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1965 War: A Different Legacy

Posted on September 6, 2007
Filed Under >Athar Osama, History
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Athar Osama

Today, over a hundred and fifty million Pakistanis celebrate the 42nd Defense of Pakistan Day. It was 6th of September 1965 when Pakistan’s armed forces faced off against India’s in the first full-scale war between the two countries. Much to the credit of the brave men (and women) in uniform that day–and for next 2-3 weeks following that–the enemy attack on the City of Lahore was repulsed and the General J. N. Chaudhary‘s dream of having his drink at Lahore Gymkhana on the evening of September the 6th was squashed.

Tomorrow, the country celebrates the Airforce Day to pay tribute to the defenders of the country’s air space. PAF’s performance during the 1965 War was truly remarkable given the comparative state of balance between the two airforces. It managed to shoot down 110 of India’s aircrafts while itself incurring the loss of only 18 of its own. Not only did PAF establish itself as a qualitatively superior airforce in the 1965 War but also established its credentials as one of the best airforces of the world.

While much has been written, by official and unofficial quarters, on the history of the 1965 War and a lot more continues to be written every year, there are several gross misconceptions about this event in Pakistan’s history that need to be tackled with and addressed. In Pakistan, ever since (or soon after) its creation in 1947, the writing of history has been an almost exclusive domain of the establishment whereby an official “doctrine” or “mythology” is often disseminated to ensure a homogeneity of thought and conformity of actions.

Noted historian, K. K. Aziz, in his “Murder of History: A Critique of History Textbooks Used in Pakistan” (1998) notes that:

“In Pakistani schools and colleges what is being taught as history is really national mythology, and the subjects of Social Studies and Pakistan Studies are nothing but vehicles of political indoctrination. Our children don’t learn history. They are ordered to read a carefully selected collection of falsehoods, fairy tales and plain lies.”

The myth and mystery around the 1965 War is no exception. One would not be surprised that a normal–perhaps even average college educated–Pakistani believes–or is led to believe–that on Sept 6th 1965, India invaded Pakistan (specifically Lahore) and that once thrust into this battle, Pakistan came out to be victorious over its archrival. Both of these facts, on close examination, are quite far from reality. True, India did attack Lahore on September 6th 1965, but it was not the one to force a war on Pakistan in the first place. It was Pakistan’s provocation in the form of Operation Gibralter that led India towards opening the Western front in Pakistan.

It is also true that by the end of the 3rd week of war, both countries had found themselves in a virtual military stalemate. While Pakistan’s armed forces had successfully defended Lahore–thanks, primarily to men like Raja Aziz Bhatti who, despite the failure of leadership at the top-most levels, gave up their lives but not inch of the country’s territory, but also due to the strategic position of the BRB Canal that formed a natural defense for Lahore–all of Pakistan’s offensive maneuvers had come to a naught.

The Operation Gibralter that began in May-June of 1965 to take Indian territory in Kashmir and create an insurgency and popular uprising in the region was frustrated. This launched Operation Grand Slam that was aimed at cutting the Jammu-Rajouri road at Akhnur and to ultimately capture the latter. This operation was unnecessary delayed because of a change in top-military commander–a change widely perceived as unwarranted at that time. Despite these delays, however, as Pakistani troops gained some territory, India launched a full-scale offensive aimed at Lahore (0530 hrs on the 6th) and Sialkot (night between 7th and 8th). The rest as they say is history.

In the ground war itself, there was a military stalemate on virtually all, northern (Kashmir), central ( Lahore), and southern, axes. At the time of the ceasefire, India held 450 square miles of Pakistan’s territory and Pakistan held 1600 square miles of Indian territory. General K. M. Arif, in his book Khaki Shadows, though, highlights that the Indian land gains were mainly in the fertile Sialkot and Kashmir sectors while Pakistani land gains were primarily in deserts opposite Sindh. While Pakistan came out with better numbers in terms of casualties (dead, injured, and missing) and equipment losses, it hardly was victorious as is often claimed by the establishment. Unless you define victory as being able to defend oneself during an offensive operation — hardly a definition indeed.

Apart from the unfortunate myth about who actually started the war itself, another factor that has received much less attention, and for obvious reasons, is why it was started in the first place. At the time of the 1965 War, Pakistan did not really have a full-time Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. General Ayub Khan was, at best, a part-time military commander, as he was too engaged in political affairs of the country. He had chosen General Musa Khan as his full-time Chief of Army Staff but only on the basis of his loyalty to the former rather than merit, competency or professionalism. This lack of leadership and competency at the highest levels of Pakistan’s military during the 1965 became legendary and is well-documented.

This was also something that was consequently taken advantage of by none other that Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto was, at the time of the 1965 war, at the peak of his power as Ayub’s foreign minister and a foreign policy hawk, par excellence. He single handedly molded the opinion of the foreign office and his friends at the GHQ to plan operation Gibralter. Ayub was informed about the plans but only to an extent.

Most importantly, Bhutto and his colleagues at the GHQ were able to dupe everyone who mattered into believing that capturing Kashmir was in sight, that an insurgency would immediately create an uprising, and that India would never declare full-scale war on Pakistan. Ayub’s indifference to this whole affair can be estimated from the fact that the Supreme Commander was vacationing in Swat during the last week of August 1965 when Pakistani troops were dying in Kashmir.

Each one of the above assumptions was grossly incorrect and both Ayub and Pakistan paid a heavy price for it. For his part, Bhutto was able to walk away from his created mess and managed to turn the tide against Ayub and actually benefit from the situation. The 1965 War was the turning point of Ayub’s career at the helm. Bhutto rode this wave of dissatisfaction with the war as well as the Tashkent Agreement to power in 1970.

Setting the record straight on what the 1965 War was all about, who started it, and why did it get started is not only a important constitutional right of Pakistani citizens but also is critical to learning from our own mistakes. Unfortunately, that is something that Pakistan has never been good at. General K. M. Arif in Khaki Shadows writes that in the immediate aftermath of the 1965 War “Pakistan suffered a loss of a different kind…Soon after the War the GHQ ordered all the formations and units of the Pakistan Army to destroy their respective war diaries and submit completed reports to this effect by a given date. This was done?Their [the war diaries'] destruction, a self-inflicted injury and an irreparable national loss, was intellectual suicide.”

Clearly, the political-military nexus had an interest in ensuring that nobody should find out what actually happened during the 1965 War — the former because of its incompetence and lack of leadership and the latter because of its culpability in taking Pakistan to war. While considerable second-hand material has become available since then, first hand information and accounts of the war remain a national secret whose disseminator could be charged under the Official Secrets Act. The organizational and legal paraphernalia to ensure that nobody ever learns from this tragic event in Pakistan’s history is complete and foolproof.

