Shia Talba Action Committee Shiite Gilgit‐Baltistan Oct 10, 11
16 Markaz Sabeel Organisation Shiite Gilgit‐Baltistan Oct 10, 11
17 Tanzeem Naujawana‐e‐Ahle Sunnat Deobandi Gilgit‐Baltistan Oct 10, 11
 18  People’s Aman Committee Political (Baloch ethnic)  Karachi (Layari)  Oct 10, 11
 19  Balochistan Republican Army Political (Baloch ethnic)  Balochistan  Sep 8, 10
 20  Balochistan Liberation Front Political (Baloch ethnic)  Balochistan  Sep 8, 10
 21  Laskhare Balochistan Political (Baloch ethnic)  Harbiyar Marri  Balochistan  Sep 8, 10
 22  Balochistan Liberation United Front Political (Baloch ethnic)  Balochistan  Sep 8, 10
 23  Balochistan Musalla Difa Tanzeem Political(Settlers)  Balochistan  Sep 8, 10
 24  Ghazi Force  Deobandi  Niaz Rahim NorthernPunjab, FATA  February 12, 09
 25  Tehreeke Taliban Pakistan  Deobandi KP, FATA,Afghanistan  Aug 25, 08
26 Lashkare Islam Deobandi Mangal Bagh Khyber Agency Jun 30, 08
27 Ansarul Islam Brelvi Haji Masal Khan Khyber Agency Jun 30, 08
28 Haji Namdar Group Deobandi Haji Namdar Waziristan Jun 30, 08
 29 Islamic Students Movement ofPakistan  Deobandi Karachi,Pakistan  Aug 21, 06
 30  Balochistan Liberation Army Political (Baloch ethnic)  Harbiyar Marri  Balochistan  Apr 7, 06
 31  Baloch Tiger Liberation Political (Baloch ethnic)  Harbiyar Marri  Balochistan  Apr 7, 06
32 Khairun Nas International Trust Deobandi Central Punjab Oct 27, 04
 33  Jamiatul Ansar  Harkatul Ansar  Deobandi Molana Fazalur RahmanKhalil  KP, FATA  Nov 20, 03
 34  Jamiatul Furqan  Jaishe Muhammad  Deobandi  Molana Masood Azhar SouthernPunjab, FATA  Nov 20, 03
 35  Hizbut Tehrir Wahabist /Salafi  Naveed Butt  Global  Nov 20, 03
 36  Millate Islamia Pakistan  Sipahe Sahaba Pakistan  Deobandi Molana MuhammadAhmed Lidhianvi Central/ Southern Punjab  Nov 15, 03
 37  Khuddamul Islam  Jaishe Muhammad  Deobandi  Molana Masood Azhar SouthernPunjab, FATA  Nov 15, 03
38 Islami Tehreek Pakistan Tehrike Jafria Pakistan Shiite Abdul Jalil Naqvi Pakistan Nov 15, 03
 39  AI Qaeda Wahabist /Salafi  Dr.Ayman al Zawahiri  Global  Mar 17, 03
 40  Jaishe Muhammad  Deobandi  Maulana Masood Azhar Southern Punjab, FATA  Jan 14, 02
 41  Lakhkare TaIba Wahabist /Salafi  Central Punjab  Jan 14, 02
 42  Sepahe Sahaba Pakistan  Deobandi Molana MuhammadAhmed Lidhianvi Central/ Southern Punjab  Jan 14, 02
43 Tehreeke Jaafria Pakistan Shiite Agha Sajid Naqvi Pakistan Jan 14, 02
 44  Tehreeke Nifaze Shariate Mohammadi  Deobandi  Mullah Sufi Muhammad  KP, FATA  Jan 14, 02
45 Tehreeke Islami Tehrike Nifaze Fiqa Jafria Shiite Abdul Jalil Naqvi Pakistan Jan 14, 02
  46   Lashkare Jhangvi   Deobandi   Malik Is’haq Karachi, Quetta, FATA, KP, Southern Punjab   Aug 14, 01
 47  Sipahe Muhammad Pakistan  Shiite Central / UpperPunjab  Aug 14, 01
48 AI‐Akhtar Trust Deobandi Karachi Dec 1, 05
49 AI‐Rashid Trust Deobandi Dec 1, 05
 50  Jamaat‐ud‐Dawa (JuD) Markaz Dawatul Irshad Wahabist /Salafi  Dec 1, 05
 51  Sunni Tehreek  Brelvi  Sarwat Ijaz Qadri Karachi, Central Punjab  Jan 17, 07


