Pakistan Historical Military History of Pakistan


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This Thread shall contain all the discussions relating to the Military History of Pakistan which shall include conflicts in which Pakistan was involved in. Discussions on those conflicts, news pieces and analysis and excerpts from various materials, shall be the central point and we can also discuss on what could have happened and should have happened as long as such an analysis is mature in its content.


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The aim of writing this article is to rebut Indians, Pakistani pseudo-intellectuals and liberals who often spew venom against the armed forces of Pakistan. Some people in Pakistan promote false narratives as part of a sustained campaign against armed forces while referring to wars with India. Let us have a look at the wars fought by Pakistan with India.

Kashmiris declared their independence and accession to Pakistan on October 24, 1947. On October 27, India landed its troops in Srinagar which resulted in Kashmiri freedom fighters and tribesmen to take up arms for the purpose of delaying advancing enemy forces. In Gilgit, the Gilgit Scouts and Muslim officers of six Jammu and Kashmir battalions liberated the entire region. In January 1948, five Pakistani brigades halted and fought back an Indian offensive by twelve brigades (4 division) in Azad Kashmir. On December 30, 1948 India went to the UN and a ceasefire was agreed upon January 1, 1949. In April 1965, the Indian army intruded the Pakistani area of Rann of Kutch with a large force. The Pakistan army’s counter attack on April 9 gave a humiliating blow to the Indians as they were thrown out of the Rann of Kutch.

Operation Gibraltar’ was launched to relieve pressure in the north failed after which ‘Operation Grand Slam’ was launched on September 1 on the axis Bhimbar-Chamb-Akhnur to avert the threat on Muzaffarabad. By September 5, 1965 the Pakistan army captured all area up to Jurian, 6-8 miles across the ceasefire line, and was poised to capture Akhnur. At the dawn of September 6, 1965, without a formal declaration of war, the Indian army crossed the international border and attacked Lahore and Kasur—an attack repulsed by the Pakistani army.

Subsequently, in September, a Pakistani armoured and mechanised formation overran Khem Karan—eight miles inside the Indian territory. 350 Indians surrendered in Khem Karan. In Sialkot, the Indian main effort was towards the east. Chowinda defences withstood the onslaught and here the greatest battle of tanks, since World War II, was fought. Pakistan destroyed 45 Indian tanks. India opened another front after capturing the Gadra post in the south, and All India Radio announced that the country is making rapid progress towards Hyderabad. The ground reality was such that the Pakistani forces captured Munabao followed by Roheri, Punchla and Shakarbuets. During the seventeen day war, Pakistan captured 1617 square miles of Indian territory and 20 officers, 19 JCOs and 569 soldiers were taken as Prisoners of War (POW). According to Lt General Harbaksh Singh, the Indian Western Army Commander, “Pakistan’s gamble in the Chhamb sector came to within an ace of success”. According to his book, ‘Missed Opportunity’, Pakistan’s offensive plan against Akhnur was both bold and tactically sound.

The Time Magazine’s correspondent, Louis Karran, wrote on September 22, 1965, “Who can defeat a nation which knows to play hide and seek with death? Playing with fire for these men from the Jawan to General Officer Commanding was like playing with marbles on the streets.” Roy Meloni of American Broadcasting Corporation wrote on September 15, 1965, “I have been a journalist now for 20 years and want to go on the record to say that I have never seen a more confident and victorious group of soldiers then those fighting for Pakistan right now”. An Australian newspaper carried the lead story on September 11, 1965, ‘Pakistani Victory. Huge losses on both sides’. The Guardian’s journalist, Peter Preston, wrote on September 24, 1965, “One thing that I am convinced of is that Pakistan, morally and even physically, won the air battle against immense odds.”

The performance of the Pakistan Navy was also exemplary when it destroyed the Indian radar in the coastal city of Dwarka in Gujrat. India’s own official history of the war published in 2013 confirmed how poorly their army and air force performed during the 1965 war. Now, India is rewriting the 1965 war history on the instruction of the BJP. During the 1965 war, India had three times the strength in terms of numbers when it comes to the army, air force and navy.

