The Other Side of the Hill 1965

Launched in broad daylight as it was over open ground in full view of one tank squadron plus and one infantry battalion and covered by their combined weapons. Tanks and artillery opened fire when the Pakistanis emerged from cover from their forming up place.It was a foolhardy venture,the attackers were literally massacred but they persisted in their attempt to close until the few remnants fell only about 50 metres from tanks of 4 Hodsons Horse.
At about that time the news of Pakistani acceptance of ceasefire was received. The whole of this gallant battalion was sacrificed to no purpose…ceasefire became effective at 8.00 p.m. and guns fell silent on both sides. ”

The next day 80 dead bodies of the 39th Frontier Force including their commanding officer, second in commands and adjutants were handed over to the Pakistanis’37’

The Tank Attack that Failed

Authored by Agha Humayun Amin

List Price: $73.00
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
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316 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1494782917
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BISAC: History / Military / Pictorial
It was essentially ‘C’ Squadron Poona Horse which faced ‘A’ Squadron 13 Lancers and ‘B’ Squadron Poona Horse which faced ‘B’ and ‘C’ Squadrons of 13 Lancers.
Once 13 Lancers brought in its two remaining squadrons the Indians reinforced Jarpal with half squadron of its ‘A’ Squadron which was in reserve in Siraj Chak area.
Once 31 Cavalry attacked the Indians brought the remaining tanks of ‘A’ Squadron in Jarpal area.
By 1200 hours 13 Lancers which was praised by the Indians for its tremendous valour, keeping aside all the foolhardiness of their modus operandi,31 was written off from the order of battle of the 8 Armoured Brigade! The issue now was no longer containment since the Indians were also considerably shaken, having suffered a large number of tank and infantry casualties in the process.
Such was the elan and dash of this attack that the Indian armoured corps historian admitted that ‘the only occasion that a breakthrough could have occurred was when two squadrons of 13 Lancers (following Major Nasir’s exhortation described in the previous sentence) attacked together in the afternoon, but a gallant last-ditch stand by three tanks of the Poona Horse averted the danger’ .
Brigadier Khwaja Mohammad Nasir is another example of defective Pakistani promotion system .He was phenomenally brave at Bara Pind but was not promoted beyond brigadier due to petty intelligence reports of Pakistans miserable intelligence agencies which failed repeatedly in war time intelligence gathering.On the other hand many armour officers who reached two and three and four star ranks like

Grand Slam—

A Battle of Lost Opportunities

Maj (Retd) AGHA HUMAYUN AMIN from WASHINGTON DC does a detailed analysis of Pakistan Army’s attempt to capture AKHNUR in 1965.

INTRODUCTION

The aim of this article is to discuss “Operation Grand Slam” in the overall context of the 1965 War, assessing its strategic significance, and the various controversies surrounding it.

The Kashmir problem shaped the future of Indo-Pak Sub-Continental politics from 1947 onwards and led to the militarisation of India and Pakistan. The Poonch Valley link road connecting Jammu with Poonch Valley, the second largest valley of Kashmir, was a hot favourite military objective of military planners in Pakistan, right from 1947-48. One of the major military objectives of the 1947-48 War was to harass Indian communications around Jammu in areas Akhnur and Kathua.1 Beri Pattan Bridge over River Tawi a few miles south-east of Nowshera on this road was the main objective of a planned Pakistani armoured brigade and infantry brigade attack code named “Operation Venus” in December 1948.2 As a matter of fact one of the reasons which motivated the Indian Government, in 1948, into requesting for a complete ceasefire may have been its anxiety to avoid a major battle, opposite its communications to the Poonch Valley.3 The Pakistani governments, calling off the projected “Operation Venus”, and acceptance of this ceasefire offer and final ceasefire with effect from night 31 December 1948 and 1st January 1949, was later much criticised in Pakistan. Claims were made that the Pakistani Government agreed to a ceasefire “to the army’s horror” at a time when military victory was within Pakistan’s grasp!4 A Pakistani officer who was then commanding the infantry brigade strike force tasked to execute “Operation Venus”, much later in 1976 claimed that, had the operation been launched, he could have been in Jammu within 24 hours and into Pathankot and Gurdaspur in the next 24 hours! 5

Thus when “Operation Grand Slam” was conceived and launched in 1965 history was repeating itself and as later events turned out, ironically history repeated itself, in terms of irresolution and indecisiveness on part of Pakistan’s highest military and political leadership. The bluff self-promoted Field Marshal from a so-called martial area proved himself as indecisive as the Hindustani Muslim Prime Minister of 1948 who was much criticised by many intellectuals in Pakistan6 for indecisiveness and timidity in the 1947-48 War. History repeated itself for the second time in 1999 when a smaller scale military operation was called off in Kargil. The man accused of timidity on this occasion was a Punjabi (Kashmiri) Prime Minister! The 35th anniversary of the 1965 War demands that we in the Indo-Pak Sub-Continent must re-assess the validity of the historical life scripts into which past experiences have programmed us! It is a vain hope since most human beings despite all advancement in civilisation are dominated by absurd urges!

OPERATION GRAND SLAM

Background

1965 was an eventful year in Indo-Pak history. The Pakistani military ruler Ayub emerged victorious in the Presidential elections held in January 1965 amidst allegations of rigging. This factor created a desire in Ayub to improve his political image by a limited gain in the realm of foreign relations. He got an opportunity to do so in April 1965 over a minor border dispute with India in the Rann of Kutch area. The Pakistan Army dominated the skirmishes in the Rann area as a result of which a climate of overconfidence was created in the Pakistani military and political establishment.7

In May 1965 following the jubilation in Pakistan because of the Rann affair Ayub became keen to launch the proposed “Operation Gibraltar”: a proposed plan to launch guerrillas into Indian held Kashmir with the objective of creating a popular uprising, finally forcing India to, abandon Kashmir. Ayub went to Murree on 13 May 1965 to attend a briefing on the conduct of Operation Gibraltar.8 We will not go into the controversy surrounding this plan, which is basically an exercise in futility, and mud slinging initiated by some self-styled experts, motivated largely by personal rivalry and ulterior biases, since the prime aim of this article is to discuss the military significance of Operation Grand Slam and its connection with “Operation Gibraltar”. In this briefing Ayub “examined” the “Operation Gibraltar” plan prepared by Major General Akhtar Malik, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 12 Division. The 12 Division was responsible for the defence of the entire border of Pakistan occupied Kashmir from Ladakh in the north till Chamb near the internationally recognised border to the south. It was during this briefing that Ayub suggested that the 12 Division should also capture Akhnur.9 This attack was codenamed “Operation Grand Slam”. General Musa, the then C in C Army and Altaf Gauhar the then Information Secretary and Ayub’s close confidant, the two principal defenders of Ayub have not given any explanation about what exactly was the strategic rationale of “Grand Slam” and what was its proposed timing in relation to “Operation Gibraltar”. We will discuss this aspect in detail in the last portion of this article.

OPERATION “GIBRALTAR”

The confusion in history writing in Pakistan may be gauged from the fact that Shaukat Riza’s book on 1965 War, despite being Pakistan Army’s official account does not contain the two words “Operation Gibraltar”! It appears that the idea of launching a guerrilla war in Indian held Kashmir was in vogue since the 1950s. Major General Mitha confirms in his GHQ inspired book, written soon after publication of Gul Hassan Khan’s memoirs10 that had outraged the Pakistani GHQ that he heard ideas that such an operation should be launched since 1958.11 Mitha claims that from 1958 to 1961 he had advised that “such operations had no chance of success and each time F.M Ayub Khan had agreed with me and vetoed the suggestions”.12 General Gul Hassan states that the secret “Kashmir Cell” formed by the Foreign Office on Ayub’s orders consisting of various key officials including the DMO i.e Gul Hassan was informed by the Foreign Secretary Aziz Ahmad that the President had ordered GHQ to prepare two plans to encourage/provide all out support sabotage/guerrilla operations in Indian Held Kashmir. Gul states that the decision to mount guerrilla operations with active Pakistan Army involvement was taken after the Rann of Katch skirmish. Altaf Gauhar who was the Information Secretary at that time claims that the Foreign Secretary Aziz Ahmad had “convinced himself that Pakistan was in a position to dislodge the Indians from Kashmir” and that “Once trained Pakistani soldiers went inside Kashmir the people of the Valley would spontaneously rise in revolt” and that “fear of China would prevent the Indians from provoking an all out war that would give Pakistan army the opportunity to drive the Indians out of Kashmir just as it had done in the Rann of Kutch”. Gauhar further claimed that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate and the Foreign Office drew up the plan for Operation Gibraltar.13

Pakistani expectations, and this does not include Bhutto alone, as many self-styled experts based on personal rivalry would much later claim; were raised to unrealistic heights after the Rann affair and Ayub was convinced that Gibraltar would succeed! In a written communication before the war Ayub asserted that “As a general rule Hindu morale would not stand more than a couple of blows delivered at the right time and place. Such opportunities should, therefore, be sought and exploited”.14

Gauhar states that Mr Z.A Bhutto the Foreign Minister was so convincingly persuasive in his advocacy of Operation Gibraltar that he convinced many Pakistan Army officers serving in the GHQ, who in turn urged the Pakistani C in C Musa to “bite the bullet”.15 Further Musa, the C in C much later in 1983 claimed that Bhutto had “Brainwashed” his officers.16 These two assertions if true means that either Bhutto was a military genius or those army officers who he convinced had no grey matter and that the Pakistani C in C was a glorified headclerk whose function was that of a rubber stamp rather than anything to do with higher military strategy or operational planning.

This article is not about “Operation Gibraltar” but “Grand Slam”, however, no discussion or analysis of Grand Slam is possible if Gibraltar is not discussed, although in brief. Operation Gibraltar envisaged guerrilla operations inside Indian Occupied Kashmir by a number of guerrilla groups of roughly a battalion strength comprising of Kashmiri Volunteers trained by Pakistan Army, Pakistan Army Special Services Group (SSG) Commando personnel and some regular infantry troops.17 The total strength of the “Gibraltar Force” was not more than 5,000 to 7,000 men subdivided into five forces i.e (1) “Salahuddin Force” operating in Srinagar Valley, (2) “Ghaznavi Force “ in Mendhar-Rajauri area, (3) “Tariq Force” in Dras-Kargil area, (4) “Babar Force “in Nowshera-Sundarbani area, (5) “Qasim Force” in Bandipura-Sonarwain area, (6) “Khalid Force” in Qazinag-Naugam area, (7) “Nusrat Force” in Tithwal-Tangdhar area, (8) “Sikandar Force” in Gurais area and (9) “Khilji Force” in Kel-Minimarg area.18 The mission assigned to the various Gibraltar forces was warfare in the enemy’s rear including harassing enemy communications, destruction of bridges, logistic installations, headquarters with a view to create conditions of an “armed insurrection” in Kashmir finally leading to a national uprising against Indian rule leading to liberation of Kashmir or at least parts of it.19

The infiltration operation of the Gibraltar Force commenced from first week of August 1965.20 General Harbaksh Singh the C in C Indian Western Command described the infiltration operation as “brilliant in conception”.21 The Gibraltar Forces mission was too ambitious and its achievement was beyond its means, however, in words of Indian military writer Major K.C Praval “Although the Gibraltar Force failed to raise a revolt, they did succeed in creating a great deal of confusion and disorder by acts of sabotage, violence and murder”.22 Praval praised “Nusrat Force” which was operating in Tithwal area which in his words “caused a great deal of damage before it could be pushed back over the ceasefire line”.23 Indian General Harbaksh Singh in the typical Indo-Pak style of not being intellectually honest once dealing with assessment of enemy actions, inadvertently admitted the mental dislocation that the Gibraltar Force had caused in the headquarters of Indian 15 Corps. Harbaksh thus stated “General Officer Commanding 15 Corps gave the following assessment of the prevailing situation: — The maximum success gained by the infiltrators was in the Mandi area where they had secured local support”24 ………. “General Officer Commanding 15 Corps in a personal signal to me recommended the abandonment of the Hajipir offensive …..on account of the serious tactical situation in that sector”. 25 This happened on 15th August! On 17th August 1965 General Harbaksh Singh noted that the 15 Indian Corps Commander’s assessment of operational situation in Kashmir was “rather too grim and gloomy”.26 Even Joginder Singh who later wrote a book to refute most of Harbaksh’s assertions admitted in his book that “GOC XV Corps Lt Gen Katoch appeared to be overwhelmed by the scale of infiltration”.27 The reader may note that all this was happening despite an overwhelming Indian numerical superiority in troops. A small example being the 25 Indian Division area where the Indians had some 20 infantry battalions 28 at a time when the total strength of the 12 Pakistani Division responsible for all 400 miles of Kashmir was not more than 15 infantry battalions! 29

The local population of Indian Held Kashmir did not co-operate with the Gibraltar Force and by 18th August the operations of the Gibraltar Force were considerably reduced. The Indians brought in additional troops and the infiltration operation was checked by 20th August. As discussed earlier the Indian 15 Corps Commander was unnerved, however, the C in C Western Command Harbaksh Singh exhibited greater resolution and spurred the 15 Indian Corps into launching two major counter infiltration attacks inside Pakistan Held Kashmir to destroy the logistic bases in Hajipir Bulge and Neelam Valley areas. Both these attacks succeeded since the 12 Division was already over stretched with single infantry battalions holding frontages varying from 10 to 20 miles. 30 There is absolutely no doubt that Gibraltar was an undoubted failure! The loss of Hajipir Pass, the principal logistic base of the infiltrators on 28th August and Indian successes in the Neelam Valley and opposite Uri on 29-31st August 1965 unnerved the Pakistani GHQ who assumed that Muzaffarabad was about to be attacked!31 The supposed liberators of Indian Held Kashmir were more worried now about what they had held before commencement of hostilities! It was under these circumstances that the Pakistani GHQ ordered execution of Grand Slam with the aim of relieving Indian pressure against Muzaffarabad! Shaukat Riza the official historian of the 1965 War admitted that by 31 August the Indians had ruptured 12 Division’s defences and this was the main reason why the GHQ decided to attack Chamb “to ease pressure on 12 Division”. Shaukat also quoted Musa and the Chief of General Staff Sher Bahadur in stating that the main reason why Grand Slam was launched was that “there was danger of Indians capturing Muzaffarabad”.32 Musa in his roundabout way of saying things did not mention Muzaffarabad but merely stated that the main object of launching “Grand Slam” was “reducing pressure in the north by capturing Chamb and threatening Akhnur”.33

THE BATTLE OF CHAMB-JAURIAN-AKHNUR

Significance of Akhnur

Akhnur Class 18 bridge 34 on the fast flowing Chenab River was the key to Indian communications from Jammu and mainland India a group of valleys lying south south of the Pir Panjal Range and West of Chenab River, most prominent of which was the Poonch River Valley. The bridge was the sole all weather lifeline of one oversized Indian infantry division, with at least twenty infantry battalions, defending Poonch, Rajauri, Jhangar and Nauhshera and one Independent Infantry Brigade defending Chamb-Dewa Sector. Possession of Akhnur could enable an attacker to threaten Jammu the key to all Indian communications from Pathankot to Srinagar/lLadakh etc.

Orientation with the area

Chamb-Jaurian Sector is bounded by the ceasefire line from Dewa till Burjeal in the west, the international border from Burjeal till River Chenab in the south, various branches of River Chenab from Phulkean Salient till Akhnur in the south and Southwest, and a range of hills between the height of 1000 to 3000 feet running in a roughly east-west direction in the north. Some ridges run from this range of hills downwards in a north-south direction, most prominent of which are Phagla-Sakrana Ridge located about between a mile and two miles, eastwards from the border, followed by Tam Ka Tilla, east of Pallanwalla and the Fatwal Ridge four miles west of Akhnur. Average relative height of each ridge varied from 40 to 80 feet. These ridges on the face value were minor features, however, in terms of fields of fire and observation; their value was immense for a defender engaged in opposing tanks. The gradient rose from north to south as well as from west to east, and the area to the north restricted tank movement, while the area in the south with minor boggy patches afforded excellent manoeuvrability for tanks. Two small ridges known as Mandiala North and South dominated Chamb village itself. The Munawar Wali Tawi running from north to south into the Chenab River divided the sector into two halves, was located about 7 to 8 Kilometres from the border. The Nala had a wide bed varying from 100 yards in the north to 300 yards in the south and steep banks, which made it a partial tank obstacle. There were various crossing places on the Nala notably at Chamb, Mandiala, Darh and Channi from north to south respectively. The Nala had a lot of water in summers but maximum water depth in September was not more than four feet, thus making it negotiable for all types of tanks. Only one partially constructed bridge spanned the Nala near Chamb in 1965. Road Akhnur-Jaurian Chamb to the south and Road Akhnur-Kalit-Mandiala, both running in a east-west general alignment were two metalled roads running almost parallel to each other connected Chamb with Akhnur. The area of manoeuvre for tanks from the west was restricted to a 12 Kilometre gap between Burjeal and Dewa Hills and a 7 to 8 kilometre tract from Burjeal to the Chenab River which became relatively more boggy as one went closer to Chenab River. Both the roads leading from Chamb to Akhnur were intersected by Nalas running from north to south at a distance of two to four kilometres with small ridges in between, thus reducing tank speed, but were no obstacle for tanks. The ground all along was thus broken as well as interspersed with dry Nalas. These Nalas restricted the cross-country mobility of wheeled vehicles once off road. There were mango groves and wild orchards at places, which provided adequate cover. The area was well cultivated and in September 1965 the fields had four feet high standing crops of millet and maize. River Chenab running from north-east to south west in the south and the line of hills running in an east-west direction provided natural built-in flank protection against any tank threat, for any tank force advancing from west to east but also restricted the movement of a tank force. In terms of tank manoeuvrability and space for manoeuvre the area from the border in the west till Akhnur may be described as a cylinder which is about 12 kilometres wide on the extreme western side at its western entrance and gets progressively narrower as one advances from west of east by virtue of a line of hills in the north and Chenab River in the south both of which successively get progressively closer narrowing the north-south space reducing the north south open space gap from 12 kilometre in the west to about 3 to 4 kilometre at Akhnur. Thus in terms of tank warfare, the defenders task became easier, as the attacker advanced from west to east since space for manoeuvre was reduced by some one fourth.35

Indian and Pakistani Force Composition and Plans

Indian Force Composition and Plans. Till August 1965 the Indian force defending Chamb Jaurian consisted of the 191 Independent Infantry Brigade Group consisting of four infantry battalions and no armour.36 In addition the border posts were manned by two irregular battalions of Punjab Armed Police and Jammu and Kashmir Militia Battalion. These two battalions, however, had nominal military value like the Pakistani Rangers, by virtue of being poorly trained/equipped. In May 1965 as part of “Operation Ablaze” (Indian plan of mobilisation/shifting forward of forces in Punjab in May 1965) the Indians placed a tank squadron of AMX-13 Light tanks under command 191 Brigade.37 Activities of the Gibraltar Force Infiltrators in Chamb-Jaurian forced the Indians to bring in two additional infantry battalions by end of August 1965, 38 however, both infantry battalions reverted to their parent formations after successfully dealing with the Gibraltar Force infiltrators by end of August.39 In 1956, 80 Indian Infantry Brigade responsible for defence of area Naushahra-Rajauri-Jhangar had pointed out that 191 Brigade defending Chamb-Jaurian Sector to his left constituted a vulnerable left flank.40 The same officer as Brigadier General Staff 15 Indian Corps Kashmir had concluded that Pakistani troops attacking from opposite Chamb could capture Chamb and had recommended stationing of a tank regiment in the sector, upgrading 191 Infantry Brigade to a division and construction of an alternate bridge over the Chenab at Riasi.41 None of these recommendations except upgradation of Akhnur Bridge to carry AMX-13 tanks were accepted by the Indian higher headquarters! The Indian military planners till 1965 had firmly believed that Pakistan would not cross the international border between Chenab and Burjeal and thus regarded the southern half of Chamb Salient as “sacrosanct”.42 The Indian planners had hypothesised that the most likely area of Pakistani attack in South Kashmir was the Jhangar-Nowshera Sector.43 The Indian defences in Chamb-Jaurian were thus not as extensive as in other sectors of Kashmir. The Indian artillery consisted of just one field regiment and a troop of medium guns.44 In August 1965 in the wake of Operation Gibraltar the Indian High Command finally decided to upgrade Chamb-Jaurian Sector to a divisional command, however, till 1st September 196545 the area was defended by 191 Independent Infantry Brigade directly under command 15 Indian Corps. The 10 Division headquarters staff designated to take over the area was at this time being organised at Bangalore in the Indian south.46 The 10 Division headquarters was assigned a time frame of three weeks in August 1965 and ordered to take over the command of 80 Brigade and 191 Brigade by 15 September 1965 and had reached Akhnur by 28th August 1965. The headquarters had no communication equipment and nominal staff on 1st September 1965.47 The Indian armour consisting of a squadron of AMX-13 Light tanks which was assigned the responsibility of anti tank defence of the main tank approach west of Chamb. It was deployed in an extended form two troops on a ridge between Daur and Palla responsible for the defence of the area from Paur in the north till a little east of Burjeal in the south, one troop in the south in Munawar area and one troop in reserve at Barsala. On 1st September, however, three tanks were under repair in the rear. All Indian infantry battalion anti-tank recoilless guns were grouped under 15 Kumaon and tasked with the anti-tank defence of the Mandiala crossing. The border was manned by the border force irregular battalions and 3 Mahar and 6 Sikh Light Infantry as shown on the map with 15 Kumaon and 6/5 Gurkha in depth. 15 Kumaon was deployed on the pivotal Mandiala Heights and 6/5 Gurkha was deployed till 1st September on the Kalidhar Ridge east of River Tawi. This Ridge it may be noted was an important feature which dominated both the Chamb-Jaurian-Akhnur Road from the north and overlooked the Akhnur-Naushera-Rajauri-Poonch Road from the south.

Pakistani Force Composition and Plans. Pakistan’s 12 Division Headquarters which was also responsible for the defence of entire Kashmir and was facing three Indian divisions and two independent brigades was tasked to command the Grand Slam attack force. The division was commanded by Major General Akhtar Malik described by Shaukat Riza as a “largehearted man and a natural leader”. One whose “subordinates never felt crowded by him, or inhibited in speaking out their minds”.48 Another military historian described Akhtar Malik as “an avid bridge player”.49 Akhtar Malik was assigned two tank regiments (from 6 Armoured Division then deployed in Gujranwala area), an independent artillery brigade (Artillery 4 Corps) consisting of three medium regiments, one field regiment, two heavy batteries of 155 mm guns and 8 inch guns respectively, a Light Anti-Aircraft gun battery, a corps artillery locating regiment, another artillery brigade (Artillery 7 Division) consisting of two field regiments and one locating regiment. His infantry component consisted of three infantry brigades i.e Number 4 Sector (3 and a quarter infantry battalions of the semi-regular AKRF), 10 Brigade (Two regular battalions) detached from 7 Division and placed under command 12 Division for Grand Slam and his own divisions, 102 Brigade (three infantry battalions).50 Akhtar Malik moved to Kharian on 28th August with a small tactical headquarters. Arrangements were made to exercise command of the Grand Slam force through the communication system of the 4 Corps Artillery Brigade. The Pakistani plan was based on three phases i.e an initial breakthrough by two infantry brigades each supported by a tank regiment along two points capturing the Chamb salient east of Tawi Nala, followed by capture of Akhnur by 10 Brigade Group (including a tank regiment) and finally a northward advance by the 102 Brigade on axis Akhnur-Jhangar linking up with Pakistan’s 25 Brigade operating against Indian communications in Naushera-Jhangar area with the final objective of capturing Rajauri51 which Pakistan had lost earlier to an Indian tank squadron on 12 April 1948.52

Comparison of Strength. It is an unfortunate trait of Indo-Pak history to magnify enemy strength and to omit mentioning own strength. The operational situation in Chamb was thus later described in words like “the Indians held the Chamb Valley strongly”53, or “Chamb was very well guarded. Apart from its very strong fortifications, the Indians had by then increased their forces in Chamb to seven battalions”.54 The following table comparing Indian and Pakistani strengths is self explanatory:—

PAKISTAN INDIA RATIO REMARKS
INFANTRY

(Battalions)

8.25 4 2 : 1 Two Battalions of border police have not been counted as these were like the Pakistani Rangers. One Indian infantry battalion included in the total i.e the 6/5 Gurkha was deployed at Kali Dhar in the rear and had nothing to do with the fighting on 1st September 1965.
TANKS

(Squadrons)

6 1 6:1 Pakistani tanks were far superior to Indian tanks in terms of firepower, mobility as well as protection.
ARTILLERY

(Batteries)

18 3.5 6:1 The Pakistani total does not include one anti aircraft battery that enhanced air defence and two regiments of locating artillery which severely reduced the Indian artillery’s capability to retaliate, by virtue of locating enemy guns and neutralising them by counter bombardment. Pakistani batteries included nine field batteries, seven medium batteries and two heavy batteries while Indians had three field and a troop of medium guns.
COMMAND AND CONTROL

Ad hoc through artillery headquarters Same since 10 Div HQ was newly raised 10 Div HQ was brought from Bangalore to Akhnur on 28th August 1965 and was in the raising/formation process.
Execution of Operation Grand Slam.

We will not discuss each and every detail of Grand Slam operations but stick to the salient facts relevant to the overall context and scope of the operation. The Pakistani attack commenced at 0500 hours 1st September 1965 supported by a terrific pre-H-Hour artillery bombardment executed in the words of the Pakistani official historian by “nine field, seven medium and two heavy batteries” which had commenced belching fire 55 at 0330 hours. The artillery was deployed so boldly that medium and 8 inch howitzers were deployed ahead of field guns 56 thus increasing their range and ability to support operations for a longer duration without redeployment. Pakistani armour which was divided into squadrons did not do well on the 1st September and was effectively engaged by Indian anti-tank guns and AMX-13 tanks. 11 Cavalry was checked in the south by the two three tank troops of 20 Lancers while 13 Lancers attacking in the north was also checked by the brilliant anti-tank gun screen under 15 Kumaon and a single tank troop of 20 Lancers. The infantry brigade commanders took greater interest in the work of battalions and the first major tactical blunder of the day was committed once the southern attacking infantry brigade i.e the 102 Brigade Commander wasted the entire day by insisting that Burjeal a minor position must be captured despite clear instructions of General Akhtar Malik to bypass it.57 Thus half of 102 Brigade and a squadron of 13 Lancers was committed to clear the Rome that Burjeal was! Burjeal was finally captured at 1500 hours!58 Shaukat Riza states that it was defended by two infantry companies of 6 Sikh but also adds that only 14 Indian soldiers were captured once it (Burjeal) was finally cleared!59 Shaukat’s verdict on the operations of 1st September is accurate once he states that “The Indians had only covering troops on border outposts “but the Pakistanis failed to cross the Tawi on 1st September as their “artillery fire was distributed”.60 This is only a partial explanation since the artillery fire was distributed because armour was distributed and the 12 Division failed to cross the Tawi on the first day because of the delay of 102 Brigade at Burjeal. In any case by evening of 1st September the 191 Indian Infantry Brigade despite all the Pakistani blunders was at its last gasp! Its sole field artillery regiment i.e the 161 Field Artillery Regiment (14 Field Regiment as per K.C Praval) had abandoned its guns61 as a result of effective Pakistani artillery counterbombardment. Thus by afternoon the Indians were supported by just one troop of Medium guns! By 6.30 in the evening 13 Lancers finally reached the line of Tawi Nala but made no attempt to cross it.62

The Indian 10 Division which had assumed command by evening of 10th September ordered the 191 Indian Infantry Brigade to withdraw to Akhnur the same night. It also ordered 3 Mahar and 6/5 Gurkha to continue holding defences in the Kalidhar area in the north. 191 Brigade was now tasked with defence of Akhnur, while 41 Mountain Brigade which was concentrating at Akhnur was ordered to “occupy the Jaurian-Troti position as quickly as possible”.63 Chamb which had been captured by evening of 1st September 1965 was occupied by an infantry unit of the 102 Brigade at 0800 hours 2nd September 1965.64 On 2nd September 1965 while General Akhtar Malik was finalising arrangements for advance towards Jaurian the command of the C in C General Musa arrived in the area of operations in a helicopter and ordered change of command of Grand Slam, replacing General Akhtar by General Yahya the GOC of 7 Division which was also in the same area of operations since 28th August 1965. This happened around 1130 hours on the morning of 2nd September 1965. 65 Brigadier Gulzar who was provided access to official records of the GHQ66 and whose book was published in August 1968 i.e some 18 years before Shaukat Riza’s account, states that change of command took place at 1100 hours.67 The Indians were equally surprised and their military historian noted that because of this change of command the Pakistanis gave “24 hours to the Indians to strengthen their defences”!68 Brigadier Amjad Chaudhry well summed up the feelings of the Grand Slam Force as “Bitterly disappointed and completely at a loss to understand”!69 Yahya proceeded in a leisurely manner calling an orders group at 1430 hours and gave orders for crossing Tawi which was not held by any troops, the 191 Indian Brigade having withdrawn to Akhnur the previous night! The 10 Brigade supported by 13 Lancers crossed the Nala “without any trouble” in Shaukat Riza’s words by 2130 hours 2nd September. Thus the Indian defences continuity was not compromised despite the fact that their 191 Brigade had withdrawn in a near rout situation. In polite language the Indians were thus not routed but pushed back and given a grace period of 24 hours to prepare a brigade strong defensive position on line Troti-Jaurian over which more Pakistani blood was to be shed on 3rd September 1965. The critical time span was not seized by the forelock and what could have been accomplished with ease on 2nd September was postponed to 3rd September! The readers may note that the Indians were still outgunned in terms of armour and artillery by six to one and thus in no position to resist a determined onslaught. The Pakistanis had, however, lost the first major opportunity to impose strategic dislocation on the 10 Division by the 24 hour pause on 2nd September 1965. Thus when the Pakistanis resumed advance on 3rd September the 41 Mountain Brigade reported that it was in position at Troti-Jaurian “reasonably well prepared to oppose the enemy”!70 Another tank squadron of 20 Lancers was also in the same position. The Indians were not strong enough to stay in this position but it was a good bargain since they were trading space for time as their strategic reserves were swiftly moving into position to launch a “Riposte”. On 3rd September Yahya ordered 10 Brigade (three battalions) with a tank regiment under command to attack and secure Jaurian by last light of the same day.71

The Indian 10 Division assumed command of the 191 Brigade and 80 Brigade by the evening of 1st September.72 The Indian 15 Corps made frantic efforts to remedy the situation and ordered 41 Mountain Brigade (Corps reserve) to occupy an intermediate position at line Troti-Jaurian. It also ordered 20 Lancers (AMX-13) less two squadrons to move from Pathankot and occupy a defensive position under command 41 Mountain Brigade at Troti-Jaurian.73 10 Brigade was to attack from Pallanwala area on two axis i.e an infantry battalion and two tank squadrons on axis Chamb-Akhnur in the north and a battalion and a tank squadron on a southern axis heading towards Nawan Hamirpur and thereafter advancing along the northern bank of River Chenab with a view to outflank the Indians from the south.74 The 10 Brigade Commander issued his orders at 1130 hours and advance commenced at 1300 hours. The advance made very slow progress due to broken terrain interspersed by a growing number of north to south aligned watercourses (Nalas) and the Indian position at Troti-Jaurian was contacted by 13 Lancers by approximately 1700 hours in the evening. The right axis force reached Nawan Hamirpur by 1800 hours. The Indians now brought in their third brigade i.e the 28 Brigade (two battalions) deploying it in another position in the rear of 41 Brigade at Fatwal Ridge about 4 kilometres west of Akhnur.

