Analyzing Fathe’ mubeen: The untold story of ’65 war By Waseem Altaf

Discussion in 'Military History' started by DFI_COAS, Sep 8, 2015.


    DFI_COAS Regular Member

    Jul 18, 2015
    Likes Received:

    Buzdil Dushman, raat ki tareeqi, achanak hamla, Dushman kay napak azayem, Kufr aur Islam ki jang, Seesa pilai deewa, BRB, Jallo, Pathankot, Halwara, Khemkaran, Chawinda, Dwarka, tanko’n ki Jang, seenon pay bum, Sabz kapron walay, Sabre, Hunter, M.M Alam Major Aziz Bhatti, Malika-e-tarannum, Ghazi, Shaheed, Shikast-e-fash, Fathe mubeen------- is the key terminology through which the misadventure is summarized in our official jargon.
    The high-powered expressions and imagery is woven into self- satisfying fables and hollow jihadi rhetoric, which is presumed to inspire us after half a century and make us believe that it was a war initiated by India, which we won, and India lost.
    For many years September 6, the defense of Pakistan day was a public holiday celebrated with great fervor, with exhibitions of military hardware and live exercises at various racecourse grounds. Although this has been discontinued for some years now, public functions are still held, with special flag hoisting in some cities, change of guards, laying floral wreaths on the graves of those who died in the war. Similarly, special programs on radio and TV are broadcast with newspapers publishing special supplements filled with army-sponsored ads and specially tailored articles engineered by the Inter Services public relations (ISPR) --- army’s media arm.
    While it is pleasurable for many, listening to stories of great adventure, songs of Madam Nur Jehan, and ex-post facto narratives; what actually happened in 1965 remains quite shrouded in mystery, barring a couple of memoirs and some independent studies which give us an insight.

    No inquiry commission could ever be constituted to probe the causes and conduct of war, while fantastic jihadi rhetoric galore. Let us see what actually transpired on ground:-
    Our official narrative begins with September 6 when Indian army under the cover of darkness, crossed the international border and invaded our territory catching us completely off guard; what happened prior to it is generally considered insignificant. However, what remains significant is that we had a part-time Supreme Commander of the armed forces while General Musa Khan, the Commander-in-Chief was a loyalist and an incompetent soldier. With this quality of leadership, we went into a full-scale war with a formidable foe.
    It all started in March 1965 with Pakistani troop incursion into Runn of Kutch; a barren territory in the Indian state of Gujrat. In September 2009, Major General Mahmud Ali Durrani, in a TV interview supported the Indian position that Pakistan started the “intrusions” into Indian Territory in March-April 1965.
    Emboldened by a “weak” Indian response and some minor gains in the Runn of Kuch, it was presumed that similar incursions would also work in Indian Kashmir where majority of the population would rise in revolt against the Indian forces leading to a capture of the disputed territory. Hence, “Operation Gibraltar” was launched on August 5, 1965 when around 30,000 Pakistan army regulars disguised as Kashmiri locals infiltrated the Indian side of Kashmir. As war broke out between regular armies, Indian forces captured Haji Pir Pass, eight kilometers inside Pakistan territory.
    On September 1, 1965, Pakistan launched “Operation Grand Slam” named after Goldfinger the James Bond movie, to capture Akhnoor -a vital town inside Kashmir.
    However, it was not a Hollywood thriller and the move failed along with “Operation Grand Slam”. It is also said that right in the middle of the battle Ayub Khan withdrew command from General Akhtar Hussain Malik and gave it over to General Yahya Khan, who took 30 hours to take charge, which gave ample time to the Indians to regroup and consolidate their positions, hence effectively opposing an offensive led by General Yahya Khan. It is also interesting to note that the same Kashmiri populace on which our decision makers were banking for indigenous support provided the Indian security forces with vital intelligence leading to the capture and complete liquidation of the infiltrators.

    As Indian forces were stressed inside Kashmir, it was imperative for India to open up a new front along the Punjab border, further south to relieve the pressure on its troops in Kashmir, a fact that Pakistan’s military leadership failed to recognize. As generally propagated that Indian attack was a total surprise, the facts speak otherwise.
    On September 4, 1965, Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi Mian Arshad Hussain sent a cipher message to Foreign Office that India was planning to launch an attack on Pakistan, yet the message was suppressed by Bhutto and Aziz Ahmad and was not submitted to the President as required under the rules.
    At 4 o’clock in the morning on September 6, an Air Force officer informed General Ayub Khan about the Indian advance towards Lahore. General Musa Khan, the Commander-in-chief had no knowledge of the Indian offensive.
    September 6 onwards, the ISPR began sending highly exaggerated and false stories to radio Pakistan. Simultaneously large bands of tribesmen from the NWFP were invited by GHQ to proceed towards Lahore border to provide support to the men on the front. The tribesmen looted whatever shops came their way along the route but the administration conveniently ignored it. These men were later sent back as they could only have fought in a hilly terrain and were proving to be a nuisance.
    Early morning on September 6, India’s XI corps launched a three-pronged attack on Lahore. To contain the enemy advance all eight bridges on the BRBD canal were blown up. Pakistan’s 11 Div however did make headway in the East by capturing Khemkaran, a village inside Indian Territory. On the night of 7 and 8 September 1965, Indian 1st corps launched attack on Sialkot on two axes. However, Pakistan’s heavy artillery halted the advance. Tank battles ensued but ineffective use of armor on both sides ultimately resulted in a stalemate.
    In a meeting of secretaries and GHQ representatives held on 10 September, a decision was taken to examine Pakistan’s political objectives in the war and to prepare a paper; a task, which should have been done prior to initiating operation Gibraltar.
    In the same meeting discussion was also held as to which countries should be contacted for procurement of ordnance, spares, petroleum and aircraft- another job which should have been done before initiating the war.