1971 war was a dark year in our history and there were a number of factors which led to the fall of Dhaka. East Pakistan was surrounded on three sides by Indian territory and in the south by the Bay of Bengal. A battalion of the Pakistan army was dispersed, on average, over 400 square miles. Most of them were reduced to regular platoons and the total strength of the Pakistani forces was a mere 33000. The attack came when Pakistan’s army was still on the move to battle locations. The Indian strength was 4 lac troops with full support of 5 lac Mukti Bahinis, trained and equipped by India. The Indian forces invaded East Pakistan on November 21, 1971 on 20 fronts on the day of Eid-Ul-Fitr. Our Ghazis and Shaheed fought against all odds embodying the spirit of Jihad. However, due to political crisis, insurgency and the Indian invasion, Dhaka fell on December 16, 1971.

According to Indian army Chief General Manekshaw, “The Pakistan army in East Pakistan fought very gallantly but they had no chance, they were thousands of miles away from the base. I had 8 to 9 months of preparation, I had at most a 50:1 advantage, they had no chance but they fought very gallantly”. The legendary pilot Chuck Yeager said, “This air force (PAF) is second to none. Pakistan scored a three to one kill ratio knocking out 102 Russian made jets and losing 34 airplanes of their own”. According to Roeded Khan, former civil servant, the three key players which led to the fall of Dhaka were Yahya Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Sheikh Mujeeb. It was bound to happen as it was not possible to run a country 1000 miles away. Sarmila Bose in her book, Dead Reckning, writes, “Many facts had been embellished, fictionalised, distorted and cloaked”. To counter Indian offensive attacks in East Pakistan, a plan to capture Chhamb was launched in West Pakistan under the leadership of Major General Eftikhar. General Eftikhar, in a bold move, captured Chhamb and Chak Pandit on December 7, 1971 and his move surprised Indians when his forces crossed the eastern side of River Tawi. His sudden death brought a sudden end to all operations east of River Tawi. Chhamb, now under Pakistan’s control, was named as Eftikharabad after General Eftikhar.

In 1984, through ‘Operation Meghdoot’, India landed its troops on three passes of the Saltoro ridge west of Siachen glacier in a large airborne operation. Pakistan reacted fast and deployed its forces to the three passes along the Saltoro Range. Pakistan also succeeded in establishing one of the highest post Conway Saddle (6032 meter) at the junction of the Karakoram and Saltoro Range. Pakistan also controls Sia Kangri located adjacent to Conway Saddle, close to Gasherbrums. Sia Kangri overlooks the Baltoro Glacier to the west and Chinese territory to the north and Indra Col, Sia la, Siachen Glacier to its east and south east respectively. In exercise ‘Trident’ during 1987, India had planned a three division attack on Skardu on February 8, 1987 and then Gilgit. Pakistan got the intelligence and moved its troops in the region because of which India cancelled the operation. During the Kargil war, Pakistan caught the Indians by their throat. The Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway was only 2 to 3 kilometres and Drass, 5 kilometres away. The Indian army failed to capture most of the important heights from the Pakistan army as their gains amounted to just ten percent.

Pakistan’s army still enjoys strategic supremacy in the Kargil sector where it still dominates India’s main supply route to Ladakh and Siachen. In response to Balakot tree strikes on February 26, 2019, the very next day, the Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian jets and captured the pilot wing commander Abhinandan. I have written this article to expose the falsehood of narratives supported by those speaking ill of Pakistan’s armed forces based on misplaced perception. We are proud of the valour and sacrifices of the men of armed forces for the defence of the country.

Masud Ahmad Khan

The writer is a retired brigadier and freelance columnist.

Posted on the following link\



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an excerpt from the works of Agha Amin. A fascinating read one most will not like. @Joe Shearer @Kaptaan @Nilgiri @Yankeestani @VCheng

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 thesecond volume of the Two Volume history of PakistanArmy and covers Pakistan Army from 1965 till 2000.