Summary Table of Banned Outfits

Brelvi 2
Deobandi 22
Political (Baloch Settlers) 2
Political (Baloch) 11
Political (Pashtoon) 1
Shiite 7
Wahabist / Salafi 6
 Total banned organizations 51

This is a cross post from:

Taliban and US-Pak Strategic Dialogue


Black DP Once again, uttering the right words, both US and Pakistan have ignored the ground reality in the recent US Pakistan strategic dialogue. Interests of both countries in the evolving dynamics of the region, with US on the eve of pulling out its combat forces from Afghanistan can be different on many levels. This case of varying expectations from each other has marked the relationship between Pakistan and US from its very inception. Undoubtedly, there was a spectrum of topics that came under discussion; however, the spotlight was on Afghanistan. A local newspaper supports this assessment by stating, “The officials will work to “put together a blueprint of where we can take this relationship over the course of the next six months to a year”, a State Department official said.” (January26, 2014)John Kerry says, “We recognize that Pakistan is a vital partner in supporting a secure Afghanistan, and we know how closely Pakistan’s own security is linked to Afghanistan’s success. That’s why addressing the threats posed to both Pakistan and Afghanistan by cross-border militancy is a key aspect of our conversations this week.” (Remarks at the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue: January 27, 2014, US Department of State)
This does not mean to state that US interest in the region will completely dissipate after withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan- however how Pakistan handles the challenges during this period will have a cascading impact on the relationship of both nations in the foreseeable future. An interesting question is; exactly how Pakistan’s input works in light of the Bilateral Security Agreement between US and Afghanistan that envisages Afghanistan to retain between 5,000 and 20,000 US troops and military personnel in the country as trainers? The ground dynamics in Afghanistan itself are going to shift with Presidential elections looming up in April 2014. With Karzai barred from contesting a third time, the stance of the incoming President towards US and Taliban will have a crucial impact on events to come. How will the tide turn then within Afghanistan? Patrick Martin in his article, “Crisis deepens for US occupation in Afghanistan” states, “Both the US-NATO occupation and the stooge regime of President Hamid Karzai are widely hated by the Afghan population…Karzai himself confirmed the completely venal character of his own government, acknowledging at a press conference … that his office received regular cash payments from the US Central Intelligence Agency.” He continues to state, “The Times account portrayed the cash payments as a slush fund for bribing Afghan warlords to remain loyal to the Karzai government. “(May 6, 2013)
US and allies have in the meanwhile been training the Afghan army and its police to be able to take over from their forces upon their exit from Afghanistan. Award winning journalist Dave Llindorff in his article published on his blog, ‘This Can’t Be Happening!’ gives a brutally honest version of things to come, “The “government” of Afghanistan, meanwhile, knowing its days are numbered, will be preparing its exit, with money spirited out of the country, while the police and army, knowing that they will ultimately pay a deadly price for serving the US master, and too poor to buy their way out of the country, will increasingly turn on American forces, or simply switch to what they know will be the ultimate winning side. This is all totally predictable.” (Monday 05/21/2012)