What could have happened differently if Pakistanis had actually learnt from what happened before, during, and after the 1965 War?

One, Mr. Bhutto would probably have found it difficult to ride the wave of anti-Ayub discontent as easily as he did for he was equally, if not more, culpable for what was solely blamed on Ayub Khan.

Two, Mr. Bhutto would not have found it as easy to continue to befriend army generals and exercise the kind of influence at GHQ that he did during the 1971 debacle. Perhaps Pakistan would have been intact.

Three, the army leadership would have received its fair share of blame for its professional incompetence, and preoccupation with civilian and political affairs at the expense of their military duty.

Four, Perhaps Pakistan would have learnt its lessons and Kargil-II (1965 War was, in fact, Operation Kargil-I) would not have happened. Consequently, Sharif government would not have been toppled and Musharraf would have been living a retired existence for the last 5 years.

The chain of causalities run fairly deep and dense in Pakistan’s history. Our inability and unwillingness to learn from our own mistakes merely reinforces these events and brings us closer to a new–and more challenging–disaster every time. The 1965 War should be remembered as a day of courage and sacrifice of Pakistani people–most notably our men and women in uniform–who were wronged by their civilian and military leaders, but more importantly it should be remembered as a missed opportunity to learn and improve our lot. That is the test we continue to fail each year.

About the Author: Dr. Athar Osama is a public policy analyst and an amateur historian of Pakistan’s political and constitutional history. He also the Founder of the Understanding Pakistan Project.

69 Comments on “1965 War: A Different Legacy”

  1. Zia says:
    September 6th, 2007 9:02 pm

    Athar,
    Well written article. In our childhood we were taught a history that might be quite far from the truth and then we wonder why do we have such society where people are afraid of the truth.
    You have put it right that “The 1965 War should be remembered as a day of courage and sacrifice of Pakistani people

  2. AH says:
    September 6th, 2007 9:02 pm

    Great post. Thank you for writing it.

  3. anon says:
    September 6th, 2007 9:33 pm

    @Athar

    Enlightening post.

    I understand it’s a blog post, but still, whenever you include numbers and figures, please cite the source.

  4. Reluctant Expatriate says:
    September 6th, 2007 10:43 pm

    I was a student during 1965 and brainwashed by the official media. I believed that Pakistan won the war. I remember the patrotic songs of Nur Jehan sang during the war. It was not until I left Pakistan did I found out the truth about this war. In addition, the brainwashing was so complete with utter hatred for Indians that I felt that I have committed a sin by shaking hand with a fellow graduate student at a university in England. I soon learned that politicians on both sides are responsible for poverty and lack of development. They were spending all the resources of the country on defense.

    I hope that ordinary people on both sides of the border are allowed to meet each other. This may reduce the hatred slowly and peace will come to the region.

  5. MQ says:
    September 6th, 2007 11:43 pm

    Athar,

    I agree with the general drift of the post. But if I had just read the first paragraph of this post, and not the whole post, I would have ended up with the same impression that the official versions have been trying to create ever since the war was fought.

    I believe Air Marshals Asghar Khan and Nur Khan have given their versions of the war in the form of their books. They leave no doubt in any one’s mind that the 65 war was triggered by Pakistan and then it spun out of its control.

  6. dawa-i-dil says:
    September 7th, 2007 1:16 am

    Altaf Gohar..the Gecteray Infrmation of Gen.Ayub…have totally blamed Bhutto for this war..as he urged Gen.Akhtar …to attack on Kashmir…by Jablul tariq Plan..but Kashmiries did not help pakistan fores…and captured…so the india …came up with whle of its force….Later Bhutto used tashqund plan ..as an arm to blck mail Gen Ayub….and then atlasrt threw it off…although he ued to call him “daddy” previously..then atlast with Gen Yahya…in Larkana Plan…decided to “cut off” Eastern Pakistan “permanently” from western pakistan…thats why Yahya did not call of assembly session and made mujeeb as PM as Bhutto di not ant to sit in Opposition….we are here ..they are there…thansk god..we have saved rest of pakistan were just the same slogans by him…

    Altaf Gohar has put a full blame on him for 1965 war…

  7. Satya says:
    September 7th, 2007 3:18 am

    Athar,

    Great Post. As a kid, I remember this refrain that I assume we were told the Pakistani army employed during the war, breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Delhi and dinner in Lucknow.

    I also like the way you examined the subsequent Pakistan history if the truth about the 1965 war had been known.

    However, we in India, have our own version of indoctrination. You guys are luckier (you could blame it on the lack of democracy) because we being democratic, we dont think some ‘rulers’ sat their and tutored our fertile minds and therefore that propensity for reflection is a lot lesser.

  8. Kamal says:
    September 7th, 2007 5:49 am

    Good post considering that the defence day has often been used to cover up what actually went wrong and how Pakistan was to blame for the war and its eventual split in 1971.

    That said, the author should have provided neutral sources for the casualties for nearly all neutral sources reveal that it was Pakistan that suffered 3,800 casualties vis a vis India’s 3,000. The pattern is the same in tanks and armoured vehicles, though in the aerial losses, India might have suffered considerably more, it is nowhere close to the claims of 100+ for IAF or just 20 odd planes for PAF. Even the land lost by Pakistan, as per reputed publishers and authors was actually more than India’s.

    But atleast there has been an attempt to read the real history and I hope in the future, such errors of figures would also be corrected in much the same way the war has been approached from an overall ange.

  9. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    September 7th, 2007 10:01 am

    Dear Dr. Athar Osama:

    Since it is your contention that the history of Pakistan is mostly a ‘national mythology’ and you have taken upon yourself to ‘correct’ this ‘mythology’, would you please also inform your readership about the Acts of Indian Government regarding Indian occupied Kashmir leading up to the Operation Gibraltar. Did Bhutto and Pakistan Government conceive this Operation out of the thin air because of their ‘lunatic’ behavior or they were forced to counter Indian actions in and regarding Kashmir. I trust your sense of fairness will provide us a balanced history.

    And yes when a smaller power is able to defend itself against a much larger hostile enemy it is a victory, even though some do not agree with that. The fact that Pakistan has survived for sixty years in the face of hostilities since her inception is a victory for Pakistan.

  10. faraz says:
    September 7th, 2007 10:47 am

    Lets debate who got won the “objectives” in 1965 war.

    This war was started by Pakistan to free Kashmir. Now as India was unable to defend itself in Kashmir launched a counter strike on mainland Pakistan. Result both countries return back to pre 1965 situation.

    India objective was not to conquer Pakistan but to hold control of occupied Kashmir. They got their objective we did not. On other hand, the way Lahore was defended, and the way nation standed as once is legendry.

  11. faraz says:
    September 7th, 2007 11:02 am

    One more thing, in millatry you need 3x force to conquer a country. Indian army was 2x, not 3x, so defending Pakistan(except Lahore case) was not that great legend.