The finest summarising of the incalculable qualitative harm inflicted on the Pakistan Army, by the self-promoted FieldMarshal of peace, by a contemporary, was done by Major
General Fazal I Muqeem, when he described the state ofaffairs of the Pakistan Army during the period 1958-71; inthe 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


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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
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


Think Tank Analyst
100 1,891
Nation of residence
Nation of origin
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


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.
















1 7

DIV Peshawar Part of 2



Division to

Support 1


Div Operations




2 8


Sialkot. 1

Corps Part of 1


Defence of


Bulge. Under 1


3 10


Lahore 1

Corps Part of 4


Defence of


Corridor. Part

of 4 Corps

4 11

DIV Ditto Part of 4


5 12



s In Murree Defence of

Azad Kashmir

6 14



Pakistan Defence of

East Pakistan

7 15

DIV Sialkot Part of 1


Defence of


Sector.Under 1


8 1 Multan 1 Part of 2 Strategic




Corps Corps.


ned at


2 Corps.






Kharian 1

Corps Part of 1




ned at


1 Corps.

10 9






d at


by 1968.

Airlifted to

E.Pak in March













12 17





by 1968.


To support 6





13 18


Raised at

Hyderabad in



defence of 560

miles area

from Rahimyar

Khan to Rann

of Katch.

14 23


Raised at

Jhelum in

June-July 1971

for Chhamb-

Dewa Sector

previously in

area of 12


15 33


Raised in



Division of 2

Corps later

split between


Bulge and

Sindh in the


16 37


Raised in Dec-

71 Jan-72.

The table of raisings above is self-explanatory.


Think Tank Analyst
100 1,891
Nation of residence
Nation of origin
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
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
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
The Indian Army of 1971 was much larger than the Indian
Army of 1965!


Think Tank Analyst
100 1,891
Nation of residence
Nation of origin
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.
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!


Think Tank Analyst
100 1,891
Nation of residence
Nation of origin
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-

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


Think Tank Analyst
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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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what i love about Agha Amin is that he doesnt mince words nor does he shy away from the truth, a quality i have seen rarely in our region as most either get blinded by patriotism or fear of being branded a traitor, start writing rubbish.


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what i love about Agha Amin is that he doesnt mince words nor does he shy away from the truth, a quality i have seen rarely in our region as most either get blinded by patriotism or fear of being branded a traitor, start writing rubbish.
Good read bro


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what i love about Agha Amin is that he doesnt mince words nor does he shy away from the truth, a quality i have seen rarely in our region as most either get blinded by patriotism or fear of being branded a traitor, start writing rubbish.

Will have to come back to it after a skim through. I appreciate his frank take on the matters at hand too.

Wonder if he is distant relation to Panzerkiel heh.


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what i love about Agha Amin is that he doesnt mince words nor does he shy away from the truth, a quality i have seen rarely in our region as most either get blinded by patriotism or fear of being branded a traitor, start writing rubbish.
I agree about your comments about Agha Amin. About the ethnic make up of the military informed by the now discarded martial theory I wonder how the other splinter of the erstwhile BIA - the Indian Army fared. With a democratic rule over 70 plus years and no 'meddling' does the modern Indian Army REFLECT the ethnic composition of India or is New Delhi also despite big talk still practicing martial theory even when it claims otherwise? I ask because I notice conspicous numbeer of Sikh turbans in the Indian Army despite making 2.5% of the population.

I mean seven decades and then some years is enough time to undo the British era marital theory.


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I agree about your comments about Agha Amin. About the ethnic make up of the military informed by the now discarded martial theory I wonder how the other splinter of the erstwhile BIA - the Indian Army fared. With a democratic rule over 70 plus years and no 'meddling' does the modern Indian Army REFLECT the ethnic composition of India or is New Delhi also despite big talk still practicing martial theory even when it claims otherwise? I ask because I notice conspicous numbeer of Sikh turbans in the Indian Army despite making 2.5% of the population.

I mean seven decades and then some years is enough time to undo the British era marital theory.

I think the contention was doing it on religious basis. The so called mard-e-momin complex. British never did that. British Army units were overall fairly composed of the area's religions they were drawn from.