On morning (0800 hours) 4th September Yahya ordered 6 Brigade of 7 Division to relieve 102 Brigade till then deployed at the line of Tawi Nala and 102 Brigade to move forward and concentrate at area Pahariwala. 10 Brigade commenced its attack on 41 Brigade position from 1130 hours. 13 Lancers attempted to outflank the Indian 41 Brigade’s defences between Kalit and Troti, and made some progress but was delayed by two Indian AMX-13 Tank troops till last light. The Indians realised that they could not hold the 41 Brigade position for long and ordered withdrawal of 41 Brigade to Akhnur during the night of 4/5 September 1965.75 The 102 Brigade also moved forward and two of its battalions attacked Sudhan Ki Dhok on the Tam Ka Tilla Ridge on 5th September 1965. By evening 5th September 1965 the leading elements of the 13 Lancers were in contact with the 28 Brigade position on the Fatwal Ridge just four miles west of Akhnur. It was at this stage that Musa sent the message about “teeth into the enemy and should bite deeper and deeper”, in all probability drafted by a staff officer who had read the exact text of Auchinleck’s message to the 8th Army during the Tobruk battle! But later events proved that the Pakistani GHQ, including the self- promoted field marshal of peace, only had Ritchies, Cunninghams and Mclellans, but no Auchinlecks! The whole situation changed on 6th September once India attacked all along the international border opposite Sialkot, Lahore and Kasur. The 7th Division was ordered to transfer 11 Cavalry, HQ 4 Corps Artillery Brigade and 39 Field Regiment to 1 Corps in Ravi-Chenab Corridor.76 Grand Slam was over!

ANALYSIS

The Origins of the Grand Slam and Gibraltar Controversy in Pakistani Military History

The Grand Slam and Gibraltar controversy instead of being handled like a military failure unfortunately degenerated into a highly personalised affair. As a result instead of dispassionate and constructive analysis, the real reasons for failure of the 1965 war were substituted for analysis of minor tactics and in settling personal scores. Mr Bhutto the principal leader of the pro-war party in the Pakistani leadership was dismissed by Ayub from the post of Foreign Minister and very soon became a major political opponent of Ayub. Ayub tasked his Information Secretary and right hand man Mr Altaf Gauhar to initiate a campaign of character assassination of Bhutto. Bhutto by no definition an angel, like any politician also indulged in personal attacks. The controversy was soon overtaken by the 1968-69 political agitation, which resulted in the exit of Ayub, and to a second military government in Pakistan. Since Yahya the military dictator who succeeded Ayub was one of the key figures in the Grand Slam drama the issue was tactfully avoided by all politicians. The emergence of Bhutto in 1970 elections as the principal leader of the West Pakistan Wing once again ignited the 1965 controversy, but again the issue became a low key affair once Bhutto became the Prime Minister from 1971 to 1977.

Grand Slam once again made headlines once Brigadier Amjad Ali Chaudhry’s book was published in 1977.77 Chaudhry raised doubts that Ayub may have been influenced by USA into not capturing Akhnur and that the change of command was merely a tactful way of slowing down the pace of operations. Amjad also quoted Yahya as saying that he did not capture Akhnur, which as per Amjad was within Yahya’s grasp, simply because he was ordered by the then army high command not to do so! 78 Amjad’s book infuriated the then government of the military usurper Zia who was engaged in a life and death political confrontation with Bhutto and like all military governments of Pakistan, including the present one, idolised the Ayub Government! Amjad had also accused the US government of pressurising Ayub into not capturing Akhnur and this was also regarded by the Zia regime as improper! The readers may note that the change of command on 2nd September was an outrageous decision that had shocked the participants of Grand Slam! As per a participant the change of command question was “debated with so much passion that GHQ had to issue instructions outlawing such talk”.79 There is substance in this assertion. Brigadier Riazul Karim a more credible authority states that soon after the ceasefire “a rumour went around that our senior officers were unnecessarily panicky and that the war had been fought by brigadiers and below….this caused a storm in the GHQ”.80

Later on Musa the most affected party, cooked up another story that the operations of 12 Division on 2nd September were delayed since artillery was not deployed well forward to support further advance. This false assertion was challenged by Brigadier Amjad Chaudhry who was a direct participant and was the man on the spot.81 Systematic efforts as part of a totally political plan of character assassination of Bhutto, without realising that Grand Slam was Pakistan Army’s failure, were undertaken during the 11-year old Zia government to re-write the history of Pakistan. General Musa was actively assisted in writing two books which were published some six years after Amjad’s book. Musa made up a story to cover up the change of command on 02 September, stating that it was a pre-arranged issue.82 The same story was repeated by Shaukat Riza in his GHQ dictated trilogy on the Pakistan Army.83 This was 1984-85. Finally in 1993 Gul Hassan the then Director Military Operations memoirs were published. Gul exposed the cover up and dismissed the idea that change of command had been pre-planned!84

Soon after publication of Gul’s book another defender of Ayub came on the scene ! He alleged that Grand Slam was a failure in any case! The learned author is an intelligent man! But so was Bhutto, Aziz and many others! The trouble starts when one intelligent man is at loggerheads with another! Thus the resultant subjectiveness of this book, since much of it is about another intelligent man, and defence of a benefactor who was injured by this intelligent foe of the learned author! Above all one who was the author in questions enemy, without doubt a terrible enemy!85 One about whom a close friend once said that “with friends like him one does not need enemies”!86 The reasons for failure of Grand Slam given by this author, thus, were emotional but not substantial! 10 Division, which came from Bangalore consisted of just three or four officers who organised a headquarters at a garbage dump in Akhnur and was a still born baby on 1st September 1965. One whose GOC was sacked for incompetence in 1965 war! 87 It was again a case of mixing Bhutto with Akhtar Malik and the intricacies of the art of war! The net result was thus a good biography of a benefactor while simultaneously exposing the machinations of a Machiavellian evil genius! It may have been a best seller but was certainly not good military history! The worst part about writing of history in Pakistan is the fact that those who took part in the actual conduct of operations either did not have the ability to express themselves in writing, were too disgusted or disillusioned to do so, or did not have the funds to get their accounts published! Military history has thus to date been distorted!

A case of failure at the highest level

Lack of resolution as well as military talent in Ayub was the most serious drawback as far as Pakistan Army’s conduct in 1965 War in general and Grand Slam in particular was concerned. Subconsciously Ayub was the last man who wanted war despite all the propaganda of Kashmir dispute. It is possible that this hesitation had some link with Ayub’s poor or insignificant war record in WW Two. On various occasions Ayub avoided military action. In the 1947-48 period when many officers in Pakistan were volunteering for participating in the Kashmir war Ayub did not show any inclination to participate in the Kashmir war. Ayub exhibited extreme timidity88 when the Chinese asked Pakistan to take advantage of the India-China War and settle the Kashmir dispute by exercising the military option. Seven years in power, however, somewhat emboldened Ayub’s spirits and by 1965 he felt confident enough that the Hindu who Ayub mistakenly thought as more timid than the Pakistani would not dare to start a conventional war even if Pakistan pinched the Hindu damsel at will, sometimes in the Rann and sometimes in Kashmir! Even in 1965 Ayub was not interested in a war which he wanted to avoid at all cost. This was a case of the desire to gain the glory of martyrdom in battle without actually getting killed in action! It was Ayub’s misfortune that he was surrounded by more resolute, ruthlessly ambitious, albeit militarily relatively naive, advisors like Bhutto and Aziz Ahmad who did not have any of Ayub’s timidity. Musa, Ayub’s handpicked Chief was the weakest link in the whole chain of command. The last person to wish for a war in which he would be forced to exercise his intellect in the actual conduct of modern war involving tanks divisions and corps etc, about whose employment Musa had very rudimentary ideas. A limited war i.e. a war in which fighting remained confined to Kashmir was seen by Ayub as a political opportunity to enhance his prestige which had suffered because of allegations of rigging in the 1965 elections. Thus Operation Gibraltar which visualised a Guerrilla War leading to Kashmir was seen by Ayub as a golden means of winning Kashmir without war and getting all the glory reserved for the victor of a war without ever starting an all out war! Ayub did not have the resolution to start an all out war in 1965! He also did not have the long-term vision to understand that India would retaliate militarily against the infiltrators sent into Kashmir by Pakistan. Ayub thus unwittingly set fire to the fuse which triggered a series of actions and counteractions which ultimately led to an all out war. Later critics blamed Bhutto for doing the right things for the wrong reasons! As a matter of fact all major actors were doing the right things for the wrong reason! But that is what the game of power is all about! Ayub was militarily naive enough to think that India would not start an all out war if Pakistan went for what Ayub himself called “India’s jugular vein”89 i.e. Akhnur. Critics think that Ayub lost his nerves later and made an attempt to halt the Pakistani advance by ordering change of command of the force, since he suddenly realised that an all out war was likely if Pakistan captured Akhnur. If this was Ayub’s motive then once again it was too late and Ayub’s half measures and half hearted conduct of military operations in Grand Slam harmed the Pakistani military cause in two ways. Firstly, it provoked India to launch an all out war which Ayub did not have the resolution to fight and which Musa did not have the military genius to conduct! Secondly, as a result of this indecision Pakistan failed to capture Akhnur whose loss would have led to a serious operational imbalance in the Indian dispositions in Kashmir and would have weakened India’s resolve to attack Lahore and opposite Chawinda without first redressing the serious imbalance opposite Kashmir. Thus Pakistani military/political leadership failed in both aims; ie to sever the jugular and to prevent an all out war; and primarily because of irresolution on part of their own higher leadership rather than enemy resistance. Thus Ayub and his team were not propelled by a burning desire to defeat the enemy by decisive conduct of operations but by an essentially defensive attitude. Thus even after 6th September they viewed Pakistani thrusts inside India not as actions taken to strike a decisive blow on the enemy but merely as measures to reduce Indian pressure on Lahore. The GHQ simply did not have a forward command and control set up designed to vigorously prosecute the war but essentially a distant headquarter modelled on colonial principles from where orders were issued for defence of India. The war on the Pakistani side was thus conducted disinterestedly because the higher leadership was simply irresolute and was not prepared or interested in fighting the war which came as a rude shock to them once the Indians attacked Lahore. Pakistani military writers like Shaukat Riza’s claim that the Pakistan Army never wanted a war in 1965 but war broke out in 1965 largely because of those accursed Machiavellian schemers i.e. Bhutto and Aziz Ahmad; does not speak very highly about the standard of resolution of Ayub or Musa.What is the aim of an army if it never wanted to fight a war to settle a just cause or to recover a territory which was at least as official propaganda went some sort of a Pakistani Alsace or Lorraine. It is an open secret that till this day the Pakistan Army claims that it was the Foreign Office who got them involved in 1965. So what did the army’s leadership want; to rule their own people, in uninterrupted peace,creating large business empires which made many far more prosperous than they were in 1958! Perhaps the only positive impact of the 1965 war was the realisation in the otherwise politically naive and docile Pakistani masses that their leaders were essentially making a fool out of them and Kashmir was just a cheap slogan to galvanise the masses! Unfortunately, that is what history is about! The masses have always been mobilised by great actors who were great leaders! Kashmir was never regarded as an issue by Ayub but was forced upon him by the hawks like Bhutto and Aziz, off course again for the wrong reasons, more subjective than objective, aided by military advice of Akhtar Malik. It is an irony of Pakistani military history that these civilian hawks possessed much greater resolution than the two soldiers leading the country’s government and the army! Once a man lacks resolution his conduct is vacillating and indecisive and all decisions that he makes are compromises and half measures. But even worse is the case when a man in total power lacks military talent or that animal instinct or talent that enabled civilians like Cromwell, Hitler, Stalin or Mao to do great things in the military sphere! It was a case of military incompetence at the highest level combined with lack of resolution! This essentially was the tragedy of the Pakistan Army in 1965. A time when it was still possible to settle the so-called Kashmir dispute by exercising the military option. It is best to quote Clausewitz who gave guidelines about the philosophy of war at least seventy five to ninety years before Ayub and Musa were born, but whose ideas perhaps were not digested by both of them. Clausewitz said; “No war is commenced, or, at least no war should be commenced, if people acted wisely, without first seeking a reply to the question, what is to be attained? The first is the final object; the other is the immediate aim. By this chief consideration the whole course of the war is prescribed, the extent of the means and the measure of energy are determined; its influence manifests itself down to the smallest organ of action”.90 The Pakistani leadership and the sycophants who courted them later laid the entire blame for starting the war on one who had nothing to do with soldiering and one who was not in any case the right authority for asking the question whether the Indians would start an all out war even if their jugular was severed !It was an irony that a soldier and not a naive civilian was leading the country at this stage. One who was far more naive than even Shaastri the civilian who knew much less about soldiering but understood grand strategy in a crystal clear manner. The Indians however dumb their execution of war at least started it with clear cut and definite rationale and did achieve their aim of putting an end to military adventurism in Kashmir. The Pakistani leadership, and this included the army chief turned president, was confused and as a result conducted the war with most inexplicably.

Responsibility for Operation Gibraltar and possible motivation of various principal characters

Operation Gibraltar conceived by the ISI91 as Gauhar has stated and perhaps by Akhtar Hussain Malik and/or other people and were in vogue since 1958 was approved by President Ayub in July 1965 and executed from 1st August 196592. This means that the operation was not a conspiracy by the Pakistani Foreign Minister Bhutto alone or a pet of General Akhtar but had the blessings of Ayub. Since 1977 many Pakistani intellectuals have been wasting a lot of stationery in proving that Ayub was an innocent bystander who was duped by his Machiavellian Foreign Minister! This is an exercise in futility and it is high time that it is stopped. Above all it proves that the intellectual calibre of the Pakistani GHQ was so low that responsibility for conceiving military operations had been abdicated to the Foreign Office! The idea was too idealistic and naive but before it was launched its advocates included almost everybody who mattered in the Pakistani military and political hierarchy! Off course later with the benefit of hindsight almost all participants tried to lay the entire blame on the Pakistani Foreign Office and Mr Z.A Bhutto.

After 1965 War an exercise was initiated to prove that Ayub Khan was duped by his Foreign Minister into war with India! One opponent of Bhutto propelled by a body chemistry of pure and unadulterated venom alleged that it was a conspiracy on part of Bhutto, so that Pakistan may lose the 1965 War as a result of which Bhutto would succeed Ayub as Pakistan’s next ruler!93

In the final analysis it was Ayub who bears the ultimate responsibility for ordering Gibraltar! Failure is no crime! Churchill one of the greatest names in modern history has been accused of ordering the Gallipoli landing, which turned out to be a blunder in terms of fallacious execution! But the idea was brilliant, and this mind you is Liddell Hart’s verdict! It was in execution that it failed! Continuing on this line of thinking Ayub or Bhutto cannot be accused of blundering! War as Clausewitz says is directed on assumptions and “All action in war is directed on probable, not on certain results. Whatever is wanting in certainty must be left to fate or chance, call it, which you will. We may demand that what is so left should be as little as possible, but only in relation to the particular case…”. To thus rephrase Clausewitz with special reference to Gibraltar or Grand Slam, initiating both operations was not a crime as many including the Pakistani official historian Shaukat Riza were trying to prove! It was failure to achieve success which was possible to achieve due to various military organisational strategic and operational lapses, which was a crime!

The aim of Gibraltar and Grand Slam was after all to internationalise or defreeze the Kashmir issue . The positive aspect about Grand Slam was the fact that unlike the most recent operation Kargil of 1999 Pakistan’s means were more balanced in relation to its objectives.

A word about the motivation of various principal characters in launching Gibraltar and Grand Slam. Ayub viewed Gibraltar and Grand Slam as acts of limited aggression like the Rann of Kutch skirmish which would force India into negotiating on Kashmir at best and redeem his political position at worst. Bhutto and Aziz also had similar ambitions on a smaller scale! Akhtar Malik may have been motivated by the lust for glory, a perfectly honourable aspiration as per Clausewitz . His minority status and humble origins , having risen from the ranks may have made this urge stronger!

Intelligence Failure on both sides

There were intelligence failures on both sides. The Indians failing to discover the move of 7 Division and heavy concentration of armour and artillery opposite Chamb and the 6 Armoured Division’s existence. The Pakistanis failing to discover the true extent of Indian preparations and its firm intention to launch an all out war.

The breakdown of command issue

The breakdown of command issue has not been understood by many civilian and military writers who have discussed Grand Slam. Confusion, uncertainty and breakdown of information are the norms rather than the exception in war. Breakdown of command was rationalised later by apologists of Ayub to justify the change of command. Wireless failures, communication breakdowns and loss of key commanders are a normal occurrence in military history! In 1971 war an infantry unit in the same sector went missing just before the attack despite having all the wireless sets. In the, same sector in 1971 a brigades units were missing and a brigade attack had to be postponed for twenty four hours. In the same sector in 1971 despite having all the communication and divisional command arrangements two infantry brigades kept feeding their divisional headquarters. Anyone who has a doubt may read the 23 Divisions second principal staff officer Lieutenant Colonel Saeed Ahmad’s book “Battle of Chamb-1971”.94 Clausewitz throughout his work “On War” states that “Breakdown of command” is the most normal condition in war. It appears that a breakdown of communication did take place on 1/2 Sept 1965.

However, some direct participants hold the view that even then, the delay of 24 hours was avoidable in case change of command had not taken place. To conclude, it was a choice of four to six hours breakdown of command and control and 24 to 36 hours change of command between Akhtar Malik’s continuing as commander or Yahya’s take over as the commander. The only serious point that can be brought against Akhtar Malik is delay in resuming operations on 2nd September 1965. The Indians had commenced their withdrawal from Chamb at 2050 hours on 1st September 1965. 12 Division had nothing in print after 2400 hours 1st September, 1965 and should have commenced its advance towards Jaurian by 0700 hours involving 2nd Sept 1965. At 1100 hours when change of command was ordered 12 Division was still on the west bank of Tawi.

Concentration of Resources and All Arms Cooperation

The advantage of overwhelming superiority in armour was, however, not utilised in the initial plan by distributing armour over two axes under infantry brigades who in turn dished out squadrons to their infantry battalions for the dirty work of close support! This meant that artillery fire could not be concentrated and the artillery general Shaukat’s caustic but accurate observation that artillery fire on 1st September 1965, although initially concentrated, was naturally distributed into targets spread over a 30,000 yards front 98 after the Pre-H-Hour bombardment. There is a discrepancy in accounts of Shaukat Riza and Amjad Chaudhry about utilisation of artillery .Shaukat claims that artillery fire after the H-Hour was distributed and thus relatively ineffective, however, Chaudhry states that even after H-Hour some Indian strongpoints were “attacked with as many as 13 batteries of all calibre” 99. It is true that armour was not properly employed on 1st September 1965 but the superiority in tanks when combined with overwhelming artillery support even then was so immense that the 191 Brigade was no longer a fighting force by the night of 1st September 1965.

Smaller Controversies in conduct of operations.

Some participants were of the view that Yahya assessed that the Indian 41 Brigade position required a deliberate and planned attack and this delayed the attack on 41 Brigade position at Troti by few hours. This, however, is a matter of assessment and no general in war is a prophet who knows the DS solution.

Failure to create strategic dislocation

The important factor which salvaged their position was the fact that “dislocation” was not imposed on them. This factor can only be understood in the classic Clausewitzian scenario of diminishing force of attack. The Pakistanis were attackers and their capability of offensive action was fast being reduced due to casualties and successive narrowing down of space for manoeuvre. On the other hand the Indian defensive capability was improving. Their 191 Brigade was dislocated but the Pakistanis had failed to “dislocate the equilibrium” of the 10 Division; something which was well within their grasp, had no change of command taken place on the 2nd of September.

Chances of Pakistani success in Grand Slam

The Pakistani chances of success in Grand Slam were very high, had the change of command not occurred on 2nd September 1965. The Indians described Grand Slam as “bold and masterly” in conception.100 The Indians found the 24 hour delay on from morning of 2nd to 3rd September inexplicable at a time when in words of their highest operational commander “the sudden collapse of 191 Brigade had created a critical situation”.101 The Indians thus were confounded and one of their leading historians remarks i.e “ There was a pause in operations (referring to Pakistan’s 12 Division) because, for some accountable reasons, the Pakistanis relieved 12 Infantry Division and handed over conduct of further operations to Major General Yahya Khan”.102 Another Indian direct participant and chief of staff of Western Command, no relative of Bhutto or Akhtar Malik noted “At 1100 hours on 2nd September an event of great significance took place. The enemy came to our rescue. There was a change in the command of Pakistan’s operational force in Chamb. HQ 7 Infantry Division replaced HQ 12 Infantry Division. With the inevitable procedural delay that such changes involves, we got a breather of 36 hours. Our forces reeling under the impact of relentless onslaught so far regained a measure of balance. It was a providential reprieve. Major General Mohammad Yahya Khan took over the command of operations as he thought it was a sure success and wanted all the glory for himself. GOC 12 Div Major General Akhtar Hussain Malik was sent back to look after the Hill Sector.”103 The Indians were in a bad shape on the morning of 2nd September. Contrary to Pakistani writers writing with ulterior motives of settling personal scores assertion that “the Indians had been building up their strength for defence of Munawar gap through which Pakistan could attack Akhnur”.104 The reader may gauge this so-called build up from direct quotes from Indian military historians:— “C squadron 20 Lancers (the only Indian tank force between Tawi and Akhnur on 2nd September) had only three tanks left”.105 The only reinforcements were at Pathankot some 80 miles from Akhnur and these consisted of another light tank squadron of 20 Lancers which had no ability to withstand Pakistan’s two tank regiments of five Patton Squadrons. The 191 Brigade was marching to Akhnur since 2050 hours night 01 September and the 41 Brigade which later established a position at Jaurian by morning of 3rd September was at Akhnur. The Indian armoured corps historian described the change of command of 12 Division as a “Godsend for 41 Mountain Brigade which improved and consolidated its defences”.106

Employment of Armour

Armour was not correctly employed on 1st September 1965. Regardless of all rhetoric about Grand Slam’s brilliance, armour was under-utilised and poorly employed. The vast numerical advantage of six to one in armour, was partially nullified by dividing the two tank regiments between two brigades who in turn dished out each tank squadron to one infantry battalion. Thus instead of using the armour as a punch it was used like a thin net, as a result of which its hitting power was vastly reduced while the Indians were able to engage tank squadrons made to charge them in a piecemeal manner! Thus while the Pakistani victory, thanks to tank numerical and qualitative superiority was a foregone conclusion, the cost in terms of equipment and loss of manpower was too high as the following figures prove. 11 Cavalry lost 19 killed alone in Grand Slam and all 19 of these brave men were killed on 1st September 1965!107 The readers may note that this figure exceeds killed casualties of all regular infantry units which fought the Grand Slam battle from 1st September till ceasefire except 9 Punjab which lost 24 killed. But then the total effective strength of an armoured regiment is around 400 while that of infantry battalion is around 800. The reader, however, is cautioned not to jump to false conclusions about Grand Slam from this single example. Some units like 14 Punjab lost as few as 3 killed while the total killed of all regular infantry and tank regiments did not exceed the figure of 104 killed.108 The reader may note that the casualties of the 10 Indian Division were 246 killed and 240 missing most of whom were killed.109 On the other hand the fighting on 1st September was in prepared defences and far more difficult than later. Armour’s mishandling was affordable on 1st September 1965 and was improper but not lethal as was the case with change of command on 2nd September.

Organisational Failures

It appears that in mid-May 1965 when Ayub attending the Murree briefing earlier discussed the idea that 12 Division’s task was too big to defend Kashmir as well as conduct Grand Slam did not occur to Ayub! This man commanded the corps without ever having thought how his corps with five divisions with one river dividing his command and with divergent and different roles fight their battles in war.Kashmir with 400 miles of difficult terrain was left to be commanded by one divisional headquarters though we have seen that as early as 1948 the Indians keeping in view the terrain requirements had subdivided the area into two divisional commands. Raising another divisional headquarters’ was not that much of an expensive issue so as to require US aid! Similarly it was taken for granted that one corps headquarter with a not very intellectually gifted commander was enough to control four divisions; two in defence in two different areas with a major river in between and two divisions which were supposed to carry the war into enemy territory, one of which was an armoured division! To say that by 1965 it was already too late, to raise another divisional headquarters, after the plan to launch Gibraltar was made, does not hold any substance. The Indians as late as 1st September 1965 brought in a new divisional headquarters to command and control the operations in Chamb-Akhnur area. Pakistan had the 8 Division Headquarters which had been stripped of all its brigades and was doing nothing at Kharian.This headquarter could have been tasked to take care of Grand Slam.It required imagination and common sense and it is not just enough to blame Mr Shoaib the Finance Minister for not having another divisional headquarter!110 Ayub Khan did not change the command arrangement in Kashmir after he became the C in C in 1951 and the same situation i.e. Kashmir being entrusted to one divisional headquarter continued till 1958. Ayub’s understanding of basic principles of command and organisation can be gauged from the fact that he thought that one divisional headquarter was enough to control 25 battalions of infantry organised under five sector (brigade) headquarters spread over 400 miles of the most difficult mountainous terrain in the world! Shaukat Riza does not find anything wrong in this arrangement. This command arrangement contained the seeds of disaster of many failures of 1965 war as far as Operation Grand Slam was concerned. The problem was not that of lack of US dollars but essentially lack of perception on part of the hero of Burma fame! Creating two or three divisional headquarters did not require US aid but operational vision, a quality which Ayub lacked. In 1990 a British General who knew Ayub well, having served in Indian Army in WW Two; hit the nail in the head once he wrote without off course mentioning the “12 Divisional Headquarters Command Organisational Fiasco” that “as C in C Ayub was an adequate administrator but without operational experience….and devoid of tactical flair and organisational understanding”.111 This statement cannot be taken lightly. Shaukat Hayat and Sher Ali as Ayub’s opponents may be accused of being subjective in their criticism. Lieutenant General Sir James Wilson cannot be put in this category. Wilson also observed Ayub from close quarters while serving as General Gracey’s Private Secretary in 1949. If Akhtar Hussain Malik broke down soon after change of command and wept, while blaming no one it was not because he had failed but because he was too much of a gentleman to blame anyone! God Bless his soul! While the senior Indian generals have admitted that change of command was crucial in saving Akhnur, we have been downgrading the achievements of very few great generals in our history! This self-defeating exercise was conducted by all, the military establishment and the civilians, and for various reasons, all of which had nothing to do with military history! These few great men who we have been unjustly criticising, left footprints, not business empires on the sands of time! That’s why their sons are not ministers or members of national assembly! Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself!

