OPINION

THE WAY IT WAS

za-khan

DJ continues publishing extracts from

Brig (Retd) ZA KHAN’s very readable

forthcoming book

I left Dacca at the end of the second week of August, flying back to West Pakistan around Ceylon was a long flight, it gave me plenty of time to think over the events and to give some thoughts to my bleak future. Major General Rahim Khan had misconstrued and lied and Lieutenant General Niazi without investigating what Major General Rahim had alleged had confirmed it and given his own opinion of me which was that I was a below average officer. The army’s principle was that the senior officer must be supported to maintain discipline, therefore my representation on Lieutenant General Niazi’s report, though supported by copies of orders that I had received from Eastern Command, would be of no avail and I should either settle down to spend a few more years as a lieutenant colonel or prepare to leave the army.

The PIA flight arrived at Karachi at about ten o’clock at night, I had not informed my wife that I was coming so there was no one to receive me. Coming out of the Karachi airport I left my luggage, which consisted of suitcase and a talking mynah in a cage, outside the airport building and went to find a taxi, as I was crossing the road in front of the airport building I heard the mynah talk. I looked back and saw a man carrying away the cage, I ran back and he dropped the cage and ran away.

My wife was surprised to see me back, after greetings were over I told her that I had been sent back on an adverse report by Lieutenant General Niazi, the commander Eastern Command, that my prospects in the army were bleak and that she should get used to idea of my leaving the army.

I spent a few days with my wife and children, and bought a two-year old car with the money that was saved due to the accumulation of my pay after the military action started.

I left for Rawalpindi by car and drove from Karachi to Multan, leaving in the morning and arriving in Multan in the evening and stayed at Lieutenant Colonel Kallue’s house. He informed me that I had been posted as GSO 1 (Intelligence) II Corps, at Multan, that Colonel Niaz Azim was the Colonel GS under whom I would be serving. Expecting to come back to Multan, I left my car at Lieutenant Colonel Kallue’s house and went by train to Rawalpindi where the Station Headquarters gave me the posting order which ordered me to report to II Corps.

Colonel Niaz Azim, Baluch Regiment, and I were from the same course, same platoon and same section at the PMA, we had been room mates in Salahuddin Company and were good friends, I had passed out of the Academy a few numbers senior to him. I took the posting order, went to GHQ and from Lieutenant Colonel Aslam Mirza’s office, who was still in Staff Duties Directorate, I telephoned the Military Secretary, Major General Nasrullah, who had been my instructor in the Staff College, and told him that I had just been given a posting order posting me as GSO 1 (Intelligence) in II Corps where the colonel GS was junior to me. I said that if the posting order meant that I had been superseded, I would submit my resignation as I was not willing to serve under an officer who was junior to me. The Military Secretary took the number I was speaking from, rang back after a few minutes and told me that I was to proceed on one month’s expatriation leave, a leave given to people who served in a wing of Pakistan in which they were not domiciled. The rest of the day I spent with Lieutenant Colonel Aslam Mirza working out how much pension I was entitled to and how much I would lose if I asked for retirement.

I went on leave and my wife and children joined me in Murree, after about two weeks I was informed that I was to proceed to Kharian to take over the charge of colonel staff 6 Armoured Division. I went to Kharian, two of my brothers were there, Lieutenant Colonel Firoz Alam had been raised and was commanding 36 FF there, his family was there but he had moved to the field with his unit, Major Aijaz Alam was there commanding a squadron in 13 Lancers. In the evening of the day on which I got to Kharian, Major General Mitha telephoned me and told me the adverse report on me by Lieutenant General Niazi had been expunged in its entirety. On hearing this I was certain that I would be posted to Kharian and asked Lieutenant Colonel Kallue to have someone drive my car to Kharian and he sent it. I spent the next few days with 6 Armoured Division, the GOC, Major General Muhammad Iskandar ul Karim, with the nick name ‘Bachchu Karim’, a Bengali officer, had been the platoon commander of the Qasim Company platoon of our course in the PMA. The GOC and his staff were reconnoitering the operational area of the division and I joined them. Colonel Agha Javed Iqbal was the officer I was to relieve. When the reconnaissance was completed and no orders had come about me, I told the general that since the posting order had not come I would like to go and finish my leave and join the division when the posting order was issued.

