Major Amin’s Review: 1965, A Western Sunrise. by Shiv Kunal Varma

1965 – A Western Sunrise -Indias War with Pakistan by Shiv Kunal Verma Reviewed by Major Agha H Amin (Retired)

September 2021

  • DOI:
  • 13140/RG.2.2.21404.00645
  • This is a very interesting new addition to books on 1965 war. The writer gives very interesting background details to each relevant person or subject , though these did not interest this scribe as a military reviewer. Overall, a good effort but it does contain several errors:

The authors assertion on page-43 that 6 Infantry brigade was an independent brigade is not correct as this brigade was a part of 8 Division.

On page.99 the writers assertion that 19 Baluch (Special Services Group or SSG) was formed with 7/10 Baluch as nucleus is TOTALLY INCORRECT . 7/10 was renumbered 15 Baluch while 17/10 Baluch was later renumbered 19 Baluch or the SSG.

On page.106 and 107 the authors undue praise of then Brigadier Harbaksh Singh’s advance towards Muzaffarabad in the 1948 Kashmir war is highly disputable as per both Pakistani and Indian accounts. eg Pakistani official history published in 1970 stated that on reaching Tithwal, which was defended by a weak infantry company, Brigadier Harbaksh Singh ordered a two day halt and thus lost a golden chance to change history and possibly threaten Muzaffarabad. In these two days Pakistan Army reinforced Tithwal with a brigade. Colonel Achutan Singh of Indian Army in a recent article published in Indian Defence Review analysed in detail Harbaksh Singhs incompetent siting of Indian defences of the Chunj position as a result of which Indian Army lost they key Chunj ridge and was pushed on defensive at Tithwal and driven out of Pir Sahaba Ridge. Incidentally the Pakistani success in the attack on Chunj was thanks to the role played by Major Sloan, a British officer who managed to transport a medium gun over the river using a pulley, and who later died in action and was buried with full military honors in Pakistan. Continue reading Major Amin’s Review: 1965, A Western Sunrise. by Shiv Kunal Varma

Browncast: Major Amin on the Age of Strategic Anarchy in Afghanistan

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above.

This episode was recorded over the phone, so please excuse some minor audio issues. As many of our readers know, we posted an article from Major Amin a few days ago, arguing that the US had made a brilliant strategic move out of Afghanistan (even though the disengagement has been handled poorly). In this podcast, he repeats this view and has a few salty words about this and related topics.. Enjoy.

Comments welcome.

Btw, my own random amateur views can be found at this link. 

Postscript 1: Several friends have said that they cannot take his views seriously if he thinks “lower middle class” is such an insult, etc. But I no longer use that particular filter too much. I think people can have very “problematic” AND insightful views simultaneously. If we are interested in learning (and not just in virtue signaling) then we can filter them out and still find something useful. Of course, friends will do that all the time with each other, but I admit that it is a more complicated question when we talk with strangers online, so if you feel strongly about this issue, this may not be the podcast for you.

Postscript 2: Is there anything in the podcast that I should have objected to during the conversation? I think yes, there is. I should have suggested that we cannot really say “the only good Chinese is a dead Chinese”. Other than that, I have no regrets 🙂

America’s Brilliant Strategy in Afghanistan

From Major Amin. As most readers know by now, I am not a fan of this kind of realpolitik because I am too faint-hearted to be this cynical about thousands of Afghans being sold down the river, but the world is a nasty and brutish place and in the big picture, who knows… Anyway, the style of the American withdrawal and their general performance in Afghanistan for 20 years does not inspire much confidence, but if there is some method to this madness, it is probably this.. by the way, I would like to ask Major Amin if his assessment is in any way affected by the utter chaos and incompetence of the withdrawal itself? (see my postscript at the end)

Enjoy.

Major Amin also sent this text version. Please ignore any typos or formatting issues. After repeating the assertion he makes in his podcast (that the US has made a brilliant strategic move), he has attached his 2008 piece, which does accurately describe/predict the strategic quagmire the US had settled into in 2008, and suggests the response that Major Amin believes the US has now decided to pursue. Comments welcome. What follows is from Major sahib.