Assessment of 12 Division’s Role in 1965 . War at the strategic level and Influence of Operation Gibraltar and Grand Slam on Indian Military Operations in Kashmir

It is a tragedy of Pakistani military history that the futile mudslinging matches between various mandarins and political opponents of Bhutto, in the process of pursuance and as part of a war of egos has clouded the true contribution of 12 Division at the strategic level in the 1965 War. Grand Slam was a military operation approved by all who mattered at the highest level in the Pakistani decision making circles. The exercise of downplaying 12 Division’s role in 1965 is a classic case of misinformation through verbal sophistry but without concrete knowledge. One in which self-styled experts well described in the English verse “Never set a squadron in the field, Nor the division of battle knew, More than a spinster”, indulged in a battle of words, assigning to their opponent, more Machiavellian qualities than he could have humanly possessed! The vastness of Akhtar’s task may be gauged from the fact that his command was spread over a 400 mile area containing mountains between 3,000 to 28,000 feet and his 25 battalions were facing more than 38 Indian infantry battalions. The reader may note that the total Indian battalions in Ravi-Sutlej corridor opposite Lahore, Barki, Bedian and Kasur never exceeded 30 while the entire Indian 1 Corps and 26 Division’s total strength between Chenab and Ravi never exceeded 29 infantry battalions. On the other hand Kashmir, north of Chenab observed around 38 and perhaps more infantry battalions. The following table is self-explanatory:—111a

SUMMARY OF RELATIVE STRENGTH IN 1965

PAKISTAN

INDIA

TANKREGIMENTS INFANTRYBATTALIONS TANKREGIMENTS INFANTRYBATTALIONS
NORTH OF CHENAB

1 15 (Incl 11 AK Battalions) 2/3 Regt 38
CHENAB-RAVI CORRIDOR

7 (Including 2 TDU) 12 6 1/3 29
RAVI-SUTLEJ CORRIDOR

10 (Including 2 TDU) 17 7 30
SOUTH OF SUTLEJ

NIL 5 1/3 6
TOTAL

18 49 1401/3 103
The Foreign Involvement Dimension and the Change of Command Controversy

Brigadier Amjad Chaudhry raised some doubts that the change of command took place because of US pressure. This is the realm of speculation. It is highly improbable that this was the reason for change of command. Of all the people Ayub had the maximum to gain from success of Grand Slam. It appears that change of command had more to do with Ayub’s lack of military insight than with superpower interference! Yahya as later events proved was his hot favourite and was being groomed to take over as the next chief as Musa’s book “From Jawan to General” proves. Musa writes in his memoirs that Yahya was not his first choice as Army C in C but was selected by Ayub overruling Musa’s reservations about Yahya’s character.112 Musa’s book prove that he did not like Akhtar Malik. So, here there was a convergence of objectives. Musa not liking Akhtar since he was close to Bhutto and Ayub liking Yahya having made up his mind to groom him for higher ranks. The situation on night 1st September 1965 was excellent. So why not let Yahya have the credit. It was ignorance and naivety of the worse kind on part of both Ayub and Musa to decide on the change of command!

Grand Slam-Some other viewpoints:-

This scribe interviewed certain direct participants, who for reasons in comprehensible are still terribly afraid of being quoted. One direct participant stated that even after 6 Brigade had replaced 10 Brigade on 6/7 September 1965 Eftikhar Khan (6 Bde Comd) told General Yahya that he could capture Akhnur since his forward troops are at “Mahwali Khad”. Yahya, however, told Eftikhar to stay put and to forget about Akhnur.

Some participants from 7 Division alleged that Gen Malik was not tracable on 1st & 2nd Sept 1965 and reasons for this absence according to the participants were ones which cannot be written. This school of thought holds the view that Amjad Chaudhry was covering Akhtar’s absence since they were from the same community ! This scribe met a retired colonel many years ago and discussed this question with him. The colonel who again did not wish to be quoted stated that General Akhtar retained the same alertness and clarity of mind even after chemical factors had produced significant changes in the body chemistry, thus dismissing doubts that the general was not sober on night 1/2 September 1965! The colonel was the generals district mate and from the same battalion! Allegations of such type have been levelled against General Grant, Mustafa Kemal etc and are beyond the scope of this brief article.

The Rationale of Grand Slam and its timing

The million dollar question that no one including Ayub’s latest biographer has answered is about the timing and strategic rationale of Grand Slam! Shaukat Riza the official historian of the Pakistan Army has nothing to say except that the aim of Grand Slam was to “force the Indian Army to throw up its gains in 12 Division area”. If this was the aim then Grand Slam was a miserable failure since the Indians did not evacuate an inch of territory in Kashmir because of Grand Slam! It did so only after Tashkent but so did Pakistan! So at the strategic level Grand Slam, in the manner it was launched had no strategic aim but merely a mid- level operational aim and one that provoked India into launching an all out war! This fact proves Ayub’s lack of strategic insight! Shaukat Riza also states in his very disjointed history that the “aim of Grand Slam was limited (again a compliment to Ayub’s strategic acumen!) i.e to relieve pressure against 12 Division.”113 Shaukat also notes that the army was a part of the wishful thinking when he states that “General Sher Bahadur admitted that it was wishful on our part to believe that Indian reaction to Grand Slam would be restricted to Kashmir”.114 Musa does not give any strategic rationale for Grand Slam in his book. But then Musa was not expected to have anything to do with strategy! Gauhar admits the ambiguity about the plans strategic rationale and timing when he writes “the purpose of Grand Slam was never clearly defined”.115

All this lack of strategic acumen is no compliment to Ayub! Altaf then praises Ayub at this point for selecting Akhnur as an objective in his book but fails to note that Ayub despite being a soldier never appreciated that there is a military term known as “Riposte” which means “Strike a vulnerable point thus forcing the enemy to abandon his attack”.116 War is not an isolated attack and the higher the level, the broader is the requirement to examine a matter from all angles. Akhtar Hussain Malik the GOC of 12 Division had to think only about his division but Ayub as Supreme Commander had to think about the whole country. The fact that Ayub as a soldier at least by length of service if not by virtue of having seen much of combat, failed to realise that if one adversary goes for another’s jugular vein as Ayub called Akhnur, speaks volumes for Ayub’s comprehension of a strategic issue, also keeping in mind the fact that the enemy in question had already redeployed his striking force and reserve divisions within 10 to 50 miles of the main Indo-Pak border since mid-1965!

Ayub approved both “Operation Gibraltar” as the infiltration campaign was called and “Operation Grand Slam” as the thrust against Akhnur was later to be called.117 The Army and men like Altaf Gauhar and Shaukat Riza were to later blame the Foreign Office for provoking India to attack Pakistan!

Who conceived the Grand Slam plan:—

Altaf Gauhar insists that it was Ayub who made the brilliant choice of Akhnur as an objective and that everyone praised him for doing so!118 Amjad Chaudhry and many in the army state that Akhnur was Akhtar Malik’s choice. Here Musa has come to our help although somewhat unwittingly! Musa first states that “The push towards Akhnur was not part of it (The original Gibraltar plan). However it was considered as one of the likely operations that we might have to undertake, as we felt that our activities would have an escalating effect”.119 This proves that the attack on Akhnur was already forwarded by 12 Division as one of the contingencies in the initial planning. Musa did not want to say it but inadvertently admitted this reality! Musa later in the same book also states that Ayub did say in the same meeting “Why don’t you go for Akhnur”, but the first part of the paragraph in Musa ‘s book proves that the Grand Slam idea i.e choice of Akhnur as an objective had originated from the 12 Division.

Grand Slam compared with Battle of Chamb-1965

It is an ironic fact of history that Grand Slam has attracted far more attention than the Battle of Chamb of 1971. Chamb was a far more difficult to enter in 1971 than in 1965! Four Indian brigades were deployed on ground to defend it unlike 1965 when the only Indian troops in 1965 holding the area consisted of one overstretched brigade. In 1971 two Indian tank units of technically better tanks than the two attacking Pakistani units were defending it! The Pakistani artillery was inferior to Indian artillery in 1971 both in technical as well as numerical terms. The Pakistani commander Eftikhar Khan was far more dynamic than anything that Pakistani army has seen from 1947 till to date! In 1971, keeping in view the near parity of all types of forces/equipment even capturing Chamb was an achievement! In 1965 not capturing Akhnur, keeping in view the overwhelming Pakistani superiority in tanks and artillery was the worst operational and strategic crime in Pakistani military history!

Ultimate Responsibility for failure to take Akhnur

The ultimate responsibility for failure in not taking Akhnur rests on Ayub. Yahya in case he obeyed Ayub’s orders for not taking Akhnur was merely obeying orders. Amjad Chaudhry, however, blamed Yahya alone since some critics hold that Yahya had not considered him fit to be promoted to general rank. The principal responsibility for not taking Akhnur lies with Ayub.

CONCLUSION

Ambition, lust for glory etc are perfectly reasonable aspirations where they are matched with military talent pertaining to operational strategy, low intensity operations, strategic insight or statesmanship! All these were sadly lacking at all levels, except unit level bravery and enthusiasm! Gibraltar failed because of pure and unadulterated military incompetence and Akhtar Malik bears the principle responsibility for Gibraltar! The Grand Slam story was different! It was not a case of balanced distribution of lack of talent at all levels that resulted in the failure of Grand Slam! The principle reason why Grand Slam failed was delay in initial launching and change of command!

Pakistani victory in Grand Slam keeping in view the immense superiority in armour and artillery was a foregone conclusion, just like the Indian victory in East Pakistan! Any divisional commander with a medium calibre could have captured Akhnur! The fatal error was change in command! Victory despite all the imperial blunders committed by 12 Division on 1st September was within Pakistan’s grasp, had not Ayub and Musa ordered change of command! The issue was not that Akhtar was brilliant or Yahya incompetent but simply that the very act of change of command was against all sound military axioms even if Yahya was Akhtar and Akhtar Yahya!

There is nothing that can describe “Operation Grand Slam” more accurately and briefly than Schiller’s quotation i.e “What is lost in a moment, is lost for eternity”! The dilemma that destroyed the Pakistani chances of victory or at least strategic dominance were also summed up long ago by another great philosopher Sun Tzu who described the most essential condition for victory as a general who has the military capacity and is not interfered with by his sovereign!

This article is not the defence of any individual but a humble attempt to see military facts as they were! It was written because a person who I hold in very high esteem asked me to do so. The only point that pinches a dispassionate student of the art of war is the fact that Grand Slam was launched some three to four days late and the change of command on 2nd September gave the Indians 24 valuable hours to dig a position at line Jaurian-Troti! The seeds of its failure were planted many years before when soldiers strayed into politics and became more interested in creating business of power, devolution of power and basic democracies, rather than in military theory, strategy, operational strategy, doctrine and military reorganisation! Grand Slam was Pakistan’s failure, Pakistan Army’s failure! It was not Ayub’s failure alone, nor Bhutto’s failure, nor Akhtar Malik’s failure! Operation Gibraltar was an altogether different affair but this article is about Grand Slam! All the reasons for Pakistan’s foreign policy of appeasing USA were rendered null and void on 6th September 1965! War is a continuation of policy but only so when those who conduct it have military talent! This was sadly lacking in the Pakistan Army and the Pakistani supreme commander at the strategic level! Pity the army that blames its foreign minister for military failures! Foreign policy whatever its quality or failures gave the Pakistan Army Pattons, locators and 8 inch howitzers to blast a hole in the bloody valley of Munawar Tawi! The true failure was Ayub’s and Musa’s in failure to function as army chiefs and national leader, so as to ensure that political questions could be settled with military effectiveness! Ayub had the maximum to gain from Grand Slam! Ayub erred in this case not because of irresolution alone but more because of lack of strategic, operational and organisational insight! The change of command, as we have discussed, and delay in launching the operation, was the main reason, if not the only reason, why Grand Slam failed! n

REFERENCES AND ENDNOTES

1 Page-21-Raiders in Kashmir- Ex Major General Akbar Khan, D.S.O-First Printed 1970-Karachi-Reprinted by Jang Publishers-Lahore-1992.Page-214-‘The Nation that Lost its Soul’-Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan-Jang Publishers-Lahore-April 1995. Shaukat Hayat states that Akhnur was an objective assigned to the 1947 irregulars tasked to invade Kashmir from Pakistan in 1947, while Akbar Khan who is relatively more credible states that the objective was Kathua-Jammu Road.

2 Page – 266-‘The Kashmir Campaign’-1947-48-Historical Section-General Staff Branch-General Headquarters-Rawalpindi-1970.

3 Page-295 & 296-The Pakistan Army-1947-1949- Major General Shaukat Riza -Printed by Wajid Ali’s (Private) Limited-Lahore and distributed by Services Book Club-General Headquarters-Rawalpindi-1989. The signal initiated on orders of General Bucher the Indian C in C to General Gracey the Pakistani C in C and signed by Brigadier General Staff Manekshaw was thus worded; “In view of political development my government thinks continuation of moves and countermoves too often due to misunderstanding accompanied by firesupport seems senseless and wasteful in human life besides only tending to embitter feelings. My Government authorises me to state I will have their full support if I order Indian troops to remain in present positions and to ceasefire. Naturally I cannot issue any such order until I have assurance from you that you are in a position to take immediate reciprocal and effective action.Please reply, most immediate.If you agree I shall send you by signal verbatim copies of any orders issued by me and I will expect you to do the same”.This signal was dated 30th December and the Pakistani artillery had just bombarded the Beri Pattan Bridge.

4 Page-115- ‘The Story of the Pakistan Army’- Major General Fazal Muqeem Khan-Oxford University -Karachi- 1963. Page-120-‘The Story of Soldiering and Politics in India and Pakistan’-Major General Nawabzada Sher Ali Pataudi-First Published Lahore-1976-Reprinted by Syed Mobin Mahmud and Company-Lahore-1988. Page-117-Akbar Khan-Op Cit. Page-15, 16 & 17-September ‘65-’Before and After’-Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry-Ferozsons Limited -Lahore-1976. The reader may note that Fazal Muqeems’ book was written in 1963 with the direct blessing of the ruling military clique in Pakistan. Muqeem who was later to criticise Ayub Khan the then Pakistani President, in this book hailed Ayub as Pakistan’s saviour!

5 Page-120-Sher Ali-Op Cit.

6 Page-343- ‘Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan’-S.M Ikram-Shiekh Mohammad Ashraf-Kashmiri Bazar Lahore-Second Edition-July 1965. S.M Ikram was a Punjabi Muslim civil servant whose book is a landmark study of Indian Muslim politics and highlights the Punjabi Muslim point of view about modern Muslim history. His book again had the blessing of Ayub and was reprinted in a revised form at a time when Ayub was involved in a political confrontation with his opponents led by Mr Jinnah’s sister. As a result Ayub enlisted the services of many paid intellectuals in order to reduce Jinnah’s role in the Pakistani history and projection of Iqbal in his place as a greater leader. (Refers-Page-140-‘The Military in Pakistan-Image and Reality’-Brigadier A.R Siddiqi-Vanguard Books Pvt Limited-Lahore-1996).

7Pages-84 to 92-Brigadier A.R Siddiqi-Op Cit. General Gul Hassan Khan who was the Pakistani Director of Military Operations in 1965 and later rose to the post of Pakistan Army’s C in C also thought that in May 1965 the Indian Army’s morale was at its lowest ebb following the Rann Skirmish (Refers-Page-179-‘Memoirs of General Gul Hassan Khan’-Oxford University Press-Karachi-1993). This was also the opinion of Aziz Ahmad the then Foreign Secretary who according to Gauhar was convinced that India could be dislodged from Kashmir by a guerrilla war in which Pakistan Army actively participated (Refers-Page-319-’Ayub Khan-Pakistan’s First Military Ruler’-Altaf Gauhar-Sang-E-Meel Publications-Lahore-1993).

8 Page-321-Altaf Gauhar-Op Cit.

9 Page-36-‘My Version -Indo Pakistan War-1965’-General Musa Khan-Wajid Alis Limited-Lahore-1983-Page-322-Altaf Gauhar-Op Cit-Page-183-Gul Hassan-Op Cit.

10 The book enjoyed official patronage and was distributed to military libraries and units by the Army Education Directorate Edn-4 (Lib). See Note on first page bearing no number-‘Fallacies and Realities’-Major General Aboobaker Osman Mitha-Maktaba Fikr-O-Danish (which has no future in Indo Pak!)-Lahore-1994.

11 Page-43-Ibid. This disproves the theory that the idea about Operation Gibraltar originated from outside the army!

12 Ibid. Mitha does not explain why that angel of a man Ayub later agreed to launch Operation Gibraltar!

13 For Gul’s statement regarding the time when the decision to launch Gibraltar was taken, see Page-116,167 & 168-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit. For Gauhar’s statement regarding Aziz Ahmad’s assessment of the Kashmir situation see Page-319-Altaf Gauhar-Op Cit.

14Annexure-G to GHQ Letter Number 4050/5/MO-1 Dated 29 August 1965.Directive from President Ayub Khan to General Mohammad Musa, Commander in Chief Pakistan Army. Quoted by Stanley Wolpert -Page-91 of main text and page-338 of Bibliographical Notes-‘Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan-His Life and Times’-Stanley Wolpert-Oxford University Press-Karachi-1993.

15 Page-323-Ibid.

16 Page-10-Musa Khan -Op Cit.

17Page-65-‘Pakistan -Bharat Jang-September 1965’- Lieutenant Colonel Mukhtar Ahmad Gillani-142 Harley Street- Rawalpindi-July 1998.

18 Pages-65 & 66-Ibid.

19 Ibid.

20Page-67-Ibid. Colonel Gilani claims that it commenced from 15th August 1965. Musa states that the operation was put into effect from 7th August 1965 (Refers-Page-35-Musa Khan-Op Cit. Gauhar whose authenticity of facts is less reliable since he was a civilian states that all the forces commenced movement from 24 July and reached their destinations (in Indian Held Kashmir) by 28 July 1965 (Refers-Page-323-Altaf Gauhar-Op Cit). Brigadier Z.A Khan claims that movement commenced in late July and the ceasefire line was crossed from 1st August 1965, while 7th August 1965 was the date set for commencement of operations (Refers- Page -155-‘The Way it Was’-Brigadier Z.A Khan-Dynavis Private Limited-Pathfinder Fountain -Karachi-1998. The Indian account dates the beginning of infiltration from 5th August (Refers-Page-26- ‘War Despatches’- Lieutenant General Harbaksh Singh-Lancer International-New Delhi-1991.) and larger moves from 8/9 August 1965 (refers-pages-30 & 31-Ibid).

21 Page-26-Harbaksh Singh-Op Cit.

22Page-251-‘The Indian Army after Independence’-Major K.C Praval-First Published in 1987-Lancer International-New Delhi-Paperback Edition Reprinted in 1993.

23 Ibid.

24 Page-41- Harbaksh Singh-Op Cit.

25 Page-36-Ibid

26 Page-38-Ibid.

27 Page-127-‘Behind the Scenes-An Analysis of India’s Military Operations’-1947-71-Major General Joginder Singh-Lancer International-New Delhi-1993.

28 Page-43-Ibid.

29 Pages-105 to 110-‘The Pakistan Army’-War 1965- Major General Shaukat Riza -Printed for Army Education Press by M/S Wajid Alis Limited-Lahore-1984.

30 Pages-104 to 109-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit.

31 Page-39-Musa Khan -Op Cit and Page-110-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit.

32Page-111-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit. For Shaukat’s quoting Musa and Sher Bahadur about danger of loss of Muzaffarabad see Page-113-Ibid.

33 Page-39-Musa Khan-Op Cit.

34Page-344- ‘The Indian Armour-History of the Indian Armoured Corps’-1941-1971- Major General Gurcharan Singh Sandhu-Vision Books-New Delhi-1993.

35 The description of terrain is based on narratives of K.C Praval and Gurcharan Singh Sandhu op cit, Article-Battle Lore-Breakthrough in Chamb- in Soldier Speaks-Selected Articles from Pakistan Army Journal-1956-1981-Army Education Press-General Headquarters-First Edition-1981.The Battle of Chamb-Lt Col Saeed-Army Education Press-GHQ-1979.

36Page-345-Gurcharan Singh Sandhu-Op Cit.

37Page-334 and 345-Ibid. For explanation of Code name “Operation Ablaze” see Page-89-Joginder Singh-Op Cit.

38 Page-345-Ibid and Page-36-Harbaksh Singh-Op Cit.

39 Page-345-Gurcharan Singh-Op Cit.

40 Page-26-Joginder Singh-Op Cit.

41 Pages-36 & 37-Ibid

42 Pages-343 & 334-Gurcharan Singh-Op Cit.

43 Page-344-Ibid.

44 Page-345-Ibid and Page-257-Major K.C Praval-Op Cit.

45 Page-255-Major K.C Praval-Op Cit.

46 Page-257-Ibid

47 Ibid.

48 Page-104-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit.

49 Footnote Number One-Page-46-Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry-Op Cit.

50 Pages114 & 115-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit.

51 Page-117 & 118-Ibid.

52 Page -297-Gurcharan Singh -Op Cit.

53 Page-39-Musa Khan-Op Cit.

54 Page-48-Amjad Chaudhry -Op Cit..

55 Page-116-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

56 Ibid. This was achievement of the indomitable gunner Amjad Chaudhry who was later not promoted for doing well in war ! Amjad was assisted by another extremely able artillery officer Aleem Afridi who was later famous in removing Yahya by threatening him with a march of 6 Armoured Division to Rawalpindi immediately after the surrender at Dacca and later in the Attock Conspiracy case to overthrow Mr Bhutto in 1972.

57 Page-49-Amjad Chaudhry-Op Cit.Shaukat Riza , who was more interested in the artillery aspect of all operations , does not state anything about the delay that was caused due to Burjeal , and its overall negative effect on the overall conduct of operations on the 1st September 1965 , but merely states that “Burjeal had been bypassed by 13 Punjab” and “Brigadier Zafar ordered 8 Baluch to clear the position forthwith” . (Refers-Page-120-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit).

58 Page-121-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

59 Ibid.

60 Page-123-Ibid.

61 Page-62-Harbaksh Singh-Op Cit . Harbaksh states that this was a “blemish on the fair name of 161 Field Regiment as well as 10 Division” .Also seePage-50-Amjad Chaudhry-Op Cit. It was here that Pakistani locating regiments proved their worth by locating Indian guns through modern US sound ranging devices .Chaudhry states that many 25 Pounders of this Indian unit received direct Pakistani artillery shell hits .K.C Praval says it was 14 Field Regiment ( Pages-260 & 261-Major K.C Praval-Op Cit).

62 Page-348-Gurcaharan Singh-Op Cit.

63 Page-60 & 61-Harbaksh Singh-Op Cit.

64 Page-121-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

65 Ibid.

66 See page-11 of Preface-Brig Gulzar Ahmad-Op Cit.

67 Page-151-Ibid.

68 Page-261-Major K.C Praval-Op Cit.

69 Page-55-Amjad Chaudhry-Op Cit.

70 Page-61-Harbaksh Singh-Op Cit.

71 Page-124-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

72 Page-348-Gurcharan Singh-Op Cit

73 Page-60-Harbaksh Singh-Op Cit.

74 Page-124-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

75 Page-62-Harbaksh Singh-Op Cit.

76 Page-131-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit. Auchinlek had passed a message saying “During three days at your advance headquarter, I have seen and heard enough to convince me, though I did not need convincing, that the determination to beat the enemy of your commanders and troops could not be greater, and I have no doubt whatever that he will be beaten . His position is desperate , and he is trying by lashing out in all directions to distract us from our object which is to destroy him utterly.we will not be distracted. And he will be destroyed.You have got your teeth into him.hang on and bite deeper and deeper and hang on till he is finished . give him no rest .The general situation in North Africa is EXCELLENT.There is only one order ATTACK AND PURSUE.ALL OUT EVERYONE. C. AUCHINLECK GENERAL C IN C. (Refers-Pages-312 & 313-The Sidi Rezegh Battles-1941-J.A.I Agar Hamilton and L.C.F Turner-Oxford University Press-Cape Town-1957.

77 Page-64-Amjad Chaudhry-Op Cit.

78 Page-63-Ibid.

79Page-46-Letter from a major from Lawrencepur dated 1st September 1975 to Editor Defence Journal Karachi- Defence Journal-No 11-Decemeber 1975-Volume Number-One-Karachi-1975.

80Pages-13 & 14-Article-Higher Conduct of 1965 War-Brigadier Riazul Karim Khan-Defence Journal-Special Issue-Volume Ten-Numbers-1-2-1984- Karachi.

81 Page-55-Brigadier Chaudhry-Op Cit.

82 Pages-39 & 40-Musa Khan -Op Cit.

83 Page-121-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit.

84 Explained in detail by Gul-Page-201-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit.

85 Bhutto later implicated Gauhar in a trumped up case on ridiculous grounds i.e possession of a bottle containing about 12 ounces of Scotch Whiskey and an old “Playboy” issue.

86 Remarks of a friend of Mr Bhutto who had served in Burma Shell quoted by Akhund (Memoirs of a Bystander) or Rafi Raza (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Pakistan) published by Oxford University Press Karachi in 1997. The inability to provide an exact reference is regretted since I lost both the books which I had bought in 1997 and was unable to find a copy to locate the exact page number.

87 Pages-257 & 305-Major K.C Praval-Op Cit.

88Page-918 to 920-‘Shahab Nama’-Qudratullah Shahab-Sang-E-Meel Publications-Lahore-1994.Shahab who was with Ayub at that time as a civilian staff officer has given a detailed account of this incident. Shahab who later became very religious (as many men in their old age !!!!) was a sycophant par excellence who competed with,but was finally surpassed by another in playing the sycophant courtier with Ayub. Qudrat was notorious in sycophancy with Ayub and also wrote the notorious “The New Leaf” that appeared in the Pakistan Times issue of 19th April 1959. (Page-102-Pakistan-Military Rule or Peoples Power-Tariq Ali-Jonathan Cape-London-1970 ). Shahab was also notorious in initiating a campaign against Justice M.R Kayani (Page-4-Preface to M.R Kayani’s collected works by Iftikhar Ahmad Khan-‘The Whole Truth’-M.R Kayani-Pakistan Writers co-operative Society-Lahore-1988). A case of two typical lower middle class civil servants employing sycophancy as a tool for advancement! Herein lies the secret of success of many Pakistani successful civil servant families who later amassed great wealth despite being from basically humble or middle class background!

89Page-322-Altaf Gauhar-Op Cit.

90Page-367-On War-Edited by Anatol Rapoport-Pelican Books-London-1974.

91Page-321-Altaf Gauhar-Op Cit.

92Page-155-Brig Z.A Khan-Op Cit.

93Page-112-‘The First Round-Indo Pakistan War’-1965-M. Asghar Khan-Islamic Information Services Limited-London 1979.

94“Battle of Chamb”-Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Saeed-Army Education Press-GHQ Rawalpindi-1979.

95Page-45-Letter to the Editor Defence Journal from Major Khursheed Ahmad (Retired) , Hyderabad-Dated 26 Otober 1975 -Defence Journal-No 11-Decemeber 1975-Volume Number-One-Karachi-1975.

96Page-47-Letter to Editor Defence Journal from Lieutenant Colonel M.R Hassan (Retired) dated 06 October 1975.

97 Page-53 & 54-Amjad Chaudhry -Op Cit.

98 Page-123-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit

99 Page-48-Amjad Chaudhry-Op Cit.

100 Page-255-Major K.C Praval-Op Cit.

101 Page-61-Harbaksh Singh-Op Cit.

102 Page-349-Gurcharan Singh-Op Cit.

103 Page-118-Major General Joginder Singh-Op Cit.

104 Page-331-Altaf Gauhar-Op Cit.

105 Page-349-Gurcharan Singh Sandhu-Op Cit.

106 Page-349-Gurcharan Singh-Op Cit.

107 Page-45-History of 11 Cavalry (FF)-Lieutenant Colonel Khalid Gujjar-Quetta Cantt-1999.

108Calculated from total regular infantry casualties given by Lieutenant Colonel Mukhtar Gilani (Page-109-Colonel Mukhtar Gillani -Op Cit), total casualties of 11 Cavalry (Refers- page-45 of 11 Cavalry History-Op Cit) and total casualties of 13 Lancers i.e 16 killed (Refers-Page-160-Brig Z.A Khan -Op Cit).

109 Pages-404, 405 and 409-Major K.C Praval-Op Cit.

110 Page-182-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit. Till 18th September this Headquarters was doing nothing sitting in Kharian and in words of Shaukat Riza “engaged in line of communication pursuits”.

111Page-428-Article-Pakistan- ‘Memories of the Early Years’- Lieutenant General Sir James Wilson-in-Army Quarterly and Defence Journal -Volume-120-Issue Number Four-Tavistock Street-London-October-1990.

111aPage-230-Footnote 68-The Pakistan Army Till 1965-Major A.H Amin-P.O Box 13146-Arlington-VA-22219-USA-17 August 1999.

112 Page-187- Jawan to General-General Mohammad Musa- East and West Publishing Company-Karachi-1984.

113 Page-113-Shauakat Riza-1965-Op Cit.

114 Page-114-Ibid.

115 Page-327-Altaf Gauhar-Op Cit.

116 Page-39-‘An Introduction to Strategy’-General Andre Beaufre-Faber and Faber-London-1965. Altaf praised Ayub in the following words; “everyone admired Ayub for giving the operation a real edge and a new dimension” (Page-322-Altaf Gauhar-Op Cit).In the Army and Civil Service as in the Corporate Sector the sycophants are always admiring their bosses.Psychologists have concluded that , “Flattery” pays and it does gets you into better places”. See Pages-321 to 328- of the Research Essay-“Flattery Will Get You Somewhere:Styles and Uses of Ingratiation”-Edward.E.Jones-in Readings About the Social Animal-Edited by Ariel Aronson-W.H Freeman and Company-San Francisco-1973.It is one thing to make a plan on the map and another to execute it.Ayub did not have the “Resolution” to capture Akhnur as we shall discuss in greater detail later.

117 Page-322-Altaf Guahar-Ibid.

118 Page-322-Altaf Gauhar-Op Cit.

119 Page-35 and 36-Musa Khan-Op Cit.

The Pakistan Army-From 1965 to 1971

Maj (Retd) AGHA HUMAYUN AMIN (Pakistan Army) from WASHINGTON DC makes an interesting foray down memory lane.

The finest summarising of the incalculable qualitative harm inflicted on the Pakistan Army, by the self-promoted Field Marshal of peace, by a contemporary, was done by Major General Fazal I Muqeem, when he described the state of affairs of the Pakistan Army during the period 1958-71; in the following words: “We had been declining according to the degree of our involvement in making and unmaking of regimes. Gradually the officer corps, intensely proud of its professionalism was eroded at its apex into third class politicians and administrators. Due to the absence of a properly constituted political government, the selection and promotion of officers to the higher rank depended on one man’s will. Gradually, the welfare of institutions was sacrificed to the welfare of personalities. To take the example of the army, the higher command had been slowly weakened by retiring experienced officers at a disturbingly fine rate. Between 1955 and November 1971, in about 17 years 40 Generals had been retired, of whom only four had reached their superannuating age. Similar was the case with other senior ranks. Those in the higher ranks who showed some independence of outlook were invariably removed from service. Some left in sheer disgust in this atmosphere of insecurity and lack of the right of criticism, the two most important privileges of an Armed Forces officer. The extraordinary wastage of senior officers particularly of the army denied the services, of the experience and training vital to their efficiency and welfare. Some officers were placed in positions that they did not deserve or had no training for” 1.

