Wednesday, September 09, 2015

1965 war: a Pakistani view

I read and re-read this assessment of the 1965 war in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper with some amazement. It is scathing in its comments on the handling as well as the outcome of the war on the Pakistani side:
In fact, the war was started when we launched Operation Gibraltar in early July 1965, infiltrating thousands of Pakistani soldiers into India-occupied Kashmir under the assumption that Kashmiris would rise in revolt against the Indian forces. That never happened and within weeks the entire operation had collapsed. Meanwhile, the Indian forces launched a counteroffensive occupying parts of Azad Kashmir.
Subsequently on Aug 30, we launched Operation Grand Slam that was meant to capture the strategic town of Akhnur and to cut off held Kashmir from India. But it was too late. Another disaster happened when halfway through Grand Slam, the command was changed giving more time to the Indians to recoup and gather reinforcements. As a result this operation too ended in a fiasco.
About the Indian offensive on the Lahore front, the writer says:
...the persons most surprised were the president and the army chief when the Indians launched the attack on Sept 6. Ayub was woken up at four in the morning and given the news of Indian advances towards Lahore by an officer of the air force on reconnaissance duty. Ayub telephoned Gen Musa who said he had also heard the news but was waiting for confirmation!
 The author concludes:
Air Marshal Nur Khan, who led the air force, achieving complete superiority over the Indian air force, called it a wrong war that was planned “for self-glory rather than in the national interest”. History has to be put straight so that the mistakes are not repeated.
On the 1967 war, have you come across anything half as self-critical and objective in the Indian media? If the leading newspaper of a country can carry such an article, I would submit that there is something very right about that country. It cannot be a failed state, indeed, it is a country steadfastly battling any descent in that direction.

I have been an admirer of Dawn for many years now. Its liberalism is not confined to India-Pakistan relations. It has a thoroughly modern and reformist view on matters internal to Pakistan as well. Those who want Pakistan to be a vibrant democracy, free from the taint of terrorism, and also want that India and Pakistan should live together in peace must make it a point to read Dawn.


K.R.Srivarahan said...

One swallow does not make a summer.

T T Ram Mohan said...

True but it does hold out the hope of a summer...


Anonymous said...

Dear Prof,

Thank you for sharing this brilliant piece.
this reminds me of

Bura Jo Dekhan Main Chala, Bura Naa Milya Koye
Jo Man Khoja Apnaa, To Mujhse Bura Naa Koye


I searched for the crooked, met not a single one
When searched myself, "I" found the crooked one

Uday said...

Dear TT, That is probably the first positive article on Pakistan I have read in a very long time! Will be sure to check out The Dawn. Glad I stumbled upon your blog!


T T Ram Mohan said...

Hi Uday, Glad to know you stumbled upon my blog. One of the things about Dawn you will notice is the high quality of writing in the Opinion pieces.