LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Dear Sir

You are doing great service to military history by reproducing extracts from John Gaylor's book 'Sons of John Company'. John Gaylor by discussing all the units of the Indo Pak armies in one volume has performed a Herculean task. My intention, therefore when discussing only partially John Gaylor's book, as part of a general discussion dealing with other issues, is, by no definition to downplay the importance of John Gaylor's work.

The following points which I will discuss in this letter pertain to some serious misconceptions very much in vogue in Pakistan, and particularly in the army, as I witnessed while in service during the period 1981-1994.In the process of doing so I have highlighted some points about class composition, which were not dealt with by Gaylor (and rightly so, since Gaylor's aim was to discuss all units in brief only). These missing aspects however may lead to false conclusions being drawn in some quarters in Pakistan.

One serious misconception, which I heard, hundreds of times, while serving in the army, was as following: -

'THE MUSLIMS IN GENERAL AND THE PUNJABI MUSLIMS (PARTICULARLY THOSE NORTH OF CHENAB) AND THE PATHANS WERE THE MAINSTAY OF THE BRITISH INDIAN ARMY AND THAT THE HINDUSTANIS IN GENERAL AND THE HINDUSTANI HINDU AND ALL OTHER HINDUS, AND IN PARTICULAR THOSE FROM AREAS SOUTH OF AMBALA WERE A NON MARTIAL RACE'.

Such cheap theories of false bravado and jingoism, though outwardly attractive, are essentially, 'conceptually dangerous' and 'fallacious'. Historically these misconceptions were a result of British efforts to divide the people and, were used by British recruiting officers as cheap slogans. It may be noted that the British further improved the old Mughal policy of 'Divide and Rule' which was successfully for at least 180 years adopted by the Mughals to rule India, making the Yusufzai Pathan fight against the Khattak, the Hindu Rajput against the Hindu Maratha etc etc! Thus the British cleverly and as far as there national interest dictated, rightly employed such strategies aimed at dividing people. The Martial Race Theory does not explain why the Gurkhas were nobodies till the East India Company made them fight for seven or eight rupees a month. The theory does not explain why the 8 or 9 percent Sikh minority was able to rule the Muslim majority areas of Punjab and large parts of Frontier including Peshawar, Bannu, Haripur, Charsadda and Mardan etc! The reason for this was not that the Sikhs were more martial. It was a complex historical phenomena and occurred due to a large number of situational reasons.

It may be noted that the toughest military resistance to the English East India Company as far as the Muslims were concerned was offered in South India by Mysore, an area where the Muslims were a minority! But after 1885 the Madras Army which had about 30 % Muslims was declared non martial by the British and replaced by Punjabis.The toughest resistance to the Sikhs in Punjab was offered by the Seraiki Pathan, Saddozai/Durrani Muslims of Multan during the period 1799-1818.But very few of these Seraiki Muslims enlisted in the British Indian Army.Were these Muslims non martial,as I unfortunately heard being confidently asserted by many officers in my army career!