The advent of Yahya Khan and Yahya’s Personality

Immediately after the 1965 war Major General Yahya Khan who had commanded the 7 Division in the Grand Slam Operation was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General, appointed Deputy Army C in C and C in C designate in March 1966 2. Yahya was a Qizilbash3 commissioned from Indian Military Academy Dehra Dun on 15 July 1939. An infantry officer from the 4/10 Baluch Regiment, Yahya saw action during WW II in North Africa where he was captured by the Axis Forces in June 1942 and interned in a prisoner of war camp in Italy from where he escaped in the third attempt4. In 1947 he was instrumental in not letting the Indian officers shift books 5 from the famous library of the British Indian Staff College at Quetta,where Yahya was posted as the only Muslim instructor at the time of partition of India.Yahya was from a reasonably well to do family, had a much better schooling than Musa Khan and was directly commissioned as an officer. Yahya unlike Musa was respected in the officer corps for professional competence. Yahya became a brigadier at the age of 34 and commanded the 106 Infantry Brigade, which was deployed on the ceasefire line in Kashmir in 1951-52. Later Yahya as Deputy Chief of General Staff was selected to head the army’s planning board set up by Ayub to modernise the Pakistan Army in 1954-57. Yahya also performed the duties of Chief of General Staff from 1958 to 1962 from where he went on to command an infantry division from 1962 to 1965.

Yahya was a hard drinking soldier approaching the scale of Mustafa Kemal of Turkey and had a reputation of not liking teetotallers. Yahya liked courtesans but his passion had more to do with listening to them sing or watching them dance. Thus he did not have anything of Ataturk’s practical womanising traits. Historically speaking many great military commanders like Khalid Bin Waleed, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Eftikhar Khan and Grant were accused of debauchery and womanising. These personal habits still did not reduce their personal efficiency and all of them are remembered in military history as great military commanders! The yardstick is that as long as a military commander performs his job as a military leader well, debauchery drink etc is not important. Abraham Lincoln a man of great integrity and character when told by the typical military gossip type commanders, found in all armies of the world and in particular plenty in the Indo-Pak armies, about Grants addiction to alcohol dismissed their criticism by stating “I cannot spare this man. He fights”! Indeed while the US Civil War was being fought a remark about Grant was attributed to Lincoln and frequently repeated as a joke in army messes. The story thus went that Lincoln was told about Grant’s drinking habits, and was asked to remove Grant from command. Lincoln dismissed this suggestion replying “send every general in the field a barrel of it”! Once Lincoln heard this joke he said that he wished very much that he had said it! 6 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, praised by his enemies, i.e. the British, in the British Official History of WW One, as one of the greatest military commanders in world’s history was a great consumer of alcohol and chronic womaniser! It has been alleged that Kemal was a homosexual (a typically Turkish pastime) too and frequently suffered the ravages of venereal disease! The same was true for Petain one of the greatest military commanders of the French Army in WW One!

Gul Hassan Khan who served with Yahya in the General Headquarters in the early 1960s described Yahya as “professionally competent” and as a man of few words whom always approached the point at issue without ceremony.7 Muqeem described Yahya as “authoritarian by nature” and “reserved by temperament”.8 Major General Sher Ali under whom Yahya served assessed Yahya as an officer of the “highest calibre”. Shaukat Riza writing as recently as 1986 described Yahya as a good soldier, as a commander distinguished for his decision making and generous nature and one who gave his total trust to a man whom he accepted as part of his team or a colleague.9

Contrary to Gauhar’s judgement Yahya, at least in 1966-69, was definitely viewed as a professional in the army. His shortcomings in functioning as the Supreme Commander that became evident in the 1971 war were not known to anyone in 1966. No evidence exists, but it appears that Yahya’s sect and ethnicity may have played a part in Ayub’s decision to select Yahya as C in C. Musa writes in his memoirs that Yahya was not his first choice as Army C in C but was selected by Ayub overruling Musa’s reservations about Yahya’s character 10. This further proves that Ayub selected Yahya as the army chief for reasons other than merit. I am not implying that Yahya was incompetent, but merely the fact that Ayub was motivated by ulterior reasons to select Yahya. These reasons had something to do with Yahya’s political reliability by virtue of belonging to a minority! Yahya was not a Punjabi or a Pathan but belonged to a minority ethnic group as well as a minority ethnic group, just like Musa.This was no mere coincidence but a deliberately planned manoeuvre to have as army chief a man who was not from the two ethnic groups which dominated the officer corps, the Punjabis being more than 60 % of the officer corps and the Pathans being the second largest group after the Punjabis!11 Altaf Gauhar Ayub’s close confidant inadvertently proves this fact once he quite uncharitably, and for reasons, other than dispassionate objective historical considerations, described Yahya as one ” selected…in preference to some other generals, because Yahya, who had come to hit the bottle hard, had no time for politics and was considered a harmless and loyal person”.12

Selection of Army C in C

Foreign readers may note that almost all army chiefs of Pakistan Army were selected primarily because they were perceived as reliable as well as pliable! In Addition ethnic factors Vis a Vis prevalent political considerations played a part in their selection. Thus Liaquat the first premier selected a non Punjabi as the army’s first C in C since in 1950 Liaquat was involved in a political confrontation with Punjabi politicians of the Muslim League and had established a Hindustani-Pathan-Bengali alliance to sideline the Punjabi Muslims. Thus the most obvious nominee for the appointment of C in C i.e. Major General Raza, a Punjabi Muslim was not selected. Instead Ayub an ethnic Pathan, and one who already had been superseded and sidelined, and with a poor war record was selected as the first Pakistani Muslim army C in C. Similarly Ayub selected Musa simply because Musa was perceived as loyal despite not being competent! Yahya as Gauhar Ayub’s closest adviser and confidant admits, as earlier mentioned, was selected because he had hit the bottle hard; i.e. was harmless, and was loyal, and thus no danger to Ayub! In other words Gauhar advances a theory that Ayub selected Yahya (Gauhar’s subjective judgement) simply because it was politically expedient for Ayub to have this particular type of man as army chief! Gauhar judgement of Yahya has little value since it was highly subjective but Ayub’s reasons for selecting his army chief, as Gauhar describes it speaks volumes for the character of Ayub and I would say the orientation of all Pakistani politicians, both civilian and military! In third world countries every army chief is a military politician! The process was carried on and continues to date but this chapter deals with only 1965-1971, so more of this later!

The same was true for extensions given to the army chiefs. Ayub got three extensions since Iskandar Mirza perceived him as a reliable tool. He booted out Mirza, his benefactor, after the last extension in 1958! Ayub gave Musa an extension of four years in 1962 since he perceived Musa as reliable and politically docile, and thus no threat to Ayub’s authoritarian government. Since 1962 when Musa got his extension of service by one additional term of four years, which prolonged his service from 1962 to 196613, no Pakistani army chief was given an extension beyond his three or four year term. The situation however was still worse since Yahya took over power in 1969 and thus automatically extended his term as C in C till December 1971. Zia usurped power in 1977 and thus gave himself a nine year extension as Army Chief till he was removed to the army and the country’s great relief in August 1988 by Divine Design! Beg attempted to get an extension by floating the idea of being appointed as Supreme Commander of Armed Forces14 but was outmanoeuvred by his own army corps commanders, who gave a lukewarm response to the idea and by Ghulam Ishaq who was a powerful president and had a deep understanding of the military mind by virtue of having loyally and successfully served three military dictators.

Yahya Khan as Army Chief-1966-1971

Yahya energetically started reorganising the Pakistan Army in 1965. Today this has been forgotten while Yahya is repeatedly condemned for only his negative qualities (a subjective word which has little relevance to generalship as proved in military history)! The post 1965 situation saw major organisational as well as technical changes in the Pakistan Army. Till 1965 it was thought that divisions could function effectively while getting orders directly from the army’s GHQ. This idea failed miserably in the 1965 war and the need to have intermediate corps headquarters in between the GHQ and the fighting combat divisions was recognised as a foremost operational necessity after the 1965 war. In 1965 war the Pakistan Army had only one corps headquarter i.e the 1 Corps Headquarters. Soon after the war had started the US had imposed an embargo on military aid on both India and Pakistan. This embargo did not affect the Indian Army but produced major changes in the Pakistan Army’s technical composition. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk well summed it up when he said, “Well if you are going to fight, go ahead and fight, but we’re not going to pay for it”!15 Pakistan now turned to China and for military aid and Chinese tank T-59 started replacing the US M-47/48 tanks as the Pakistan Army’s MBT (Main Battle Tank) from 1966. 80 tanks, the first batch of T-59s, a low-grade version of the Russian T-54/55 series were delivered to Pakistan in 1965-66. The first batch was displayed in the Joint Services Day Parade on 23 March 196616. The 1965 War had proved that Pakistan Army’s tank infantry ratio was lopsided and more infantry was required. Three more infantry divisions (9, 16 and 17 Divisions) largely equipped with Chinese equipment and popularly referred to by the rank and file as “The China Divisions” were raised by the beginning of 196817. Two more corps headquarters i.e. 2 Corps Headquarters (Jhelum-Ravi Corridor) and 4 Corps Headquarters (Ravi-Sutlej Corridor) were raised.

In the 1965 War India had not attacked East Pakistan which was defended by a weak two-infantry brigade division (14 Division) without any tank support. Yahya correctly appreciated that geographical, as well as operational situation demanded an entirely independent command set up in East Pakistan. 14 Division’s infantry strength was increased and a new tank regiment was raised and stationed in East Pakistan. A new Corps Headquarters was raised in East Pakistan and was designated as Headquarters Eastern Command.18 It was realised by the Pakistani GHQ that the next war would be different and East Pakistan badly required a new command set up.

Major General Sahibzada Yaqub Khan took over as the army’s Chief of General Staff and thus Principal Staff Officer to the C in C soon after the 1965 war. Yaqub was an aristocrat from a Hindustani Pathan background and was altogether different from the typical north of Chenab breed in depth of intellect, general outlook and strategic perception! In words of Fazal Muqeem a sharp observer and one who was not lavish in praising anyone “planning had taken a turn for the better when Major General Yaqub Khan became the Chief of General Staff”.19 In other words Muqeem was implying that planning level in the army was relatively poor before Yaqub became the Chief of General Staff. But Muqeem went further and stated that the army’s war plans in the post 1965 era were still vague about “what action should be taken in West Pakistan if an attack was mounted against East Pakistan”.20 We will discuss more of this later.

Promotions and Appointments

Selection and assessment of officers for higher ranks had depended on one man’s will and his personal likes and dislikes since 1950. Initially it was Ayub from 1950 to 1969 and Yahya from 1969 to 1971. Dictators fear all around them and this was the principal tragedy of the Pakistan Army. Selection and assessment of men was not a plus point in Yahya’s personality. It appears that either Yahya was not a good judge of men. In this regard Yahya continued Ayub’s policy of sidelining talented officers who had the potential of becoming a rival at a later stage! We will first deal with selection for higher ranks vis-a-vis war performance. Almost no one, who had blundered, except Brigadier Sardar Ismail the acting divisional commander of 15 Division, was really taken to task for having failed in the discharge of his military duties!21 Lord Bashir of Valtoha fame was promoted, and commanded the 6th Armoured Division after the war! On the other hand Major General Abrar, who had proved himself as the finest military commander, at the divisional level, at least by sub continental standards, was sidelined and ultimately retired in the same rank!22 Lieutenant Colonel Nisar of 25 Cavalry who had saved Pakistan’s territorial integrity from being seriously compromised at a strategic level at Gadgor on the 8th of September 1965 was sidelined. This may be gauged from the fact that at the time of outbreak of the 1971 War Nisar although promoted to brigadier rank, was only commanding the Armoured corps recruit training centre, a poor appointment for a man who had distinguished himself as a tank regiment commander in stopping the main Indian attack. A man whose unit’s performance was described by the enemy opposing him as one “which was certainly creditable because it alone stood between the 1st Indian Armoured Division and its objective”23 was considered by the Pakistani General Headquarters pedantic officers as fit only to command a recruit training centre while one who was instrumental in failure of the main Pakistani armour effort at Khem Karan was promoted to Major General rank and trusted with the command of Pakistan’s Armoured division! Brigadier Qayyum Sher who had distinguished himself as a brigade commander in 10 Division area in Lahore was also not promoted! Qayyum Sher was one of the few brigade commanders of the army who had led from the front. Major General Shaukat Riza who rarely praised anyone had the following to say about Sher’s conduct while leading the Pakistan army’s most important infantry brigade counter attack on Lahore Front as a result of which the Indian 15 Division despite considerable numerical superiority was completely thrown off balance. Shaukat stated that “Brigadier Qayyum Sher, in his command jeep, moved from unit to unit and then personally led the advance, star plate and pennant visible. This was something no troops worth their salt could ignore”.24 but the Army’s Selection Boards ignored Qayyum Sher once his turn for promotion came! Qayyum Sher did well in war and was awarded the Pakistani D.S.O i.e. the HJ! But war performance or even performance in peacetime training manoeuvres was, and still is, no criteria for promotion in the Pakistan Army! Qayyum retired as a brigadier, remembered by those who fought under him as a brave and resolute commander, who was not given an opportunity to rise to a higher rank, which Qayyum had deserved, more than any brigadier of the Pakistan Army did.

Analysis and reappraisal after the 1965 War

The 1965 War was rich in lessons and many lessons were learned; however the army’s reorganisation was badly affected by the political events of 1968-71. The two major areas of improvement after the war were in the realm of military organisation and military plans. It was realised finally that infantry and armoured divisions could not be effectively employed till they were organised as corps with areas of responsibility based on terrain realities.

The post 1965 army saw major changes in terms of creation of corps headquarters. On the other side no major doctrinal reappraisal was done after the 1965 War except raising new divisions and corps no major reform was undertaken to produce a major qualitative change in the army’s tactical and operational orientation. Today this is a much criticised subject. The events of 1965-71 however must be taken as a whole. When one does so a slightly different picture emerges. A major start was taken soon after 1965 after Yahya had been nominated as the deputy army chief, towards improving higher organisation and corps were created, but this process was retarded by the much more ominous political developments which increasingly diverted the army chiefs energies into political decision making from 1969 onwards.

The 1965 War was a failure in higher leadership. This was true for both sides. However, qualitative superiority by virtue of superior doctrine strategic orientation and operational preparedness became relatively far more important for the Pakistan Army than the Indians.

The Indians had already embarked on a programme of rapid expansion since the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962. The material and numerical gap between the Indian and Pakistan armies started widening from 1962 and after 1965 it reached dangerous proportions! Further because of the 1965 War the Indians got an opportunity to improve their command and control procedures. The Indians the reader must note were already one step ahead of the Pakistanis in higher organisation since their army was organised to fight as corps since 1947-48 while the Pakistan Army had fought the 1965 War organised in divisions.

The Indians had failed to make good use of their considerable numerical superiority in infantry in 1965 but, they had learned many lessons which. This meant that in the next war the Indians could employ their numerically superior forces in a relatively better manner than in 1965. Further Pakistan had lost its major arms supplier the USA which had imposed an arms embargo on Pakistan. Thus the technical superiority in equipment which Pakistan had enjoyed in 1965 was nullified after 1965. On the other hand India had a much larger economy and thus far greater potential to buy from the open market than Pakistan. All these factors demanded a major qualitative change. One that would ensure that Pakistan could survive another war with India.It was an entirely new situation.

The year 1965 was a watershed in Pakistani military history. Till 1965 Pakistani planners thought in terms of liberating the Pakistani Alsace Lorraine i.e. Kashmir! The issue in the next war was no longer adding more territory but merely preserving the country’s territorial integrity! The country was in the grip of serious internal and external crisis. The Internal crisis stemmed out of 11 years of military rule which had sharply polarised the country into two wings i.e the Eastern and the Western Wing and even within the Western Wing the bulk of the populace was alienated with the Ayub regime. It appears that this major change in the overall geostrategic position was not grasped by those at the highest level. It appears that till December 1971 no one in the Pakistani GHQ seriously thought that the Indians would overrun East Pakistan. Too much hope was based on US or Chinese intervention. The Chinese could not possibly have intervened since all Himalayan passes were snowbound in Nov-Dec 1971. The United States on the other hand made no serious effort to pressurise India into not attacking East Pakistan. To make things further complicated the country’s internal cohesion was seriously weakened by the political conflict between the East and West Pakistan Provinces and the countrywide anti Ayub agitation which finally led to the exit of the self promoted Field Marshal Ayub from power in March 1969. The situation was extremely delicate, complicated and only a truly great leader at both civil and military level could have remedied the situation. Unfortunately for the Pakistan Army and the country there was no such man to steer the country’s ship out of troubled waters.

It appears that 1965 war was not rationally analysed in Pakistan at all. In this regard the Pakistani military decision-makers were swept away in the emotional stream of their own propaganda! The fact that the Pakistan Army was in a position to inflict a decisive defeat on the Indians in the war, but failed due to primarily poor leadership at and beyond brigade level, and due to doctrinal and organisational deficiencies at the higher level was not accepted! It was a natural result of the fact that Pakistan functioned as a pseudo democracy under one man! This in turn had led to a ban on frank and open analysis of the army’s performance and role! On the other hand the Indian Army’s poor performance was openly and frankly analysed and the Indian critics did not spare the Indian C in C General Chaudri.25 It would not be wrong to say that the Indians thanks to a democratic system in which the army was not a sacred cow, unlike Pakistan, analysed their failings in 1965 in a more positive and concrete manner. Shaukat Riza the officially sponsored historian of the Pakistan Army admitted this fact. Shaukat thus observed, while briefly analysing the Commander in Chief’s General Training Directive of 1968, that “We admitted that the enemy would have better resources in number of troops, quality of equipment, research, development and indigenous production. In face of superiority we were relying solely on quality of our troops to win a war against India. But there was nothing in our satchel of organisation, tactical doctrine or even quality of professional leadership, which could substantiate this confidence. This was self-hypnosis where we were not really hypnotised”.26 It may be noted that the General Training Directive identified the enemy threat relatively realistically only in an extremely vague and rudimentary sense but gave no solution or tangible doctrine to combat it except, operations on broad front for all formations except those in Kashmir, Mountain Warfare for formations in Kashmir and Baluchistan, Snow Warfare for troops in the Northern Areas, Desert Warfare for formations located in Sind Baluchistan and Bahawalpur, Jungle and Riverine Warfare for formations in East Pakistan and Frontier Warfare for all formations in NWFP and Baluchistan!27 It was a piece of extreme naivety and was probably drafted by a staff officer after reading the recommendations of the last two years training directives and was merely signed by the army chief 28. The 1969 training directive dealt with attack by infiltration and anti infiltration measures29, something, which was just a whimsical fancy in a staff officer’s mind! Infiltration was buried soon and in 1971!

Strategic and Operational Dilemmas

Fazal Muqeem quite correctly described the adverse strategic situation in the post 1965 period in the following words, “with the almost daily expansion of the Indian Armed Forces since the 1965 war, it had become economically impossible for Pakistan to keep pace with her. The policy of matching Indian strength with even 1/3 or _ in numbers had gradually gone overboard. Under these circumstances all that Pakistan could do was to avoid war with India and to strive to resolve her disputes through political and diplomatic means”.30 The only problem with this quote is the fact that, at that time i.e. the period 1965-71 no one at the helm of affairs was ready to think so realistically and rationally! Fazal’s wisdom is the wisdom of hindsight, expressed some two years after Pakistan Army had fought the disaster and humiliating war in its history and Pakistan was dismembered into two countries. The Pakistani nation had been fed on propaganda about martial superiority of their army! Brigadier A.R Siddiqi who served in the army’s propaganda/media management wing known as the ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations Directorate) states that “the 1965 war had exalted the military image to mythical heights”. 31 The common man drew false conclusions and to compound things further, the 1965 war was viewed differently in West and East Pakistan. The West Pakistani populace and particularly the majority West Pakistani ethnic groups i.e. the Punjabis saw the war as a triumph of a preponderantly Punjabi Muslim army over a numerically larger Hindu army! The East Pakistanis viewed the war as a war fought by a West Pakistani dominated army to protect West Pakistan, where some 90 % of the army was stationed! The Indians had not attacked Pakistan deliberately since their strategy was based on the fact that in case the bulk of Pakistan Army in the West Pakistan provinces northern half i.e. Punjab was destroyed Pakistan would automatically sue for peace or collapse! Thus they had concentrated the bulk of their army against West Pakistan in the 1965 War. On the Eastern Front the Indians outnumbered the Pakistani troops defending East Pakistan by more than three to one but did not attack East Pakistan out of fear of Chinese Army the bulk of which was concentrated opposite India’s Assam Province and the North East Frontier Agency. Later after the 1965 war the Indians with the benefit of hindsight painted this timid action in not attacking East Pakistan as an act of grand strategic dimensions. In any case the harm was done as far as East Pakistani perceptions about the war were concerned. The East Pakistanis increasingly started viewing the army as a west Pakistani entity created to defend only West Pakistan. The seeds of secession were firmly sown as a result of the 1965 War.

The strategic and operational dilemmas faced by the Pakistan Army can only be understood in terms of the complicated political situation in the period 1969-1971. Yahya Khan attempted to solve two highly complicated political problems that he had inherited from his predecessor and who were also the father and architect of both the problems. These were restoration of democracy and resolving the acute sense of deprivation which had been created in the East Pakistan province as a result of various perceived or real injustices during the period 1958-1969. Secessionist tendencies had emerged in the East Pakistan province where the people viewed Pakistan’s federal government with its capital in the West Pakistan as a West Pakistani elite dominated affair. A government which was Muslim in name but West Pakistani (Punjabi, Pathan and Hindustani in order of merit)32 dominated in essence and which had been exploiting the East Pakistan province like a colony since 1947! We will not examine the details of this perception since it is beyond the scope of this book. We are only concerned with the fact that this perception made things very complicated for the Pakistan Army. The bulk of the army was concentrated in the West Pakistan province in line with the strategic doctrine that defence of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan. The likely political danger now lay in the fact that the East Pakistanis were increasingly viewing the army as a foreign and hostile entity. This perception could make things difficult for the lone infantry division of the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan. The Indian Army had been rapidly expanded since 1965 and the Indians now possessed a military capability to overrun East Pakistan while part of its army kept the bulk of the Pakistan Army stationed in the West wing in check. The situation was made yet more complex by fears in West Pakistan about the East Pakistani majority leader Mujeeb’s intention to reduce the army in case he won the 1970 elections that Yahya had promised. Further Mujeeb’s “Six Point Formula” if enforced would have led to virtual disintegration of Pakistan since it envisaged a confedral system with a very high level of provincial autonomy. What would happen in case a civil war started in the East wing after the 1970 elections and India decided to take advantage of the adverse internal political situation by invading East Pakistan. The military planners in the GHQ knew clearly that in case an armed insurrection broke out in the East Pakistan province one infantry division would not be control it. In case troops were sent from the West wing to reinforce the East Pakistan garrison, the war plans in the West Wing would be compromised. These were serious questions, which no one in the GHQ could answer in 1969. No one exactly knew what would happen in the first general elections of Pakistan. How could anyone know? This basic right had been denied to the common man in both the wings since 1946!

Yahya Khan and the Political Situation- 1969-1971

Now a word on Pakistan’s internal political situation in 1969 and its negative effects on the Pakistan Army. It appears that, had not Ayub Khan alienated the East Wing by his pro West Pakistani elite policies and also had not alienated the West Pakistani and East Pakistani populace by his self-serving policies, there would have been no East Pakistan problem which resulted in Pakistan’s break-up in 1971 or any anti-Ayub agitation in both the country’s provinces of East and West Pakistan that finally led to the fall of the Ayubian system of government in March 1969. The foreign readers may note that the East wing versus West wing rivalry had been constitutionally resolved through the passing of the 1956 Constitution, once the representatives of the East wing had most large heartedly accepted the principal of 50 % parity in the country’s legislature despite the fact that their actual ratio in the country’s population entitled them to 54 % seats in the assembly! Both the wings now started coming closer since issues were settled inside the parliament rather than by subversion or agitation. However Ayub in league with the president Iskandar Mirza repeatedly conspired to derail democracy and in league with Iskandar Mirza finally usurped power in the country by imposing the first Martial Law in October 1958. He sidelined Mirza in less than a month and imposed a one-man rule on the country. Ayub despised the East Pakistanis and as Army C in C had stopped more raisings of infantry battalions of East Pakistanis. The East Pakistanis on the other hand were anti-Ayub and resented Ayub’s policies of allocating a predominantly large part the resources of the country on the development of the West Wing. Further during the Ayub era, the strategic doctrine that defence of East Pakistan lay in concentrating the bulk of the Pakistan Army in the West wing was developed. This further alienated the East wingers since there was an unofficial ban on recruitment of Bengalis in the fighting arms of the army and the expanded army increasingly became a West Pakistani army, instead of being a national army.33

Once Ayub handed over power to Yahya Khan on 25 March 1969 Yahya inherited a two-decade constitutional problem of inter provincial ethnic rivalry between the Punjabi-Pathan-Mohajir dominated West Pakistan province and the ethnically Bengali Muslim East Pakistan province. In addition Yahya also inherited an eleven-year-old problem of transforming an essentially one-man ruled country to a democratic country, which was the ideological basis of the anti Ayub movement of 1968-69. Herein lies the key to Yahya’s dilemma. As an Army Chief Yahya had all the capabilities, qualifications and potential. But Yahya inherited an extremely complex problem and was forced to perform the multiple roles of caretaker head of the country, drafter of a provisional constitution, resolving the One Unit question 34, satisfying the frustrations and the sense of exploitation and discrimination successively created in the East Wing by a series of government policies since 1948. All these were complex problems and the seeds of Pakistan Army’s defeat and humiliation in December 1971 lay in the fact that Yahya Khan blundered unwittingly into the thankless task of cleaning dirt in Pakistan’s political and administrative system which had been accumulating for twenty years and had its actual origins in the pre 1947 British policies towards the Bengali Muslims. The American author Ziring well summed it up when he observed that, “Yahya Khan has been widely portrayed as a ruthless uncompromising insensitive and grossly inept leader…While Yahya cannot escape responsibility for these tragic events, it is also on record that he did not act alone…All the major actors of the period were creatures of a historic legacy and a psycho-political milieu which did not lend itself to accommodation and compromise, to bargaining and a reasonable settlement. Nurtured on conspiracy theories, they were all conditioned to act in a manner that neglected agreeable solutions and promoted violent judgements”. 35

The irrefutable conclusion is that Yahya failed as an Army Chief not because he lacked the inherent capabilities but because he tried to do too many things at the same time. This as we earlier discussed was the prime reason for failure of the Pakistan Army to develop and function as a dynamic entity beyond unit level in the 1965 war and in the pre 1965 era.

In all fairness one cannot but admit that, Yahya Khan, sincerely attempted to solve Pakistan’s constitutional and inter provincial/regional rivalry problems once he took over power from Ayub in March 1969. The tragedy of the whole affair was the fact that all actions that Yahya took, although correct in principle, were too late in timing, and served only to further intensify the political polarisation between the East and West wings. He dissolved the one unit restoring the pre 1955 provinces of West Pakistan, promised free direct, one man one vote, fair elections on adult franchise, a basic human right which had been denied to the Pakistani people since the pre independence 1946 elections by political inefficiency, double play and intrigue, by civilian governments, from 1947 to 1958 and by Ayub’s one man rule from 1958 to 1969. However dissolution of one unit did not lead to the positive results that it might have lead to in case “One Unit” was dissolved earlier. Yahya also made an attempt to accommodate the East Pakistanis by abolishing the principle of parity, thereby hoping that greater share in the assembly would redress their wounded ethnic regional pride and ensure the integrity of Pakistan. Instead of satisfying the Bengalis it intensified their separatism, since they felt that the west wing had politically suppressed them since 1958. Thus the rise of anti West Wing sentiment in the East Wing, thanks to Ayub Khan’s anti East Wing policies, had however reached such tremendous proportions that each of Yahya’s concessions did not reduce the East West tension. Yahya announced in his broadcast to the nation on 28 July 1969, his firm intention to redress Bengali grievances, the first major step in this direction being, the doubling of Bengali quota in the defence services 36. It may be noted that at this time there were just seven infantry battalions of the East Pakistanis. Yahya’s announcement although made with the noblest and most generous intentions in mind was late by about twenty years!

Yahya cannot be blamed for the muck that had been accumulating for more than two decades. Yahya’s intention to raise more pure Bengali battalions was opposed by Major General Khadim Hussain Raja, the General Officer Commanding 14 Division in East Pakistan, since the General felt that instead of raising new purely Bengali battalions, Bengali troops should be mixed with existing infantry battalions comprising of Punjabi and Pathan troops.37 Such was the strength of conviction of General Khadim about not raising more pure Bengali battalions that once he came to know about Yahya’s orders to raise more East Pakistani regiments, he flew to the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi to remonstrate against the sagacity of raising more pure Bengali units. Khadim’s advice that Bengali troops could not be relied upon in crisis situations should have been an eye opener for all in the GHQ. No one at least at that time took his advice seriously. It appears that the generals were convinced that the Bengali was too meek to ever challenge the martial Punjabi or Pathan Muslim

The Bengalis were despised as non martial by all West Pakistanis. However much later an interesting controversy developed in which the Punjabis and Hindustanis blamed each other for doing so! The Hindustanis blaming Aziz Ahmad etc and the Punjabis blaming many Hindustani ICS old foxes of the 1950s! There is no doubt that this exercise in Bengali degrading was neither totally or exclusively Punjabi led but a a true for all West Pakistanis business!