Enter Pakistan. Mired by in-house terrorism, floundering economy, energy crisis et al, the expectations of US that Pakistan helps negotiate a political settlement will also to a great degree depend upon Pakistan’s handling of terrorism within its borders. Coming to the verge of deciding to weed out ‘foreign terrorists’ from their hideouts from within Pakistan the government instead announced formation of a committee to hold talks with Taliban. This decision came on heels of the dialogue recently held between US and Pakistan. Not forgetting talks with Taliban have historically never succeeded, was hype about military operation a ruse to bring Taliban to the table? Is this play at talks to deter attack by armed forces and to recoup? Every negotiation is based on give and take. Has the government prepared a blueprint? Will the government be willing to release the terrorists arrested if ‘negotiated’? What will be the government response if imposition of their interpretation of Sharia is demanded? What guarantees can the government demand to ensure Taliban stick to their word if any kind of settlement is reached? What is the time frame of the talk, or is it open ended? Is the talkshort term strategy to allow smooth exit to US forces to curtail any hiccups?
If talks do not work out; is military operation next step? Interesting questions again emerge; once these operations start will the Taliban shift to Afghanistan? How will the present and incoming government of Afghanistan look at this? Will the border areas be used as a hideout and launching pad for their attacks? How will these operations affect Pakistan in its role of bringing about a negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan as expected by US? Needless to say, Pakistan has to face the issue of terrorism and take a proactive action aimed to end killings of innocent citizens. These questions are intricately linked with exit of American forces from Afghanistan.
How will Pakistan secure peace within if Afghanistan does descend into civil war with drug barons and warlords running amok? This seems to be a likely outcome of post US forces withdrawal in Afghanistan. Pakistan must be seen as a solution to the problem, not as a problem adding to the problem.
Another issue discussed which both countries approach from opposing tangents is of India. The joint statement by US and Pakistan starts by stating, “Pakistan and the United States have also expressed the view that improved Islamabad-New Delhi relations would enhance the prospects of regional stability and prosperity, while also reaffirming that Afghan-led reconciliation process would help end violence and ensure peace in Afghanistan and the region.” (The Nation, January 29, 2014)No one can deny the importance of good, neighborly relationships between both countries. Yet the points of irritants will not go away by being brushed under the carpet. The slightest incident has the power to flare into a full blown controversy. This is itself a manifestation of the causes embedded within the relationship, crying for attention. Violation of Indus Water Treaty 1960 by India is a major concern.
Pakistan is also concerned about India’s role through its presence in Afghanistan. According to a report India has spent $2 billion on development projects in Afghanistan and has strong diplomatic and trade ties with Kabul. Interestingly, US for the first time acknowledged the merit in Pakistan’s concern on this front with US Special Envoy James Dobbins saying that Islamabad’s concerns over New Delhi’s presence in Afghanistan are exaggerated but ‘not groundless’. The Nation (August 08, 2013) Manzar Qureshi, a London based analyst, with a keen eye on development on the Afghanistan situation in a mail wrote, “Exit US-NATO forces; be prepared for a mother of all proxy wars.” According to Dean Nelson, “For India, which had been frozen out under the Taliban regime as a supporter of the Northern Alliance’s warlords, Afghanistan holds the keys to the Central Asian mineral and energy reserves it needs to sustain its rapid economic growth. To that end, and to increase its chances of gaining access to Afghanistan’s own rich reserves of iron ore, India has pledged another half a billion dollars in aid.” (The Telegraph November 2, 2011)
That’s right; the pot is coming to a boil, Pakistan needs to check out the burner fast!

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.


Tweets at:@yasmeen_9

Cross post:

Pakistan’s leadership crisis


That Pakistan has failed to strengthen institutions to produce good leadership is obvious. Robert I. Rotberg in his book “Transformative Political Leadership” states, “Accomplished political leaders have a clear strategy for turning political visions into reality. Through well-honed analytical, political, and emotional intelligence, leaders chart paths to promising futures that include economic growth, material prosperity, and human well-being. Alas, such leaders are rare in the developing world, where often institutions are weak and greed and corruption strong…” Pakistan lays claim to be a democracy. Based on a multi-party system, political parties in Pakistan are in most cases reliant on individuals who become the face of the party. The face becomes dynastic rule. Robert McFarlane, advisor to Reagan described Pakistan as a democracy “a feudal cabal.” (Page 304, Magnificent Delusions: Husain Haqqani) This phenomenon can be said to be common in India as well.
Democracy is not about holding elections. Simply because both are not synonymous to each other as mistakenly perceived. Democracy is about a series of steps, of which elections is only one step in the series. Holding in-house party elections is one. There has to be a year (s) count beyond which a candidate at a party position may not be allowed to contest to the seat. This will lead to better in-house accountability. The party, of course, wanting to stay in power, will then groom leaders, not followers. The individual must not strengthen himself at the expense of the institution. The question then arises, how does one define leadership? According to Forbes (4/09/2013) “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”
NOTA (None of the Above Available) is another step. It is in line with democratic norms, giving the right to the common man to determine whether or not he should vote for any of the options on the ballot paper or reject all options available for political parties to put up alternate candidates. This has been incorporated in the ballot paper by India, unfortunately ECP did announce including NOTA pre 2013 elections to retract the decision-pre 2013 elections! J. Venkatesan in his article states, “In the existing electoral system, a dissatisfied voter does not turn up for voting and this provides an opportunity for unscrupulous elements to impersonate him/her. But if the option of ‘none of the above’ candidates is provided, even reluctant voters could turn up at the booth and press the NOTA button in the electronic voting machine, the Supreme Court said.” (The Hindu September 28, 2013)
What indeed is democracy the reader may ask? Though there is no universally accepted definition of democracy, two principles are broadly accepted as the basic ingredient to any democracy, these being: equality and freedom. These principles mean that all citizens of a nation are equal before the law, without any exceptions and have equal access to power. It also means that the legal rights and liberties of the citizens of a nation are protected by a constitution. This explanation raises many questions: Do our political parties within their cadre, allow its workers equal access to power? Can a worker within a party structure have the opportunity to rise to the status of the Chairperson of that party, in due course of time? Lady Warsi’s appointment as Conservative Party Chairperson and a full cabinet minister reflects on the progress the UK has made in terms of maturity in their political sphere. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, we remain stuck in the groove of dynastic dynamics and have not progressed from this point in over 63 years of our history.
The second part of the definition deals with the right of citizens that is protected by the Constitution. These rights are determined from Articles 8 to Article 28 in the Constitution and deal with various rights of the citizen of Pakistan, for example, Article 25 professes that all citizens are equal before law and have a right to equal protection of law, so on and so forth. However, words on a piece of paper without implementation loses any standing.
Ideally speaking, democracies must be based on broader participation of the masses. It implies a system that ensures rights to its citizens. These may include civic rights, social, economic, political, educational rights to name a few. If we apply the general principle to Pakistan, we see, in all fairness that democracy has failed to take off in Pakistan. There are many reasons; weak party structures strengthening individuals, not the institution itself, lack of accountability, both internally (within parties) and externally(nationally) of individuals who are generally considered above the law, giving space to certain parties and groups based on sect, religion, ethnicity to operate….the list is long. Many want us to believe that the present state of affairs is a temporary ‘phase’ a transition to a ‘better ’democracy per se. They are of the view that if allowed to continue the chaff will eventually separate itself from the wheat. I respectfully disagree. What this has produced in more inefficiency, more chaos, more mediocre floating up and more lack of accountability; simply more of the same. It is this lack of accountability, failure of betterment for the common man as a result of elections that has led to disenchantment within the people towards the process. Despair that for them; nothing will change; an exact opposite reaction of what democracy should achieve!
Behjat Gilani, a veteran and extremely senior broadcaster and host of her daily programme on Voice of America, in an exchange of views on Twitter last week, made a beautiful distinction between politicians and leaders, “The day when politicians become leaders then there would be change. Leaders would try to lead with a direction instead of politicizing the situation.” Analyzing these words presented made perfect sense. A politician need not necessarily have the vision of a leader to give cogent direction to a nation. A leader in the purest sense may not be a politician at heart and vice versa.
In Pakistan success of democracy is also tied in to the acknowledgement and development of diversion of her sub-cultures within and their richness. To appreciate and understand, to develop and to gel these cultures by virtue of the magic ingredient; ‘solidarity.’ Solidarity can be developed by leaders having a vision. Leaders are sometimes born but usually groomed by strong political institutions. If we look at the western democracies, we see many such examples. To our tragedy, this institution is weak in Pakistan.
Policy decisions must be taken by leaders to address specific issues. President Obasanjo of Nigeria made a very bold policy decision when he decided to retire 149 political-senior military and police officers. The purpose here was to clean the act. To remove those who had been instrumental in playing a strongly negative role in the regimes of Generals Babangida and Abacha. Pakistan too, needs many policy decisions on many levels. Waiting any more is an ill afforded luxury. These decisions should have been taken yesterday!
Pakistan can no longer afford to lose time in dillydallying while the party goes on. The economy is in doldrums, the extremists have unleashed havoc in the country; two recent high profile cases; one is the 15 year old Aitzaz Hasan who sacrificed his life at tackling a suicide bomber, saving his school in Hangu and hundreds of schoolmates within. The other case coming at the heels of Aitzaz Hasan’s shahadat, is that of SP CID Chaudhry Aslam. Recent killings in Mastung is a case in point and one more in line with innumerable such cases.
As Pakistan awaits deliverance, the glaring question is: whither the leadership?