The Britishers successfully used the 'Turi Militia against other Pathans because the other tribes in Kurram were non Shia. Their strict division of units into Hindustani Muslim, Hindustani Jat, Brahman, Rajput, Punjabi Sikh, Punjabi Dogra, Punjabi Muslim, Afridi, Non Tribal Area Pathans etc was aimed to divide people. Thus they first used the Hindustanis of the Bengal Army as mercenaries against all native states of India including Sirajud Daulah, Oudh, Marathas, Rohailkhand, Sikhs, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.Later the Punjabis were elevated to Martial Races because they had due to a complicated number of historical reasons stayed loyal in 1857.Much later the Punjabis learnt their lesson in 1919, when Martial Law was imposed in Punjab and when Jallianwala massacre took place and Gujranwala was bombed. By this time the British had once again diversified their mercenary pool with Marathas once again elevated as a martial race and increased recruitment of Gurkhas.By the Second World War when Punjabis especially the Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus alongwith a lesser number of Punjabi and Pathan Muslims, played an instrumental role in INA the British had the Madrasis and many other nationalities in service! The Afridi was good till Mir Mast deserted with 14 other Afridis in France till 1915 and after this became unsuitable military material. The Sikhs were good in 1857 and till WW One but they became bad in WW Two for some time once the Kirti Lehar propaganda influenced them. The Hindustanis were good till 1857 when they rebelled and at least till 1883 when they constituted 43.18 % of the Indian Bengal Army (three fourth of whom were Hindus) with Punjabis trailing behind at 34.09 % (out of which less than one fourth were Punjabi Muslim), with the Pathans at 4.26 % and the Gurkhas at about 18.46 %. But by 1911 the Hindustanis and all Hindus east of Jamna were less martial with an approximately 65 % Punjabised army with Punjabi and Pathan Muslims at about 35 to 45 % of the total. All these were policy decisions and even very few Punjabi Muslims from areas south of river Chenab preferred going to the army which was regarded by them as a desperate option which was reserved for people of the Barani areas north of Jhelum and parts of north of Chenab river. Thus more than 80 % of the Punjabi Muslims who went to the army were from the economically backward rain irrigated barren and relatively unproductive areas north of Jhelum River. So does this mean that all-Punjabi Muslims south of river Chenab non-martial! I was told by an old gentleman many years ago, that Sir Michael O Dwyer, the Governor of Punjab during WW One (the one who was shot dead by that indomitable Sikh Udham Singh in London in 1940 as a revenge of Jallianwala Bagh outrage) was so unhappy with the people of Lahore for not enlisting in the army in WW One that at a speech at Kasur, he publicly expressed his resolve to transfer the capitol of Punjab from non martial Lahore to Amritsar after the war! It was only after the war when Amritsar led India not only in recruitment but also in political defiance that O Dwyer changed his plan!It may be noted by those who don't know that as per the Punjab Disturbances report Amritsar District during the anti Rowlatt Act agitation movement of 1919 led all Punjab and all India in number of incidents of defiance and in value of government property damaged.

The act of the British Government's assignment of the Delhi city,Rohtak, Karnal, Gurgaon and Hissar districts from the North Western Provinces (later UP from 1901) to the Punjab province after 1857 was a clear cut act of the divide and rule policy. This is how it was described in the official district gazetteer; 'and the political punishment was pronounced of transfer to the Punjab'! (Refers-Page-46-Punjab District Gazetteers-Delhi District-Compiled and Published under authority of the Punjab Government-Civil and Military Gazette Press-Lahore-1912). The aim of this step was to tell the people of all these districts that they were hereby being transferred to Punjab province with which they had nothing culturally or historically in common. (It may be noted that traditionally these areas were not the part of the old Mughal Province of Lahore as Northern Punjab was known before the Sikhs became the rulers (Refers-An Atlas of the Mughal Empire-Irfan Habib-Oxford University Press-Delhi-1982) because they had been disloyal in 1857.An unintended but actual result of this step was that Muslim majority in pre 1858 Punjab was reduced after 1858 by about 4 to 6 % (if a calculation is done on the basis of the 1941 population figures), since these districts had a relatively larger number of Hindus and non Muslims! (61 % to 57 %-Calculated from district wise statistics of Punjab population as given on pages-58, Volume-Two-Pages-62, 63 & 65-Volume-Three- of The Partition of Punjab (Four Volumes) -National Documentation Centre-Lahore-1983).

In WW One they successfully used the Shia Hazara Mongols of Quetta against the Iranian Sunni Baloch tribes under Brigadier General Dyer of Jallianwala Bagh notoriety. This was not an inadvertent act but something which was crystal clear and I will quote Dyer to describe it; 'it will be remembered that the Hazaras are Shias, hence their eagerness to blot out as many of the Sunni Sarhadis, per man as they could manage' (Refers- Page-184- Raiders of the Sarhad -Brigadier General R.E.H Dyer-H.F & G Witherby-326 High Holborn-London-1921). Dyer was writing about his experiences of having lead the Persian Expedition during the First World War against the Sunni Iranian Baloch tribes (called Sarhadis by the British) of Iranian Balochistan .The Americans who are richer materially but a little naive intellectually at least in their State Department realized the strength of the Shia sect only in 1979!This is proved by the account of Iran as given by their last ambassador in Iran during Shah's time!

