Pakistan’s Defence Day is a day of remembrance and honour, commemorating the remarkable sacrifices and unyielding resilience displayed by the Pakistani armed forces during the 1965 Indo-Pak War.
Wars are never the solution to any issue, yet after every small period, India and Pakistan broke out in response to minor inconveniences on the political or military front. In 1965, many reasons led to the war between the two countries. This blog post will discuss the reasons behind the 1965 war. It is a tribute to the stories of the brave soldiers who laid down their lives for the safety and security of their beloved homeland.
Historical Background of Indo-Pak’s 1965 War
There were several reasons behind the outbreak of this war:
- Kashmir Dispute: There were many reasons behind the initiation of war, but one of the prime reasons was the Kashmir issue. Kashmir was given the right to join India and Pakistan or remain independent at the time of independence. The Maharaja Hari Sikh, the emperor of Kashmir, first decided to remain free. As Kashmir was a Muslim-majority area with small Hindu population, there were chances of civil war among the inhabitants. To avoid civil war, Maharaja Hari Sikh decided to join India, but the Muslim majority wanted to opt for Pakistan. Since independence, this region has remained a disputed territory between India and Pakistan and a reason for inconvenience between India and Pakistan. In 1965, the primary cause of the war was tension over the region of Kashmir, which finally escalated into a full-scale war.
- Water Dispute: Another major factor was the dispute over sharing of river waters, particularly in the Indus River system. The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 had been signed to allocate water resources between the two countries, but disagreements and mistrust persisted.
- Border Incidents: There were frequent border skirmishes and incidents along Kashmir’s Line of Control (LoC). These clashes gradually escalated, leading to a broader conflict.
- International Factors: During the Cold War, India developed close ties with the Soviet Union, while Pakistan was aligned with the United States. It further complicated the situation, with both superpowers providing military assistance to their allies.
- Political factors: Internally, India and Pakistan were dealing with political instability. President Ayub Khan’s administration faced issues and criticism in Pakistan, while Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had just recently taken office in India. Despite solving issues that cause internal problems, we have seen that both Indian and Pakistani political parties initiate tension at the border to make the nation forget its primary issues. So, both administrations repeated the same process to hide their incompetence.
Significant Operations of the 1965 War
The Indo-Pak War of 1965 is remembered as a watershed historical event characterized by bravery, selflessness, and unyielding resolve. Certain operations came to light as turning points that influenced the overall story of this fight. This section will explore the details of these operations that guided Pakistan through this momentous conflict.
In 1965, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had a big challenge. The PAF pilots made history by being better in the air by acting swiftly and effectively against aggression intended to “capture Lahore and enjoy a cocktail party at the Gymkhana.”
After the first day, Indian planes attacked Sargodha, a city in Pakistan. The counterattack from the Pakistani side resulted in heavy losses, which India suffered at the hands of fighter pilots like MM Alam, who shot down five Indian planes in less than a minute, setting a record in air warfare and becoming a ‘flying ace’. The PAF’s full-scale operations on the first two days of the war destroyed 50 Indian aircraft.
Operation Dwarka, under the leadership of Commodore S.M. Anwar, stands as a testament to the Pakistan Navy’s valour. This operation, conducted on September 8, was the Pakistan Navy’s inaugural participation in the Indo-Pakistan wars. Its objective was to neutralize the radar station in Dwarka, which provided crucial guidance to Indian bombers. The operation was a resounding success, marking a historic moment for the Pakistan Navy.
The Battle of Chawinda is one of the largest tank battles since World War II. The Indian forces aimed to seize control of the Grand Trunk Road and the Sialkot-Pasrur railway, effectively cutting off the supply line to Pakistani forces. The Battle of Chawinda was a critical moment in the war, and the local Pakistani population’s resilience and cooperation with the military played a vital role in defending their homeland against Indian forces.
After exploring the important operations of the 1965 war, let’s discuss the heroes of this momentous conflict.
Heroes Of Defence Day of Pakistan
Defence Day honours the brave individuals who rose to protect their country in the midst of difficulty. Some of these heroes rose to fame, while others continue to be underappreciated. In this blog section, we will highlight our heroes whose acts during the 1965 Indo-Pak War captured the true spirit of Defence Day.
During an air patrol, Flight Lieutenant Imtiaz Ahmad Bhatti witnessed Indian aircraft attacking Pakistani army forces in the Chamb area. He initiated a daring interception, marking the first air encounter of the historic war. Despite being heavily outnumbered, he downed four Indian Vampire fighters. He earned the well-deserved Sitara-i-Jurat, a testament to his unwavering determination and dedication.
Squadron Leader Sarfaraz Ahmad Rafiqui, commanding three F-86 aircraft during a strike against Halwara airfield on September 6, encountered an issue with his guns. Undeterred and unarmed, Rafiqui refused to yield and provided protective cover for his fellow pilots. Though his aircraft was eventually shot down, he allowed others to take down three more of the ten Hunter aircraft that had intercepted them. Sarfaraz Ahmad Rafiqui received the Sitara-i-Jurat and Hilal-i-Jurat as a fitting tribute to his courage and bravery.
Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan, one of the founding fathers of the modern Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and former Commander-in-Chief of the PAF. His remarkable leadership was evident in the 1965 war, when he led a force four times smaller to victory. He was honoured with the Hilal-i-Jurat, Sitara-i-Quaid-e-Azam, Sitara-i-Pakistan for his bravery and exceptional service. He received the Order of Istiqlal (Second Class) from the King of Jordan.
The 1965 war also witnessed the extraordinary performance of Muhammad Mahmood Alam, who achieved worldwide recognition by downing five Indian aircraft in less than a minute. His exceptional skills and leadership made him Pakistan’s top-scoring fighter pilot. As a tribute to his outstanding contributions, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Jurat.
Let’s Take an Oath for Our Homeland!
Let us take an oath today, a pledge to honour the sacrifices of our heroes by actively contributing to the protection and well-being of our beloved Pakistan. Let’s stand united as a nation and extend our support by appreciating the sacrifices and contributions of our national heroes.
As we reflect on these moments, it becomes clear that the spirit of unity, dedication, and unwavering commitment to our homeland have been the driving forces behind our triumphs. It is a reminder that the protection and well-being of our homeland are not just the responsibilities of the armed forces but a collective duty shared by every citizen.