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.


Tweets at:@yasmeen_9

Cross post:

The Coup of 1951-Part 1

This is a cross post from

By Naveed Tajammal

Gen-AkbarIn all fairness, as is seen no distinction is given between a conspiracy case and punishments awarded, to a few officers, for their Nationalist aspirations, and the conspiracy engineered by the Commander In Chiefs of our Army, as one should realize, that, The ‘Coup d’etat’ is merely the final execution phase of any conspiracy and its success does not convert it with, shall we say greater legitimacy, than a conspiracy that fails to mature into a Coup d’etat? If really seen now in hindsight, the conspiracies as were executed  by the Commander in Chief’ [C-in-C] in 1958,1977 and 1999, are the worst examples because in all three instances each one of them had been dismissed by the same competent authority which had appointed them on the very same post, and all three, Generals in order to save their own skins, committed the very institution of our Army into a unconstitutional Act, whereas a conspiracy by a few officers in the lower rank’s, remains an Act of individuals. It should be kept in mind, that, ‘Conspiracy to overthrow by force the Government established by Law, as was seen in three instances, quoted above is a Capital Offence under the Pakistan Penal Code, However Conspiracy to subvert the constitution is High Treason, the penalty for which is vague, and not specific. The 1951 Conspiracy had its origins in the ineptness of  the GOP[Govt. of Pakistan] then, in dealing with Kashmir War of 1947-48,when the War had been won, and the GOP choose to go for a cease-fire, secondly the presence of British Officers in the Armed Forces-who were running their own agenda. The Fact remains Pakistan had a golden chance of taking over Kashmir between 22 October-28 October-1947,However later, after the Indian Army Landed at the Srinagar Air port-in the Air Bridge created by the efforts of Lord Mountbatten, The war had been lost, the GOP, under Liaqat Ali khan’s influence never really wanted this war in the first place, As Liaqat khan in his myopic mind wanted, Hyderabad in lieu of Kashmir, whereas Indians had offered Kashmir, if Pakistan withdrew its stance/claim, over Hyderabad then.

Brigadier Habibullah [later promoted to the rank of Lieut-General] who had come as a prosecution witness against, Major- General Akbar Khan the Arch-Conspirator of 1951 Conspiracy, in his cross-examination by the defence had conceded, that, The British Officers in Pakistan army were pre-occupied with the protection of British interests in Iran and containment of Soviet Russia, rather than addressing the looming Indian threat on our Eastern Front-that, in October/November 1948, Major-General Loftus Tottenham had prepared an appreciation under the orders from  GHQ, on deployment of a brigade of Pakistan Army in Iran to protect the British Anglo-Iranian oil fields.