Instead of taking pride in the fact that the Pakistan Army (described in 1971 by Andre Beaufre as one which had many good captains but no good general), by virtue of qualitative superiority at least till battalion and may be brigade level (higher leaders on both sides being equally incompetent!) did well against an enemy who was at least numerically, significantly, superior in infantry in 1965,and enjoyed both overwhelming numerical superiority in infantry, as well as material superiority in both technical quality and number of tanks in 1971; we by saying that the Indians are non martial are actually downplaying our own achievements !The enemy that the Muslims encountered in India was not martially inferior but was defeated by superior operational quality of leadership.Morale was important but the final deciding factor was qualitatively superior leadership on the operational plane! Where this superior qualitative edge was missing the Muslims failed.After all Ghauri won only the second battle of Tarain and lost the first one!Thus the Arabs did well under Khalid bin Waleed but failed to destroy the Byzantine Empire or to capture Constantinople when Khalid Bin Waleed was sacked! The Byzantine Empire thus outlived both the first four Caliphs,the Ummayads and the Abbasids and was destroyed only by the Ottoman Turks after it had been weakened by savage Pagan tribes, the Crusaders and the Seljuks!

A dispassionate glance at facts proves that the English East India Company conquered all of India by 1849 and successfully chastised Nepal, Afghanistan and Iran by 1857,employing a largely Non Punjabi/Non Pathan and Hindustani Hindu Army around a nucleus of few European regiments led by an all British Officer Corps.This was accomplished not because the Hindus or Hindustanis or even the British were more martial or their enemies less martial, but because of superior leadership, superior military methodology and a variety of other complicated factors.We console ourselves with the fact that Plassey was won by treachery and conveniently forget the fact that most of the other battles and wars between 1757 and 1849 were won by the British by virtue of superior tactics,superior higher leadership,superior diplomacy etc.The British as a matter of fact were merely carrying forward the old Mughal system ,which they considerably refined, of making the Indians fight against the Indians regardless of racial or religious affinity or otherwise!

The subsequent Punjabisation of the Indian Army, during the period 1885-1911 as a result of which the Indian Army became a Punjabi (although not Muslim, since the figures of Punjabi soldiers minus the Punjabi Sikhs, Hindus and Dogras reduced the Punjabi Muslims alone into a minority) had no connection with any martial efficiency in actual combat, but with the administrative policies followed by Lord Roberts Creagh and Kitchener.I have covered this transition in detail in my book 'The Pakistan Army till 1965' which may be serialised in the Defence Journal or as a book in late 1999.

Now coming back to Gaylors book.Firstly I want to state some facts about the 40 Pathans.Initially it was a totally non Pathan unit mostly composed of Low Caste Hindus raised in modern with the premise that the rebellion of the Bengal Army was a High Caste Hindu affair and it would be politically expedient to enlist Low Caste Hindus (Indian Infantry Colours -Captain H. Bullock - The Times of India Press -1931). Unfortunately about one decades later the British abandoned this experiment and ditched the low caste Hindus who were relegated into the background as the British regarded cultivating the dominant higher caste Hindus as politically more safe and paying. As per the caste composition of 1864 this unit had the following class composition: -

a. Hindustani Brahmans and Rajputs - 2 Companies
b. Hindustani Ahirs - 3 Companies
c. Hindus of Lower Castes - 1 Company
d. All Races and Castes - 1 Company
e. Trans Sutlej Sikhs - 1 Company

Refers-Page 331-A Sketch of the Services of the Bengal Native Army up to 1895-Lieut F.G Cardew-Superintendent-Government Printing Press Calcutta-1903 and Adjutant General's Circular Number 117-N dated September 1864

Even in 1883 this unit did not have any Pathans having; Three Companies of Hindustani Hindu Rajputs, One Company of Hindustani Hindu Brahmans, and Four Companies of Other Castes of Hindustani Hindus. (Refers-Page-406 and 407-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit and G.G.O Dated 20 January 1883).

Thus till 1883 the 40th Bengal Native Infantry had no connection with Pathans.In 1890 an administrative decision was taken to convert the 40th into a Trans Frontier and Baluchistan Punjab Frontier service unit and it was therefore decided to change its class composition to a pure Pathan unit. This decision came into effect in January 1892 (refers-page-466-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit).