I went back to Murree, my leave finished and I remained attached to Station Headquarters Rawalpindi. I went to Rawalpindi and arranged with the Station Headquarters that I would remain in Murree and they would inform me if any orders about me were received. While in Rawalpindi I met Lieutenant General Gul Hassan who had just returned from a tour of East Pakistan, while talking to me he shocked me by telling me that ‘we should forget about East Pakistan’.

On 25 September the Station Headquarters Rawalpindi informed me that I had been posted to raise 38 Cavalry in Hyderabad, to be part of the 18 Division. I packed up and drove to Rawalpindi, when I saw the posting order it said that Lieutenant Colonel Shamim Yasin Manto, later brigadier, was posted to 28 Cavalry, the integral armoured regiment of 23 Division, which had been raised and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Akram Syed, Lieutenant Colonel Akram Syed had been posted to 22 Cavalry which I had commanded and was wearing their badges and I was to go to 38 Cavalry. I went to GHQ and telephoned the Military Secretary protesting against being posted to a new regiment when I was wearing the badges of 22 Cavalry. The Military Secretary told me these orders had been issued under the instructions of the CGS Lieutenant General Gul Hassan, I told the Military Secretary that I would go and see the CGS and protest against the posting order. I went to the CGS’s office and told his GSO 2, Major Javed Nasir, later lieutenant general, that I wished to see the CGS, Major Nasir went into the CGS’s office, he came out and told me that the CGS had said that he would not see me. I told Major Nasir to go back and tell the CGS that I would wait in the GSO 2’s office and see him when he left his office. I sat for about an hour then the CGS called his GSO 2 and asked him whether I was still waiting and when he was told that I was, he called me in. I showed him the posting order and did not say anything, the general looked at the posting order and said ‘this MS is always making a cock up’ and before I could tell him that the MS had told me that the order was issued on his instructions, he added that we were going to be at war in fifteen days, about the middle of October, that I had been posted to raise the new regiment and get it ready for war in fifteen days, after hearing this I could not say anything and left.

31 Cavalry, originally 31 Tank Delivery Unit located at Sialkot became 31 Cavalry after the ‘65 war with India and moved to Hyderabad as the integral armoured regiment of 18 Division. In the middle of 1971 it was decided to equip the armoured regiment of 18 Division with T-59 Chinese tanks. Since 31 Cavalry was not trained on the T-59s it was decided that 22 Cavalry from the 1st Armoured Division would move to Hyderabad and take over new T-59 tanks and 31 Cavalry would move to the 1st Armoured Division to be trained on T-59 tanks, the Sherman II tanks of 31 Cavalry would be overhauled and handed over to the newly created 38 Tank Delivery Unit, a nucleus tank regiment with the full complement of tanks, a few vehicles and about 115 men, to be located at Hyderabad and when necessary it would be converted into a regiment by posting the manpower and providing the necessary additional equipment and vehicles.

38 TDU was commanded by Major I. B. Khan, when I assumed the command on 1 October, 38 Cavalry was formally raised. 18 Division had moved to its war location, so the Hyderabad cantonment was lying vacant, I asked the Station Commander, Brigadier ‘Andy’ Anwar ul Haq, for the 22 Cavalry lines and moved the tanks and the men there. The tanks moved about half a mile and one tank engine seized because of lack of lubrication.

A day or so after I arrived the officers and the men started arriving, I organised a reception party of an NCO and a vehicle which met every train that came to Hyderabad and brought the personnel to the regiment. Every morning I interviewed the officers and men who had arrived the previous day, the officers had been posted by the Military Secretary’s Branch at GHQ and were a fair cross section, except for Major I. B. Khan who saw the pace I was setting, went to the hospital and then was posted out. Major Zia Ud Din Javed, later lieutenant colonel, 11 Cavalry and Army Aviation pilot, took over the post of second in command, Major Ghulam Mujtaba, 4 Cavalry, Major Javed Hussain, 15 Lancers, Major Nazar Malik, 12 Cavalry, later lieutenant colonel, took over as A, B and C Squadron commanders and later Major Mohammad Karim took over the headquarters squadron, Captain Pervez Khan, later brigadier, ex-28 Cavalry, Captain Tariq Shuja Javed Bhatti, later major, Captain Muhammad Nawaz Saqi Gujar, later major, were the adjutant, quartermaster and the technical officer. Amongst the JCOs, I could not have got a better risaldar major than Risaldar Major Mazhar Ali Khan who had come from 5 Horse, he was a short skinny unimpressive man and I thought that 5 Horse had pulled a fast one on me to promote someone. I discussed it with Lieutenant Colonel Kallue and he assured me that it was a loss to 5 Horse and I could not have a better man, he was absolutely correct, as I soon found out. The other JCOs were a mixed bag, some good, some bad. The JCOs, NCOs and the men were posted on the Armoured Corps Directorate order stating that 38 Cavalry was being raised and instructing various regiments to immediately post the number of personnel shown against them. Four things became obvious immediately, firstly I was getting the discards from all the regiments, secondly most of the men I was receiving had not served on tanks for a long time and had been employed as drivers or on administrative duties at headquarters etc, thirdly they wanted to avoid serving as tank crews and lastly there was almost no one who had served on Sherman IIs or would admit having served on them and knew how to operate them.