    On the other hand, IAF was 3X times Pakistan airforce, but our airforce outperformed Indian aiforce. That is something PAF and we can take proud.

  12. Kashif says:
    September 7th, 2007 11:05 am

    Nice article. Its a fact that history taught to us mostly consists of crap. This has to be realized why after 42 years we are still kept hanging with a thread. People suffer across the border while their ‘leaders’ party abroad.

  13. September 7th, 2007 11:05 am

    Dear Commentors:

    The fully referenced and cited versions all important events in Pakistan’s history are being made available on Understanding Pakistan website (www.UnderstandingPakistan.com) on a week-by-week basis.

    The 1965 Episode will become available by the end of this weekend (I am still working on it and lagging behind in my ability to deliver on my commitments). You’ll have more numbers and citations there than you can ever absorb.

    The purpose here is not to become another “thekedaar” of Pakistan’s history–in the manner as Pakistan’s establishment is–but to provide an alternative and to encourage people to think and research for themselves. Indeed, that has been the entire focus of the effort on UnderstandingPakistan project. I think I would consider it a successful use of my time and efforts if I can encourage people to pick up a few books–other than our text books–on Pakistan and read–Even if nobody reads a word of what I am trying to write.

    To answer the question about Kashmir, there is no arguing that frustration with progress on Kashmir led to the planning for 1965 war. I think what I am questioning is that the normal processes of planning were circumvented by an adventurist politician, the military leadership was found sleeping, and the entire Pakistani war effort was based on wrong premises. I think the results indicate that.

  14. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    September 7th, 2007 11:17 am

    faraz:

    Indian objectives were and are to legally annex Kashmir and relegate the Kashmir issue to history. She has not been able to do that so for. Half a million Indian occupying military forces in Kashmir are a testimony to that. Pakistani objectives are to keep the Kashmir issue alive with the hope that it could be resolved one day to the satisfaction of Kashmiris. The issue is not resolved but it is alive to this day. So it is at a stalemate. One day Indians will have the wisdom to resolve this issue peacefully and gain the goodwill of Kashmiris and Pakistanis and return peace to the South Asia. As India gains self confidence as an economic and military power she may come around to this issue even though hopes of her doing so are slim.

  15. jalaal says:
    September 7th, 2007 11:43 am

    bhai jaan. kya bevakoof bana rahe ho. yeah pado 1965 War ke baare me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1965_War

    Hum aage kyo nahi badh paa rahe hai? kyo ki hum apne aap ko jhooti tassali dete rehte hai.

  16. rickshawshairi says:
    September 7th, 2007 1:12 pm

    Thank you!

  17. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    September 7th, 2007 2:43 pm

    jalaal:

    Respectfully. Do you believe every thing you read in wikipedia. I mean you are not that naive. Are you? Dr. Athar Osama is in the process of compiling ‘true and real’ history of Pakistan. Once he is done we will no longer need wikipidia. Every information about Pakistan history will be available to Pak children at his site. Please be patient.

  18. September 7th, 2007 2:43 pm

    Athar,

    Great post. I do concur with the involvement of ZAB in masterminding these operations that led to the September war.
    Also in Sherbaz Mazari ‘s biography he was a personal witness to these incidents where ZAB was working with the GHQ alongwith Foriegn office and after the Tashkent Agreement he turned his back on them. Although it was ZAB who persuaded Ayub Khan to agree on the Tashkent Agreement.

    As you had said, it is a sorry state of history where a number of innocent soldiers were blown into this war which was caused by a poorly managed Operation.

    Having said that we still don’t want to forget about the courage that the young men and civilians who fought side by side with the army and laid down their lives for the country.

  19. September 7th, 2007 2:45 pm

    Athar,

    Great post. I do concur with the involvement of ZAB in masterminding these operations that led to the September war.
    Also in Sherbaz Mazari ‘s biography he was a personal witness to these incidents where ZAB was working with the GHQ alongwith Foriegn office and after the Tashkent Agreement he turned his back on them. Although it was ZAB who persuaded Ayub Khan to agree on the Tashkent Agreement.

    As you had said, it is a sorry state of history where a number of innocent soldiers were blown into this war which was caused by a poorly managed Operation.

    Having said that we still don’t want to forget about the courage that the young men and civilians who fought side by side with the army and laid down their lives for the country from Major Aziz Bhatti to Major Ziauddin Abbasi (on whose name the famous Abbasi Shaheed Hospital Karachi was named) they will all be our heroes.

  20. jalaal says:
    September 7th, 2007 2:49 pm

    Mr Pervaiz Munir Alvi,

    How do you authenticate the findings by Dr. Athar Osama to be ‘true and real’? Is there a magic formula behind that?

  21. Dewana Aik says:
    September 7th, 2007 2:54 pm

    From the horses mouth, right or wrong.

    Interviews by various Pakistani Generals participating in the 1965 war (Urdu):

    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/spedition/defence_06sep_2006/index.html

  22. September 7th, 2007 3:17 pm

    Jalal:

    I think you didn’t get the drift of Pervez’s comment there. He wasn’t serious, he was merely making fun of what was trying to do here. :)

    But thats OK.

    I would, however, refer you all to the earlier comment I made. I think the fact that we’re having this conversation and it is being archived and people are contributing to this “collective” history writing is a step forward in rejecting just a single view of Pakistan’s history. Understanding Pakistan is open to all viewpoints–provided they’re presented with some kind of supporting evidence–to be registered. Let people know all perspectives and decide for themselves.

  23. Aqil Sajjad says:
    September 7th, 2007 3:18 pm

    While wikipedia is generally useful, a word of caution about pro-India biases is needed. Check the page on wiki project India

    here

    Let me just quote a few lines (for details, go to the above link)

    “The goals of this group are three-fold; to provide guidelines an”d recommendations for articles that describe aspects of India, to improve Wikipedia’s coverage
    of India by creating, expanding, and maintaining factual articles, to serve as the point of discussion for issues related to India in Wikipedia. The scope
    of this project includes articles related to India. To achieve the goals, this project group has developed features to help in managing its creative work.
    It includes Departments, which coordinate work on certain tasks, such as peer review or project-wide collaboration and Work Groups, and focus on content and articles related to India, such as cities, politics and culture.”

    Indians are generally far more united and way ahead of us when it comes to propaganda.

  24. libertarian says:
    September 7th, 2007 4:28 pm

    Pervaiz: being nasty is becoming a habit, no? Or is the “biting wit” supposed to be appreciated?

  25. jalaal says:
    September 7th, 2007 5:02 pm

    Mr Dewana, Athar,

    We are getting this information and citations from our own people or horses as Dewana states . The other side may have their own numbers and citations from their people and horses. I least care if people at the other side believe it or not.