They can’t touch the _____t of America but Such a large concentration of nuts will certainly disturb Iran Russia and even china and PAKISTANS establishment is also not exactly happy .as insiders report—The Billion dollar question is that with 2500 Americans in Afghanistan, since last few months no Taliban advance but now a sudden emergence .clearly a secret agreement has been made.

A QUESTION: WHY THE USA deliberately created weakest afghan army with
(1) no tanks
(2) no artillery
(3) all seasoned officers of old army never allowed or dismissed
Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Taliban and their future

Listen to the another recent episode of my podcast: AMIN SAIKAL’S STRATEGIC NAIEVETTE ABOUT AFGHANISTAN 

US WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN WILL BE BEST PUNISHMENT AND A LOVELY WAY TO DESTABILISE THE REGION AND CREATE MANY NEW STATES-

A 2008 ASSESSMENT

SEPTEMBER 2008

WAR IS NOT ABOUT ETHICS GOD IS NEITHER WITH US NOR WITH THEM
THERE IS NOTHING INEVITABLE IN HISTORY

USA MUST RECONSIDER ITS STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ OR ITS CULMINATING POINT MAY NOT BE FAR AWAY.

USA MUST RECONSIDER ITS STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ

In the last seven years or so the USA at the strategic, operational and tactical level has became the laughing stock of the world. Starting from the premise that both USA’s total failure or total success would not be good for world peace, one may state with confidence that the USA needs to seriously re- consider its strategy in both Iraq and Afghanistan and worldwide.
The present situation is that the USA is making the major effort while its NATO allies less Britain are just pretending that they are also pushing the bogged  down vehicle. This is true for both Iraq and Afghanistan. If this continues China and Russia will have the last laugh. Continue reading America’s Brilliant Strategy in Afghanistan

What Happened to the Afghan Army?

From Major Amin. As time goes on, we will no doubt see more information about how the USA “lost Afghanistan”. At the level of American PR/media the blame will mostly fall on Pakistan for now, since there is a lot of truth in it and it gets the clowns who run the state dept and the pentagon off the hook (or so they think) but in time the details about how the US mismanaged its project will also become prominent.. this is one of them. (To some extent it is a structural issue.. Americans live so far above/away from Afghan (or even Pakistani) reality.. well intentioned ones have no framework that remotely resembles situation on the ground, ill intentioned ones only want to make money or have fun killing gooks)

WHAT HAPPENED TO  AFGHAN NATIONAL ARMY 

Major A.H Amin (Retired) 

what happened to afghan national army 

  • August 2021 
  • DOI: 
  • 10.13140/RG.2.2.14621.44004
  • Project: 
  • Military History
  • Agha H Amin

Arm chair strategists are taking  great delight in criticizing Afghan  Army for collapsing in face of so  called Taliban onslaught. 

“A little knowledge of philosophy ,  inclineth man towards atheism” as  the adage goes but , “depth in  philosophy bringeth back man to  God !” This is how I will describe  these novices and critics ! 

The first point to be noted is that  armies are not created by US firms  like Military Professional Human  Resources International in a decade but a long process  spanning centuries. 

The real Afghan Army with  traditions dating back to 1719 or  1747 was destroyed by joint US  Pakistan design about 1978-1992 when a proxy war was financed in  Afghanistan. 

Characters like Peter Tomsen went out of their way to destroy  the real Afghan Army between  1989 and 1992 , just because it  was viewed as Pro Soviet or Pro  Russian entity.

Afghanistan had no army between  1992 and 2001. 

In 2001 the USA initiated efforts to  create a new army but this  exercise had ulterior motives. First  the exercise was awarded to contractors which was the first  blunder. 

US myopia and petty mindset  was such that USSR trained pilots ,  available in thousands were not  reemployed as they were regarded as  Russian proxies !