While I was busy raising 38 Cavalry I received an order to proceed to Lyallpur (Faisalabad) where Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was being tried by a military court headed by Brigadier Rahimuddin, later general. The evening before I was required to give the evidence, which was only how I had arrested him, the prosecuting officer briefed me, the next day after I had given the evidence I was cross examined by Mr. Brohi, Sheikh Mujib’s defending lawyer and in a minute he made me admit that I was briefed by the prosecutor.

As I had done with 22 Cavalry I now organised the training of 38 Cavalry, using the TDU nucleus who had some knowledge of Shermans and a few old Armoured Corps School and Centre instructors, now senior JCOs and NCOs who had been posted to the regiment. Classes were organised in driving, gunnery and wireless, tanks were driven around a field in the lines, they were loaded on tank transporters, one fell off and everybody gaped at it while it lay with its tracks in the air, I used it to teach tank crews how to recover a tank which had turned turtle. After about two weeks of training the tanks were moved to the tank firing range at Kotri, guns were zeroed, all gunners were made to fire and tank commanders and troop leaders were run through a ‘battle run’ with live ammunition. In the training twenty four persons received serious injuries and were sent to the hospital. Two tank engines seized.

The raising of a regiment requires a large number of items, indents were placed for the myriad of items that were required and promptly the Ordnance Corps started sending ‘NA’, ‘not available’ certificates. Out of forty, three-ton lorries, which were authorised to an armoured regiment operating in the desert, we received nine, jeeps were not available but we got a few GAZ, the Russian vehicle, jeep ambulances were not available but 3/ 4 ton ambulances were issued as substitutes, we got a windfall with ten 1-ton Dodge Power Wagons, a miraculous vehicle for the desert. NA certificates were also received for rifles, sten guns and pistols, though later some rifles and Indian sten guns captured in the ‘65 war were issued.

A few days after I arrived to take over the command of 38 Cavalry the GOC 18 Division, Major General B. M. Mustafa, sent a message that he would be in Karachi and I should meet him. I had met the general when he was the BM of 101 Brigade in 1952 but he and I both had forgotten that we had met. He had been Major Zia uddin Abbasi’s instructor at the Staff College and ZU had depicted him as a tyrant, I was rather apprehensive about working under him, particularly as I had just come out of the dog house. We met at his residence, I found him a reasonable man, I explained how the raising of the regiment was progressing, my difficulties and my doubts about the engines. He arranged for me to go to GHQ to expedite matters, when I met the Director Armoured Corps, Brigadier Nazir, I told him about the condition of the tanks and the problem of the tank engines seizing after running a few miles. He arranged for me to visit the 502 Combined Workshop where I was showed how the overhauling of the engines was being carried and how every engine was bench tested under load before being passed, I could find no fault in the system.

An armoured regiment in 1971 had fifty tanks, including tank dozers and armoured recovery vehicles; for command, control, administration and communication, jeeps and 3/4 tons fitted with wireless sets capable of communicating with tanks were authorised, the Ordnance issued an NA certificate for these and considered the matter closed. I contacted the Signal Directorate who controlled the issue of wireless equipment and they told me that the cupboard was bare, I asked if any wireless sets were available and they told me that No 62 Sets, formerly used by the Artillery and replaced in 1958 were in stock, these sets were a variation of the No 19 Set used in the Armoured Corps when I was commissioned and I asked for them to be issued to me.