    My argument is, is there a independent panel or group of people that is neither from our side nor from the other side and verifies that this claim is true and unbiased?

    To be very honest, our horses and their horses are always going to claim and cite that we/they were in the dominating position and that is why we do not know for sure what is right and what is biased.

    Do you people get where i am coming from?

  26. September 7th, 2007 5:42 pm

    Jalal:

    I think there are some independent assessments. How independent they are, however, is again up to question. I think some independent sources are also quoted on the wikipedia article that somebody linked. I’ll see if I can find some more over the next couple of days.

  27. Aqil Sajjad says:
    September 7th, 2007 5:50 pm

    Dear Pervez Sahib:
    If you disagree with some of the contentions of Athar, why don’t you try to submit an article giving what you believe is a better account of events? After all, the purpose of the exercise is to develop a better understanding of our history, so if you have a different point of view, putting that forward will only help.

  28. MQ says:
    September 7th, 2007 6:46 pm

    PMA:
    Criticism of a government

  29. September 7th, 2007 7:52 pm

    interesting read but i want to make sure whether the thesis about Bhutto and Ayub as suggested here are accurate? references`?

  30. Dewana Aik says:
    September 8th, 2007 9:09 am
  31. Dewana Aik says:
    September 8th, 2007 9:12 am
  32. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    September 8th, 2007 11:03 am

    Aqil Sajjad & Qalandar:

    There could be as many perspectives on history as the number of people. Allow ten individuals watch one event and then see ten different narratives of the same event. Regarding 1965 war; we know that each government, in the aftermath of the war developed a version best suited to its policies and politics. Intelligent people know that. Intelligent people also use multiple sources to come to their own conclusions regarding any subject including history. So what’s the problem. The problem lies in the assertion that every or most other existing versions are incorrect and the one I am compiling is the true and correct one. It is the ‘soap box’ syndrome that is troublesome and being challenged here. Too much self flagellation could be harmful. The article by honorable Dr. Athar Osama fails to point out the Acts of Indian Government proceeding up to Operation Gibraltar. If we accept the position that Pakistan started the 1965 war with out any Indian provocation regarding Kashmir then we must also accept that the Ayub government comprised of lunatics. We know that is not the case. Re-writing history to advance a certain hypothesis is not the prerogative of governments alone, amateur historian and vested interests do that too.

  33. Dewana Aik says:
    September 8th, 2007 11:30 am

    Here is letter by General Malik which answers some questions as well as raising some;

    Pakistan?s Permanent Military Deputy
    Embassy of Pakistan
    Ankara
    23-11-67

    My Dear brother,

    I hope you and the family are very well. Thank you for your letter of 14 Oct. 67. The answers to your questions are as follows:

    a. The de facto command changed the very first day of the ops [operations] after the fall of Chamb when Azmat Hayat broke off wireless communications with me. I personally tried to find his HQ [headquarters] by chopper and failed. In late afternoon I sent Gulzar and Vahid, my MP [military police] officers, to try and locate him, but they too failed. The next day I tore into him and he sheepishly and nervously informed me that he was ?Yahya?s brigadier?. I had no doubt left that Yahya had reached him the previous day and instructed him not to take further orders from me, while the formal change in command had yet to take place. This was a betrayal of many dimensions.

    b. I reasoned and then pleaded with Yahya that if it was credit he was looking for, he should take the overall command but let me go up to Akhnur as his subordinate, but he refused. He went a step further and even changed the plan. He kept banging his head against Troti, letting the Indian fall back to Akhnur. We lost the initiative on the very first day of the war and never recovered it. Eventually it was the desperate stand at Chawinda that prevented the Indians from cutting through.

    c. At no time was I assigned any reason for being removed from command by Ayub, Musa or Yahya. They were all sheepish at best. I think the reasons will be given when I am no more.

    d. Not informing pro-Pak Kashmiri elements before launching Gibraltar was a command decision and it was mine. The aim of the op was to de freeze the Kashmir issue, raise it from its moribund state, and bring it to the notice of the world. To achieve this aim the first phase of the op was vital, that is, to effect undetected infiltration of thousands across the CFL [cease-fire line]. I was not willing to compromise this in any event. And the whole op could be made stillborn by just one double agent.

    e. Haji Pir [Pass] did not cause me much anxiety. Because [the] impending Grand Slam Indian concentration in Haji Pir could only help us after Akhnur, and they would have to pull out troops from there to counter the new threats and surrender their gains, and maybe more, in the process. Actually it was only after the fall of Akhnur that we would have encashed the full value of Gibraltar, but that was not to be!

    f. Bhutto kept insisting that his sources had assured him that India would not attack if we did not violate the international border. I however was certain that Gibraltar would lead to war and told GHQ so. I needed no op intelligence to come to this conclusion. It was simple common sense. If I got you by the throat, it would be silly for me to expect that you will kiss me for it. Because I was certain that war would follow, my first choice as objective for Grand Slam was Jammu. From there we could have exploited our success either toward Samba or Kashmir proper as the situation demanded. In any case whether it was Jammu or Akhnur, if we had taken the objective, I do not see how the Indians could have attacked Sialkot before clearing out either of these towns.

    g. I have given serious consideration to writing a book, but given up the idea. The book would be the truth. And truth and the popular reaction to it would be good for my ego. But in the long run it would be an unpatriotic act. It will destroy the morale of the army, lower its prestige among the people, be banned in Pakistan, and become a textbook for the Indians. I have little doubt that the Indians will never forgive us the slight of 65 and will avenge it at the first opportunity. I am certain they will hit us in E. Pak [East Pakistan] and we will need all we have to save the situation. The first day of Grand Slam will be fateful in many ways. The worst has still to come and we have to prepare for it. The book is therefore out.

    I hope this gives you the gist of what you needed to know. And yes, Ayub was fully involved in the enterprise. As a matter of fact it was his idea. And it was he who ordered me to by-pass Musa while Gibraltar etc. was being planned. I was dealing more with him and Sher Bahadur than with the C-in-C. It is tragic that despite having a good military mind, the FM?s [Foreign Minister Z.A. Bhutto?s] heart was prone to give way. The biggest tragedy is that in this instance it gave way before the eruption of a crisis. Or were they already celebrating a final victory!!

    In case you need a more exact description of events, I will need war diaries and maps, which you could send me through the diplomatic bag.

    Please remember me to all the family.

    Yours,
    Akhtar Hussain Malik

  34. Dewana Aik says:
    September 8th, 2007 11:35 am

    Note one sentence from his letter, written well before 71;

    “I have little doubt that the Indians will never forgive us the slight of 65 and will avenge it at the first opportunity. I am certain they will hit us in E. Pak [East Pakistan] and we will need all we have to save the situation.”

