Few days after cricketer turned television presenter turned politician Navjot Sidhu’s infamous embrace of Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, the latter, during Pakistan’s Defence and Martyrs’ Day speech on September 6, 2018, vowed to “avenge the blood being shed on the border…Pakistan army had been ‘valiant’ during the wars of 1965 and 1971… Pakistan’s enemies knew that they could not beat it fair and square, and had thus subjected it to a cruel, evil and protracted hybrid war…”
Considering that Pakistan was raised on lies, has been repeatedly lying/compounding/institutionalising lies, Bajwa’s claims are not surprising. However, the record must be set straight.The second war Pakistan waged against India in 1965, exposed the bluff and bluster its leaders, self-promoted Field Marshal Ayub Khan and Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as well as the ineptness and poor leadership of many of Pak army’s field commanders, and the lack of training of all ranks. Just one example is Pak army’s major failings in tank warfare, which caused them very heavy losses of then modern American Patton tanks against Indian Army’s vintage Centurion tanks. These were: (a) Pakistani tank crews had very little or nil training on the Patton tank and (b) owing to fear of dying by flames, Pakistani tank crew bailed out as soon as their tank was hit even if it had not caught fire and its guns were still functional.
The third war Pakistan waged against India in 1971 was preceded by Pakistan’s suppression of the Bengali masses of erstwhile East Pakistan, which resulted in a determined group of Bengali youth who forming the Mukti Vahini (freedom force), which was trained by Indian Army and became a valuable asset in operations against the rogue and barbaric Pak army, which killed over 3 million Bengalis in the largest ever genocide since the Holocaust and raped up to 4,00,000 Bengali women, many of who were kept confined in the quarters/billets of Pak army deployed there.
Within 13 days of Pak army declaring full-fledged war by attacking Indian airfields on December 3, 1971 and thereby opening up the Western front, 93,000 Pakistan armed forces personnel surrendered to Indian Army, after being surrounded by it from all around in erstwhile East Pakistan, which it lost, as it became liberated and emerged as a new nation, Bangladesh.
The cruel inhuman conduct of the Pakistani troops in the presence of their officers or also by their officers is another of its hallmarks which continues till date. One of many instances of utter brutality was the plight in 1971, in the Eastern theatre of Lt Chandavarkar, the youngest of 45 Cavalry’s officers, caught by Pak army. Tied to a tree and for each question that was not answered, his limbs and sexual organs were cut by the Pakistani junior commissioned officer, who also chopped off his ear lobes, fingernails, toes, and fingers and finally gouged out his eyes before shooting him in the chest. This was in sharp contrast to the manner in which Indian Army treated Pakistani prisoners of war (PsOW). The 93,000 Pak PsOW were pleasantly shocked at the humane treatment they got in their POW camps in India, as promised before their surrender by then Indian Army Chief, Gen., later Field Marshal, SHFJ Manekshaw.
While official accounts of Pak army paint a bright picture of its performance during wars, some Pakistani officers have been bluntly critical about its blunders. Z.A.Khan, who wrote The way it was: Inside the Pakistan Army and Brig Maj (retd) Agha Humayun Amin, who wrote The Pakistan Army From 1965 to 1971 are but just two of them.
A shocker exposed by Hassan Abbas in his book Pakistan’s Drift Into Extremism (Pentagon Publishers, India), is of how on the eve of Pak forces surrender at Dhaka, when Lt Gen A.A.K. Niazi was desperately trying to reach Pakistan’s second dictator President Gen Yahya Khan on telephone and not succeeding, it was because the latter was partying with his then paramour and other guests-all nude.
While Pakistan’s fourth war against India—albeit low intensity/proxy continues unabated since late 1980s, Bajwa’s recent vague talk about talks with India can only be treated like pigeon-droppings.