The foreign reader may note that Bengalis were despised as a non martial race from the British times. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan a Hindustani Muslim and an eminent Muslim leader of the North Indian Muslims in late 19th century made open fun of Bengalis in his various speeches, notably the one delivered at Lucknow in 1887. I.H Qureshi another prominent Hindustani Muslim and a post 1947 cabinet minister declared in a roundabout manner that the Bengalis were an inferior race. Ayub made various remarks implying that the Bengalis were an inferior race in his memoirs written in 1967.38

Inflated Perceptions about Pakistani military effectiveness

The essence of the whole business was the fact that the Pakistani GHQ placed entire reliance on the “Superior Valour and Martial Qualities of the Pakistani (Punjabi and Pathan Muslim soldier) vis a vis the Hindu Indian soldier, as proved in 1965 war” and felt that somehow, in the next war to miracles would occur and the Pakistan Army would do well! The tangible military facts of the Indo Pak politico-military scenario were not analysed in their true dimension! It was a classic case of perceptual distortion and losing sight of reality. Eric Berne an eminent psychologist defined “adjustment” as “ability to change one’s images to correspond to a new reality”. Berne rephrases “adjustment” as “flexibility” which he defines as ” ability to change your images as they should be changed according to reality”. This in Berne’s view is more important than intelligence. Berne thus concluded that ‘the successful man is the one whose images correspond most closely to reality, because then his actions will lead to the results, which he imagines”.39 This as a matter of fact are one of the prime functions of a military and political leader. The success of the western democracies lay in the fact that one man was never totally in command but civil and military functions were divided and shared between various appointment holders aided by a host of staff officers and research Organisations. This sadly was not Pakistan’s case where one man from 1958 wielded all power, both civil and military onwards. The situation was not so complicated till 1965 since Pakistan enjoyed material and technical superiority till 1965 and because the troop ratio between Pakistan and India was relatively manageable40. Unfortunately in Pakistan after 1971 all blame was heaped on Yahya’s shoulders. The fact that the psychosis that had afflicted the Pakistani decision makers in the period 1966-1971 and finally led to the great humiliation of 1971, had a close connection with the nature of Pakistan’s experiences as a nation in the period 1947-1971 was not accepted and instead Yahya was made a scapegoat for all that had gone wrong. We will analyse more of this in the next chapter. I will quote Berne once again to define greatness or the lack of it in Pakistan during the period 1947-1971. But before we do it we must understand that man is not fully autonomous but is a prisoner of historical environmental and physiological circumstances. There are very few truly great men who act more autonomously than the multitude. Berne thus defined individual human greatness as ” A great man is the one who either helps to find out what the world is really like or else tries to change the world to match his image. In both cases he is trying to bring images and reality closer together by changing one or the other”. In the period 1966-1971 Pakistan did not have the resources to change the world to match its images nor great men who had the depth of character and intellect to find out what the world is really like and changing their images!

Many Pakistani intellectuals with the naivety of a provincial farm maiden try to heap the whole blame on liquor and Yahya or on liquor alone! This unfortunately is too simplistic a view! The Pakistanis as a nation were forming wrong and unrealistic images right from 1947! Too much faith was based on ideology (Islam) to unite two entirely diverse regions of East and West Pakistan! Even Shauakat Riza a pro establishment historian, commenting on religion as a common factor between the East and West wings caustically noted that “Twenty four years is too long to gamble on one card”41 History was distorted to show that the Muslims were ruling the timid Hindu when the British snatched power from the brave Muslims by treachery! This was sadly not the case! In reality the Muslims were saved from total defeat by the British advent in India! A false image was formed by official propaganda right from 1947 that the Muslims were more martial than the timid Hindus were! It was a poor modification of the “Martial Races Theory” of the British, which was a purely imperialist theory to “Divide and Rule” India! But once Pakistan was defeated in 1971, all blame was heaped on Yahya and liquor, disregarding the fact that Yahya was merely the tip of the iceberg, and the irrefutable fact that many great commanders in history were absolutely incorrigible and compulsive womanisers and drinkers!

This fact was noted by some officers soon after 1965 but the majority were victims of the psychosis of Islamic Martial Military superiority that overwhelmed the West Pakistani psyche during the period 1966-1971! Brigadier A.R Siddiqi in his book on the Pakistan Army’s press image thus narrated a thought-provoking incident soon after the war. Siddiqi met Brigadier Qayyum Sher who as just discussed had distinguished himself as an infantry brigade commander in the battle opposite Lahore. Qayyum Sher was unhappy about the unrealistic expectations and myths that were being created as a result of the official propaganda. Qayyum Sher told Siddiqi, “Miracles he mused, ‘may indeed have happened, but they happen only once. Let me tell you that your press chaps are doing a lot of harm to the soldier psychologically by publishing all those foolish stories. I wonder what they are really trying to tell the world. That the Pakistani soldier can fight his war only with the help of his celestial allies. That he is facing an enemy inferior to him in all respects. I admit God’s help is of the utmost importance but it’s no substitute for one’s own performance. It would be quite stupid to forget that the Indian soldier is as much of a professional as his Pakistani counterpart. He has been trained in similar military systems and institutions and fights like hell when he has to. The only reason why the Pakistani soldier put up a comparatively better performance in this war was that he fought largely on his own home ground as a defender”. Siddiqi further noted that “The Pakistani image makers, however, had little use for such sterile talk. They had their own mental picture of the war and regarded it as the only correct one. Anybody who dared to speak of the war more realistically simply betrayed a ‘diffident and defeatist mentality’ …The merest suggestion of the criticism of the military performance became a taboo”.42 Sher was not alone in entertaining these views. Major General Tajammul Hussain Malik who very ably commanded the 3rd Baluch opposite Lahore on the BRB states in his memoirs that the Indian superiority opposite Lahore was not as overwhelming as later portrayed in the Pakistani official propaganda. Tajammul thus stated, “We had Patton Tanks whereas Indians had mostly Sherman Tanks which were comparatively much inferior. Similarly our artillery guns out ranged the Indian artillery guns. They had an overall superiority of infantry, perhaps of about 1 to 2 but most of their divisions were comparatively ill equipped and untrained and they had to guard a much bigger frontier”. 43

Many years earlier one of the greatest thinkers of this world Sigmund Freud rightly noted that “the irrational forces in man’s nature are so strong that the rational forces have little chance of success against them”. Freud thus concluded that “a small minority might be able to live a life of reason but most men are comfortable living with their delusions and superstitions rather than with the truth”. As a matter of fact whole nations can be victims of delusions. This has happened many times in history. The same was true for the Pakistani nation, or the predominantly West Pakistani elite!

Sultan Khan who served as Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary with Yahya during the fateful year of 1971 noted at many places in his memoirs that most Pakistani generals thought that the Pakistani soldier was more martial and would somehow emerge successfully through the East Pakistan War. Gul Hassan, Sultan thus noted, was one of them and firmly believed in the power of bayonet to solve all problems! The tragedy is that after the war all the blame was heaped on Yahya and the fact that the whole elite and all those who mattered were under influence of highly irrational ideas was deliberately suppressed. Till this day in presentations and studies carried out in Pakistan Army’s schools and colleges of instruction, Yahya is made the scapegoat for the entire 1971 fiasco and the fact that the whole of West Pakistani was under influence of a psychotic state is ignored.

Historical Background of Superiority Complex in the Pakistan Army

It is necessary to examine the historical reasons for this false feeling of superiority in the Pakistan Army in 1969-71. It may be noted that the vast bulk of Muslims, just like the vast bulk of Hindus of the Indo Pak Sub Continent were caught in a vicious square of “ethnicity” “ideology” “exploitation by feudal and capitalist classes” and above all “British Colonial rule” during the period 1858-1947. In 1857 the common soldiers (sepoys), both Hindu (some three fourth) and Muslims (around one fourth) from modern UP province attempted a rebellion against the British. This rebellion was crushed by the Britishers using European as well as Punjabi (largely Muslim and relatively less Sikh and Hindu) Pathan (less in number than Punjabis) Gurkha and Madrasi troops. The rebellion’s end in 1858 marked a major turn in British policy in India. Till 1857 British policy as executed by various Viceroys of the private English East India Company was markedly egalitarian and anti feudal. A major policy change was introduced from 1858 onwards once the British crown took over the governance of India. Feudals who were viewed as unnecessary anachronisms by Dalhousie were now viewed as allies against future rebels while ethnic/religious factors which were not important in army recruitment before 1857, now became a matter of careful policy, since the pre 1857 was largely one in which soldiers were mixed down to platoon level regardless of race or religion. The British policy now changed since the Hindustani44 Hindus and Muslims regardless of race or religion had jointly rebelled. Thus from 1858 onwards the British introduced the concept of One class companies with soldiers from one religious as well as ethnic class in any single infantry company or cavalry troop. Due to various reasons discussed in detail in the previous volume of this history the British actively followed a policy of Punjabising from 1858 to 1911. As a result by 1911 the Indian Army was largely a Punjabi although not a Punjabi Muslim dominated army45.

The reader may note that during the period 1885—1911 when the ethnic composition of the British Indian Army changed from a Hindustani majority/Hindu/Non Muslim dominated army to a Punjabi Majority/Punjabi Muslim heavy army in 1911; no major war took place; that could prove that Punjabi troops or Punjabi Muslim troops were better than Hindu troops or the Hindustani troops, and the concept that the British changed the ethnic composition based on proven fighting ability in actual combat; has no connection with any reality of military history. Thus the “Martial Races Theory” was based more on political considerations than on any tangible or concrete military effectiveness or relative combat effectiveness in any war! In any case the pre 1947 Indian Army was never a Muslim majority army at any stage of its history. Many Britishers were crystal clear about the situational or historical relativity of the so called martial effectiveness even in the first half of the nineteenth century. Henry Lawrence a Civil Servant of the English East India Company thus summed up the whole business about martial effectiveness once he said “Courage goes much by opinion; and many a man behaves as a hero or a coward, according as he considers he is expected to behave. Once two Roman Legions held Britain; now as many Britons might hold Italy”. On the other hand , the reasons why the British preferred the Punjabis in the army in preference to other races were rationalised by many Britishers by stating that the British preferred the Indian Army to be composed of “Martial Races”46.

The “Martial Races Theory” in reality was an Imperial gimmick to boost the ego of the cannon fodder. Various British writers like Philip Mason frankly admitted that the real reason for selective recruitment was political reliability in crisis situations which the Punjabis had exhibited during the 1857-58 Bengal Army rebellion.47 Another British officer thought that “Martial Races Theory” had a more sentimental and administrative basis rather than anything to do with real martial superiority. C.C Trench thus wrote, “Reasons for preferring northerners were largely racial. To Kiplings contemporaries, the taller and fairer a native, the better man he was likely to be…There was a general preference for the wild over the half educated native as being less addicted to unwholesome political thinking…Brahmins had been prominent in the mutiny, and their diet and prejudices made difficulties on active service48. The “Special Commission appointed by the Viceroy” to enquire into the organisation of Indian Army was more blunt in outlining the political reliability factor once it stated that “lower stratum of the Mohammadan urban population, the dispossessed landholders (many of them, off course, Muslims), the predatory classes, and perhaps the cadets of the old Muhammadan families (as)… the only people who really dislike British rule” 49 . The reason why the Punjabis whether Sikh Hindu or Muslim were more loyal to the British at least till 1919 lay in complex socio-political background of the province and the complex relationship between the Sikhs Hindus and Muslims of the province. Its discussion is beyond the scope of this work. The fact remains that in the first world war the Punjabi case for priority race for recruitment to the army was once again reinforced when the Punjabi soldiers, Sikh Muslim and Hindu loyally served the British in France Mesopotamia Egypt Palestine and Gallipoli. Philip Mason thus wrote that the “Punjabi Muslims were steady as a rock” while “a faint question mark hung over the Pathans” 50. Such was the difference in reliability within the units that when two Pathan squadrons of 15 Lancers passively refused to fight against the Turks in Mesopotamia, the Punjabi Squadrons remained staunch and the Pathan squadrons were disbanded and replaced by Hindustani Hindu Jat Squadrons from 14th Murray Jat Lancers! The Hindustani/Ranghar Muslims were also further discredited once the 5th Light Infantry a pure Hindustani/Ranghar Muslim unit composed of Delhi region Hindustani Pathans, and Ranghar Muslims rebelled and seized Singapore for about a day in 1915.51 It was more a question of political reliability than being more martial that led to further Punjabisation of the army after the first world war. Thus in 1929 as per the “Report of the Statutory Commission on Indian Constitutional Advancement”, military ability was not evenly distributed in the entire population and, the capacity to fight was confined to the martial races! The commission ignored the fact that recruitment was done to fill ethnic quotas as decided by the Indian government and was not open to all classes! As per this commission’s report some 86,000 or some 54.36% Indian Army combatants out of a total of 158,200 were from Punjab province. These did include some Ranghar Muslims who were administratively Punjabi although Hindustani ethnically/culturally, but there is no doubt that the vast bulk of these men were ethnically Punjabi. The important part of the whole business was the fact that once 19,000 Nepali Gurkhas, who were in reality foreigners, included in the above mentioned total of 158,200 men are excluded the Punjabi share in Indian Army rose to 61.8%. The Pathans thanks to their political record in the First World War had been reduced to just 5,600 men 52 or just 4.02% out of which at least a thousand were non Pathans!

The same state of affairs continued till the outbreak of the Second World War with the major change being the Punjabi Sikhs who became relatively less reliable politically because of being under communist influences 53. However the reader may note, so as not to be led astray by any false claims that in 1939 the Indian Army was only 37% Muslim, the rest being non Muslim including about 12.8 % Sikhs 10.9% Hindu Gurkhas and 37.6% other Hindus54. Immense demands of WW Two forced the British to diversify the recruitment pattern of the Indian Army and although Punjab remained the top contributor of recruits, it provided about 754,551 out of a total of 24,61,446, or 30.65% recruits to the Indian Army between 3rd September 1939 and 31 August 1945. 55 The reader may note that some 314,356 or a total of 41.66% from the Punjab contribution and 12.77% recruits were Punjabi Muslims56. Thus although Punjab led positionwise as a province in recruitment, there never was any Punjabi Muslim majority or even Punjabi Muslim majority or even near majority in recruitment to the Indian Army in WW Two. However a myth was widely propagated in Pakistan that the Punjabi Muslims were the most martial race and the Pathan Muslims were the second most martial race57. I may add that I heard this ridiculous and irrational myth thousands of times in the course of my 13 years service in Pakistan Army. On the other hand the knowledge of historical knowledge may be gauged from the fact that as late as 1992 in a book written and published in the staff college a brigadier made the Mughal Emperor Humayun fight the second battle of Panipat, at a time when Humayun was already dead!

In August 1947 the British Indian Army was divided into the Pakistan and Indian armies. Two divergent recruitment policies were followed in both the armies. The Indians broadened their army’s recruitment base, officially declaring that recruitment was open to all Indian nationals.58 Thus the post 1947 Indian Army drifted away from being the pre 1939 Punjabised army. In Pakistan, Mr Jinnah the politician-statesmen who created Pakistan almost single-handedly, as the country’s first Head of State, adopted a sensible policy, to make the army a national army. Jinnah ordered immediate raising of two infantry battalions of Bengali Muslims in 1948 reversing the anti Bengali policy of the pre 1947 British colonial government.59 Jinnah’s far sighted as well as just policy of bringing Bengalis in the fighting arms of the Pakistan Army was discontinued by General Ayub Khan who was the first Pakistani Muslim C in C of the Pakistan Army and became the Army Chief in January 1951. Ayub although allegedly guilty of tactical timidity in the WW Two in Burma60 had a low opinion61 about the Bengalis and discontinued the expansion of the East Bengal Infantry Regiment from 1951 to 1966. Thus by 1966 the Pakistan Army was a predominantly West Pakistani (Punjabi dominated) army. In addition the vast bulk of it except one infantry division was stationed in West Pakistan in line with the strategic concept evolved in Ayub’s time that the defence of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan. Thus the “Martial Races Theory” was carried on till 1971 and in 1971 the vast bulk of West Pakistanis really felt that they were a martial race. This superiority complex played a major part in the wishful thinking in the Pakistani High Command that somehow the Indians would not invade East Pakistan in strength or even if they did so, the troops of this martial race (which was subdued by an 8 % Sikh minority from 1799 to 1849, till it was liberated by the English East India Company!) would frustrate the Indian Army, despite all the tangible numerical and material Pakistani inferiority. Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan’s memoirs are full of the existence of this irrational belief in the Pakistani High Command. Whatever the case at least the 1971 War proved that the real reason for the Indian Army’s martial fervour or relatively better performance was the British factor, keeping in mind the net total available resources of British Empire or its allies in the two world wars.

New Raisings – 1966-1971 and the army’s operational plans

New raisings as discussed earlier were done right from 1965-66 onwards. The Pakistani high command correctly assessed that lack of infantry played a major role in the failure of Pakistani armour to translate its convincing material and technical superiority into a major operational or strategic success. New raisings became more essential since US military aid, which had enabled Pakistan Army to function relatively more effectively as compared to the Indians, was no longer available because of the US ban on arms exports to both India and Pakistan.

EXISTING DIVISIONS AND NEW RAISINGS FROM 1965 TO DECEMBER 197162

SER NO

1965 REMARKS 1966-1968 REMARKS 1968-1971 REMARKS
1

7 DIV Peshawar Part of 2 Corps. Reserve Division to Support 1 Armd Div Operations in Bahawalnagar area.
2

8 DIV Sialkot. 1 Corps Part of 1 Corps Defence of Shakargarh Bulge. Under 1 Corps
3

10 DIV Lahore 1 Corps Part of 4 Corps. Defence of Ravi-Sutlej Corridor. Part of 4 Corps
4

11 DIV Ditto Part of 4 Corps.
5

12 DIV Headquarters In Murree Defence of Azad Kashmir
6

14 DIV East Pakistan Defence of East Pakistan
7

15 DIV Sialkot Part of 1 Corps. Defence of Sialkot Sector.Under 1 Corps
8

1 ARMD DIV Multan 1 Corps Part of 2 Corps. Strategic Reserve.Stationed at Multan. Under 2 Corps.
9

6 ARMD DIV Kharian 1 Corps Part of 1 Corps. Strategic Reserve.Stationed at Kharian. Under 1 Corps.
10

9 DIV Reserve Div. Raising completed at Kharian by 1968. Airlifted to E.Pak in March 1971
11

16 DIV Reserve Div. Quetta. Raising complete by 1968. Ditto
12

17 DIV Kharian. Raising complete by 1968. Reserve Division To support 6 Armoured Division operations
13

18 DIV Raised at Hyderabad in June-July 1971 for defence of 560 miles area from Rahimyar Khan to Rann of Katch.
14

23 DIV Raised at Jhelum in June-July 1971 for Chhamb-Dewa Sector previously in area of 12 Div.
15

33 DIV Raised in December 1971.Reserve Division of 2 Corps later split between Shakargarh Bulge and Sindh in the war.
16

37 DIV Raised in Dec- 71 Jan-72.
The table of raisings above is self-explanatory. The most important organisational changes which occurred in the army till the 1971 war were as following. Firstly the army was organised into three corps i.e the 1 Corps, 2 Corps and 4 Corps and 12 18 and 23 Divisions. The 1 corps headquarter was designated to command four divisions i.e 8, 15, 17 InfantryDivisions and 6 Armoured Division63. 15 and 8 Infantry Divisions were responsible for defence of Sialkot Sector and the Shakargarh Bulge respectively while 17 Infantry Division and 6 Armoured Division were the strike force of the corps and also part of Pakistan Army’s strategic reserves. In addition the 1 Corps also had an independent armoured brigade (8Armoured Brigade). 4 Corps consisting of 10 and 11 Infantry Divisions, 105 Independent Infantry Brigade and 3rd Independent Armoured Brigade was responsible for the area between Ravi River and Bahawalpur. The 2 Corps with its headquarters at Multan was a strategic reserve corps. This corps consisted of the 1st Armoured Division (Multan), 7 Infantry Division and later 33 Infantry Division. Three infantry divisions i.e the 12, 23 and 18 Infantry Divisions were directly under GHQ and responsible for defence of Azad Kashmir, Chhamb-Dewa Sector and Sind-Rahimyar Khan respectively.

Tangibles and Intangibles – The Pakistan and Indian Army’s military worth by January 1971

By January 1971 the Pakistan Army was a reasonable military machine. Its main battle tank was the Chinese T-59 which was almost as good as any Indian tank.Its strategic reserves had the potential to deter any Indian aggressive military move. It was on its way to becoming a really national army since Yahya’s announcement of 1969 to allow recruitment of Bengalis in the fighting arms. Organisationally the command was coherently and logically distributed in corps and divisions and the organisational imbalances of 1965 had been totally removed. Yahya Khan had not failed as the C in C.

The Indian Army was numerically larger but the advantage was not overwhelming since the Indian Army was divided between the Chinese Border West Pakistan and East Pakistan. Technically the Indians had relatively better Soviet tanks but numerically the Pakistani armour was larger than Indian armour and possessed more higher organisational flexibility by virtue of having two full fledged armoured divisions as against one Indian armoured division.

Later events of 1971 clouded our perception and we in Pakistan tend to view things as entirely simple for the Indian military planners. The Indian military dilemma was a possible three front war with the Indian Army divided between West Pakistan East Pakistan and the Indo Chinese border. The Pakistani defence problem was a two front war with its army divided into two parts i.e one defending the East Pakistan and the major part defending West Pakistan. The Pakistani planners had evolved a clear-cut strategy to overcome this dilemma. The Indian strategy as it was later applied in 1971 war was based on a choice of time which reduced the likely threats that it faced from three to two since the December snow effectively nullified chances of Chinese intervention and enabled release of Indian Mountain Divisions earmarked for the Chinese Border to participate in a war against Pakistan. Even then the final Indian plan was a gamble and would have failed if Pakistan had launched a pre-emptive attack in October 1971. The C in C Indian Western Command admitted this fact. General Candeth who was C in C Western Command states in his book that “the most critical period was between 8 and 26 October when 1 Corps and 1 Armoured Division were still outside Western Command. Had Pakistan put in a pre-emptive attack during that period the consequences would have been too dreadful to contemplate and all our efforts would have been trying to correct the adverse situation forced on us”.64

There were however major shortcomings in both the armies at the higher leadership level. These pertained to the “Intangible aspects of military leadership”. The mercenary origins of the pre 1947 Indian Army had resulted in the creation of an orders oriented machine! This was true for both Indian and Pakistani Armies. These shortcomings had their origin in the pre 1947 British era and were common with the post 1947 Indian Army. The Indian Army’s military worth was retarded and downgraded because of a civilian leadership which viewed the army as a reactionary entity consisting of mercenaries who had collaborated with the British rulers. This attitude was revised once India suffered serious loss of prestige in the Sino-Indian Border War of 1962. However changes in military spirit of an army occur very slowly and by 1971 Indian Army was still trying to recover from many teething problems. The Pakistan Army in 1947 had consisted of relatively talented as well as spirited officers. The Rawalpindi Conspiracy of 1951 had however started a witch-hunt and many dynamic officers were removed or sidelined. This conspiracy against originality and boldness had intensified when Ayub Khan started manipulating extensions from politicians and the army was reduced to a personal fiefdom of Ayub during the period 1951-1969! In the process the Pakistan Army lost the services of many more experienced officers simply because they were sidelined through political supersession or were retired. The gap between the two Indo Pak armies in quality of experience may be gauged from the fact that the first Indian C in C was eight years senior to Ayub in service and the course mate of Musa, the second Muslim C in C of the Pakistan Army i.e Manekshaw became the Indian C in C eleven years after Musa! This may have worked positively for the Pakistan Army had Musa been a man with an independent outlook! Musa on the other hand as Gul Hassan’s memoirs revealed lacked independent judgement dynamism or talent! The Pakistan army during the period 1951-71 became a highly orders oriented machine! Smart on the drill square, tactically sound but strategically barren and lacking in operational vision! One whose first Pakistani C in C was more interested in political intrigue and industrial ventures than in the basics of higher military organisation or operational strategy!

The reader must bear in mind that the only major difference despite all other differences between the Indian and Pakistan Armies was that the Indian Army was numerically larger than the Pakistan Army was. In quality of higher military leadership both the armies by virtue of being chips of one pre 1947 block were little different from each other! Both the Indian and Pakistan Armies of 1971 were like the Austro-Hungarian armies of 1809. They consisted of perhaps equally brave junior leaders but were severely handicapped since rapid expansion since the Sino-Indian war of 1962 and since the 1965 war. Having more corps and division despite being impressive on paper had not made the Indian or Pakistani military machine really effective because of poor training at divisional and brigade level. Both numerically larger than they were in 1965, but were organisationally ineffective beyond battalion level, having dashing young leaders but tactically and operationally inept brigade divisional and corps commanders from the older pre 1947 commissioned generation whom were initially supposed not to go beyond company level, had the transfer of power not taken place in 1947. The strike corps was a new concept and the Indian 1 Corps which was shortly created before the 1965 war was a newly raised formation whose corps commander and armoured divisional commanders were about to retire in 1965 when war broke out. The Indian commanders beyond unit level, as was the case with Pakistan Army, consisted of men who had experience of infantry biased operations in WW Two and did not understand the real essence of armoured warfare. It was this lack of understanding that led to the failures in achieving a decisive armour breakthrough in both sides. It was a failure of command as well as staff system where even the staff officers on both sides were too slow for armoured warfare and worked on yards and furlongs rather than miles. Their orientation was position oriented rather than mobility oriented and their idea of a battlefield was a typical linear battlefield. Their Burma or North African experience where the Japanese and Germans frequently appeared in their rear had made them extra sensitive about their flanks. These were men who thought in terms of security rather than speed. Conformity rather than unorthodox dynamism, having been trained in the slavish colonial orders oriented British Indian Army was the cardinal script of their life. It was this British system in which every senior commander was more interested in doing the job of those one step junior to him that led to the lack of dash and initiative at brigade and battalion level. They were trained that way and there behaviour as far as the timidity at brigade and divisional level has to be taken in this context. Yahya was not a superman who could clean up the Pakistani political system and reform Pakistan Army within an year or two! He started the job of reorganising and reforming the Pakistan Army but had to leave it half way once he was forced to clean up the political mess in 1969. He made an admirable attempt to clean the political garbage which had accumulated since 1948 but was over taken by the tide of history which in 1971 was too powerful to be manipulated by any single man!

The Indian Army of 1971 was much larger than the Indian Army of 1965! It was many times superior strategically and operationally to the 1965 Indian Army in terms of material strength, technological strength and numerical strength. The Pakistani defence problem was far more complex in 1971 than in 1965. Even in terms of foreign policy Pakistan had just been ditched by one superpower in 1965. The situation in 1971 was far more worse since India had been adopted by another superpower which, unlike the Naive half hearted, American Village maiden, was resolutely poised to go with India through thick and thin! Yahya made unique and brilliant moves to bring the USA and China together and vainly hoped that the Americans would help him! Unfortunately the US betrayed a country which had been loyally served US interests since 1954! Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan’s memoirs recognise Yahya’s contributions and dismiss many myths about Yahya having gone out of his way to annoy the Soviets. This aspect is however beyond the scope of this article.

CONCLUSION

The Pakistan Army and Yahya inherited a complex historical problem, which had many fathers, at least half of whom were civilians and politicians! The Bengali alienation started from 1948 over the language question, was increased through Liaquat’s political intrigues to sideline Suharwardy and delay constitution making and thus holding elections which held a threat of a Bengali prime minister challenging the Hindustani-Punjabi dominance of Muslim politics! The first sin was committed once Suharwardy was sidelined! This was followed by coercion and intrigue to force parity on the Bengalis! They even accepted this unjust formula in 1956! Ask the Punjabis today to agree to a 50% parity as against all three provinces and then evaluate the generosity and magnanimity of the Bengalis! The death verdict of Pakistan’s unity came in 1958 when Ayub took over and allied with the West Pakistan civil-military-feudal-industrialist clique to sideline the Bengalis for eternity from the corridors of power! Familiar names , and a familiar combination constituted the ruling clique! A Punjabi financial wizard, one Dawood, some generals, some civil servants, some Hindustani specialists, one old fox who knew how to twist the law, then young, and some younger whiz kids constituted the ruling clique! They took Pakistan back to 1864 or even 1804! Local bodies, two huge provinces like the Bengal and Bombay Presidency etc! The seeds of the division were laid between 1958 and 1969! Yahya Khan whatever his faults was a greater man than Liaquat or Ayub! He held the first ever general elections based on adult franchise! Something that the so called Quaid e Millat had failed to hold for four long years, not withstanding all hollow rhetoric by his admirers that he was going to make a great announcement on 16 October 1951, the original D-Day in 1999 too! Yahya restored provincial autonomy, brought the Bengalis in the army, and reorganised the army! He did everything that was right but it was too late! He was fighting against the tide of history! The Pakistan Army was tossed into a volcano whose architect enjoyed total power for eleven years and retired peacefully to enjoy his hard earned wealth. Ayub’s son has remained in the corridors of power in one form or another and is still a running horse! Yahya Khan is much criticised for problems with which he had nothing to do! For having done a job which Liaquat should have done in 1950! The Pakistan Army was a relatively good fighting machine in 1971! Great reforms were made in organisation, education and training! It was recovering from the curse of one-man rule! The cyclone of 1970 in words of an Indian general destroyed everything! Yes there was a far more dangerous intangible and invisible cyclone that had been building up since 1948! This cyclone had four great fathers! Yahya Khan was not one of these four great men! The “Martial Races Theory” that played a major role in Pakistani overconfidence in 1971 before actual operations had many fathers and dated from British times.These British officers had in 1930s described Jews as non martial! Compare the four Arab-Israeli wars with this attitude! The military action in 1971 was widely hailed in West Pakistan! Yet in December 1971 only Yahya was blamed! Yahya was not the architect of the problems that destroyed the united Pakistan of 1971! He paid for the sins of all that ruled Pakistan from 1947 to 1969! He could do little more than what a midwife can do in birth of a child as far as the child’s genetic codes are concerned! The failure of 1971 was not an individuals failure but failure of a system with flawed constitutional geographic philosophic and military organisational and conceptual foundations! I find nothing better to repeat once again the saying that “Success surely has many fathers and failure is an orphan! We must however not forget that the failure of 1971 had roots that go back to 150 years of history!

http://www.defencejournal.com/2000/nov/pak-army.htm

The Pakistan Army

From 1965 to 1971

Selected Excerpts from “Pakistan Army Since 1965” re-drafted as an article exclusively for the “Defence Journal”. “The Pakistan Army Since 1965” is the second volume of the Two Volume history of Pakistan Army and covers Pakistan Army from 1965 till 2000.