Lieut-Colonel Gul Mowaz [later promoted to the rank of Brigadier],likewise under cross-examination also admitted, that Brigadier Latiff Khan [accused] Commander of 52 Brigade at Quetta, had told him that the primary task assigned to his brigade was to prepare defences against Russian’s along the Khojak Pass, and his secondary task were the Indians across the eastern border-[Hyderabad Sindh sector] -on further questioning , he agreed that, on the visit of C N  C  to Quetta in middle of Feb.1950,where he too was present, Brig. Latiff Khan, had pointedly asked Gen. Gracey as to why priority was being given to Khojak Pass. also during his cross-examination Lt. Col. Mowaz further agreed that British C N C of Pakistan Army had fixed Exercise-Stalin for November 1950-’for studying problems against Russia”. The above brief narration, proves that the grudge of our Nationalist officers were well founded-The fact remains that, Gen. Akbar Khan keeping in view his convictions had started the work on his plan to overthrow this inept Government and its lackeys from the middle of 1949.

As one studies the proceedings of  The Hyderabad Tribunal Given in, Hasan Zaheer’s book, ‘Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case 1951′ published by Oxford press in 1998, his own remark in the preface of the book is self defeating to the argument he gives by, saying it was sheer Bonapartism [and substantiates his argument by quoting the same term, also awarded to these officers by Ayub Khan in his book, ‘friends not masters’ p-37/38,and we all know that the real author who wrote that book, for his mentor and master] and Hasan Zaheer, attributes this term [Bonaparte] on those who undertook the task of conspiring in this conspiracy-

However, as one reads the proceedings one realizes  that it was a fairly large scale affair-and that the distinction between the accused and the prosecution witnesses was rather arbitrary and based  on extraneous considerations-The line between joining the conspiracy or merely having knowledge of it was rather thin-and one finds logic in the stance of the Defence during trial proceedings, that the prosecution witnesses corroborating the approvers [crown witnesses] were indeed accomplices in the same conspiracy and who had taken a U-Turn to save their own hides-And could in No way be termed as ‘Independent witnesses’ and each one of them could be charged under section 27 of the Indian Army Act of 1911-”For knowing or having reason to believe in the existence of an intention to mutiny, or a conspiracy against the State and Not giving without delay information thereof to his Commanding Officer or other superior Officer’.

The Hyderabad Tribunal as is seen in retrospective, paid no heed to the plea’s of Defence on behalf of the accused officers, but continued with its Kangaroo court proceedings.

A brief background of the each accused officer in this conspiracy is but required;

1] PA-25 Maj-Gen. Akbar Khan [1912-1994] was from the old Peshawar district from village Utmanzi in Tehsil Charsada.he had been commissioned  from Sandhurst UK, in 1933 in the Hampshire Regiment and, later joined 6/13th FFR[First FF] located in Kohat then, and took active part in the Waziristan operations in 1936/37 later did his Staff College from Quetta and in the WW ll ,distinguished himself on the Burma Front in 1944/45 and was awarded a DSO-He was the main driving force behind the Kashmir liberation Forces due to which we have the present AJK [Azad Jammu and Kashmir] in 1947/48 in the rank of a Brigadier. in Jan,1950 he did his Joint services Staff College from UK and was appointed as the CGS [Chief of General Staff] in December 1950.

2] Air Commodore. Mohammad Khan Janjua, was from village Malot- Chakwal District, he was the senior-most Muslim Officer in Pakistan Air Force till March 1951 [when arrested].

3] PA-14 Maj-Gen Nazier Ahmed, belonged to Durnal in Chakwal District and, had been commissioned from Sandhurst UK, he had been awarded a MBE in the Second world war,and was the first Indian Muslim to command 4/13 FFR[First FF],in 1947 he was commanding 114 Brigade at Lahore and as GOC 9 Div. commanded the Uri sector forces against the Indian Army in Kashmir war 1947/48.