While the USSR trained many  thousand Afghans in USSR and  Warsaw Pact states, US petty  parsimony and narrowmindedness  was such that hardly any Afghan  was taken to the USA for courses

Instead characters who no one  would employ in USA , and had no  options were in Afghanistan  training the Afghan Army. 

To give an example , the main  project supervisor of Schools and  Clinics program in Louis Burger  was a male nurse ! To entrust billion dollar construction projects  to a male nurse was ludicrous. 

My driver and many taxi drivers I  met were outstanding war pilots  trained for 5 years in USSR and  with combat flying experience  between 3000 hours to 15,000  hours ! 

Tanks were regarded as future  threat and armour was hardly  created or organised. 

The list is endless but will never be  investigated like Louis Burgers billion dollar failure published by  Washington Post as a “BUILDING  PLAN FULL OF CRACKS” , LATE  2005 ! 

The simple issue was security ! US  trainers were simply SCARED that  they would get shot in the back !  

SO THERE WAS HARDLY ANY  TRAINING !!! 

I saw some of these contractors in  Kabul when I was living about 110  metres from gate of Kabul  Compound or camp Eggers ! 

These characters were here to do  hole punching and make some  bucks and not to create an army. So the real spirit was missing . 

The USA preferred so called ex  Mujahids which was a bad idea

The best Afghan officers like Ulumi  etc were never taken in the loop  as they were considered pro  Russian. 

Many old Afghan Army officers  joined but these were sabotaged by the Mujahid Mafia who were a  collection of USA, Pakistan or so  many other state proxies who had  destroyed their own country  between 1978 and 1992 ! 

The unkindest cut was delivered  by this character Ashraf Ghani  who between 2014 and 2019  summarily removed 90 % of pre  1992 Afghan Army officers , thus  totally destroying the Afghan  Army !

The incompetent US staff in Kabul  did not oppose this most IDIOTIC  and FOOLISH step ! 

Or perhaps it was US design that  Afghan Army should collapse  quickly so that the Taliban are  back in power and then they can  be sorted out properly ! 

The collapse of Afghan Army has  to be seen in the context of the  fact that FIRST the USA and its  proxy states DESTROYED the REAL  AFGHAN ARMY in 1978-92 ! Then  the RECONSTRUCTION of AFGHAN ARMY by the USA was a SHALLOW  EXERCISE , MARRED by MASSIVE  CORRUPTION and a BAD TEAM . Lastly no army can be created in  20 years . FINALLY Ashraf Ghanis  Removal of the REAL AFGHAN  ARMY OFFICERS BETWEEN 2014  AND 2019 WAS THE DEATH  SENTENCE OF AFGHAN ARMY !

Audio of the same points:

Hazaras, and Divide and Rule in the British Empire

Some random thoughts from Major Amin about the Hazaras of Pakistan and Afghanistan and the (exemplary and successful) use of divide and rule by the British..

HAZARAS -VICTIMS OF IMPERIAL POLICIES OF DIVIDE AND RULE

Hazara Pioneers were employed by Brigadier General Dyer of Jallianwalla Bagh notoriety in Sarhad District of Iranian Baluchistan in First World War. To my mind and based on family anecdotes of my grandfather’s elder brother Agha Abdul Rauf in British Police since 1914 or so (died 1982-God bless his great soul) Hazaras showed political defiance against the  British when some Hazara soldiers of 124th Baluchistan Infantry deployed in Iran defected to the Persian side. This much unknown incident as per Agha Abdul Rauf played crucial role in British decision to discontinue Hazara recruitment in Infantry units of   British Indian Army after 1921-22.

In his book Raiders of Sarhad Brigadier General Dyer writes words to the effect that Hazara Pioneers were panting to kill the Reki and other Baloch of Sarhad district who being Sunni the Pioneers regarded as infidels and that this would guarantee them a place in paradise. Words to this effect. I read the book in 1977 or 1978. The British cannot be blamed for practicing “Divide et Impera” as they had their own national interests! But Pakistani state of post 1947 cannot be excused for any sectarian or ethnic bias which historians need to research! I will try to find it and would quote Dyers exact remarks.