The Sherman tanks which 38 Cavalry inherited, supposedly base overhauled by the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME) at the 502 Workshop in Rawalpindi, were in a sorry state. The engines had been overhauled but every time the tanks were run a few miles, an engine seized, and every time this was reported the EME said that it was due to the negligence of the tank crew that they had failed to ensure the correct amount of oil in the engine. The tank guns had a lot of play and in most of them, after firing a round the gun would move through several degrees upwards, downwards or to the right or left. The tanks were fitted with the SCR 508/528 wireless sets whose wiring had lost its insulation, headsets and microphones were not working and almost all the wireless sets fitted in tanks for communicating with infantry were out of order. The tanks had almost no tools, not a single ‘track puller’ for joining and breaking tank tracks was available in the regiment, the paint job and the stencil ‘Class IIB’ was very good. Neither the Armoured Corps Directorate nor the Military Operations directorate apart from providing the manpower for the TDU had assessed the state of the equipment and had ordered the raising of a tank regiment with useless tanks. The Ordnance Corps had got away by issuing ‘Not Available’ certificates for tools and equipment, the EME had chalked up output and set efficiency records in their workshops by overhauling the tanks, the Military Operations Directorate had marked up an additional tank regiment on its map. I had the option of making the best out of a bad lot of men and equipment or being condemned as a coward or as inefficient.

On 16 October I was called to Khairpur where the 18 Division headquarters was located, Lieutenant Colonel Akram Hussain Syed, who had taken over the command of 22 Cavalry was also there. The general, with his colonel staff , Colonel Wajid Ali Shah, present, told us that the plans of 18 Division were to conduct an offensive in the area Ramgarh and Jaisalmir, 38 Cavalry was to seize Ramgarh and 22 Cavalry was to neutralise the airfield at Jaisalmir, he asked for our opinion on the practicability of the planned operation from the armour point of view. Lieutenant Colonel Akram Syed and I agreed that an offensive in the area would succeed if two conditions were met, the first one was that a night approach march should be made up to the border on the first night and the next night the march to Ramgarh and Jaisalmir, the second was that air support must be available from dawn to dusk for one day after Ramgarh and Jaisalmir were reached. The GOC accepted our suggestions, the plan was top secret and we were not to discuss it with anybody.

When I came to Hyderabad to raise 38 Cavalry I had left my wife and children in Murree, my brother telephoned me and told that my wife had had a Caesarean operation and was admitted in CMH Rawalpindi, I asked for leave and was given three days leave. In Rawalpindi I found that my wife was recovering from the operation and was well, our child born prematurely had died because the hospital lacked proper facilities. I brought my two daughters and left them with my wife’s parents and rejoined the regiment.

I had left my baggage and my car with 3 Commando Battalion in East Pakistan, they were to return to West Pakistan and were supposed to bring it with them. While I was busy with the problems of 38 Cavalry I learnt that 3 Commando Battalion had returned and when I asked them about my car and my baggage they told me that they had not brought it with them. My baggage was sent by Lieutenant Commander Mukhthar Azam who saw the boxes with my name on them and had them shipped. My car was taken by the officers of 2 Commando from the Embarkation Headquarters, used and left at Kaptai.

About the twentieth of October 38 Cavalry received orders to move to its war location. One squadron was to be placed under command 55 Brigade at Chhor, the rest of the regiment was to concentrate at Manthar, a village between Sadiqabad and Rahim Yar Khan. The holy month of Ramzan had started, I ordered the tanks to be stowed with ammunition, when I went to the ammunition store I noticed that all the store rooms were open but one was locked, I called the Quartermaster JCO and asked him why that room was locked, he gave a story about the key not being available. When I very firmly told him to open the store he reluctantly produced the key and opened it, when the door opened Risaldar Islam ud Din was found sleeping inside.

I selected ‘A’ Squadron to go under the command of 55 Brigade because I had found Major Ghulam Mujtaba a very good officer, a good organiser and during the three weeks that he had commanded ‘A’ Squadron, he had done better than other squadron commanders, he and his squadron were the first to move. The other squadrons moved to Sadiqabad, I brought up the rear ensuring that all the ammunition and stores were moved.

Amongst the personnel posted to the regiment was an Education Corps subedar and a regimental maulvi, both requested that they be left with the rear party in Hyderabad. I told the Education JCO that since one of his jobs was teaching map reading to the men, he would come along and maintain the battle map in my headquarters in the regimental command vehicle. I told the maulvi that he would be responsible to see that those who were killed were buried properly. The Education Corps JCO objected very strongly saying that marking maps was not included in his duties and when he found that I was not going to change my mind, he arranged to be posted out of the regiment, the maulvi also disappeared. Just when the regiment was about to move a number of Bengali NCOs and ORs arrived and we were informed that the Bengali squadrons of regiments were broken up and the Bengali personnel were distributed amongst all the regiments.