In 1893 the British conducted a very revolutionary and interesting experiment with the Bengal Army as it was known till all three Presidency armies i.e. Bengal Madras and Bombay Armies were merged together to form the Indian Army in 1895.They created some all one class or one race units.It may be noted that before 1893 some all one race or one religion units were in existence in the Bengal Army.But these had no connection with policy and much more with subjective circumstances. (These were few units of Sikhs and Gurkhas,14th Murray Jat Lancers of Hindu Jats,1st Bengal Cavalry of Hindustani Muslims and 15th Bengal Cavalry of Derajat and Multani Pathans). In 1893 it was decided to have the following one class/one religion units:-

a. 1st and 3rd Bengal Native Infantry -All Hindustani Hindu Brahman
b. 2nd,4th,7th,8th,11th, and 16th Bengal Native Infantry -All Hindustani Hindu Rajput
c. 13th Bengal Native Infantry -All Hindu Rajputana Rajputs
c. 5th, 12th, 17th and 18th Bengal Native Infantry -All Hindustani Muslim
d. 6th and 10th Bengal Native Infantry -All Hindustani Hindu Jat
e. 9th Bengal Native Infantry -All Hillmen/Gurkha

Refers-Page 428-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit

It may be noted that at the time of this reorganisation there were already the following pure Muslim units in the Bengal Army:-

a. 1st Bengal Cavalry (Skinners Horse) It was composed of Hindustani Muslims of Delhi territory and the Ranghars of Rohtak, Guragon, Hissar and Karnal Districts since its raising in 1803. Skinners mother was a Muslim Rajput and Skinner and all commandants of Skinners Horse till 1901 were biased against recruiting any other class.

b. 15th Bengal Lancers (Cureton's Multanis) Raised in 1858 and composed entirely of Multani Derajat Pathans and a sprinkling of Baluchis.In 1889 the class composition of this unit was changed to include three Troops of Punjabi Muslims as against five Troops of Multani and Derajat Pathans. It is Important to note that the Pathan Squadrons mutinied In Mesopotamia when ordered to fight the Turks in WW One, while the Punjabi Muslim Squadron stayed loyal and the Pathan Squadrons were replaced by Hindu Hindustani Jat Squadrons from 14th Murray's Jat Lancers(a pure Hindustani Hindu by Hindu Jat landowners of Aligarh district in 1857).John Gaylor has somehow missed this point and does not mention it in his account of 15 Lancers History in WW One.As per Gaylor the Hindu Jat Squadrons were brought in as a routine administrative measure. The incident of 15 Lancers Pathan rebellion is mentioned in one of the volumes of the British official history of Operations in Mesopotamia but at the moment I don't have the exact page number and volume number. This 15 Lancer was an Alizai dominated unit and was one of the very few units of Indian Cavalry to have an 'Honorary Native Commandant' Nawab Abdullah Khan who was the Head of the Alizai clan of Dera Ismail Khan Pathans (Refers-Page- 153-The Armies of India-Major G.F Macmunn- Adam and Charles Black- London 1911).

c. 17th Bengal Cavalry Raised in 1857 at Muttra in UP,disbanded as part of economy measures in 1881 and later re-raised in 1885.As per the caste composition record of 1889 it was a pure Muslim unit with four Troops of Punjabi Muslims.Two Troops of 'Settled Area Pathans' and two Troops of 'Tribal Area Pathans,' including Afridis who were regarded as unreliable. The unit was thus the only cavalry unit of Bengal to have. 'Tribal Area Pathans' apart from 19 Lancers which had one Tribal area Pathan Troop till at least 1889.

d. 33rd (Punjabi Mahomedan) Regiment of Bengal Infantry Raised in 1857 as Allahabad Levy of Low Caste Hindus and reorganised as an All Punjabi Muslim Unit in a January 1885.

Yet another misconception which I heard various times was about the composition of the Punjab Frontier Force.That it was a largely Muslim and that too a largely Punjabi and Pathan Muslim force.As a matter of fact apart from being Punjabi majority (with Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus included) the Punjab Frontier Force was never a Muslim majority force but consisted of a diverse range of nationalities/ethnic and religious groups.For example as per the class composition of 1889 there were no Punjabi Muslims in 1st Punjab Cavalry (later known as 11 Cavalry and in which I was commissioned in 1983).I knew this fact by virtue of hearsay,since the Ranghars are very fond of bragging and because the bulk of the Ranghars in this unit were from Kalanuar and Kanar and my ancestral village 130 LGB in old Lyallpur district (where these Ranghars originally from Kalanaur and Kanar villages in Rohtak District) alongwith my family were given agricultural land in the period 1880-1896.Later on once I did some research I was surprised that there was a great element of truth in what the Ranghars use to brag about!Following,as I discovered later was the class composition of 1st Punjab Cavalry (later 11 Cavalry) in 1889:-

a. Hindustani Muslims (Including Ranghars) - 2 Troops
b. Pathan Muslims from Settled Districts - 2 Troops
c. Punjabi Dogra Hindus (with the concession that Punjabi  
Hindus could be recruited in lieu of Dogras) - 2 Troops
d. Sikhs - 2 Troops