4]Brigadier Sadiq Khan was from Kotli Sattian Rawalpindi District-he had been commissioned from Dehra Dun in 1936,he had commanded a battalion in the Kashmir war on the Poonch Sector, and was commanding 102 Brigade at Bannu in February 1951. He was from later 9 FF.

5] Brigadier. Muhammad Abdul Latiff Khan was from Bhopal and commissioned from Dehra Dun in 1936-and had joined Baloch Regiment, was also on the Burma Front during the Second world War, was awarded a Military-Cross [MC],later joined 5/12 FF[ 2 Guides FF ] and had fought the Kashmir War under the Brigade of Gen. Akbar, in Feb.1950 was  posted as GSO-1 of 9 Division, and was promoted Brigadier in December 1950,and took over 52 Brigade at Quetta and was also Station Commander Quetta, when arrested in march 1951.

6] Lieut-Colonel. Ziauddin was commissioned in 1942,belonged to Mirpur AJK, and had been awarded MBE during the second world War, He remained the senior staff officer Sector 2 in the Kashmir War, in early 1951 was the Officiating Brigadier ,heading the AK-Forces Co-ordination Committee.

7] Lieut-Colonel. Niaz Muhammad Arbab, Was Commissioned from Dehra Dun, & was commanding 2/1 Punjab at Thal,and was part of the 102 Brigade under Brig. Sadiq Khan.

8] Major. Hassan Khan, belonged to Gilgit, and had joined Kashmir Forces in 1937-In August 1938 he joined Military Academy Dehra Dun,and fought on the Burma Front and was awarded Military Cross [MC] on revision was posted at Gilgit, he played the main role in the revolt of Gilgit Scouts, It were his efforts due to which by November 1947 the entire areas of Gilgit, Hunza, Bunji, Astor had declared themselves free from the Dogra state Rule and had joined Pakistan, after routing the Dogra Garrison and putting the Dogra Governor under arrest. in 1948 he was absorbed in the Pakistan Army, and sent back to Gilgit, in march 1950 was posted in the AK-Co-Ordination Committee, in Early 1951 he was Commanding the Poonch sector.

9] Major-Ishaq Muhammad belonged to Jullandhar and had won a Military Cross, in the Second world war-and was the Brigade-Major under Gen. Akbar and was covering the Baramula sector [march 1948-march 1949] from march-1949 onward was at the Kotli-Sector.

10] Captain. Khizer Hayat belonged to Jhelum, he was GSO-lll under Gen. Akbar, and later joined 2/1 Punjab, under Colonel Arbab which was part of the brigade under Brigadier Sadiq Khan.

11] Captain. Zaffarulah Poshni- Belonged to Amritsar, he was from the Signals and was posted in his unit in Rawalpindi-in March 1951.

12]Mrs. Nasim Akbar Khan was the wife of Gen. Akbar Khan and the daughter of Begum Shahnawaz a member of Muslim League. She had a leading role along with her husband in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case.

13] Faiz Ahmad Faiz, he belonged to Sialkot, and had joined ‘Moral Welfare Directorate ‘ of the British Indian Army in 1942, with a rank of a Captain and later was promoted Major and posted in Burma in the same Brigade as was Gen. Akbar in, and later became a lieut-colonel, in ISPR [inter services public relations] and resigned in 1947, to join Pakistan Times, and was the Editor Pakistan Times when arrested in March 1951.

14] Sajjad Zaheer belonged to Lucknow, he was member of Central Committee of the Communist Party of India, and was heading the Communist Party of Pakistan, and was arrested later in April 1951.

15] Muhammad Hussain Atta, belonged to Hazara [Abbottabad] he was the Secretary of the Provincial Communist Party of  NWFP ,He evaded arrest and absconded till he was apprehended at the last in July 1951,from the Chittagong port, trying to escape from police.

[To be continued…..]