Secondly, it takes long time to undo both the duration and intensity of british rule (institutional predisposition) and the geographic location of areas to facing invasions in the immediate context of note that take their imprint for a number of generations.

Also I wouldn't say for example the poles are non-martial simply because of 1939...if you give proper context to things like the hussars, things make more sense....what were the circumstances of history when areas reached their warrior psyche must be understood.

Given the sheer contempt Julius had for the barbarians past the rhine and the ease with which he burned their villages and scattered their fighters....would he have been able to imagine their later thalassocracy under the Vikings? Very doubtful.


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Secondly, it takes long time to undo both the duration and intensity of british rule (institutional predisposition) and the geographic location of areas to facing invasions in the immediate context of note that take their imprint for a number of generations.
Let me be blunt. Indian Army 2020 is by practice if not by claim applying the bias or otherwise [call it martial theory] of the British. Sikhs form a massive block despite being a tinmy 2.5% and then there is the Gurkhas. The British use them as cheap cannon fodder but why India with it's humongous population of 1.4 billion and rampant poverty needs foreigners or a 0.01% of it's population to form brigades is nothing but a reflection of the pre 1947 bias.

In short Pakistan Army is probably more reflective of Pakistan's population profile then Indian Army which appears to rely on outlier populations whereas Pak Army relies more on it's core population.

"As MIT-based scholar Omar Khalidi argues in his Khaki and the Ethnic Violence in India (Three Essays, Delhi, 2003), the army embraced the discredited colonial "martial races" theory which favoured certain "Fixed Classes" like Gorkhas and Sikhs in recruitment."


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Let me be blunt. Indian Army 2020 is by practice if not by claim applying the bias or otherwise [call it martial theory] of the British. Sikhs form a massive block despite being a tinmy 2.5% and then there is the Gurkhas. The British use them as cheap cannon fodder but why India with it's humongous population of 1.4 billion and rampant poverty needs foreigners or a 0.01% of it's population to form brigades is nothing but a reflection of the pre 1947 bias.

In short Pakistan Army is probably more reflective of Pakistan's population profile then Indian Army which appears to rely on outlier populations whereas Pak Army relies more on it's core population.

"As MIT-based scholar Omar Khalidi argues in his Khaki and the Ethnic Violence in India (Three Essays, Delhi, 2003), the army embraced the discredited colonial "martial races" theory which favoured certain "Fixed Classes" like Gorkhas and Sikhs in recruitment."

Ah I see, the gorkhas are foreigners. Interesting. @Joe Shearer


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Ah I see, the gorkhas are foreigners
I believe they are Nepali. The British Army has a Brigade of Gurkhas and I don't think they go to India to recruit them. I read a article by a British Gurkha officer who says when his unit was posted as Buckingham Palace guards all the vistors wondered "why are the Japanese guarding the British Queen".


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I believe they are Nepali. The British Army has a Brigade of Gurkhas and I don't think they go to India to recruit them. I read a article by a British Gurkha officer who says when his unit was posted as Buckingham Palace guards all the vistors wondered "why are the Japanese guarding the British Queen".

TBH, when we think Nepal/Nepali...."foreigner" is not the first thing that comes to our mind...actually it barely registers in how we see them.

India and Nepal have special open-border +mutual residency relationship like exists nowhere in the world for a reason.

This is also (for sake of argument).... ignoring the large number of Nepalese tribes that are Indians and live in India (a reason Nepali is an official language of India).

Joe knows them quite well. Let us see what he has to say.


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The aim of writing this article is to rebut Indians, Pakistani pseudo-intellectuals and liberals who often spew venom against the armed forces of Pakistan. Some people in Pakistan promote false narratives as part of a sustained campaign against armed forces while referring to wars with India. Let us have a look at the wars fought by Pakistan with India.

Time, luckily, for all of us, moves only forward. While I can understand all the effort put into understanding the history of the Pak Fauj, there is simply no way to justify what it has become in the present, and its inability to change back into working within its Constitutional mandates in the future that must be the focus of attention.
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