Refers-Page-408-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit

The following table illustrates the class composition of the Punjab Frontier Force as in 1889:-

TABLE ILLUSTRATING ETHNIC /RELIGIOUS COMPOSITION OF PUNJAB IRREGULAR FRONTIER FORCE AS IN 1889

ETHNICITY/RELIGION CAVALRY(TROOPS) INFANTRY(COMPANIES) TOTAL
Muslim-Hindustani (Incl Ranghar) 6 Nil 6
Muslim-Pathan 7.5 16 23.5
Muslim-Punjabi 4.5 19 23.5
Total Muslim 18 Troops 35 Companies 53 Troops/Coys
Sikhs 14 28 42 Troops/Coys
Hindu Jats Dogars/Others 6 17 23 Troops/Coys
Total Non Muslims 20 45 Companies 65 Troops/Coys
Total 38 Troops 80 Companies 118 Troops/Coys

Refers-Page-408 and 409 Lieut F.G Cardew Op Cit and G.G.O dated 2nd January 1889

It was nice to read John Gaylors highly accurate but very brief historical sketch of the P.A.V.O 11th Cavalry (F.F). I would like to add certain very interesting facts about the history of 11 Cavalry.I cannot produce exact authorities for certain facts but am reproducing them as my connection with 11 Cavalry is based on the Ranghar and Hindustani Muslim connection with the unit since 1849.It may be noted that all Punjab Cavalry units were raised by officers of the Bengal and Bombay Armies.Thus all including Hodson Daly Prendergast etc were from one unit or other of the old Bengal Army.Once these units were raised these officers took certain JCOs, NCOs and sowars of the old Bengal Cavalry units with them to assist them in raising.Thus all Punjab Cavalry units were raised around a Ranghar/Hindustani Muslim nucleus of JCO/NCO/ORs led off course by British officers of the East India Company's private native army.This explains why even in 1889 there was a sizeable Ranghar/Hindustani Muslim representation in all Punjab Cavalry units as late as 1889.It may be noted that one of the Risaldars of Skinners Horse who had loaned Hodson money and was shot by Hodson without any reason was a Ranghar Muslim from Rohtak and had enlisted with Hodson when Guides Cavalry was raised.There were many others like these.In 1980 I was told a story by a Ranghar Muslim from the Chak where my Great Grandfather was allotted land about an incident of 11 Cavalry history in WW Two.This man was then a Sowar and was later discharged as an NCO in 1950s.He was staying at our house in Lahore and this is how I met him.He said that during the fighting the Germans captured the entire unit in 1942.The VCOs (JCOs) approached the Germans and told them that they did not eat Pork or the dry rations which the Germans had,and if the Germans released them,would not fight against them.The Germans as per this old man released them (minus the British officers) and the soldiers marched backed to the British lines,told the British commander what had happened ,and were therefore as a matter of honour sent to Burma where they fought the remaining part of the war from 1942 to 1945.At that time I thought that this was just one of the Ranghar yarns!In 1983 when I was commissioned in 11 Cavalry , I read an almost exactly similar account in a book whose name I have forgotten;probaly 'Tank Tracks to Rangoon' or from 'Mandalay to Rangoon'.As per this book the incident did take place during the 'Battle of Gazala' and the unit was therefore sent to Burma!I am not sure but one squadron of either the 21st or 23rd Punjab Cavalry also became prisoner of war at Kutal Mara in Mesopotamia in WW One.

Few people in today's Pakistan know about 11 Cavalry's glorious history.11 Cavalry is the only armoured corps unit of the Pakistan Army which successfully advanced inside Indian territory in all three wars ie 1947-48,1965 and 1971.It is the only armoured corps unit which fought at both Chamb and Chawinda in 1965 and one which fought two major battles in two totally different areas,within seven days in all three wars fighting first at Chamb in Grand Slam and then at Chawinda.It lost 34 men killed in 1965 if my memory has not failed.It may be noted by laymen readers that many armoured corps units in the 1965 had casualties of less than 10 men killed,with some units who as per their own account fought exceedingly well at Khem Karan suffering less than 5 killed and some who were part of the 1st Armoured Division having no casualties because they were never launched!