Maj (Retd) AGHA HUMAYUN AMIN from WASHINGTON DC makes an interesting foray down memory lane.

The finest summarising of the incalculable qualitative harm inflicted on the Pakistan Army, by the self-promoted Field Marshal of peace, by a contemporary, was done by Major General Fazal I Muqeem, when he described the state of affairs of the Pakistan Army during the period 1958-71; in the following words: “We had been declining according to the degree of our involvement in making and unmaking of regimes. Gradually the officer corps, intensely proud of its professionalism was eroded at its apex into third class politicians and administrators. Due to the absence of a properly constituted political government, the selection and promotion of officers to the higher rank depended on one man’s will. Gradually, the welfare of institutions was sacrificed to the welfare of personalities. To take the example of the army, the higher command had been slowly weakened by retiring experienced officers at a disturbingly fine rate. Between 1955 and November 1971, in about 17 years 40 Generals had been retired, of whom only four had reached their superannuating age. Similar was the case with other senior ranks. Those in the higher ranks who showed some independence of outlook were invariably removed from service. Some left in sheer disgust in this atmosphere of insecurity and lack of the right of criticism, the two most important privileges of an Armed Forces officer. The extraordinary wastage of senior officers particularly of the army denied the services, of the experience and training vital to their efficiency and welfare. Some officers were placed in positions that they did not deserve or had no training for” 1.

The advent of Yahya Khan and Yahya’s Personality

Immediately after the 1965 war Major General Yahya Khan who had commanded the 7 Division in the Grand Slam Operation was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General, appointed Deputy Army C in C and C in C designate in March 1966 2. Yahya was a Qizilbash3 commissioned from Indian Military Academy Dehra Dun on 15 July 1939. An infantry officer from the 4/10 Baluch Regiment, Yahya saw action during WW II in North Africa where he was captured by the Axis Forces in June 1942 and interned in a prisoner of war camp in Italy from where he escaped in the third attempt4. In 1947 he was instrumental in not letting the Indian officers shift books 5 from the famous library of the British Indian Staff College at Quetta,where Yahya was posted as the only Muslim instructor at the time of partition of India.Yahya was from a reasonably well to do family, had a much better schooling than Musa Khan and was directly commissioned as an officer. Yahya unlike Musa was respected in the officer corps for professional competence. Yahya became a brigadier at the age of 34 and commanded the 106 Infantry Brigade, which was deployed on the ceasefire line in Kashmir in 1951-52. Later Yahya as Deputy Chief of General Staff was selected to head the army’s planning board set up by Ayub to modernise the Pakistan Army in 1954-57. Yahya also performed the duties of Chief of General Staff from 1958 to 1962 from where he went on to command an infantry division from 1962 to 1965.

Yahya was a hard drinking soldier approaching the scale of Mustafa Kemal of Turkey and had a reputation of not liking teetotallers. Yahya liked courtesans but his passion had more to do with listening to them sing or watching them dance. Thus he did not have anything of Ataturk’s practical womanising traits. Historically speaking many great military commanders like Khalid Bin Waleed, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Eftikhar Khan and Grant were accused of debauchery and womanising. These personal habits still did not reduce their personal efficiency and all of them are remembered in military history as great military commanders! The yardstick is that as long as a military commander performs his job as a military leader well, debauchery drink etc is not important. Abraham Lincoln a man of great integrity and character when told by the typical military gossip type commanders, found in all armies of the world and in particular plenty in the Indo-Pak armies, about Grants addiction to alcohol dismissed their criticism by stating “I cannot spare this man. He fights”! Indeed while the US Civil War was being fought a remark about Grant was attributed to Lincoln and frequently repeated as a joke in army messes. The story thus went that Lincoln was told about Grant’s drinking habits, and was asked to remove Grant from command. Lincoln dismissed this suggestion replying “send every general in the field a barrel of it”! Once Lincoln heard this joke he said that he wished very much that he had said it! 6 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, praised by his enemies, i.e. the British, in the British Official History of WW One, as one of the greatest military commanders in world’s history was a great consumer of alcohol and chronic womaniser! It has been alleged that Kemal was a homosexual (a typically Turkish pastime) too and frequently suffered the ravages of venereal disease! The same was true for Petain one of the greatest military commanders of the French Army in WW One!

Gul Hassan Khan who served with Yahya in the General Headquarters in the early 1960s described Yahya as “professionally competent” and as a man of few words whom always approached the point at issue without ceremony.7 Muqeem described Yahya as “authoritarian by nature” and “reserved by temperament”.8 Major General Sher Ali under whom Yahya served assessed Yahya as an officer of the “highest calibre”. Shaukat Riza writing as recently as 1986 described Yahya as a good soldier, as a commander distinguished for his decision making and generous nature and one who gave his total trust to a man whom he accepted as part of his team or a colleague.9

Contrary to Gauhar’s judgement Yahya, at least in 1966-69, was definitely viewed as a professional in the army. His shortcomings in functioning as the Supreme Commander that became evident in the 1971 war were not known to anyone in 1966. No evidence exists, but it appears that Yahya’s sect and ethnicity may have played a part in Ayub’s decision to select Yahya as C in C. Musa writes in his memoirs that Yahya was not his first choice as Army C in C but was selected by Ayub overruling Musa’s reservations about Yahya’s character 10. This further proves that Ayub selected Yahya as the army chief for reasons other than merit. I am not implying that Yahya was incompetent, but merely the fact that Ayub was motivated by ulterior reasons to select Yahya. These reasons had something to do with Yahya’s political reliability by virtue of belonging to a minority! Yahya was not a Punjabi or a Pathan but belonged to a minority ethnic group as well as a minority ethnic group, just like Musa.This was no mere coincidence but a deliberately planned manoeuvre to have as army chief a man who was not from the two ethnic groups which dominated the officer corps, the Punjabis being more than 60 % of the officer corps and the Pathans being the second largest group after the Punjabis!11 Altaf Gauhar Ayub’s close confidant inadvertently proves this fact once he quite uncharitably, and for reasons, other than dispassionate objective historical considerations, described Yahya as one ” selected…in preference to some other generals, because Yahya, who had come to hit the bottle hard, had no time for politics and was considered a harmless and loyal person”.12

Selection of Army C in C

Foreign readers may note that almost all army chiefs of Pakistan Army were selected primarily because they were perceived as reliable as well as pliable! In Addition ethnic factors Vis a Vis prevalent political considerations played a part in their selection. Thus Liaquat the first premier selected a non Punjabi as the army’s first C in C since in 1950 Liaquat was involved in a political confrontation with Punjabi politicians of the Muslim League and had established a Hindustani-Pathan-Bengali alliance to sideline the Punjabi Muslims. Thus the most obvious nominee for the appointment of C in C i.e. Major General Raza, a Punjabi Muslim was not selected. Instead Ayub an ethnic Pathan, and one who already had been superseded and sidelined, and with a poor war record was selected as the first Pakistani Muslim army C in C. Similarly Ayub selected Musa simply because Musa was perceived as loyal despite not being competent! Yahya as Gauhar Ayub’s closest adviser and confidant admits, as earlier mentioned, was selected because he had hit the bottle hard; i.e. was harmless, and was loyal, and thus no danger to Ayub! In other words Gauhar advances a theory that Ayub selected Yahya (Gauhar’s subjective judgement) simply because it was politically expedient for Ayub to have this particular type of man as army chief! Gauhar judgement of Yahya has little value since it was highly subjective but Ayub’s reasons for selecting his army chief, as Gauhar describes it speaks volumes for the character of Ayub and I would say the orientation of all Pakistani politicians, both civilian and military! In third world countries every army chief is a military politician! The process was carried on and continues to date but this chapter deals with only 1965-1971, so more of this later!

The same was true for extensions given to the army chiefs. Ayub got three extensions since Iskandar Mirza perceived him as a reliable tool. He booted out Mirza, his benefactor, after the last extension in 1958! Ayub gave Musa an extension of four years in 1962 since he perceived Musa as reliable and politically docile, and thus no threat to Ayub’s authoritarian government. Since 1962 when Musa got his extension of service by one additional term of four years, which prolonged his service from 1962 to 196613, no Pakistani army chief was given an extension beyond his three or four year term. The situation however was still worse since Yahya took over power in 1969 and thus automatically extended his term as C in C till December 1971. Zia usurped power in 1977 and thus gave himself a nine year extension as Army Chief till he was removed to the army and the country’s great relief in August 1988 by Divine Design! Beg attempted to get an extension by floating the idea of being appointed as Supreme Commander of Armed Forces14 but was outmanoeuvred by his own army corps commanders, who gave a lukewarm response to the idea and by Ghulam Ishaq who was a powerful president and had a deep understanding of the military mind by virtue of having loyally and successfully served three military dictators.

Yahya Khan as Army Chief-1966-1971

Yahya energetically started reorganising the Pakistan Army in 1965. Today this has been forgotten while Yahya is repeatedly condemned for only his negative qualities (a subjective word which has little relevance to generalship as proved in military history)! The post 1965 situation saw major organisational as well as technical changes in the Pakistan Army. Till 1965 it was thought that divisions could function effectively while getting orders directly from the army’s GHQ. This idea failed miserably in the 1965 war and the need to have intermediate corps headquarters in between the GHQ and the fighting combat divisions was recognised as a foremost operational necessity after the 1965 war. In 1965 war the Pakistan Army had only one corps headquarter i.e the 1 Corps Headquarters. Soon after the war had started the US had imposed an embargo on military aid on both India and Pakistan. This embargo did not affect the Indian Army but produced major changes in the Pakistan Army’s technical composition. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk well summed it up when he said, “Well if you are going to fight, go ahead and fight, but we’re not going to pay for it”!15 Pakistan now turned to China and for military aid and Chinese tank T-59 started replacing the US M-47/48 tanks as the Pakistan Army’s MBT (Main Battle Tank) from 1966. 80 tanks, the first batch of T-59s, a low-grade version of the Russian T-54/55 series were delivered to Pakistan in 1965-66. The first batch was displayed in the Joint Services Day Parade on 23 March 196616. The 1965 War had proved that Pakistan Army’s tank infantry ratio was lopsided and more infantry was required. Three more infantry divisions (9, 16 and 17 Divisions) largely equipped with Chinese equipment and popularly referred to by the rank and file as “The China Divisions” were raised by the beginning of 196817. Two more corps headquarters i.e. 2 Corps Headquarters (Jhelum-Ravi Corridor) and 4 Corps Headquarters (Ravi-Sutlej Corridor) were raised.

In the 1965 War India had not attacked East Pakistan which was defended by a weak two-infantry brigade division (14 Division) without any tank support. Yahya correctly appreciated that geographical, as well as operational situation demanded an entirely independent command set up in East Pakistan. 14 Division’s infantry strength was increased and a new tank regiment was raised and stationed in East Pakistan. A new Corps Headquarters was raised in East Pakistan and was designated as Headquarters Eastern Command.18 It was realised by the Pakistani GHQ that the next war would be different and East Pakistan badly required a new command set up.

Major General Sahibzada Yaqub Khan took over as the army’s Chief of General Staff and thus Principal Staff Officer to the C in C soon after the 1965 war. Yaqub was an aristocrat from a Hindustani Pathan background and was altogether different from the typical north of Chenab breed in depth of intellect, general outlook and strategic perception! In words of Fazal Muqeem a sharp observer and one who was not lavish in praising anyone “planning had taken a turn for the better when Major General Yaqub Khan became the Chief of General Staff”.19 In other words Muqeem was implying that planning level in the army was relatively poor before Yaqub became the Chief of General Staff. But Muqeem went further and stated that the army’s war plans in the post 1965 era were still vague about “what action should be taken in West Pakistan if an attack was mounted against East Pakistan”.20 We will discuss more of this later.

Promotions and Appointments

Selection and assessment of officers for higher ranks had depended on one man’s will and his personal likes and dislikes since 1950. Initially it was Ayub from 1950 to 1969 and Yahya from 1969 to 1971. Dictators fear all around them and this was the principal tragedy of the Pakistan Army. Selection and assessment of men was not a plus point in Yahya’s personality. It appears that either Yahya was not a good judge of men. In this regard Yahya continued Ayub’s policy of sidelining talented officers who had the potential of becoming a rival at a later stage! We will first deal with selection for higher ranks vis-a-vis war performance. Almost no one, who had blundered, except Brigadier Sardar Ismail the acting divisional commander of 15 Division, was really taken to task for having failed in the discharge of his military duties!21 Lord Bashir of Valtoha fame was promoted, and commanded the 6th Armoured Division after the war! On the other hand Major General Abrar, who had proved himself as the finest military commander, at the divisional level, at least by sub continental standards, was sidelined and ultimately retired in the same rank!22 Lieutenant Colonel Nisar of 25 Cavalry who had saved Pakistan’s territorial integrity from being seriously compromised at a strategic level at Gadgor on the 8th of September 1965 was sidelined. This may be gauged from the fact that at the time of outbreak of the 1971 War Nisar although promoted to brigadier rank, was only commanding the Armoured corps recruit training centre, a poor appointment for a man who had distinguished himself as a tank regiment commander in stopping the main Indian attack. A man whose unit’s performance was described by the enemy opposing him as one “which was certainly creditable because it alone stood between the 1st Indian Armoured Division and its objective”23 was considered by the Pakistani General Headquarters pedantic officers as fit only to command a recruit training centre while one who was instrumental in failure of the main Pakistani armour effort at Khem Karan was promoted to Major General rank and trusted with the command of Pakistan’s Armoured division! Brigadier Qayyum Sher who had distinguished himself as a brigade commander in 10 Division area in Lahore was also not promoted! Qayyum Sher was one of the few brigade commanders of the army who had led from the front. Major General Shaukat Riza who rarely praised anyone had the following to say about Sher’s conduct while leading the Pakistan army’s most important infantry brigade counter attack on Lahore Front as a result of which the Indian 15 Division despite considerable numerical superiority was completely thrown off balance. Shaukat stated that “Brigadier Qayyum Sher, in his command jeep, moved from unit to unit and then personally led the advance, star plate and pennant visible. This was something no troops worth their salt could ignore”.24 but the Army’s Selection Boards ignored Qayyum Sher once his turn for promotion came! Qayyum Sher did well in war and was awarded the Pakistani D.S.O i.e. the HJ! But war performance or even performance in peacetime training manoeuvres was, and still is, no criteria for promotion in the Pakistan Army! Qayyum retired as a brigadier, remembered by those who fought under him as a brave and resolute commander, who was not given an opportunity to rise to a higher rank, which Qayyum had deserved, more than any brigadier of the Pakistan Army did.

Analysis and reappraisal after the 1965 War

The 1965 War was rich in lessons and many lessons were learned; however the army’s reorganisation was badly affected by the political events of 1968-71. The two major areas of improvement after the war were in the realm of military organisation and military plans. It was realised finally that infantry and armoured divisions could not be effectively employed till they were organised as corps with areas of responsibility based on terrain realities.

The post 1965 army saw major changes in terms of creation of corps headquarters. On the other side no major doctrinal reappraisal was done after the 1965 War except raising new divisions and corps no major reform was undertaken to produce a major qualitative change in the army’s tactical and operational orientation. Today this is a much criticised subject. The events of 1965-71 however must be taken as a whole. When one does so a slightly different picture emerges. A major start was taken soon after 1965 after Yahya had been nominated as the deputy army chief, towards improving higher organisation and corps were created, but this process was retarded by the much more ominous political developments which increasingly diverted the army chiefs energies into political decision making from 1969 onwards.

The 1965 War was a failure in higher leadership. This was true for both sides. However, qualitative superiority by virtue of superior doctrine strategic orientation and operational preparedness became relatively far more important for the Pakistan Army than the Indians.

The Indians had already embarked on a programme of rapid expansion since the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962. The material and numerical gap between the Indian and Pakistan armies started widening from 1962 and after 1965 it reached dangerous proportions! Further because of the 1965 War the Indians got an opportunity to improve their command and control procedures. The Indians the reader must note were already one step ahead of the Pakistanis in higher organisation since their army was organised to fight as corps since 1947-48 while the Pakistan Army had fought the 1965 War organised in divisions.

The Indians had failed to make good use of their considerable numerical superiority in infantry in 1965 but, they had learned many lessons which. This meant that in the next war the Indians could employ their numerically superior forces in a relatively better manner than in 1965. Further Pakistan had lost its major arms supplier the USA which had imposed an arms embargo on Pakistan. Thus the technical superiority in equipment which Pakistan had enjoyed in 1965 was nullified after 1965. On the other hand India had a much larger economy and thus far greater potential to buy from the open market than Pakistan. All these factors demanded a major qualitative change. One that would ensure that Pakistan could survive another war with India.It was an entirely new situation.

The year 1965 was a watershed in Pakistani military history. Till 1965 Pakistani planners thought in terms of liberating the Pakistani Alsace Lorraine i.e. Kashmir! The issue in the next war was no longer adding more territory but merely preserving the country’s territorial integrity! The country was in the grip of serious internal and external crisis. The Internal crisis stemmed out of 11 years of military rule which had sharply polarised the country into two wings i.e the Eastern and the Western Wing and even within the Western Wing the bulk of the populace was alienated with the Ayub regime. It appears that this major change in the overall geostrategic position was not grasped by those at the highest level. It appears that till December 1971 no one in the Pakistani GHQ seriously thought that the Indians would overrun East Pakistan. Too much hope was based on US or Chinese intervention. The Chinese could not possibly have intervened since all Himalayan passes were snowbound in Nov-Dec 1971. The United States on the other hand made no serious effort to pressurise India into not attacking East Pakistan. To make things further complicated the country’s internal cohesion was seriously weakened by the political conflict between the East and West Pakistan Provinces and the countrywide anti Ayub agitation which finally led to the exit of the self promoted Field Marshal Ayub from power in March 1969. The situation was extremely delicate, complicated and only a truly great leader at both civil and military level could have remedied the situation. Unfortunately for the Pakistan Army and the country there was no such man to steer the country’s ship out of troubled waters.

It appears that 1965 war was not rationally analysed in Pakistan at all. In this regard the Pakistani military decision-makers were swept away in the emotional stream of their own propaganda! The fact that the Pakistan Army was in a position to inflict a decisive defeat on the Indians in the war, but failed due to primarily poor leadership at and beyond brigade level, and due to doctrinal and organisational deficiencies at the higher level was not accepted! It was a natural result of the fact that Pakistan functioned as a pseudo democracy under one man! This in turn had led to a ban on frank and open analysis of the army’s performance and role! On the other hand the Indian Army’s poor performance was openly and frankly analysed and the Indian critics did not spare the Indian C in C General Chaudri.25 It would not be wrong to say that the Indians thanks to a democratic system in which the army was not a sacred cow, unlike Pakistan, analysed their failings in 1965 in a more positive and concrete manner. Shaukat Riza the officially sponsored historian of the Pakistan Army admitted this fact. Shaukat thus observed, while briefly analysing the Commander in Chief’s General Training Directive of 1968, that “We admitted that the enemy would have better resources in number of troops, quality of equipment, research, development and indigenous production. In face of superiority we were relying solely on quality of our troops to win a war against India. But there was nothing in our satchel of organisation, tactical doctrine or even quality of professional leadership, which could substantiate this confidence. This was self-hypnosis where we were not really hypnotised”.26 It may be noted that the General Training Directive identified the enemy threat relatively realistically only in an extremely vague and rudimentary sense but gave no solution or tangible doctrine to combat it except, operations on broad front for all formations except those in Kashmir, Mountain Warfare for formations in Kashmir and Baluchistan, Snow Warfare for troops in the Northern Areas, Desert Warfare for formations located in Sind Baluchistan and Bahawalpur, Jungle and Riverine Warfare for formations in East Pakistan and Frontier Warfare for all formations in NWFP and Baluchistan!27 It was a piece of extreme naivety and was probably drafted by a staff officer after reading the recommendations of the last two years training directives and was merely signed by the army chief 28. The 1969 training directive dealt with attack by infiltration and anti infiltration measures29, something, which was just a whimsical fancy in a staff officer’s mind! Infiltration was buried soon and in 1971!

Strategic and Operational Dilemmas

Fazal Muqeem quite correctly described the adverse strategic situation in the post 1965 period in the following words, “with the almost daily expansion of the Indian Armed Forces since the 1965 war, it had become economically impossible for Pakistan to keep pace with her. The policy of matching Indian strength with even 1/3 or _ in numbers had gradually gone overboard. Under these circumstances all that Pakistan could do was to avoid war with India and to strive to resolve her disputes through political and diplomatic means”.30 The only problem with this quote is the fact that, at that time i.e. the period 1965-71 no one at the helm of affairs was ready to think so realistically and rationally! Fazal’s wisdom is the wisdom of hindsight, expressed some two years after Pakistan Army had fought the disaster and humiliating war in its history and Pakistan was dismembered into two countries. The Pakistani nation had been fed on propaganda about martial superiority of their army! Brigadier A.R Siddiqi who served in the army’s propaganda/media management wing known as the ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations Directorate) states that “the 1965 war had exalted the military image to mythical heights”. 31 The common man drew false conclusions and to compound things further, the 1965 war was viewed differently in West and East Pakistan. The West Pakistani populace and particularly the majority West Pakistani ethnic groups i.e. the Punjabis saw the war as a triumph of a preponderantly Punjabi Muslim army over a numerically larger Hindu army! The East Pakistanis viewed the war as a war fought by a West Pakistani dominated army to protect West Pakistan, where some 90 % of the army was stationed! The Indians had not attacked Pakistan deliberately since their strategy was based on the fact that in case the bulk of Pakistan Army in the West Pakistan provinces northern half i.e. Punjab was destroyed Pakistan would automatically sue for peace or collapse! Thus they had concentrated the bulk of their army against West Pakistan in the 1965 War. On the Eastern Front the Indians outnumbered the Pakistani troops defending East Pakistan by more than three to one but did not attack East Pakistan out of fear of Chinese Army the bulk of which was concentrated opposite India’s Assam Province and the North East Frontier Agency. Later after the 1965 war the Indians with the benefit of hindsight painted this timid action in not attacking East Pakistan as an act of grand strategic dimensions. In any case the harm was done as far as East Pakistani perceptions about the war were concerned. The East Pakistanis increasingly started viewing the army as a west Pakistani entity created to defend only West Pakistan. The seeds of secession were firmly sown as a result of the 1965 War.

The strategic and operational dilemmas faced by the Pakistan Army can only be understood in terms of the complicated political situation in the period 1969-1971. Yahya Khan attempted to solve two highly complicated political problems that he had inherited from his predecessor and who were also the father and architect of both the problems. These were restoration of democracy and resolving the acute sense of deprivation which had been created in the East Pakistan province as a result of various perceived or real injustices during the period 1958-1969. Secessionist tendencies had emerged in the East Pakistan province where the people viewed Pakistan’s federal government with its capital in the West Pakistan as a West Pakistani elite dominated affair. A government which was Muslim in name but West Pakistani (Punjabi, Pathan and Hindustani in order of merit)32 dominated in essence and which had been exploiting the East Pakistan province like a colony since 1947! We will not examine the details of this perception since it is beyond the scope of this book. We are only concerned with the fact that this perception made things very complicated for the Pakistan Army. The bulk of the army was concentrated in the West Pakistan province in line with the strategic doctrine that defence of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan. The likely political danger now lay in the fact that the East Pakistanis were increasingly viewing the army as a foreign and hostile entity. This perception could make things difficult for the lone infantry division of the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan. The Indian Army had been rapidly expanded since 1965 and the Indians now possessed a military capability to overrun East Pakistan while part of its army kept the bulk of the Pakistan Army stationed in the West wing in check. The situation was made yet more complex by fears in West Pakistan about the East Pakistani majority leader Mujeeb’s intention to reduce the army in case he won the 1970 elections that Yahya had promised. Further Mujeeb’s “Six Point Formula” if enforced would have led to virtual disintegration of Pakistan since it envisaged a confedral system with a very high level of provincial autonomy. What would happen in case a civil war started in the East wing after the 1970 elections and India decided to take advantage of the adverse internal political situation by invading East Pakistan. The military planners in the GHQ knew clearly that in case an armed insurrection broke out in the East Pakistan province one infantry division would not be control it. In case troops were sent from the West wing to reinforce the East Pakistan garrison, the war plans in the West Wing would be compromised. These were serious questions, which no one in the GHQ could answer in 1969. No one exactly knew what would happen in the first general elections of Pakistan. How could anyone know? This basic right had been denied to the common man in both the wings since 1946!

Yahya Khan and the Political Situation- 1969-1971

Now a word on Pakistan’s internal political situation in 1969 and its negative effects on the Pakistan Army. It appears that, had not Ayub Khan alienated the East Wing by his pro West Pakistani elite policies and also had not alienated the West Pakistani and East Pakistani populace by his self-serving policies, there would have been no East Pakistan problem which resulted in Pakistan’s break-up in 1971 or any anti-Ayub agitation in both the country’s provinces of East and West Pakistan that finally led to the fall of the Ayubian system of government in March 1969. The foreign readers may note that the East wing versus West wing rivalry had been constitutionally resolved through the passing of the 1956 Constitution, once the representatives of the East wing had most large heartedly accepted the principal of 50 % parity in the country’s legislature despite the fact that their actual ratio in the country’s population entitled them to 54 % seats in the assembly! Both the wings now started coming closer since issues were settled inside the parliament rather than by subversion or agitation. However Ayub in league with the president Iskandar Mirza repeatedly conspired to derail democracy and in league with Iskandar Mirza finally usurped power in the country by imposing the first Martial Law in October 1958. He sidelined Mirza in less than a month and imposed a one-man rule on the country. Ayub despised the East Pakistanis and as Army C in C had stopped more raisings of infantry battalions of East Pakistanis. The East Pakistanis on the other hand were anti-Ayub and resented Ayub’s policies of allocating a predominantly large part the resources of the country on the development of the West Wing. Further during the Ayub era, the strategic doctrine that defence of East Pakistan lay in concentrating the bulk of the Pakistan Army in the West wing was developed. This further alienated the East wingers since there was an unofficial ban on recruitment of Bengalis in the fighting arms of the army and the expanded army increasingly became a West Pakistani army, instead of being a national army.33

Once Ayub handed over power to Yahya Khan on 25 March 1969 Yahya inherited a two-decade constitutional problem of inter provincial ethnic rivalry between the Punjabi-Pathan-Mohajir dominated West Pakistan province and the ethnically Bengali Muslim East Pakistan province. In addition Yahya also inherited an eleven-year-old problem of transforming an essentially one-man ruled country to a democratic country, which was the ideological basis of the anti Ayub movement of 1968-69. Herein lies the key to Yahya’s dilemma. As an Army Chief Yahya had all the capabilities, qualifications and potential. But Yahya inherited an extremely complex problem and was forced to perform the multiple roles of caretaker head of the country, drafter of a provisional constitution, resolving the One Unit question 34, satisfying the frustrations and the sense of exploitation and discrimination successively created in the East Wing by a series of government policies since 1948. All these were complex problems and the seeds of Pakistan Army’s defeat and humiliation in December 1971 lay in the fact that Yahya Khan blundered unwittingly into the thankless task of cleaning dirt in Pakistan’s political and administrative system which had been accumulating for twenty years and had its actual origins in the pre 1947 British policies towards the Bengali Muslims. The American author Ziring well summed it up when he observed that, “Yahya Khan has been widely portrayed as a ruthless uncompromising insensitive and grossly inept leader…While Yahya cannot escape responsibility for these tragic events, it is also on record that he did not act alone…All the major actors of the period were creatures of a historic legacy and a psycho-political milieu which did not lend itself to accommodation and compromise, to bargaining and a reasonable settlement. Nurtured on conspiracy theories, they were all conditioned to act in a manner that neglected agreeable solutions and promoted violent judgements”. 35

The irrefutable conclusion is that Yahya failed as an Army Chief not because he lacked the inherent capabilities but because he tried to do too many things at the same time. This as we earlier discussed was the prime reason for failure of the Pakistan Army to develop and function as a dynamic entity beyond unit level in the 1965 war and in the pre 1965 era.