  35. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    September 8th, 2007 12:04 pm

    “The aim of the op. [Operation Gibraltar] was to de-freeze the Kashmir issue, raise it from its moribund state, and bring it to the notice of the world.”

    “Bhutto kept insisting that his sources had assured him that India would not attack if we did not violate the international border. I however was certain that Gibraltar would lead to war and told GHQ so.”

    “I have little doubt that the Indians will never forgive us the slight of [19]65 and will avenge it at the first opportunity. I am certain they will hit us in E. Pak [East Pakistan] and we will need all we have to save the situation.”

  36. September 8th, 2007 7:50 pm

    Sherbaz Khan Mazari, in his biography writes:

    “Operation Gibralter came into existence at Bhutto’s behest and with Ayub Khan’s approval”…

    General K. M Arif in his biography, Khaki Shadows, writes:

    “Foreign Minister Bhutto and Foreign Sect. Aziz Ahmed were involved in the process [planning of operation Gibralter], the “foreign office” was ignorant about the operation.”

    K. M. Arif also quotes altaf gauhar, Ayub’s information secretary, as stating that when Aziz Ahmed and ISI prepared the plan and presented it before the intelligence committee of the cabinet, Ayub said:

    “Who authorized the foreign office and the ISI to draw up such a plan? All I asked them was to keep the situation in Kashmir under review”

    He further writes that

    “…Slowly Bhutto convinced Ayub of the logic of his strategy…He maintained contacts with Akhtar Malik…Ayub went to Muree to attend a sand model presentation of the Operation done by Akhtar Malik. General Musa was present…Other service chiefs were not invited…Ayub approved the plan. This was a victory of individuals over institutions…Playing his cards with finesse, Bhutto has brought Ayub around to his own reasoning with a written assurance given to him that India was “at present under no condition to risk a general war of unlimited duration for the annhiliation of Pakistan”.

  37. Dewana Aik says:
    September 8th, 2007 11:48 pm

    From “Pakistan Army Committed Kargil Like Disaster in 1965 War As Well”, review of the book “Pakistan’s Drift Into Extremism: Allah, The Army, And America’s War On Terror” by Hassan Abbas

    It was now claimed that the change was preplanned and that this plan laid down that General Malik would command the first phase of the operation up to the river Tawi, and thereafter the command would be assumed by General Yahya Khan. However, there is not a shred of evidence to support this. The operation itself was a set-piece attack for which the operation orders are a part of the historical record, and there is no such mention in these.

    And any doubts there might have been on the issue were laid to rest by General Gul Hassan, who was Director of Military Operations during the war and the one person who would have known of such a change. He has specifically denied having any knowledge of the same.

    Indeed, not a single army officer except Musa and General Yahya seem to have known about this change, which shifted the initiative from Pakistan to the Indian Army. It now seems fair to speculate that the change in command was preplanned only in the sense that it was a conspiracy between Ayub, Musa, and Yahya; that if the operation got into trouble, Malik could keep the command and also the blame that would accrue as a result, but that if it held promise of success, Yahya would be moved in to harvest it.

    Lieutenant General Harbaksh Singh, one of the very respected senior Indian military commanders, was one of the few to have appreciated the full military value of Operation Gibraltar as a part of Grand Slam rather than seeing the two in isolation. According to him, “The plan of infiltration was brilliant in conception,” and as for Grand Slam, he thought it was “aptly named Grand Slam for had it succeeded, a trail of dazzling results would have followed in its wake, and the infiltration campaign would have had a fresh lease of life,” and that “it was only the last minute frantic rush of reinforcements into the sector . . . that prevented this debacle from deteriorating into major catastrophe.”

    It seems therefore that but for the change of command at a critical time during Operation Grand Slam, the aim of Gibraltar was well within realization, that is, to “de freeze the Kashmir problem, weaken Indian resolve, and bring India to the conference table without provoking general war.”

    What is sad is that even at such a critical moment with nation?s fate on stake, cheap political games are in play. Indeed Pakistanis are fortunate to have survived despite such incompetancy and corruption.

  38. akash says:
    September 9th, 2007 9:06 am
  39. September 9th, 2007 3:26 pm

    Great eye-opening piece.
    thanks for this buddy.

  40. Khalid Riaz says:
    September 9th, 2007 4:18 pm

    I am glad to see that we are now beginning to question the official versions of “history” that we have been taught. I would like to comment on two issues raised in this article:

    1. “While Pakistan?s armed forces had successfully defended Lahore?thanks, primarily to men like Raja Aziz Bhatti who, despite the failure of leadership at the top-most levels, gave up their lives but not inch of the country?s territory, but also due to the strategic position of the BRB Canal that formed a natural defense for Lahore?all of Pakistan?s offensive
    maneuvers had come to a naught.”

    While the general premise of this statement is correct, very few Pakistanis know, that Pakistan army did recpature part of the Pakistani territory east of BRB on September 10 or 11, and kept the Indian army in Wagah Sector from reaching BRB again till the night of cease fire. The details of this
    “Battle of Dograi”, have been chronicled in Inayatullah’s book, “Lahore ki Dehleez Pur”, and the mass graves of the soldiers of 16th Punjab Regiment in Lahore are a testament to this valiant fight. I wanted to bring this out, since I happened to know many who gave their lives (over 300 according to accounts published in Indian press recently) for us, and several survivors personally, and have always wondered, why many of those acts were kept from the official accounts in Pakistan for several years. Was there some thing to hide here?

    And this leads me to the second area of a larger concern:

    2. “Soon after the War the GHQ ordered all the formations and units of the Pakistan Army to destroy their respective war diaries and submit completed reports to this effect by a given date. This was done? Their [the war diaries?] destruction, a self-inflicted injury and an irreparable national loss, was intellectual suicide.?

    Were the people responsible for this irreparable loss ever questioned, and was any action ever taken against them? I believe the people of Pakistan need to learn the truth about all such acts.

  41. September 9th, 2007 6:08 pm

    Sherbaz Khan Mazari’s biography “Journey to Disillusionment” (Oxford U. Press, 1999) is perhaps one of the best political biographies that I’ve read of Pakistani politicians. In this, he writes about Bhutto’s role in the planning of Operation Gibraltar:

    ?The [Kashmir] Cell was greatly influenced by the views of Aziz Ahmed and his Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto had also taken to lobby the Army directly by visiting senior officers at their residences and seeking to impress upon them with the indispensability of launching raids across the Cease-Fire Line. These visits led General Musa to complain to Ayub Khan that Bhutto was brainwashing his officers.? (Mazari, 1999, p. 128)

    I’d reccommend anyone interested in making sense of Pakistan’s politics from a dispassionate perspective to read this masterpiece.