Another extremely glorious part of this units history was the role of Major Tommy Masud a Punjabi Muslim during the 1948 War.Here luckily I have two concrete historical authorities to cite,both of which had no connection with armoured corps and 11 Cavalry, and to further eliminate the ethnic bias,one of these authorities is a Pathan.In November 1947 Colonel (Later Brigadier) Masud volunteered entirely on his own to attack Srinagar along axis Murree-Srinagar which if done would have led to Srinagar's capture.Major General Akbar Khan wrote about this incident in his book and described it in the following words; 'On return to Pindi,I was immediately able to find Masud who volunteered to take not two,but a whole squadron of his unit (P.A.V.O 11 Cavalry) armoured cars.His men he said would go in plain clothes and without official permission and at their own risk' (Refers-Page-41 & 42-Raiders in Kashmir- Ex Major General Akbar Khan,D.S.O-Pak Publishers Limited-2 Victoria Road-Karachi-First Printed-1970).Akbar wrote that he was thrilled and held a meeting with Brigadier Sher Khan (then probably DMO) Lieutenant Colonel Arbab and Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan who as per Akbar 'stoutly opposed the idea. And so the proposal was abandoned' .Thus the chicken heartedness of these men ie Brigadier Lion Khan and the Raja etc led to the failure to grasp a fleeting operational opportunity when Indian Armoured cars were about three to four days march from Srinagar which they reached only on 7th November! (Refers-Page-276-The Indian Armoured Corps-History of the Indian Armoured Corps-1941-1971-Major General Gurcharan Singh Sandhu-Vision Books-New Delhi-1993). Thus Srinagar was lost between 30th October and 4th November when this fateful conference took place, not because Pakistan did not have armoured cars, not because there was an all weather road to carry armoured cars between Murree and Srinagar; but because it lacked the political and military will,and its Muslim League Ministers as well as army Brigadiers like Sher Khan who were at the helm of affairs did not listen to indomitable men like Tommy Masud! No wonder that Tommy Masud ever went beyond Brigadier! He lacked the suitable ethnic qualification, to give him that particular quota boost, about which all old officers of the pre 1971 era know; or the peculiar professional qualification of being a drill sergeant major type soldier, which was very much in demand, for promotion to higher ranks, in the army of the period 1951-1966 to go beyond the rank of brigadier!

We are lucky to have an independent account confirming Masud's initiative written by another brilliant artillery officer who was the architect of Pakistani success in Grand Slam and at Chawinda but was not promoted because he lacked the quality of mulish lack of intellect which was a must for artillery officers to have, in order to go beyond brigadier in the pre 1971 army! This is what Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan had to say about the affair of the P.A.V.O armoured car initiative: -

' I remember an afternoon in October 1948,in Rawalpindi when I attended a conference of general Tariq who by now coordinating the operations of the tribesmen and Mujahids in Kashmir.I was then Adjutant 2 Field Artillery Regiment. The tribesmen and the Mujahids had been stopped 4 miles outside Srinagar by an Indian Battalion. There was a requirement of armoured cars to break this ring to enable the Mujahids and tribal lashkars to continue their advance into Srinagar.Major Mohammad Masud of P.A.V.O Cavalry Regiment, who was there,sought permission to use a troop of his armoured cars to break through the thin layer of enemy infantry and open the way for the mujahids to enter Srinagar . The reaction of some of those attending the conference to this suggestion surprised me .One of the objections raised was that the tribesmen might damage the palaces of the Maharaja .Another dissenting voice pointed out that it would indicate the presence of Pakistani regular troops inside Kashmir. While this discussion was going on Raja Ghazanfar Ali ,who was at that time a Central Minister,entered the conference room accompanied by Mr. Hameed Nizami. The Minister after having been briefed expressed his regret that no regular troops could be permitted to enter Kashmir' (Refers-Page-6-September 65-Before and After-Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry (Retired)-Ferozesons-Lahore-1976)

I have reproduced this incident particularly for civilians who do not understand why the army's younger lot in 1950 was disgusted with the civilian leadership,and why the so called Pindi Conspiracy case occurred.The men who were part of the Pindi Conspiracy were not as ridiculous as painted by a civil servant in a book written in the late 1990s (Zaheer's book on the Pindi Conspiracy).Mr Zaheer knew about the military facts of the Kashmir War only as much as a spinster ! These men had proved their mettle in WW Two and in 1948 war and were genuinely disgusted with the civilian as well as the higher military leadership,as can be imagined from the above mentioned incident.Had there been a man with Patel's resolution and decisiveness to assist the Quaid,the army would have had nothing to be unhappy about!The army that took over in 1958 was however not composed of men who had fought well in WW Two,but of clever extension seekers who had nothing to do with the 1948 War.