In all fairness one cannot but admit that, Yahya Khan, sincerely attempted to solve Pakistan’s constitutional and inter provincial/regional rivalry problems once he took over power from Ayub in March 1969. The tragedy of the whole affair was the fact that all actions that Yahya took, although correct in principle, were too late in timing, and served only to further intensify the political polarisation between the East and West wings. He dissolved the one unit restoring the pre 1955 provinces of West Pakistan, promised free direct, one man one vote, fair elections on adult franchise, a basic human right which had been denied to the Pakistani people since the pre independence 1946 elections by political inefficiency, double play and intrigue, by civilian governments, from 1947 to 1958 and by Ayub’s one man rule from 1958 to 1969. However dissolution of one unit did not lead to the positive results that it might have lead to in case “One Unit” was dissolved earlier. Yahya also made an attempt to accommodate the East Pakistanis by abolishing the principle of parity, thereby hoping that greater share in the assembly would redress their wounded ethnic regional pride and ensure the integrity of Pakistan. Instead of satisfying the Bengalis it intensified their separatism, since they felt that the west wing had politically suppressed them since 1958. Thus the rise of anti West Wing sentiment in the East Wing, thanks to Ayub Khan’s anti East Wing policies, had however reached such tremendous proportions that each of Yahya’s concessions did not reduce the East West tension. Yahya announced in his broadcast to the nation on 28 July 1969, his firm intention to redress Bengali grievances, the first major step in this direction being, the doubling of Bengali quota in the defence services 36. It may be noted that at this time there were just seven infantry battalions of the East Pakistanis. Yahya’s announcement although made with the noblest and most generous intentions in mind was late by about twenty years!

Yahya cannot be blamed for the muck that had been accumulating for more than two decades. Yahya’s intention to raise more pure Bengali battalions was opposed by Major General Khadim Hussain Raja, the General Officer Commanding 14 Division in East Pakistan, since the General felt that instead of raising new purely Bengali battalions, Bengali troops should be mixed with existing infantry battalions comprising of Punjabi and Pathan troops.37 Such was the strength of conviction of General Khadim about not raising more pure Bengali battalions that once he came to know about Yahya’s orders to raise more East Pakistani regiments, he flew to the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi to remonstrate against the sagacity of raising more pure Bengali units. Khadim’s advice that Bengali troops could not be relied upon in crisis situations should have been an eye opener for all in the GHQ. No one at least at that time took his advice seriously. It appears that the generals were convinced that the Bengali was too meek to ever challenge the martial Punjabi or Pathan Muslim

The Bengalis were despised as non martial by all West Pakistanis. However much later an interesting controversy developed in which the Punjabis and Hindustanis blamed each other for doing so! The Hindustanis blaming Aziz Ahmad etc and the Punjabis blaming many Hindustani ICS old foxes of the 1950s! There is no doubt that this exercise in Bengali degrading was neither totally or exclusively Punjabi led but a a true for all West Pakistanis business!

The foreign reader may note that Bengalis were despised as a non martial race from the British times. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan a Hindustani Muslim and an eminent Muslim leader of the North Indian Muslims in late 19th century made open fun of Bengalis in his various speeches, notably the one delivered at Lucknow in 1887. I.H Qureshi another prominent Hindustani Muslim and a post 1947 cabinet minister declared in a roundabout manner that the Bengalis were an inferior race. Ayub made various remarks implying that the Bengalis were an inferior race in his memoirs written in 1967.38

Inflated Perceptions about Pakistani military effectiveness

The essence of the whole business was the fact that the Pakistani GHQ placed entire reliance on the “Superior Valour and Martial Qualities of the Pakistani (Punjabi and Pathan Muslim soldier) vis a vis the Hindu Indian soldier, as proved in 1965 war” and felt that somehow, in the next war to miracles would occur and the Pakistan Army would do well! The tangible military facts of the Indo Pak politico-military scenario were not analysed in their true dimension! It was a classic case of perceptual distortion and losing sight of reality. Eric Berne an eminent psychologist defined “adjustment” as “ability to change one’s images to correspond to a new reality”. Berne rephrases “adjustment” as “flexibility” which he defines as ” ability to change your images as they should be changed according to reality”. This in Berne’s view is more important than intelligence. Berne thus concluded that ‘the successful man is the one whose images correspond most closely to reality, because then his actions will lead to the results, which he imagines”.39 This as a matter of fact are one of the prime functions of a military and political leader. The success of the western democracies lay in the fact that one man was never totally in command but civil and military functions were divided and shared between various appointment holders aided by a host of staff officers and research Organisations. This sadly was not Pakistan’s case where one man from 1958 wielded all power, both civil and military onwards. The situation was not so complicated till 1965 since Pakistan enjoyed material and technical superiority till 1965 and because the troop ratio between Pakistan and India was relatively manageable40. Unfortunately in Pakistan after 1971 all blame was heaped on Yahya’s shoulders. The fact that the psychosis that had afflicted the Pakistani decision makers in the period 1966-1971 and finally led to the great humiliation of 1971, had a close connection with the nature of Pakistan’s experiences as a nation in the period 1947-1971 was not accepted and instead Yahya was made a scapegoat for all that had gone wrong. We will analyse more of this in the next chapter. I will quote Berne once again to define greatness or the lack of it in Pakistan during the period 1947-1971. But before we do it we must understand that man is not fully autonomous but is a prisoner of historical environmental and physiological circumstances. There are very few truly great men who act more autonomously than the multitude. Berne thus defined individual human greatness as ” A great man is the one who either helps to find out what the world is really like or else tries to change the world to match his image. In both cases he is trying to bring images and reality closer together by changing one or the other”. In the period 1966-1971 Pakistan did not have the resources to change the world to match its images nor great men who had the depth of character and intellect to find out what the world is really like and changing their images!

Many Pakistani intellectuals with the naivety of a provincial farm maiden try to heap the whole blame on liquor and Yahya or on liquor alone! This unfortunately is too simplistic a view! The Pakistanis as a nation were forming wrong and unrealistic images right from 1947! Too much faith was based on ideology (Islam) to unite two entirely diverse regions of East and West Pakistan! Even Shauakat Riza a pro establishment historian, commenting on religion as a common factor between the East and West wings caustically noted that “Twenty four years is too long to gamble on one card”41 History was distorted to show that the Muslims were ruling the timid Hindu when the British snatched power from the brave Muslims by treachery! This was sadly not the case! In reality the Muslims were saved from total defeat by the British advent in India! A false image was formed by official propaganda right from 1947 that the Muslims were more martial than the timid Hindus were! It was a poor modification of the “Martial Races Theory” of the British, which was a purely imperialist theory to “Divide and Rule” India! But once Pakistan was defeated in 1971, all blame was heaped on Yahya and liquor, disregarding the fact that Yahya was merely the tip of the iceberg, and the irrefutable fact that many great commanders in history were absolutely incorrigible and compulsive womanisers and drinkers!

This fact was noted by some officers soon after 1965 but the majority were victims of the psychosis of Islamic Martial Military superiority that overwhelmed the West Pakistani psyche during the period 1966-1971! Brigadier A.R Siddiqi in his book on the Pakistan Army’s press image thus narrated a thought-provoking incident soon after the war. Siddiqi met Brigadier Qayyum Sher who as just discussed had distinguished himself as an infantry brigade commander in the battle opposite Lahore. Qayyum Sher was unhappy about the unrealistic expectations and myths that were being created as a result of the official propaganda. Qayyum Sher told Siddiqi, “Miracles he mused, ‘may indeed have happened, but they happen only once. Let me tell you that your press chaps are doing a lot of harm to the soldier psychologically by publishing all those foolish stories. I wonder what they are really trying to tell the world. That the Pakistani soldier can fight his war only with the help of his celestial allies. That he is facing an enemy inferior to him in all respects. I admit God’s help is of the utmost importance but it’s no substitute for one’s own performance. It would be quite stupid to forget that the Indian soldier is as much of a professional as his Pakistani counterpart. He has been trained in similar military systems and institutions and fights like hell when he has to. The only reason why the Pakistani soldier put up a comparatively better performance in this war was that he fought largely on his own home ground as a defender”. Siddiqi further noted that “The Pakistani image makers, however, had little use for such sterile talk. They had their own mental picture of the war and regarded it as the only correct one. Anybody who dared to speak of the war more realistically simply betrayed a ‘diffident and defeatist mentality’ …The merest suggestion of the criticism of the military performance became a taboo”.42 Sher was not alone in entertaining these views. Major General Tajammul Hussain Malik who very ably commanded the 3rd Baluch opposite Lahore on the BRB states in his memoirs that the Indian superiority opposite Lahore was not as overwhelming as later portrayed in the Pakistani official propaganda. Tajammul thus stated, “We had Patton Tanks whereas Indians had mostly Sherman Tanks which were comparatively much inferior. Similarly our artillery guns out ranged the Indian artillery guns. They had an overall superiority of infantry, perhaps of about 1 to 2 but most of their divisions were comparatively ill equipped and untrained and they had to guard a much bigger frontier”. 43

Many years earlier one of the greatest thinkers of this world Sigmund Freud rightly noted that “the irrational forces in man’s nature are so strong that the rational forces have little chance of success against them”. Freud thus concluded that “a small minority might be able to live a life of reason but most men are comfortable living with their delusions and superstitions rather than with the truth”. As a matter of fact whole nations can be victims of delusions. This has happened many times in history. The same was true for the Pakistani nation, or the predominantly West Pakistani elite!

Sultan Khan who served as Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary with Yahya during the fateful year of 1971 noted at many places in his memoirs that most Pakistani generals thought that the Pakistani soldier was more martial and would somehow emerge successfully through the East Pakistan War. Gul Hassan, Sultan thus noted, was one of them and firmly believed in the power of bayonet to solve all problems! The tragedy is that after the war all the blame was heaped on Yahya and the fact that the whole elite and all those who mattered were under influence of highly irrational ideas was deliberately suppressed. Till this day in presentations and studies carried out in Pakistan Army’s schools and colleges of instruction, Yahya is made the scapegoat for the entire 1971 fiasco and the fact that the whole of West Pakistani was under influence of a psychotic state is ignored.

Historical Background of Superiority Complex in the Pakistan Army

It is necessary to examine the historical reasons for this false feeling of superiority in the Pakistan Army in 1969-71. It may be noted that the vast bulk of Muslims, just like the vast bulk of Hindus of the Indo Pak Sub Continent were caught in a vicious square of “ethnicity” “ideology” “exploitation by feudal and capitalist classes” and above all “British Colonial rule” during the period 1858-1947. In 1857 the common soldiers (sepoys), both Hindu (some three fourth) and Muslims (around one fourth) from modern UP province attempted a rebellion against the British. This rebellion was crushed by the Britishers using European as well as Punjabi (largely Muslim and relatively less Sikh and Hindu) Pathan (less in number than Punjabis) Gurkha and Madrasi troops. The rebellion’s end in 1858 marked a major turn in British policy in India. Till 1857 British policy as executed by various Viceroys of the private English East India Company was markedly egalitarian and anti feudal. A major policy change was introduced from 1858 onwards once the British crown took over the governance of India. Feudals who were viewed as unnecessary anachronisms by Dalhousie were now viewed as allies against future rebels while ethnic/religious factors which were not important in army recruitment before 1857, now became a matter of careful policy, since the pre 1857 was largely one in which soldiers were mixed down to platoon level regardless of race or religion. The British policy now changed since the Hindustani44 Hindus and Muslims regardless of race or religion had jointly rebelled. Thus from 1858 onwards the British introduced the concept of One class companies with soldiers from one religious as well as ethnic class in any single infantry company or cavalry troop. Due to various reasons discussed in detail in the previous volume of this history the British actively followed a policy of Punjabising from 1858 to 1911. As a result by 1911 the Indian Army was largely a Punjabi although not a Punjabi Muslim dominated army45.

The reader may note that during the period 1885—1911 when the ethnic composition of the British Indian Army changed from a Hindustani majority/Hindu/Non Muslim dominated army to a Punjabi Majority/Punjabi Muslim heavy army in 1911; no major war took place; that could prove that Punjabi troops or Punjabi Muslim troops were better than Hindu troops or the Hindustani troops, and the concept that the British changed the ethnic composition based on proven fighting ability in actual combat; has no connection with any reality of military history.Thus the “Martial Races Theory” was based more on political considerations than on any tangible or concrete military effectiveness or relative combat effectiveness in any war! In any case the pre 1947 Indian Army was never a Muslim majority army at any stage of its history. Many Britishers were crystal clear about the situational or historical relativity of the so called martial effectiveness even in the first half of the nineteenth century. Henry Lawrence a Civil Servant of the English East India Company thus summed up the whole business about martial effectiveness once he said “Courage goes much by opinion; and many a man behaves as a hero or a coward, according as he considers he is expected to behave. Once two Roman Legions held Britain; now as many Britons might hold Italy”. On the other hand , the reasons why the British preferred the Punjabis in the army in preference to other races were rationalised by many Britishers by stating that the British preferred the Indian Army to be composed of “Martial Races”46.

The “Martial Races Theory” in reality was an Imperial gimmick to boost the ego of the cannon fodder. Various British writers like Philip Mason frankly admitted that the real reason for selective recruitment was political reliability in crisis situations which the Punjabis had exhibited during the 1857-58 Bengal Army rebellion.47 Another British officer thought that “Martial Races Theory” had a more sentimental and administrative basis rather than anything to do with real martial superiority. C.C Trench thus wrote, “Reasons for preferring northerners were largely racial. To Kiplings contemporaries, the taller and fairer a native, the better man he was likely to be…There was a general preference for the wild over the half educated native as being less addicted to unwholesome political thinking…Brahmins had been prominent in the mutiny, and their diet and prejudices made difficulties on active service48. The “Special Commission appointed by the Viceroy” to enquire into the organisation of Indian Army was more blunt in outlining the political reliability factor once it stated that “lower stratum of the Mohammadan urban population, the dispossessed landholders (many of them, off course, Muslims), the predatory classes, and perhaps the cadets of the old Muhammadan families (as)… the only people who really dislike British rule” 49 . The reason why the Punjabis whether Sikh Hindu or Muslim were more loyal to the British at least till 1919 lay in complex socio-political background of the province and the complex relationship between the Sikhs Hindus and Muslims of the province. Its discussion is beyond the scope of this work. The fact remains that in the first world war the Punjabi case for priority race for recruitment to the army was once again reinforced when the Punjabi soldiers, Sikh Muslim and Hindu loyally served the British in France Mesopotamia Egypt Palestine and Gallipoli. Philip Mason thus wrote that the “Punjabi Muslims were steady as a rock” while “a faint question mark hung over the Pathans” 50. Such was the difference in reliability within the units that when two Pathan squadrons of 15 Lancers passively refused to fight against the Turks in Mesopotamia, the Punjabi Squadrons remained staunch and the Pathan squadrons were disbanded and replaced by Hindustani Hindu Jat Squadrons from 14th Murray Jat Lancers! The Hindustani/Ranghar Muslims were also further discredited once the 5th Light Infantry a pure Hindustani/Ranghar Muslim unit composed of Delhi region Hindustani Pathans, and Ranghar Muslims rebelled and seized Singapore for about a day in 1915.51 It was more a question of political reliability than being more martial that led to further Punjabisation of the army after the first world war. Thus in 1929 as per the “Report of the Statutory Commission on Indian Constitutional Advancement”, military ability was not evenly distributed in the entire population and, the capacity to fight was confined to the martial races! The commission ignored the fact that recruitment was done to fill ethnic quotas as decided by the Indian government and was not open to all classes! As per this commission’s report some 86,000 or some 54.36% Indian Army combatants out of a total of 158,200 were from Punjab province. These did include some Ranghar Muslims who were administratively Punjabi although Hindustani ethnically/culturally, but there is no doubt that the vast bulk of these men were ethnically Punjabi. The important part of the whole business was the fact that once 19,000 Nepali Gurkhas, who were in reality foreigners, included in the above mentioned total of 158,200 men are excluded the Punjabi share in Indian Army rose to 61.8%. The Pathans thanks to their political record in the First World War had been reduced to just 5,600 men 52 or just 4.02% out of which at least a thousand were non Pathans!

The same state of affairs continued till the outbreak of the Second World War with the major change being the Punjabi Sikhs who became relatively less reliable politically because of being under communist influences 53. However the reader may note, so as not to be led astray by any false claims that in 1939 the Indian Army was only 37% Muslim, the rest being non Muslim including about 12.8 % Sikhs 10.9% Hindu Gurkhas and 37.6% other Hindus54. Immense demands of WW Two forced the British to diversify the recruitment pattern of the Indian Army and although Punjab remained the top contributor of recruits, it provided about 754,551 out of a total of 24,61,446, or 30.65% recruits to the Indian Army between 3rd September 1939 and 31 August 1945. 55 The reader may note that some 314,356 or a total of 41.66% from the Punjab contribution and 12.77% recruits were Punjabi Muslims56. Thus although Punjab led positionwise as a province in recruitment, there never was any Punjabi Muslim majority or even Punjabi Muslim majority or even near majority in recruitment to the Indian Army in WW Two. However a myth was widely propagated in Pakistan that the Punjabi Muslims were the most martial race and the Pathan Muslims were the second most martial race57. I may add that I heard this ridiculous and irrational myth thousands of times in the course of my 13 years service in Pakistan Army. On the other hand the knowledge of historical knowledge may be gauged from the fact that as late as 1992 in a book written and published in the staff college a brigadier made the Mughal Emperor Humayun fight the second battle of Panipat, at a time when Humayun was already dead!

In August 1947 the British Indian Army was divided into the Pakistan and Indian armies. Two divergent recruitment policies were followed in both the armies. The Indians broadened their army’s recruitment base, officially declaring that recruitment was open to all Indian nationals.58 Thus the post 1947 Indian Army drifted away from being the pre 1939 Punjabised army. In Pakistan, Mr Jinnah the politician-statesmen who created Pakistan almost single-handedly, as the country’s first Head of State, adopted a sensible policy, to make the army a national army. Jinnah ordered immediate raising of two infantry battalions of Bengali Muslims in 1948 reversing the anti Bengali policy of the pre 1947 British colonial government.59 Jinnah’s far sighted as well as just policy of bringing Bengalis in the fighting arms of the Pakistan Army was discontinued by General Ayub Khan who was the first Pakistani Muslim C in C of the Pakistan Army and became the Army Chief in January 1951. Ayub although allegedly guilty of tactical timidity in the WW Two in Burma60 had a low opinion61 about the Bengalis and discontinued the expansion of the East Bengal Infantry Regiment from 1951 to 1966. Thus by 1966 the Pakistan Army was a predominantly West Pakistani (Punjabi dominated) army. In addition the vast bulk of it except one infantry division was stationed in West Pakistan in line with the strategic concept evolved in Ayub’s time that the defence of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan. Thus the “Martial Races Theory” was carried on till 1971 and in 1971 the vast bulk of West Pakistanis really felt that they were a martial race. This superiority complex played a major part in the wishful thinking in the Pakistani High Command that somehow the Indians would not invade East Pakistan in strength or even if they did so, the troops of this martial race (which was subdued by an 8 % Sikh minority from 1799 to 1849, till it was liberated by the English East India Company!) would frustrate the Indian Army, despite all the tangible numerical and material Pakistani inferiority. Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan’s memoirs are full of the existence of this irrational belief in the Pakistani High Command. Whatever the case at least the 1971 War proved that the real reason for the Indian Army’s martial fervour or relatively better performance was the British factor, keeping in mind the net total available resources of British Empire or its allies in the two world wars.

New Raisings – 1966-1971 and the army’s operational plans

New raisings as discussed earlier were done right from 1965-66 onwards. The Pakistani high command correctly assessed that lack of infantry played a major role in the failure of Pakistani armour to translate its convincing material and technical superiority into a major operational or strategic success. New raisings became more essential since US military aid, which had enabled Pakistan Army to function relatively more effectively as compared to the Indians, was no longer available because of the US ban on arms exports to both India and Pakistan.

EXISTING DIVISIONS AND NEW RAISINGS FROM 1965 TO DECEMBER 197162

SER NO

1965 REMARKS 1966-1968 REMARKS 1968-1971 REMARKS
1

7 DIV Peshawar Part of 2 Corps. Reserve Division to Support 1 Armd Div Operations in Bahawalnagar area.
2

8 DIV Sialkot. 1 Corps Part of 1 Corps Defence of Shakargarh Bulge. Under 1 Corps
3

10 DIV Lahore 1 Corps Part of 4 Corps. Defence of Ravi-Sutlej Corridor. Part of 4 Corps
4

11 DIV Ditto Part of 4 Corps.
5

12 DIV Headquarters In Murree Defence of Azad Kashmir
6

14 DIV East Pakistan Defence of East Pakistan
7

15 DIV Sialkot Part of 1 Corps. Defence of Sialkot Sector.Under 1 Corps
8

1 ARMD DIV Multan 1 Corps Part of 2 Corps. Strategic Reserve.Stationed at Multan.Under 2 Corps.
9

6 ARMD DIV Kharian 1 Corps Part of 1 Corps. Strategic Reserve.Stationed at Kharian.Under 1 Corps.
10

9 DIV Reserve Div. Raising completed at Kharian by 1968. Airlifted to E.Pak in March 1971
11

16 DIV Reserve Div. Quetta. Raising complete by 1968. Ditto
12

17 DIV Kharian. Raising complete by 1968. Reserve Division To support 6 Armoured Division operations
13

18 DIV Raised at Hyderabad in June-July 1971for defence of 560 miles area from Rahimyar Khan to Rann of Katch.
14

23 DIV Raised at Jhelum in June-July 1971 for Chhamb-Dewa Sector previously in area of 12 Div.
15

33 DIV Raised in December 1971.Reserve Division of 2 Corps later split between Shakargarh Bulge and Sindh in the war.
16

37 DIV Raised in Dec- 71 Jan-72.
The table of raisings above is self-explanatory. The most important organisational changes which occurred in the army till the 1971 war were as following. Firstly the army was organised into three corps i.e the 1 Corps, 2 Corps and 4 Corps and 12 18 and 23 Divisions. The 1 corps headquarter was designated to command four divisions i.e 8, 15, 17 InfantryDivisions and 6 Armoured Division63. 15 and 8 Infantry Divisions were responsible for defence of Sialkot Sector and the Shakargarh Bulge respectively while 17 Infantry Division and 6 Armoured Division were the strike force of the corps and also part of Pakistan Army’s strategic reserves. In addition the 1 Corps also had an independent armoured brigade (8Armoured Brigade). 4 Corps consisting of 10 and 11 Infantry Divisions, 105 Independent Infantry Brigade and 3rd Independent Armoured Brigade was responsible for the area between Ravi River and Bahawalpur. The 2 Corps with its headquarters at Multan was a strategic reserve corps. This corps consisted of the 1st Armoured Division (Multan), 7 Infantry Division and later 33 Infantry Division. Three infantry divisions i.e the 12, 23 and 18 Infantry Divisions were directly under GHQ and responsible for defence of Azad Kashmir, Chhamb-Dewa Sector and Sind-Rahimyar Khan respectively.

Tangibles and Intangibles – The Pakistan and Indian Army’s military worth by January 1971

By January 1971 the Pakistan Army was a reasonable military machine. Its main battle tank was the Chinese T-59 which was almost as good as any Indian tank.Its strategic reserves had the potential to deter any Indian aggressive military move. It was on its way to becoming a really national army since Yahya’s announcement of 1969 to allow recruitment of Bengalis in the fighting arms. Organisationally the command was coherently and logically distributed in corps and divisions and the organisational imbalances of 1965 had been totally removed. Yahya Khan had not failed as the C in C.

The Indian Army was numerically larger but the advantage was not overwhelming since the Indian Army was divided between the Chinese Border West Pakistan and East Pakistan. Technically the Indians had relatively better Soviet tanks but numerically the Pakistani armour was larger than Indian armour and possessed more higher organisational flexibility by virtue of having two full fledged armoured divisions as against one Indian armoured division.

Later events of 1971 clouded our perception and we in Pakistan tend to view things as entirely simple for the Indian military planners. The Indian military dilemma was a possible three front war with the Indian Army divided between West Pakistan East Pakistan and the Indo Chinese border. The Pakistani defence problem was a two front war with its army divided into two parts i.e one defending the East Pakistan and the major part defending West Pakistan. The Pakistani planners had evolved a clear-cut strategy to overcome this dilemma. The Indian strategy as it was later applied in 1971 war was based on a choice of time which reduced the likely threats that it faced from three to two since the December snow effectively nullified chances of Chinese intervention and enabled release of Indian Mountain Divisions earmarked for the Chinese Border to participate in a war against Pakistan. Even then the final Indian plan was a gamble and would have failed if Pakistan had launched a pre-emptive attack in October 1971. The C in C Indian Western Command admitted this fact. General Candeth who was C in C Western Command states in his book that “the most critical period was between 8 and 26 October when 1 Corps and 1 Armoured Division were still outside Western Command. Had Pakistan put in a pre-emptive attack during that period the consequences would have been too dreadful to contemplate and all our efforts would have been trying to correct the adverse situation forced on us”.64

There were however major shortcomings in both the armies at the higher leadership level. These pertained to the “Intangible aspects of military leadership”. The mercenary origins of the pre 1947 Indian Army had resulted in the creation of an orders oriented machine! This was true for both Indian and Pakistani Armies. These shortcomings had their origin in the pre 1947 British era and were common with the post 1947 Indian Army. The Indian Army’s military worth was retarded and downgraded because of a civilian leadership which viewed the army as a reactionary entity consisting of mercenaries who had collaborated with the British rulers. This attitude was revised once India suffered serious loss of prestige in the Sino-Indian Border War of 1962. However changes in military spirit of an army occur very slowly and by 1971 Indian Army was still trying to recover from many teething problems. The Pakistan Army in 1947 had consisted of relatively talented as well as spirited officers. The Rawalpindi Conspiracy of 1951 had however started a witch-hunt and many dynamic officers were removed or sidelined. This conspiracy against originality and boldness had intensified when Ayub Khan started manipulating extensions from politicians and the army was reduced to a personal fiefdom of Ayub during the period 1951-1969! In the process the Pakistan Army lost the services of many more experienced officers simply because they were sidelined through political supersession or were retired. The gap between the two Indo Pak armies in quality of experience may be gauged from the fact that the first Indian C in C was eight years senior to Ayub in service and the course mate of Musa, the second Muslim C in C of the Pakistan Army i.e Manekshaw became the Indian C in C eleven years after Musa! This may have worked positively for the Pakistan Army had Musa been a man with an independent outlook! Musa on the other hand as Gul Hassan’s memoirs revealed lacked independent judgement dynamism or talent! The Pakistan army during the period 1951-71 became a highly orders oriented machine! Smart on the drill square, tactically sound but strategically barren and lacking in operational vision! One whose first Pakistani C in C was more interested in political intrigue and industrial ventures than in the basics of higher military organisation or operational strategy!

The reader must bear in mind that the only major difference despite all other differences between the Indian and Pakistan Armies was that the Indian Army was numerically larger than the Pakistan Army was. In quality of higher military leadership both the armies by virtue of being chips of one pre 1947 block were little different from each other! Both the Indian and Pakistan Armies of 1971 were like the Austro-Hungarian armies of 1809. They consisted of perhaps equally brave junior leaders but were severely handicapped since rapid expansion since the Sino-Indian war of 1962 and since the 1965 war. Having more corps and division despite being impressive on paper had not made the Indian or Pakistani military machine really effective because of poor training at divisional and brigade level. Both numerically larger than they were in 1965, but were organisationally ineffective beyond battalion level, having dashing young leaders but tactically and operationally inept brigade divisional and corps commanders from the older pre 1947 commissioned generation whom were initially supposed not to go beyond company level, had the transfer of power not taken place in 1947. The strike corps was a new concept and the Indian 1 Corps which was shortly created before the 1965 war was a newly raised formation whose corps commander and armoured divisional commanders were about to retire in 1965 when war broke out. The Indian commanders beyond unit level, as was the case with Pakistan Army, consisted of men who had experience of infantry biased operations in WW Two and did not understand the real essence of armoured warfare. It was this lack of understanding that led to the failures in achieving a decisive armour breakthrough in both sides. It was a failure of command as well as staff system where even the staff officers on both sides were too slow for armoured warfare and worked on yards and furlongs rather than miles. Their orientation was position oriented rather than mobility oriented and their idea of a battlefield was a typical linear battlefield. Their Burma or North African experience where the Japanese and Germans frequently appeared in their rear had made them extra sensitive about their flanks. These were men who thought in terms of security rather than speed. Conformity rather than unorthodox dynamism, having been trained in the slavish colonial orders oriented British Indian Army was the cardinal script of their life. It was this British system in which every senior commander was more interested in doing the job of those one step junior to him that led to the lack of dash and initiative at brigade and battalion level. They were trained that way and there behaviour as far as the timidity at brigade and divisional level has to be taken in this context. Yahya was not a superman who could clean up the Pakistani political system and reform Pakistan Army within an year or two! He started the job of reorganising and reforming the Pakistan Army but had to leave it half way once he was forced to clean up the political mess in 1969. He made an admirable attempt to clean the political garbage which had accumulated since 1948 but was over taken by the tide of history which in 1971 was too powerful to be manipulated by any single man!

The Indian Army of 1971 was much larger than the Indian Army of 1965! It was many times superior strategically and operationally to the 1965 Indian Army in terms of material strength, technological strength and numerical strength. The Pakistani defence problem was far more complex in 1971 than in 1965. Even in terms of foreign policy Pakistan had just been ditched by one superpower in 1965. The situation in 1971 was far more worse since India had been adopted by another superpower which, unlike the Naive half hearted, American Village maiden, was resolutely poised to go with India through thick and thin! Yahya made unique and brilliant moves to bring the USA and China together and vainly hoped that the Americans would help him! Unfortunately the US betrayed a country which had been loyally served US interests since 1954! Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan’s memoirs recognise Yahya’s contributions and dismiss many myths about Yahya having gone out of his way to annoy the Soviets. This aspect is however beyond the scope of this article.