  42. September 9th, 2007 6:09 pm

    Sherbaz Khan Mazari’s biography “Journey to Disillusionment” (Oxford U. Press, 1999) is perhaps one of the best political biographies that I’ve read of Pakistani politicians. In this, he writes about Bhutto’s role in the planning of Operation Gibraltar:

    ?The [Kashmir] Cell was greatly influenced by the views of Aziz Ahmed and his Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto had also taken to lobby the Army directly by visiting senior officers at their residences and seeking to impress upon them with the indispensability of launching raids across the Cease-Fire Line. These visits led General Musa to complain to Ayub Khan that Bhutto was brainwashing his officers.? (Mazari, 1999, p. 128)

    I’d reccommend anyone interested in making sense of Pakistan’s politics from a dispassionate perspective to read this masterpiece.’

  43. MQ says:
    September 9th, 2007 9:39 pm

    Athar:

    I haven’t read Mazari’s book but everyone knows he was not an insider to the happenings of 1965. His account is a personal memoir and is obviously colored by his political relationship with Bhutto, which, to put it mildly, was less than friendly. Bhutto, as was his habit — a very bad habit — would publicly ridicule Mazari as an intellectual lightweight. (He did that to Asghar Khan, too)

    But I would rely more on the first hand accounts of Asghar Khan and Nur Khan who were the chiefs of the Air Force just before and during the 65 War, respectively, and were involved in planning and executing the war. Both these men are widely known to be blunt and honest in their views. General Akhtar Malik’s account is also important because he is believed to have conceived and executed Operation Gibralter and had an unblemished reputation as a soldier.

  44. Emm Aay says:
    September 11th, 2007 1:29 am

    every nation learn from their mistakes and Pakistan should also learn lesson from earlier mistakes, as far as i am concern the poor democracy structure that we have always lead to Marshallah or Military ruling, their is no mistake from PAK Army, politicians are responsible for that, they basically dont know each other and their is no proper communication among the parties if one came into ruling forgetting that other party could also be the ruling party of the future i mean all parties have one objective and that is how we make pakistan more stronger.continue…

  45. Sceptic says:
    September 11th, 2007 3:40 pm

    I hate to make ad hominem attacks but the 1st two paragraphs of this article makes one wonder what kind of cloud cuckoo land the author of this article has been living in. Besides the fantastical figures re. the performance of PAF vis-a-vis the Indian air force, the canard of the Indian general wanting to dine at Lahore is repeated. What army in its right mind would want to have to do any thing with a civilian population as large as Lahore’s to feed and adminster? The author does not mention that the Indian army captured and then withdrew from Kasur for this very reason – not under Pakistani army pressure. The fact is the 1965 war revealed how shallow the strategic thinking of the Pakistani army officer corps was – they never even figured that India, in order to relieve pressure in the Akhnur-Chhamb sector would open alternate fronts. How surprising to the Pakistani army – perfidious Hindus indeed! As they say in India – thank God for the Pakistani army officer corps, rooted as they are in their memories of glory days long gone by.

  46. Zafar says:
    September 12th, 2007 2:00 am

    Hi,
    A good post wrt ‘correcting the murder of history’ but isn’t this what is done by ALL. Today we lament that world does not recognise the Muslim age of enlightenment etc etc. History has been ‘murdered’ in the past and by the others as well. This is not to say that we should not try to bring out facts but ‘we are great’ is the message that every nation tries to give to its youth so that they have the pride and faith in the nation. Why do we face discrimination in the west is because generation after generation their children have been ‘indoctrinated’ about their (true and untrue) greatness and superiority over other nations and races. Why should we be so harsh critic on our actions?!?!

  47. S Rajendran-India says:
    September 15th, 2007 10:14 am

    I have been reading with great interest your articles and feedback on the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War. While there is an element of propaganda in the presentation of both sides, I now find there is a broad concurrence on the views on why the war started and its final outcome. As a avid student of Indo-Pakistan interaction, I must say that there is considerably less distortion on the conduct of the war and its outcome from the Indian side after reading your article and its wide response from your readers, most of whom happen to be citizens of Pakistan, I guess. But I am surprised to find exaggerated claims of over 100 Indian aircraft shot down and the territory occupied by both. The IAF was nowhere its full size in 1965, the Indo-Pak war coming barely three years after the border skirmish with China where Indian Army took a thrashing across the Himalayas. Therefore 100 aircraft lost would be tantamount to saying that IAF lost one fifth of its strength which is absolute rubbish. So also the territory lost; which I think was more on the Pakistan side than India. Last but not the least, I am delighted to find that there is a growing realisation that Pakistani academics are questioning the various claims generated within the Governmental propaganda machinery and I hope that a more realistic assessments are made as time goes by which will do a lot of good to both countries. As far as Kashmir is concerned, I hope Pakistan would realise one important fact that they should consider when claiming it. As per the founder of Pakistan, Md Ali Jinnah, Pakistan is the “homeland for the Muslims of the Sub-Continent”. If that is so, why is that there are more Muslims in the so called “Hindu” India(if you are reluctant to call it a secular state which is what it is undisputably!) than there are in Pakistan. I leave that question to be answered by History as we go along. S Rajendran

  48. Azam Khan Afridi says:
    September 15th, 2007 8:54 pm

    Confronting the lessons of our history is the first step in learning from it

  49. Aik Aur Dewana says:
    February 10th, 2008 9:47 pm

    Air Commodore Syed Sajjad Haider on 1965 war and surrounding events;

    http://www.ummat.com.pk/report_ummat/10022008-misc_reports/interview-10022008b.html

  50. Asif Beg says:
    February 11th, 2008 9:58 am

    Cowasjee in one of his articles had brought out an interesting thinking in our army corps of that time, which can only be termed as hilarious if it were also not so tragic. He says that everytime the issue of Indian capabilities came in discussion during army dinners, there would surely be some who would claim that one Pakistani soldier was equvivalent to four Indian soldiers. And then there will be some greater macho correcting them that their assertion was wrong,because one Pakistani soldier was equivalent to five Indian soldiers, not four! Needless to say that such chauvinistic thinking could hardly create an environment conducive to intelligent strategic planning.

  51. Aamir says:
    September 8th, 2008 2:47 pm

    ‘While Pakistan came out with better numbers in terms of casualties (dead, injured, and missing) and equipment losses’

    Even this is quite doubtful.
    From independent sources India lost 2800 men and Pakistan 3800. Also at the end of war Pakistan held 240 square mile of Indian territory and India 710 miles of Pakistani territory.
    Also Pakistan lost more tanks including 100 M-47/48 Pattons (the most sophisticated tank on either side) captured intact by Indian army during the battle of Asal Utar 9-10 of September.
    Over all the war can be considered a draw but more like a test match where Pakistan needing another 250 runs to win has just 3 wickets remaining and time runs out.