This then was our tragedy.The old man leading us without having done any armed forces war course, had the 'Coup d Oeil' in October 1947 to order that one brigade should advance along axis Sialkot-Jammu and capture Jammu while another Brigade advance along axis Murree-Srinagar and capture it' (Refers-Page-343- Report of November 7,1947- Mountbatten's 'Top Secret' Personal Reports as Viceroy of India -India Office Library-L/PO/433. Page-154- Looking Back- Mehr Chand Mahajan- Asia Publishing House London-1963) .Nehru had a Patel,while Jinnah had no Patel;and this included the entire cabinet,whether Hindustani Punjabi Bengali Sindhi or Pathan, consisted of decent amiable men who had been good British subjects, and most unfortunate even no Thimaya or Bucher or Cariappas.We had Akbars and Masuds ,but these were sidelined!They did not have that pleasant personality that could please a politician and could get extensions,or the height or frame to be a Hollywood hero!They were men of action known for decisiveness in the crossing of Chindwin...rather than tactical timidity and poor war record while serving in a Chamar regiment in Burma!No wonder that Mr Jinnah complained in 1930s about the Muslim leaders that he had ,who in his words asked the Deputy Commissioner before doing anything!

Kind Regards

A.H AMIN


To: The Publisher and Managing Editor,
The Defence Journal,
Date: Sept 13-9-1999.

Cc:Ms Nasim Zehra(editorial advisor); Iqbal F. Quadir (Vice Adm{Retd});
Lt Gen (Retd) Sardar FS Lodi (patron, Def Journal); and Ikram Sehgal
(Publisher and Managing Editor).

From: David Abdullah Kendel,
235 E 39 Street
New York, NY 10006, U.S.A.

Kargil: A Converts Opinion

As a convert to Islam I am very sorry for Nawaz Sharif and Pakistani people.
I'll let the Quran speak for itself.

regarding the Kargil 'disengagement'.

'O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless manoeuvring for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journeys end.

Surah Al-Anfal (8) , verses 15-16.

Regarding Sharif's assertion that he has saved Pakistan from a war and the ensuing economic fallout which Pakistan can ill afford.

'Say: If your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your tribe, and the wealth ye have acquired, and merchandise for which ye fear that there will be no sale, and dwellings ye desire are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and Striving in His way (Jihad): Then wait till Allah bringeth His command to Pass. Allah Guideth not wrongdoing folks.'

Surah At-Taubah 24

Pakistanis and their PM should be sincerely begging forgiveness of Al Ghuffur, Al Ghaffar, Al Afu and stop making excuses else a calamity will befall them perhaps in this life and certainly the next life.

Islamabad, September 15, 1999

Dear Sir,

I fully endorse the views of Mr Ikram ul-Majid Sehgal on the criminal shooting down on August 10, 1999 of PN's Breguet Atlantique aircraft by Indian Air Force Mig-21 Bis fighters near Badin. He is right in his editorial comments (Defence Journal Sept 1999 - News Analysis in The Nation - August 15) that 'it was aerial terrorism. It was a well planned ambush'. This is a case of premeditated conspiracy and revenge killing. This was an act of cowardice all the way. The Indian pilots who fired the missiles at the unarmed Atlantique without warning were down right cowards. The IAF commanders who ordered this dastardly act have disgraced the Indian Air Force and the flying community for their callousness in ordering the slaughter of under training navy personnel who had meant no harm to them. It was laughable Indian concoction that the Atlantique turned into the attacking Indian Mig-21-Bis fighters when signalled to land at the nearest IAF air base. I agree with Ikram that having sneaked into Pakistan territory the enemy fighters fired the air to air missiles from behind giving no chance to the victim to take any evasive action. This was a most cowardly and hostile act of war, which must be avenged at an opportune time.