CONCLUSION

The Pakistan Army and Yahya inherited a complex historical problem, which had many fathers, at least half of whom were civilians and politicians! The Bengali alienation started from 1948 over the language question, was increased through Liaquat’s political intrigues to sideline Suharwardy and delay constitution making and thus holding elections which held a threat of a Bengali prime minister challenging the Hindustani-Punjabi dominance of Muslim politics! The first sin was committed once Suharwardy was sidelined! This was followed by coercion and intrigue to force parity on the Bengalis! They even accepted this unjust formula in 1956! Ask the Punjabis today to agree to a 50% parity as against all three provinces and then evaluate the generosity and magnanimity of the Bengalis! The death verdict of Pakistan’s unity came in 1958 when Ayub took over and allied with the West Pakistan civil-military-feudal-industrialist clique to sideline the Bengalis for eternity from the corridors of power! Familiar names , and a familiar combination constituted the ruling clique! A Punjabi financial wizard, one Dawood, some generals, some civil servants, some Hindustani specialists, one old fox who knew how to twist the law, then young, and some younger whiz kids constituted the ruling clique! They took Pakistan back to 1864 or even 1804! Local bodies, two huge provinces like the Bengal and Bombay Presidency etc! The seeds of the division were laid between 1958 and 1969! Yahya Khan whatever his faults was a greater man than Liaquat or Ayub! He held the first ever general elections based on adult franchise! Something that the so called Quaid e Millat had failed to hold for four long years, not withstanding all hollow rhetoric by his admirers that he was going to make a great announcement on 16 October 1951, the original D-Day in 1999 too! Yahya restored provincial autonomy, brought the Bengalis in the army, and reorganised the army! He did everything that was right but it was too late! He was fighting against the tide of history! The Pakistan Army was tossed into a volcano whose architect enjoyed total power for eleven years and retired peacefully to enjoy his hard earned wealth. Ayub’s son has remained in the corridors of power in one form or another and is still a running horse! Yahya Khan is much criticised for problems with which he had nothing to do! For having done a job which Liaquat should have done in 1950! The Pakistan Army was a relatively good fighting machine in 1971! Great reforms were made in organisation, education and training! It was recovering from the curse of one-man rule! The cyclone of 1970 in words of an Indian general destroyed everything! Yes there was a far more dangerous intangible and invisible cyclone that had been building up since 1948! This cyclone had four great fathers! Yahya Khan was not one of these four great men! The “Martial Races Theory” that played a major role in Pakistani overconfidence in 1971 before actual operations had many fathers and dated from British times.These British officers had in 1930s described Jews as non martial! Compare the four Arab-Israeli wars with this attitude! The military action in 1971 was widely hailed in West Pakistan! Yet in December 1971 only Yahya was blamed! Yahya was not the architect of the problems that destroyed the united Pakistan of 1971! He paid for the sins of all that ruled Pakistan from 1947 to 1969! He could do little more than what a midwife can do in birth of a child as far as the child’s genetic codes are concerned! The failure of 1971 was not an individuals failure but failure of a system with flawed constitutional geographic philosophic and military organisational and conceptual foundations! I find nothing better to repeat once again the saying that “Success surely has many fathers and failure is an orphan! We must however not forget that the failure of 1971 had roots that go back to 150 years of history!

References and Explanatory Notes

1Page-258 & 259- Pakistan’s Crisis in Leadership-Major General Fazal Muqeem Khan (Retired)-National Book Foundation-Ferozsons-Rawalpindi-1973–Fazal I Muqeem was a sycophant, but a clever one in the sense that once he wrote his first book “The Story of the Pakistan Army”, he was in the run for promotion and naturally had to play the sycophant which most men who rise to higher positions do! In 1973 Fazal was a retired man and under no external motivation to please Ayub! Any dispassionate reader can gauge Fazal’s calibre as a writer from reading both his books. It was certainly much higher than Shaukat Riza whose three books on the Pakistan Army in some ways are harder to decipher than the Dead Sea Scrolls!

2Page-125- The Military in Pakistan-Image and Reality –Brigadier A.R Siddiqi (Retired)-Vanguard-Lahore-1996.

3 Qizilbash is a Persian speaking tribe of Turkish origin employed as mercenary soldiers by Safavid kings of Iran and by Nadir Shah who himself was a Turk but not a Shia unlike the Qizilbashes. Once Ahmad Shah Abdali became the first king of Afghanistan after its independence many Qizilbashes entered his service and were based in Kandahr and later Kabul. Many Qizilbash nobles were posted in Peshawar as Nadir Shah’s officials once Nadir Shah invaded India in 1739. In addition many Qizilbashes were granted estates by Ahmad Shah Abdali and some came and settled in Lahore after the First Afghan War. The Qizilbash were Shia by sect and Persian speaking. Yahya Khan was from the Peshawar branch of Qizilbashes. Those living in Peshawar identified themselves as Pathans and spoke Pashto as a second language but were distinct from Pathans as an ethnic group. Yahya’s father was from the Indian Police Service and served in various appointments as a police officer during the British Raj. Yahya’s brother was also in the Police Service of Pakistan and later served as Director Intelligence Bureau.

4 Page-122- The Pakistan Army-War 1965 –Major General Shaukat Riza (Retired)-Army Education Press-Rawalpindi-1984.

5 The Indians deny this assertion but this is something which is accepted in Pakistan as an irrevocable fact of history. It is of little military bearing since few officers make use of libraries anyway! This career profile may not be very accurate since I do not have access to official records. These details are based on various references to Yahya’s military career. Refers—Page-111- Memoirs of Lt. Gen. Gul Hassan Khan-Lieutenant General Gul Hassan Khan -Oxford University Press-Karachi-1993. Pages-131 & 144- The Story of the Pakistan Army- Major General Fazal I Muqeem Khan-Oxford University Press-Lahore-1963. Pages-47 & 122- Shaukat Riza-Op Cit. Page-37 Brig A.R Siddiqi-Op Cit.

6Pages-192 & 194- Partners in Command- – Joseph.T.Glatthaar- The Free Press-New York-1994.

7Page-238-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit.

8 Page-28-Fazal Muqeem-Crisis in Leadership–Op Cit.

9Page-154-The Story of Soldiering and Politics in India and Pakistan-Major General Sher Ali (Retired)-First Printed-1976-Third Edition-Syed Mobin Mahmud and Company-Lahore-1988. Page-122-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit.

10 Page-187-Jawan to General—General Mohammad Musa- East and West Publishing Company-Karachi-1984.

11The Punjabis as an ethnic community were the largest community in the officer corps of the pre 1947 Indian Army. No exact statistics exist but by and large the Sikh/Hindus of Punjab were the largest group in the officer community followed by Punjabi Muslims survey of Indian officer cadets done in 1954-56 showed that majority of the officer cadets were from Indian Punjab or from Delhi which was a Punjabi majority city (Indian Parliament Estimates Committee-1956-57-Sixty Third Report-Ministry of Defence Training Institutes-New Delhi-Lok Sabha Secretariat-Appendix-Seven–Quoted by Stephen Cohen-Page-183-The Indian Army-Stephen.P.Cohen-Oxford University Press-New Delhi-1991) after 1947 The Punjabi Muslims were however denied the top slots in the army during the period 1947-72, Ayub being a Hindko speaking Pathan, Musa being a Persian speaking Mongol-Hazara and Yahya being a Persian speaking Qizilbash. Tikka was the first Punjabi chief of the army.In my course of stay in the army I had various discussions with old officers and almost all agreed that there were groupings in most units on parochial lines which were mostly Punjabi and Pathan groups. The Punjabis of areas north of Chenab river tended to be more clannish with stress on district or sub regional groupings like Sargodha, Chakwal, Pindi, Attock Khushab etc. The Punjabis of areas south of Chenab river which were more economically prosperous and more educationally advanced were by and large not parochial having acquired the big city or urban mentality. These tended to look down upon groupings based on caste and district lines and operated more on relations based on personal rapport than kinship on village and district basis. There was definitely a strong feeling in Punjabi officers (something which was most natural) of the pre 1971 era that the army was Pathan dominated.Both Ayub and Yahya although not Pashto speaking were viewed as Pathans by Punjabi officers. Musa was viewed as a rubber stamp and as a mere shadow of Ayub. The Hindustani Muslims the third largest but relatively better educated group (although not distinguished for any unique operational talent) were not united because they were mostly from urban backgrounds and had like the Punjabis from big cities south of Chenab the selfish or self centred big city mentality. Thus as individuals the Hindustani Muslims like the urban Punjabis did well but were not parochial like the Pathans or the Punjabis from north of Chenab river. They were viewed as politically more reliable by virtue of being an ethnic minority but were sidelined from higher ranks in most cases. The most glaring of all was the case of Major General Abrar Hussain who was not promoted despite outstanding war performance at Chawinda.Sahibzada Yaqub who later refused to agree to military action in East Pakistan was also a Hindustani Muslim. Yahya’s circle was not based on ethnicity on the principles of companionship. Thus Peerzada was from Bombay, while Umar and Hameed were Punjabis. Bilgrami another close associate was Hindustani. Lieutenant General Chishti described Yahya’s attitude towards selecting officers for higher command ranks the following words; “Do you see this. I told you, we do not need educated people in the Army” (Quoted by Lieut. Gen. F.A Chishti- Betrayals of Another Kind-Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti-Asia Publishing House-London-1989). It is not possible to cross check Chishti’s statement and it may be an exaggeration.Yahya however did promote some ex rankers and known Yes Men with extremely limited intellect like Tikka and Niazi. Chishti was not an ex ranker. His book on the Zia era is thought provoking and is compulsory reading for anyone who wishes to understand the post 1971 Pakistan Army. Chishti is one of the few generals from the Zia era who did not establish huge business empires like sons of the ex ISI Chief Akhtar Abdul Rahman etc. Chishti’s book contains valuable insights into the sycophantic nature of Zia!

12Page-407 & 408- Ayub Khan-Pakistan’s First Military Ruler –Altaf Gauhar-Sang –I-Meel Publications-Lahore-1993.Altaf Gauhar had the reputation of a “Sycophant Par Excellence” while serving with Ayub as “Information Secretary”. Gauhar a civil servant who had joined the coveted “Civil Service of Pakistan” without sitting in the Indian Civil Service Competitive Examination, having initially been inducted as a Finance Officer, was the man principally responsible as Ayub’s information man for destroying Pakistan’s free press. He was Yahya’s rival and harboured political ambitions. His biography of Ayub is a defence of his benefactor and an attempt to portray Ayub in a favourable light and one who was led astray by evil minded advisors like Bhutto who was again Gauhar’s rival in sycophancy with Ayub, and was far more talented than Guahar. Gauhar was instrumental in the personality assassination campaign of Ayub against Bhutto when Bhutto fell out with Ayub. Later when Bhutto became Prime Minister, Gauhar was booked under law and prosecuted for having the copy of an old “Play Boy” Magazine and half a bottle of Whiskey!

13Page-115-Brigadier A.R Siddiqi-Op Cit.

14This was in 1991 while this scribe was serving in the army and a letter from GHQ was circulated to all headquarters for comments on the proposal of having the appointment of supreme commander of the armed forces.

15Page-239-India and the United States-Estranged Democracies – Dennis Kux-National Defense University Press-Washington D.C-June 1993.

16Arms Trade Register-Arms Trade with Third World-Stockholm International Peace Research Institute- (SIPRI)-1975 and Page-120-Brig A.R Siddiqi-Op Cit.

17Page-148-Fazal Muqeem-Op Cit. It may be noted that during the 1965 war and immediately after cease fire two infantry battalions were raised and added to each existing infantry division. In addition soon after the war one infantry division and two independent infantry brigades wee raised. (Refers-Page-147-Ibid). A new corps headquarter i.e. 4 Corps Headquarters at Lahore was also raised

18Till 1965 East Pakistan was defended by a two brigade infantry division known as 14 Infantry Division. This division had no tank regiment.

19Page-106-Fazal Muqeem-Ibid. Lieutenant General Sahibzada Yaqub Khan was born in 1920 and commissioned in 1940 he served in the Middle East Theatre in WW Two where he saw action in North Africa and became a German/Italian prisoner of war like Sahibzada Yaqub Tikka and Yahya (who later successfully escaped) and later commanded 6 Lancers and 11 Cavalry. He graduated from Command and Staff College Quetta in 1949 and Ecole Superieure de Guerre, Paris and Imperial Defence College London later. Appointed the Vice-Chief of General Staff in 1958, Yaqub was at Staff College Quetta when the 1965 War started. He was sent to Headquarter 1 Corps in order to supply the Headquarters with badly needed Grey matter and was appointed the Deputy Corps Commander of 1 Corps. He later commanded the 1st Armoured Division and later appointed Corps Commander and Commander Eastern Command, from where he was sacked by Yahya in March 1971 following Yaqub’s refusal to carry out a military action against the population of East Bengal. Yaqub was later appointed as an ambassador of Pakistan to France was in February 1972 and to the USA in December 1973. He later served as Ambassador to the USSR in 1979-1980 and later as Foreign ministers during the Zia regime from 1980 to 1985. Yaqub was a Hindustani Pathan from Rohailkhand. His ancestors were Yusufzai Pathans, from the Kabul river valley of present NWF Province of Pakistan and had settled in Rohailkhand in modern UP in the 18th century. Yaqub was a fourth generation aristocrat from a family with considerable landed wealth. He was serving in Viceroy’s Bodyguard at the time of partition and later served with Mr. Jinnah as the first Pakistani Muslim Commandant of the Governor General’s Body guard. The unit is now known as President’s bodyguard and is now commanded by a lieutenant colonel.

20Ibid.

21Ismail was not as guilty as his corps commander i.e. Lieutenant General Bakhtiar Rana, but was penalised, and sacked. Ismail was sacked because of the Jassar Bridge crisis and replaced by Major General Tikka Khan as General Officer Commanding 15 Division on the afternoon of 8th September 1965. (Refers-Page-153-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit). Brigadier Sardar Ismail Khan was an Army Service Corps Officer and should not have been placed as an infantry division commander in the first place .It is a tribute to General Musa’s intellect that a non fighting arm officer from the services was acting divisional commander of one of the most crucial divisions of the Pakistan Army!

22Many were promoted despite known military incompetence in the 1965 war at brigade level. These included one Brigadier Bashir. Bashir was commanding the 5 Armoured Brigade of the 1st Armoured Division in Khem Karan area in the 1965 War, and was responsible for its poor handling on 7th 8th and 9th September. Gul a seasoned armour officer squarely condemned Bashir for inefficiency and inaction as commander 5 Armoured Brigade. Gul described Bashir’s conduct as that of one who had “drifted into stupour”, one who was not in command of his faculties, and one who did not prod his staff into action! (Refers-Page-214-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit). Gul highlighted the deficiencies in Bashir and expressed wonder as to why a career officer who had served as an instructor at the command and Staff College performed so poorly! (See Page-210-Ibid). Bashir was a Kaimkhani Rajput from Rajhastan and had attended the Army War Course in 1964. (Page-35– National Defence College-Rawalpindi-Alumni Directory—Research Cell-National Defence College-Rawalpindi-May 1992) It appeared that Bashir had a good rapport with Yahya and Hamid and survived the Khem Karan fiasco. He became a major general and commanded the 6th Armoured Division, the newly raised 23 Division and the newly raised 37 Division. Bashir was retired in 1972 by Tikka since he was perceived as one close to Yahya. He became a Minister in the Zia era. Lieutenant General Yusuf presently serving in the GHQ is a relation of Bashir.

23Page-395- The Indian Armour-History of the Indian Armoured Corps-1941-1971–Major General Gurcharan Singh Sandhu-Vision Books-Delhi-1994.

24Page-203-Shaukat Riza-1965 War –Op Cit.

25Pages-116 & 117-Brig A .R Siddiqi-Op Cit.

26Page-67-The Pakistan Army-1966-1971–Major General Shaukat Riza (Retired)–Wajid Ali’s Private Limited-Lahore-Services Book Club-1990. This was the last book in Shaukat Riza’s trilogy. The book is poorly written but extremely valuable in terms of basic facts about organisation, order of battle, and names of commander’s etc. It has occasional flashes of insight, which came to Shaukat Riza, and which escaped the simpleton and pedantic although extremely narrow scrutiny of the pedants in the Military Intelligence Directorate, though relatively infrequently. The readers may note that all articles published in the army journals are vetted in some manner by the Military Intelligence Directorate. The book is not reliable in terms of battle accounts, has extremely poor battle maps and does not even give the total casualties of the army. However, due allowance must be given to the author who was not in the prime of his health and was forced to write the book according to the GHQ’s myopic and petty requirements.

27 Page-66-Ibid.

28 This is the standard practice in units, headquarter and schools of instruction. The clerical staffs are such experts that they bring a Solomon’s Solution based on an old letter written in a similar situation, as DFA (Draft for Approval) and the concerned officer signs it with minor alterations! I am sure that the Indians must be operating similarly!

29Page-67-Shaukat Riza-1966-1971-Op Cit.

30Page-111-Fazal Muqeem Khan-Op Cit.

31Page-121-Brig A.R Siddiqi-Op Cit.

32The East wingers viewed everyone from the West Wing as a Punjabi. Punjabi was more of a term to describe all non-East Pakistanis or to be more precise all non-Bengalis. It may be noted that Ayub who ruled the country from 1958-1969 was not a Punjabi, nor was Yahya, nor Bhutto, who was later accused by many to be the principal culprit in 1971 of creating the political crisis which finally led to the March 1971 military crackdown in East Pakistan and finally the 1971 war.

33See Page-136- Sher Ali –Op Cit, for the development of the strategy “defence of East Pakistan lies in West Pakistan”. In 1963 the Bengali representation in the army was just 7.4% in the rank and file and 5.0% in the officer corps. (Refers-Government of Pakistan, National Assembly of Pakistan,Debates,March 8, 1963 as reported on pages-30 & 31- Pakistan Observer- Dacca-Issue dated 27 June 1964.

34The “One Unit” was an absurd administrative arrangement legalised in the 1956 constitution and resented by the smaller provinces of West Pakistan. “One Unit” meant the concentration of the previously four provinces, states and territories into one huge monster of a province known as West Pakistan disregarded the huge differences between the old provinces/territories/states in terms of ethnicity language social and cultural differences and distribution of resources. The “One Unit” was viewed as an instrument of imposing Punjabi domination on the population wise old smaller provinces/states/regions/commissionerates of Sind Baluchistan NWFP Bahawlpur etc.

35Page-104-Pakistan-The Enigma of Political Development – Lawrence Ziring—William Dawson and Sons –Kent –England—1980.

36Page-9- Witness to Surrender – Siddiq Salik—First Published—1977—Third Impression-Oxford University Press-Karachi-1998.

37Siddiq Salik has dealt with the issue in considerable detail and has described Yahya’s final compromise decision of, mixing Bengalis with West Pakistani troops in existing infantry battalions and also raising more purely Bengali battalions of the East Bengal Regiment, as the decision of an indecisive commander. Salik says that Yahya ordered raising of two more battalions (Refers Pages-9 & 10-Siddiq Salik-Op Cit) but Shaukat Riza states that Yahya ordered raising of three more battalions (Refers Page-79-Shaukat Riza-1966-1971-Op Cit). This as per Shaukat Riza happened “some time in 1970” (all praise to staff officers who assisted Shaukat in terms of preciseness of simple facts like dates!!!!!). (Refers-Ibid.).

38The reader must note that Shaukat and Siddiq Salik criticised Yahya’s decision to raise more pure Bengali units with the benefit of hindsight; i.e. Salik doing it eight years after the war and Shaukat leisurely doing so some twenty years later. I remember as a school student in the period 1969-70 in Quetta where my father was a grade two staff officer of operations in the 16 Division in Quetta, that even schoolchildren (most of them being sons of army officers, Quetta being a very large garrison town) used to joke about Bengalis, bragging that one Punjabi/Pathan was equal to ten Bengalis! This was common thinking at that time and what was later branded as Yahya’s blunder, much later after the 1971 fiasco, was an indisputable assertion believed as a common fact in 1970 ! The foreign reader may note that Bengalis were despised as a non martial race from the British times . For Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s anti Bengali views see Page-308-Aligarh’s First Generation – David Lelyveld- Oxford University Press-New Delhi-1978 . For I.H Qureshi’s views see Page-28-Ethnicity and politics in Pakistan-Dr Feroz Ahmad-Oxford University Press-Karachi-1999. For Ayub’s remarks see Page-187-Friends not Masters- Ayub Khan-Oxford University Press-Karachi-1967.

39See Chapter One-Pages-31 to 62- A Layman’s Guide to Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis—Eric Berne-Penguin Books-England-Reprinted-1984.

40 Page-Story of My Struggle- Major General Tajammul Hussain Malik (Retired) – Jang Publishers-Lahore-1990.

41Page-80-Shaukat Riza-1966-1971-Op Cit.

42Pages-108 & 109-Brig A.R Siddiqi-Op Cit.

43Footnote on page-78-General Tajammul-Op Cit.

44The inhabitants of areas south of Ambala in Indian Punjab and till Indian Bihar inclusive in the east and till the southern boundaries of modern UP Province of India were referred to as Hindustanis. The bulk of these were Hindus but Muslim Ranghars (also in Hindustani category) and Hindustani Muslims of mostly Pathan descent were predominant in the pre 1857 Bengal Army’s cavalry, which as an arm was far smaller than the much larger infantry. It was this Bengal Army (it had no Bengali soldiers, Bengal only being an administrative classification since the entire area from Burma till the Afghan border till 1858 was known as the Bengal Presidency) which had rebelled in 1857. In addition there were two smaller armies of the Bombay and Madras Presidencies known as the Madras and Bombay armies. These armies had stayed loyal. In 1895 all three armies were merged into one British Indian army.

45See chapter Five, “Pakistan Army Till 1965”–Major Agha Humayun Amin (Retired) –Strategicus and Tacticus –Lahore-17 August 1999. Also, page-7, “Recruiting in India Before and during the War of 1914-1918 “-Army Headquarters, India, 1919. Also see page-Pages-51 & 58- India and World War One-S.D Pradhan –Columbia University Press-1978. There are no exact figure about the ethnicity of fighting arms in 1914. Pradhan places the figure of ethnically Punjabi soldiers at about 50%. These were roughly assessed from the approximate statistics of 1096 infantry companies out of which 431 were wholly Punjabi and 221 were partly Punjabi, and 155 total squadrons of cavalry out of which 95.5 were wholly Punjabi and 47.5 were partly Punjabi.

46Lord Roberts a Bengal Artillery officer who served as C in C of the Madras Army from 1881 to 1885 and the Bengal Army (which meant that he was also C in C India) from 1885 to 1893 was one of the principal exponents of this theory. Roberts was in favour of recruiting the Punjabis and Pathans over Hindustanis who were the vast bulk of the Bengal Army at least as late as 1885 when Roberts became C in C of the Bengal Army. Roberts rationalised his anti Hindustani bias by theorising that the Hindustanis had degenerated as a result of the benefits of the British rule and : not enough adversity. Pages-441 & 442-Forty One Years in India-Volume Two –Lord Roberts- William Bentley and Son-1897. Roberts policy of Punjabising the Indian Army was followed by his successors i.e Creagh Kitchener etc till WW One.

47Page–314, A Matter of Honour–Philip Mason, Jonathan Cape–London-1974.

48Page-11-The Indian Army and the King’s Enemies-1900-1947–Charles Chenevix Trench-Printed in German-1988.

49Page-10-Report of the Special Commission appointed by His Excellency the Governor General in Council to enquire into the Organisation and Expenditure of the Army in India – Simla – Government of India Printing Press-1879.

50Page-442-Philip Mason-Op Cit. The layman reader may note that the Pathans had wavered in terms of loyalty to the British once fighting against the Muslim Turks and Germans; with many Tribal area Pathan soldiers defecting to the German lines in France (Page-418 & 425-Ibid), the Turkish lines in Mesopotamia and Egypt/Palestine and some units which even attacked British officers like the 130 Baluchis (Refers-Page- 427-Ibid)

51Page- 426-Ibid.

52Map on page-96–Report of Indian Statutory Commission-Volume One-Calcutta–Government of India–Publication Branch– 1930.

53Page- 349- Fidelity and Honour – Lieut Gen S.L Menezes – Viking- Penguin Books India-New Delhi – 1983. Pages – 514 & 515 – Philip Mason – Op Cit. Page-

54Page-210- Making of Pakistan: The Military Perspective – Noor ul Haq – National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research–Islamabad-Pakistan–1993. Major part of this book is based on the book mentioned in the next footnote, however relatively speaking the author has made a commendable effort in doing some very interesting research about the recruitment policies of the British. The book however suffers from the harm inflicted by Fazal Muqeem once he most fallaciously declared that there were no all-Muslim units in the British Indian Army. A statement which was erroneously accepted first by Cohen the American writer, and later by many more like Noor ul Haq (See page-8-Ibid) as the gospel truth.

55Appendix –16- Expansion of Armed Forces and Defence Organisation-1939-1945–S.N Prasad and Dharm Pal-Combined Inter Services Historical Section-India and Pakistan-1956.

56Appendix-13-Ibid.

57This myth has the status of being the gospel truth in Pakistan till to date, although the 1971 War and the relatively poor performance in 1965 war did slightly deflate this myth. After 1971 the army’s stature was slightly reduced but soon Mr Bhutto gave the army a chance to improve its self-image by employment against the Baloch Muslims in the 1974-77 insurgency. The army’s inflated image got a further boost when US aid started flowing inside Pakistan after the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The Kargill Operation launched in 1999 was a manifestation of this myth. A major general, a certain Jamshed writing in Dawn Daily in May 2000 asserted that the Pakistani Muslims were more martial than the Indians were. Reference is made to Muslims being more martial than all infidels, but the ulterior meaning always is that the Punjabi or Pathan Muslims are more martial!

58Footnote-25-Page-187– Cohen/Indian Army Op Cit.

59Page-7, Brigadier A.R Siddiqi, Op Cit. Jinnah made a historic speech on the occasion of the raising of the 1st Battalion of the East Bengal Regiment. Jinnah thus said “During the foreign regime you were classed as non martial. It is your own country, your own state now and it is up to you to prove your worth”. (Refers-Ibid). Ayub Khan who took over as C in C in 1951 reversed the policy of Mr Jinnah and no further battalion of the East Bengal Regiment was raised till 1966. Thus the Pakistan Army remained a Punjabi dominated army . The infantry’s regiments i.e the largest Punjab regiment was more than 65% Punjabi, the remaining being Pathans or Ranghars (Rajput Muslims from East Punjab/Hariana and previously a sub category of Hindustani Muslims of the pre 1947 British Indian Army). The “Baluch” and “Frontier Force” Regiment also being West Pakistani with a 60% Punjabi majority in the “Baluch” regiment and a “Pathan-Punjabi ” parity in the “Frontier Force” Regiment. The Azad Kashmir regiment of the post 1971 war, which was known before 1971 as the “Azad Kashmir Regimental Force” or the “AKRF” was also almost hundred percent Punjabi with the bulk of troops being from the Punjabi speaking districts of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir known as “Azad Kashmir” in Pakistan. The other arms like artillery engineers services etc were also Punjabi dominated. The armoured corps (tank corps) was roughly divided into one-third Ranghar Muslims and about 40% Punjabi Muslims and about 30% Pathans. However, some Bengalis were introduced as a small percentage in the 1960s. The recruitment to all infantry and tank regiments was governed by fixed class quotas of “Muslim Sindhi and Baluchi or MS & B” under which all Ranghars were enrolled, “Punjabi Muslim or PM” and “Pathan Muslims or Ptn”. Even promotion of the “Other Ranks” i.e all rank and file other than officers was governed by class quotas. Much later in 1980-81 the “Sindh Regiment” of infantry was raised. The Sindh regiment was largely Punjabi but from 1989 the Sindhi Muslim proportion was increased and brought to figures varying battalion wise from 15 to 50%. The junior most infantry unit i.e the “NLI or Northern Light Infantry” was recruited from men of the Gilgit and Skardu Regions of the Federally Administered Northern Areas. The NLI’s origins dates from the 1971 war and it became a regular battalion of infantry in 1998-99. It is almost wholly recruited from the “Northern Areas” which are inhabited by a racial/ethnic group totally different from the Punjabis or Pathans.

60 The reader may note that Ayub ordered destruction of all documents pertaining to his war performance in Burma after he became the Pakistan Army C in C in January 1951. Ayub was C in C till 1958 and President of Pakistan and supreme commander of the armed forces from 1958 till 1969 and thus it was no problem for him to remove all documents that proved his tactical timidity in Burma. However there are other sources that prove that Ayub’s war record was not very illustrious in Burma. Joginder Singh who was his unit officer in the 1930s says that Ayub used to visit his house in 1944 and was not considered fit enough to command a battalion of his parent “Punjab Regiment”. (Refers-Page-30-Behind the Scene-An Analysis of India’s Military Operations-1941-1971-Major General Joginder Singh (Retired)-Lancer International –Delhi-1993). As per Sardar Shaukat Hayat who was an officer in WW One having been commissioned from Indian Military Academy Dera Dun in August 1936.Shaukat states that he met Major General Reese who at that time was commanding the Punjab Boundary Force in 1947. Reese had been Ayub’s General Officer Commanding in Burma and in 1947 was assisting Reese again as Pakistan Army representative. Reese thus told Shaukat; “Shaukat, whatever has come over your people, that against the fine soldier that India has selected to represent their country on the Boundary force, you have selected a man whom I had sent back from Burma when he showed tactical timidity, after the death of his commanding officer? He was therefore posted to the training command in India. How do you expect him to be of any assistance to you, and how could I learn to depend on his wisdom after what he had done in the past? “(Refers- page-182-The Nation that lost its Soul”-Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan-Jang Publishers-Lahore-1995. Sher Ali cited Messervy the first

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