At Sadiqabad the ramp for unloading tanks from a train was very badly designed and was awkward, one of our tanks fell off it, some main gun ammunition came out of the ammunition rack and fell inside the tank and petrol spilled, luckily there was no fire. I was watching the unloading and when the tank turned turtle on the railway track I was wondering what to do when a railway wreck clearing crane came from the direction of Sukkur and stopped at Sadiqabad, I sent a message to the station master and the tank was lifted and placed on its track. There were no tank transporters so the tanks moved on their tracks and another tank engine seized on the way to Manthar.

Sometime after the regiment arrived at Sadiqabad, General Hamid the Chief of the Army Staff and Air Marshal Rahim the Commander in Chief of the Pakistan Air Force came to Rahim Yar Khan and the plans of 18 Division were discussed and approved, the question of air support for the division’s operations was raised and the C-in-C of the PAF accepted the responsibility.

A few days after this discussion with the COAS and the C-in-C of the PAF, the GOC called me and told me that he had changed the role of 38 Cavalry, it would go to Jaisalmir and 22 Cavalry would go to Ramgarh. He said that he knew that the mechanical state of the regiment was poor but in the Ramgarh area a tank battle would develop and 22 Cavalry was better equipped for it, therefore 38 Cavalry had to undertake the mission of neutralising the Jaisalmir airfield. I considered the operations, Jaisalmir was 120 miles from the rail head at Reti, I estimated that due to engine failure I would have a tank breakdown every fifteen miles, I asked for a team of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers with a crane to change engines and twelve reserve engines to be carried in trucks to replace engines as they broke down. The GOC agreed to this and said that necessary arrangements would be made.

I and all the officers carried out a reconnaissance for counter penetration positions covering the approaches to Rahim Yar Khan and Lieutenant Colonel Akram Syed and I took all our officers along the route which we were to take to the border, Reti - Khenju - Gabbar - Masitwari Bhit - the border for the 18 Division offensive operation without telling the officers the actual purpose of the familiarisation.

About the middle of November the news from East Pakistan indicated that the Indian attack on East Pakistan had begun. The Indian Air Force began flying reconnaissance missions over Rahim Yar Khan and Sadiqabad. Once when visiting 206 Brigade area I saw a Canberra returning from Rahim Yar Khan and once two Hawker Hunters flew over our concentration area and over Sadiqabad.

With war imminent I decided to let my officers know the mission given to 38 Cavalry by the GOC although it was strictly against his orders, my object was to get them over the shock that the mission would create and get their minds working to solve the difficulties. I collected all the officers and the Risaldar Major and told them what I was going to tell them was ‘top secret’ and was not to be discussed. I then told them that 38 Cavalry with an infantry battalion and a mortar battery was to capture the Jaisalmir airfield on the outbreak of war with India which was going to be any day. The regiment would move by train from Sadiqabad to Reti, then on tracks to the border, a distance of sixty miles, lie up for the day just short of the border and then move sixty miles at night to Jaisalmir and seize the airfield. I told them the tanks would have to carry about 200 gallons of petrol in drums, that the PAF would give us air support for one day and told them to start preparing for the operation. There was stunned silence, the officers looked at one another not believing what they were hearing. That night in the mess hardly anyone spoke, the next morning, having lived with the problem for night, the officers were reconciled and started resolving the problems. I had included the Risaldar Major hoping that in confidence he would tell the JCOs and the word would trickle down and the JCOs and other ranks would also reconcile and accept the challenge.

With the likelihood of operations beginning anytime now there was a lot of work to prepare the regiment for the planned operations and every morning I would go around and check the progress. ‘B’ Squadron was commanded by Major Javed Hussain, everyday I would find something wrong in his squadron, one morning I went at about nine o’clock to his squadron and found him asleep in his tent, I gave him a good dressing down and made up my mind to put him on an adverse report if I found anything wrong again.