  52. Adam Ghaznavi says:
    October 15th, 2008 4:59 am

    hello,

    Although i have not read much litreture on the 1965 war or on war generally. there are a few points i would like to make. Yes i do agree that we need to learn from our mistakes and that strategically speaking 1965 cannot be considered a victory. but we cannot and should not forget the sacrifices made by the troops regradless of what the commanders were upto.

    people gave their lives defending their country on both sides, a history was written in blood and it is their histroy, and we should let them have honor in it. this constant haggling on figures and captured area is sad. This is the exact attitude which has gotten us here.

    People always say that we dont critisize, we do always critisize we just never do anything about it. we love to talk about what other ppl have done, but never about what we as a public have not done. We have not supported anything as a public, our intellegensia is invisible and so our we, lets wake up and try to fight. At least in 1965 they had the guts to do that, to fight.

  53. mitchell says:
    December 30th, 2008 11:18 pm

    Athar,

    A very good post indeed. I am an Indian and very interestingly our history books did not magnify the war. It just described the war in a neutral point of view and concluded the war was a Stalemate and ended with the Russian Interference. But I think the 1965 war magnified all the border conflicts that we are facing till today. The 1965 war was the main reason and the catalyst for the 1971 war and subsequently for the liberation of Bangladesh. It is definitely true that India plotted against Pakistan in 1971 mainly to avenge the 1965 war and that’s a sad moment indeed in the history of South Asia. What’s more sad is that the majority of the Indians, I had talked to, justify the 1971 war and the aggression by India. They say its ‘a tit for tat’ policy. What they don’t realize is that all these wars have no merits at all and that they always destabilize the peace process in South Asia .

    Good Luck.

  54. December 31st, 2008 12:17 am

    Pakistan does not recognize Kashmir as part of India, hence any operation there is not seen in Pakistan as invasion of “Indian territory”. I consider Pakistan the victor in 1965 as it fought a country as large as India to a stalemate.

    This article was written in the March 2007-Feb 2008 period, when anti-Musharraf hysteria, and as a consequence ,anti-military views in Pakistan were at their peak. I don’t think it would find any takers today.

  55. Watan Aziz says:
    December 31st, 2008 12:47 am

    New myths added to the list of previous myths:

    1. “General Ayub Khan was, at best, a part-time military commander”. (Do you expect anyone to believe this one? Regardless of how he acquired the title, khet marshall he was not.)

    2. “He (ZAB) single handedly molded the opinion of the foreign office and his friends at the GHQ to plan operation Gibralter.” (Then ZAB moved the division around, sent Tikka Khan to Sind in March-April, sent Ashgar Khan into retirement in July-August, appointed Nur Khan as Chief, and whispered sweet nothings to Gul Hassan. Naturally, Akthar Malik was his appointment and getting Yahya to replace him after 2 days of waiting was also his idea. ZAB was master

  56. mitchell says:
    December 31st, 2008 7:11 am

    Athar,
    Its been a year since this post was published.Is there any updated version on this research.Thanks.

    Regards,
    Mitchell.

  57. April 15th, 2009 2:34 pm

    There was a book out called “Myth of 1965 War” by Gen Mahmood. What happened to that?

  58. Simranjit says:
    June 27th, 2009 6:24 am

    I think Athar Osama brings a very good point. Read a book about your country and the one next to yours by a third party.

    Honestly it makes a huge difference to your understanding. One’s patriotism goes up for your own country. Except you are more quiet now because you know a lot of the blood in the soil is yours as well and just not the blood of the enemy.

    I have read many books on Pakistan and India and Panjab. Yes I am a panjabi. For me I loved this book written by a Pakistani in USA, very sharp and clued on fella who …. happened to be the brother of one of the Pakistani Army Chiefs.

    Main Title: Crossed Swords
    Sub Title: Pakistan, its army and the wars within.
    By Shuja Nawaz

    It was a pleasure to read your article Athar Osama.
    Keep them coming. More power to you.

    With Regards
    An Indian

  59. An Indian says:
    January 3rd, 2010 2:35 am

    Firstly, congratulations & kudos to the author Athar Osama! In any country/region, its very difficult to go against the Establishment & more so, in Third World countries. And such an exercise can be extraordinarily dangerous in Pakistan where one could easily end up dead for offending the Establishment (Pakistan Army + ISI). So, once again, to Mr. Athar Osama, hats off to you, Sir, for such a courageous initiative! Do keep it up!

    To Pervaiz Munir Alvi,
    I understand where you are coming from, but do not attempt to cover up the faults of the Pakistani Establishment (Pakistan Army + ZAB) by pointing to what you consider India’s faults. That does not help Pakistan. Im not saying India’s perfect; all Im saying is when the purpose of the exercise(by the author) is to find out & analyse Pakistan’s faults with a view to correcting them, do not start highlighting India’s faults & in the process, derail the entire exercise. In fact, it is precisely this unhealthy Pakistani obsession with what is happening in the neighbour’s house at the cost of neglecting one’s own affairs, that has led to the sorry state of affairs in Pakistan today.
    To answer your point, no matter what happended in Kashmir, sending in hundreds of infiltrators & backing it up with a full-scale military attack was clearly unjustified, illegal & deserved nothing less than a full-fledged military response. Splitting hairs over the so-called disputed status of Kashmir vis-a-vis the international border, at such a time does not fool anybody.
    Besides, dealing with, and accepting incovenient FACTS, can hardly be termed “self-flagellation”. On the contrary, it is a sign of maturity, moral courage & self-confidence.

    And don’t be scared of reaching the conclusion that the Pakistani Establishment was comprised of “lunatics”, as you put it (I would prefer a milder word). While Pakistan, like any other country/region in the world, has its fair share of intelligent people & not-so-intelligent people, it is truly one of the few countries in the world that has traditionally had an alrming & disproportionately high percentage of “lunatics” in its Establishment.
    And lest you think Im picking on Pakistan, lemme asure you that Indian(or US/UK/China/France, etc.) politics does have its share of “lunatics”. It’s just that they are present in far more manageable numbers & their influence is very limited! That is the beauty of democracy compared to military rule!!

  60. Watan Aziz says:
    January 4th, 2010 2:12 pm

    I had no idea there was a ZAB hate club in India too!

    Anyone else?

  61. February 27th, 2010 3:51 pm

    ***************Blast from the past***************:
    Pakistan had humiliated India in the war over Kashmir in 1965. In Chapter 2: “Rebellion and Repression”
    Author: KYLE, R.G., Major, Royal Canadian Artillery http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1984/KRG.htm

    M.M ALAM HAD ” ACE ” AGAINST INDIAN PLANS IN A MINUTE = WORLD RECORD.