Ikram has rightly questioned as to 'where was the warning?' IAF authorities should have specified the signals given to the Atlantique pilot to land at an Indian Air Force base. The truth is that no warning signals were given. Shoot down without warning of the Atlantique was in utter violation of international conventions and law. It was a deliberate and violent transgression by IAF fighter aircraft of the 1991 Indo-Pak Agreement on the subject of air space violations. This agreement stipulates that combat aircraft are not to enter into the ten Kilometers belt ADIZ, on either side of the international border. The IAF fighters not only entered into their ADIZ, but crossed over into the PAK ADIZ to launch a sneak missile attack on the PN Atlantique. Instead of apologizing for the rash and murderous action, and payment of compensation as demanded by Pakistan, the Government of India has continued to lie, even after the IAF conspiracy to ambush and destroy the unarmed Pakistan Navy Atlantique aircraft was fully exposed. The landing of Indian helicopters inside Pakistan to steal parts of the fallen aircraft and put them up for media display in New Delhi exposed the extent of this conspiracy. This Indian criminal action is in sharp contrast to the magnanimity shown by Pakistan when a Russian spy aircraft was intercepted by PAF fighters over Dargai NWFP in early 1979.

In early 1979 PAF radars detected an unidentified radar track entering from Afghanistan and heading towards Warsak dam some time in the afternoon. Two F-6 fighters were immediately scrambled from PAF base Peshawar to identify the intruder aircraft. The PAF fighters identified over Dargai that it was a Soviet spy plane. As Air Officer Commanding Air Defence Command I asked the controlling radar to direct the interceptor pilots to fly abreast and fire warning shots as order to the intruder Soviet plane to land at PAF base Risalpur. The Soviet spy plane on sighting PAF fighters made a sharp turn south and started a steep descent from ten thousand feet. On sighting the warning shots by PAF fighters this Soviet aircraft lowered in wheels i.e. undercarriage indicating compliance to land at Risalpur. No sooner the PAF fighters had repositioned i.e. one F-6 in front and one in the rear, the Russian pilot retracted his wheels opened full throttle while simultaneously turning sharply towards the west. This was a clear attempt to escape into Afghanistan. The F-6 section leader wanted permission to shoot down the Soviet plane. I ordered him to hold fire, and immediately informed Air Chief Marshal Shamim the Chief of the Air Staff PAF about the developments on the hot line. He directed me to hold fire till further orders. Within minutes having contacted President General Zia-ul-Haq, the CAS directed that the enemy aircraft i.e. the Soviet spy plane is not to be downed and be allowed to enter Afghanistan safely. The Soviet spy plane was allowed to escape. On that day it was so easy to shoot down the intruding trapped Soviet spy plane. In the circumstances General Zia-ul-Haq's magnanimity and Air Chief Marshal Shamim's wisdom and maturity as a commander to spare the lives of the Soviet air crew saved Pakistan from diplomatic embarrassment and allegations and counter-allegations that would have surely followed. A magnanimous commander is always a winner and mean commanders will surely pay a heavy price for their callousness.

Ikram's observation that, 'Given that the crew did not have time to make even one distress call, the cowardly act was sudden and ruthless.' He has rightly stated that it was a well planned act of murder... it was calculated ruthlessness, either a quid pro quo vengeance killing by the IAF, to even the shooting down of two Indian combat jet aircraft near Kargil or something more sinister'. Evil minds suffer no remorse, but surely this slaughter which has left so many grieving parents, wives and children should haunt the killers and the perpetrators for as long as they live.

In his News Analysis in 'The Nation' and Defence Journal Editorial, Ikram-ul-Majid Sehgal has echoed the rage and fury of the Pakistani nation on this Indian barbarity. His advice that 'we should hold our fire for the time being, we should react in our own time' merits attention and preparation to set the record straight. However, while the national focus is on the Indian criminality, there are questions which remain to be answered by the Naval Staff. 1. Why was the Atlantique training area so close to the Indian border? I was informed by a retired Admiral that PN's Briguet Atlantiques had been training in that area since long. But considering the hostile Indo-Pak relations after the Kargil war especially exceedingly high Indian military casualties including the shoot down of IAF Mig-27 and Mig-21 fighters and Mig-17 helicopter with an IAF Air Marshal on board, continued flying in that area buzzing with five Indian Air Force fighter bases was a very risky policy. 2. Why the Atlantique training area was not changed to a safer place during or after the Kargil war to avoid an untoward incident? It is astonishing that PN's Atlantique Breguets continued their flying training missions so close to the border during and after the Kargil war thereby providing an opportunity to the enemy smarting from the Kargil to indulge in the destruction of the death fix aircraft and revenge slaughter of so many precious lives. This brazen negligence needs to be investigated into and proper action be taken to ensure that such impudent laxity and dereliction of responsibility is not repeated.

Regards,

Ayaz Ahmad Khan

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