On 1 December I was surprised by the arrival of the ‘Inspector’ Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Colonel Saeed Qadir, later Lieutenant General and Production Minister, he came to investigate my complaints about the tank engines seizing. Colonel Saeed Qadir with Lieutenant Colonel Rehman, commander EME battalion of 18 Division arrived in my vehicle park, I showed them the state of the wiring inside the tank and told them about the engines seizing. An EME JCO, a reservist, who had served with the 72 Armoured Workshop of the old 3rd Independent Armoured Brigade and who had just joined the 18 Division EME battalion happened to be in my unit lines and heard the problem that we were trying to resolve, he at once said he knew what the problem was. He took us to a tank whose engine had seized, pointed to an object and asked for it to be removed from the hull of the tank, he took it and dismantled it and showed us that it was completely blocked with a black gooey substance. The Sherman II tank engine was an aircraft air cooled radial engine with a full force feed oil sump system. The oil sump was attached to the engine housing of the tank and when the engine was removed for maintenance or overhauling it remained in the tank and probably had not been cleaned since the tanks had been received. An order was immediately given to take down all the engines to clean the sumps. The state of the electrical wiring, wireless equipment and the guns was shown to Colonel Saeed Qadir, he seemed to have been satisfied with having found the reason of the tank engines seizing and left.

On the morning of 2nd of December I received a message to report to the division headquarters. There the division commander told me that the 18 Division operations would start that evening, 38 Cavalry grouped with 1 Punjab and a mortar battery, under my command, was to follow 51 Brigade up to Loganewala and then to proceed independently to seize and neutralise the Indian Air Force base at Jaisalmir. The GOC told me that since I had the engine problem and had to collect the task force I need not attend his orders. I telephoned the regiment and ordered that the tank engines taken down were to be re-installed and the regiment got ready to be moved.

Next I went to the AA&QMG, Lieutenant Colonel Masood, Artillery, and told him that I required 16,800 gallons of 80 octane petrol for the operation. The AA&QMG, with a bleak look, told me he knew nothing about the requirement and did not have any petrol. I took him to the colonel staff, Colonel Wajid Ali Shah, the AA&QMG and the colonel staff held a discussion and the AA&QMG told me he would have the petrol moved to Masitwari Bhit and my tanks could pick it up from there. It was obvious that the logistics of the operation had not been planned. I left the division headquarters to have my tank engines put back and to collect my task force.

The GHQ orders for the 18 Division had been brought by hand from GHQ. When the 18 Division ‘O’ Group, commanders who were to receive the orders from the division commander, assembled, the PAF Liaison Officer, a wing commander, stood up and announced that the PAF would not be able to provide support in the operational area of 18 Division because the Jacobabad airfield had not been activated. This announcement led the brigade commanders to request the GOC that the proposed offensive operations of the division be cancelled or postponed because of the lack of the necessary air support. A word had spread amongst the officers attending the ‘O’ Group that the division was to undertake an offensive operation in the rear of the enemy division deployed facing Rahim Yar Khan. The GOC telephoned the CGS, Lieutenant General Gul Hassan and after the conversation told the ‘O’ Group that his orders were that he had to conduct the operation without the air support, in the ‘national interest’. The Brigade commanders then suggested that since there was every likelihood of the operation being unsuccessful the GOC should refuse to conduct them as on the failure of the operations he would be blamed. The general told the officers that if he refused to conduct the operations the whole army would label him as a person who lost his nerve when he was called upon to conduct operations to which he had agreed and planned and therefore the division would conduct the offensive plan.

The plan made by the Major General B. M . Mustafa required an initial approach march up to the border, then 51 Brigade commanded by Brigadier Tariq Mir, with two battalions, and 22 Cavalry under command was to bypass Loganewala and go to Ramgarh to position itself to counter any reaction from the Indian 12 Division which was expected to be deployed on border facing Rahim Yar Khan. The third battalion of 51 Brigade was a East Bengal Regiment battalion, it was placed in a defensive position with a minefield around it, effectively neutralising it. I was to command a task force consisting of 38 Cavalry less squadron, 1 Punjab ex-206 Brigade and a mortar battery and was to follow 51 Brigade till the metalled road connecting Loganewala and Jaisalmir was reached and then head for the Jaisalmir airfield. 206 Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Jahanzeb Arbab, later lieutenant general, was to leave one battalion to cover the routes to Rahim Yar Khan and with the third battalion was to capture Loganewala and form a firm base.

After these orders were issued Brigadier Jehanzeb Arbab objected to 38 Cavalry being sent to Jaisalmir with mechanically unsound tanks, the GOC changed the grouping, gave the Jaisalmir airfield neutralisation to 28 Baluch less company, Recce and Support battalion, with two infantry companies ex-206 Brigade, a mortar Battery, and placed 38 Cavalry under command of 51 Brigade up to Loganewala.

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