    4 proof : http://www.pakdef.info/pakmilitary/airforce/war/ace.html

    AND FROM THE INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE:

    http://www.aviation.ru/aces.html RIGHT AT THE BOTTOM U CAN SEE YOUR SELF IN INDIA PAKISTAN THERE IS ONLY PAKISTANI ACES LOL AT U

  62. Yasir Akbar says:
    April 19th, 2010 3:03 pm

    thanks Mr. Athar, for such a long detail. You have very boldly disclosed these so called facts, but you have also to see and read the complete pre-war escalation. If “operation gebraltor” is a fact, (though it is indeed) then why you don’t know that the peace at “Rann of Katch” was ruined by India and not the Pakistan army. Gateway to the war was not the “Operation Gebraltor” but detoriorating the peace at “Rann of Katch” by India. So India is the main culprit of the 1965 war.

  63. Aftab Malik says:
    June 25th, 2010 2:14 pm

    Very impressed at pointing this out, Athar.
    Wish we would be taught factually correct things in school.

    Zia and Bhutto had one thing in common – they both destroyed Pakistan in different ways.
    Ayub was a forward thinker and was the first to offer India a reasonable deal on Kashmir but unfortunately he screwed up during the 1965 war by relying on and getting advice from the wrong people.

  64. Jamshed says:
    July 30th, 2010 9:39 am

    Several of Pakistan’s senior military officials have acknowledged the blunders that were made in this war.
    But on the other hand should it be forgotten that India has always been keen to attack Pakistan ? It has escalated the arms race in the region,has been the first to conduct nuclear tests and has used every opportunity available to mass troops along Pakistan’s borders.

  65. Arghya says:
    August 7th, 2010 5:53 pm

    The article is a quite interesting read. But, a few points are hard to digest. First, India’s 110 planes lost against Pakistan’s 18??? At the time of 1965 war and even during 1971, India never had so many operational aircraft!! Had Pakistan destroyed even 40, India would have stopped flying them althogether! It is very easy to calculate even if you do basic arithmatic! How many squadrons of Indian Airforce and Pakistani Airforce actually engaged in battle? Maximum, 5-6 squadrons by Pakistan and more or less the same by India!! That numerically add up to 90-108 planes per side at the full strength of 18 planes per squadrons which neither India nor Pakistan had!! Next, about Pakistani superiority in air skills over superior Indian aircrafts?? Mr. Writer, do you even read about fighter planes? Do you know that in a dog fight, the aircraft with the largest thrust to weight ratio, thrust with afterburner and rate of climb is always at an advantage since it can maneuver better than its peer? Add to that the number of hardpoints a fighter aircraft can have to carry extra load. When you claim victory over the Indian Vampires, did you bother to mention that Indian Vampire was a classic ground attack aircraft which did not have any Air to air missile? They could attack the F-86s only if they could come close enough to use their machine guns!!The vampires did not stand a chance against F-86 planes carrying Sidewinder missiles!! The vampires had hardly around 30-40% capability of the F-86s. It was not at all surprising that all the four vampires were routed. It was like a Mig-19 being asked to attack a F-22 Raptor!!! But, did you at all bother to mention one fact that the invincible F-86 got so badly hurt (even if we consider a 1.8:1 kill ratio) against the Folland Gnat? The Gnat had only two advantages!! It was smaller in size hence difficult to observe and it had a faster rate rate of climb. Gnats always used that to their advantage. If the Gnats could maneuver, they killed F-86s, if the Gnat did not have enough room to maneuver, it got hit. Like your Mig 21 killing a F-22 Raptor!! This clearly showed that no matter how much you claim, Pakistani pilots were not at all that great!! Secondly, Pakistan capturing 1600 km of Indian land? I know that Khemkaran was in Pakistani hand and around 200 km in Rajasthan and Kutch was in Pakistani hands as well!!! Could you please lay down a big map of India and measure the 1600 sq km that you had? In India, we get quite huge details showing the maximum point to which Pakistan reached and the maximum point India reached!! We know, Pakistan gained almost 200 sq km in Rajasthan and if you draw a line parallel to any latitude that passes 2.3 km of Akhnoor in Kashmir, that was your maximum penetration level gives you around another 100 sq km. Now could you please further enlighten me about the other 1000 sq km that Pakistan held and in which sector? The Punjab sector was in Indian hands again drawing a straight line and some areas in Kashmir that includes the Haji Pir Pass. Roughly around 650-700 km (close to the Indian claim of 750 sq km). SO again your claim of India having only 300 km has no basis. Did you just blindly copy from what your ministry of defence described in their propaganda literature? I took the Indian claim of destroying 60 F-86s with a pinch of salt and my own calculation and logic said the figure could be between 25-35 maximum; anything beyond that would have crippled the PAF with an existing US arms embargo on spare parts!!! India obviously held numerical superiority over PAF in the no. of aircrafts. But then again a Vampire or a Hunter is not a match for F-86!! Read about their specifications, you’ll understand it yourself.

  66. Khuram khan says:
    September 7th, 2010 9:25 am

    Arghya
    “Had Pakistan destroyed even 40, India would have stopped flying them althogether! It is very easy to calculate.”
    He is absolutely right,Indian Airforce did stop flying.
    “The Gnat had only two advantages!! It was smaller in size hence difficult to observe and it had a faster rate of climb”
    Is it the same Gnat that surrendered without fight and was made to land at an abandoned airfield near Pasroor?The trophy is still available in PAF Museum.
    Had the IAF been flying we would not have been moving Heavy guns in daylight.So get your facts right please.

  67. historian says:
    December 3rd, 2010 10:56 am
  68. Anindya says:
    March 24th, 2011 10:45 pm

    dear friends,

    its interesting to know that you all are starting to get and believe the true picture of 1965 war. none side won that war coz russia stopped it.
    and pakistani people should be applauded as much as indians as both public supported courageously their own.
    and the line which says that its victory for pakistan cause they managed to protect it from big indian airforce they should also know about the advanced airplanes which pakistani airforce had and indians didnt. more or less it would be perfect to say that both countries lost. and kashmir is not an issue for pakistan or any country to poke nose. kashmiris want free state where both these countries would stop poking their noses and stop sending people with guns. in war of two rivals the innocents die. war and violence never solved anything. in todays world i hope people will get more civilized for worse problem are arising (food deficiency, global warming etc) no flag will be known if humanity dies and i hope humanity becomes civilized enough to know that. Mother Earth is what we should love and protect.

  69. Observer says:
    September 23rd, 2011 1:40 pm

    Arghya anyone can make a sensible statement by googling about a few fighter planes and comparing them for self satisfaction where the obvious remains the same ; India attacked Pakistan and were butt- **cked, despite being numerically more. Sending a massive incompetent infantry or the wrong planes… that is a strategy they chose and you have to live with that. The result is what counts, Pakistan won. Tell me a fact that can change this..

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