    On the evening of September 11 Ayub was told by Secretary Defense that Iran and Turkey had refused to supply armor piercing ammunition. It was also found that GHQ was importing the wrong kind of ordnance i.e. highly explosive (HE), that was of no use.
    In the 17-day war, the air and naval forces of both the countries did not play a strategically significant role.
    Pakistan’s offensive by 1st Armored Div launched on September 11 on Khemkaran proved to be a total disaster when tanks got mired in fields inundated by the Indians. The GOC had no idea that he was using old survey maps. Hence, the First Armored Div failed to capitalize on the advances made by 11 Div; it also lost 100 tanks when the bulk of its strength was withdrawn. That was the collapse of Pakistan’s entire military strategy. The war was thus over for Pakistan.
    The war ended in a stalemate, with Pakistan failing to achieve its objectives either through operation Gibraltar or Grand Slam. In the central sectors of Lahore and Sialkot, it was a military standstill. The Indian army suffered 3,000 battlefield deaths, while Pakistan’s toll was 3,800. The Indian army was in possession of 710 square miles of Pakistan territory while the Pakistan army held 210 square miles of Indian land. The areas occupied by India were mainly in the fertile Sialkot, Lahore and Kashmir sectors, while Pakistani land gain was primarily desert area with some territory in Chhamb sector near Kashmir in the north.
    An independent study conducted by the Federal Research Division of the United States considered the war as militarily inconclusive; each side held prisoners and some territory belonging to the other. Losses were relatively heavy—on the Pakistani side, 20 aircraft, 200 tanks, and 3,800 troops. Pakistan's army had been able to withstand Indian pressure, but a continuation of the fighting would only have led to further losses and ultimate defeat for Pakistan.
    Pakistan initiated the war but gained nothing at the end despite heavy losses in men and material. It also lost its objective of occupying Kashmir. It was also proven beyond doubt that Pakistan could neither break the formidable Indian defenses nor it could carry out a lightening offensive against the Indian armed forces, and it could not engage in a conflict for long.

    One of the most far-reaching consequences of the war was the wide-scale economic slowdown in Pakistan. The cost of the 1965 war put an end to the impressive period of economic growth Pakistan had experienced during early 60's. Between 1964 and 1966, Pakistan's defense spending rose from 4.82% to 9.86% of GDP, putting tremendous strain on Pakistan's economy. By 1970–71, defense spending comprised a whopping 55.66% of government expenditure. Another negative consequence of the war was the growing resentment against the Pakistani government in East Pakistan, particularly for West Pakistan's obsession with Kashmir. Bengali leaders accused the Federal Government of not providing adequate security for East Pakistan during the conflict, even though large sums of money were extracted from the East to finance the war for Kashmir.
    We could have learned from our bluffs and blunders but the first thing we did was unpardonably criminal:-
    General K. M. Arif in “Khaki Shadows” writes:
    “In the immediate aftermath of the 1965 War “Pakistan suffered a loss of a different kind…Soon after the War the GHQ ordered all the formations and units of the Pakistan Army to destroy their respective war diaries and submit completed reports to this effect by a given date. This was an irreparable national loss, an intellectual suicide.”

    Like every year, this year also the main event to commemorate the 1965 war would take place at GHQ auditorium. Some glamorous artists and charged compares would be specially brought from Lahore and Karachi to amuse our officer corps, sitting stiff- necked, with blunt faces, occasionally appreciative and clapping when the “war heroes” would narrate ridiculous war stories. The officers’ wives would wipe tears in their eyes, as the camera would zoom in while the compares, through jihadi rhetoric would try to create an atmosphere of gloom for their compatriots and later a doomsday scenario for the enemy.
    The military officers and some select top ranking civilians together would witness the make belief audio-visual displays. They would also listen to fantastic stories, songs and narratives, which would be later shown on PTV and all other TV channels repeatedly to remind us of the “great sacrifices” of our saviors, the “great adventures” of 1965 war and the “heroes” who played their part in “saving” us.
    The grim reality remains that countries win wars yet pay a heavy price, we lost all and paid a heavy price, countries win wars and learn lessons we lost wars and learnt nothing.
    AbRaj, Bornubus, brational and 3 others like this.

    DFI_COAS Regular Member

    Jul 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
  4. blueblood

    blueblood Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Likes Received:
    In war, truth is the first casualty.
    Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC - 456 BC)

    This is applicable to every nation, every army and every soldier. Unfortunately, Pakistan's grand celebrations of lies and deception are at a completely different level than most of the world. This is something I never want to change. As an enemy it works well for me and my country.
  5. Bornubus

    Bornubus Chodi Bhakt & BJPig Hunter Senior Member

    Oct 13, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Dead Pakis - Lahore front,it's ironic that pakis consider 1965 as a great victory.


Share This Page