It is a sad history of how the Britishers divided India and this region and used one tribe against another! The Punjabis against Hindustanis, Gurkhas against Pashtuns, Turi Shias against non-Shia Pashtuns, Hazara Pioneers against Baloch, a Punjabi Police force in Quetta to control Quetta, Hindustanis against Santhals, Hindustanis against Mysore and so on. The history of so called Muslims of Indo Pak is chequered, questionable and frequently highly dubious! Such as the fact that Pathan or Punjabi or Baluchi Muslims had no hesitation in killing Muslims in North India as part of British company’s army in 1857 ! Cureton’s 15th Lancers Pathans were burning and raping Ranghar Muslim villages as part of Cortland’s force in 1857-58 in Jamalpur and many other parts of Hissar but refused to fight against Turks! Similarly Pathans of 124th Baluchistan Infantry were damn comfortable with killing Persian Muslims in South Persia in WW 1 but had issues fighting Sunni Muslims in Mesopotamia, the reason why 124th Baluchistan Infantry was diverted from Mesopotamia to Persia and 2/124th Baluchistan Infantry raised in Persia in WW 1.

The sectarian bug is in Muslims of all parts of the world and the British cannot be blamed at all for using it!

Personally I have many Hazara friends having studied with them at Quetta in 1968-77. They were the most adventurous and sports loving people. Whenever I climbed the Murdar Garh Mountain near my house in Quetta I would see Hazara men on their morning walk climbing Murdar Garh. My Afghan American NGO boss a Pashtun always employed Hazara staff at house and told me once that he liked them because they were far cleaner in personal hygiene and harder working than Pashtuns or Tajiks! Note that this gentleman himself was a Pashtun! Taking his tip I also employed a Hazara maid and she turned my house at Kabul into heavens on earth. Indeed I would say that 70 % of maid servants in Kabul were Hazaras. The assertion of Husseini in Kite Runner about masters of the house fathering sons from Hazara maid servants is a hard fact of Afghan history. What I liked about Ismaili Hazaras was their liberal attitude towards religion. My girlfriend never distinguished between Ramzan and other months of the year. Hazara women , were more painstaking and worked hard in performing their feminine duties while non-Hazara women of all ethnicities , as this scribe personally experienced don’t move a limb at all and regard sex as the sole hard labour job of their male partner.  In Afghanistan again on my morning walks to Tapa i Bibi Mahru I saw Hazaras exercising and jogging. I hardly ever saw any other ethnicity doing it. My Khalqi friend a senior leftist regime member loved Hazara women as he said they were hairless unlike many non Hazara women. Note that this officer had been friends with women of Naghmas stature in beauty and fame ! Was instrumental in creating the female cultural troupe in Afghan Ministry of Interior in 1980s early and was
famous for having some good company under his massive office table while holding the fort in ministry of Interior! Contact with USSR/Russia certainly improved the love making capacity on both sides of Hindu Kush mountains.  Afghans loved going to courses in USSR and my ministry of Interior guards remembered with nostalgia the Russian blondes they met at the Police Training Academy in Riga or the Assassination School near Tashkent !

To sum up the Hazaras are a great people and it is sad that they have been tageted becase of ethnicity and sect. It is right that Hazaras were persecuted in Afghanistan. However the leftists altgough Pashtun dominated finished this discrimination and Sultan Ali Kishtmand was given prime ministers position twice by the Khaliqis and Parchamis. The true liberators of Hazaras were the leftists as well as the USSR who gave them respect and political acceptance.
The Pakistan sponsored Afghan Taliban are die hard enemies of Hazaras. In Quetta starting from 1990s Hazaras have been systematically attacked by Afghan Taliban and the Hazaras are now migrating to Karachi and Punjab.
Parachinar also has some Hazaras from the Fauladi clan. Jughuri in Ghazni Province Afghanistan has one of the highest literacy rates in Afghanistan.

Major Amin’s Summing up of the 3 Major Indo-Pak Wars

From Major Amin’s book on the history of the Pakistan army..

The First 1947-48 Indo-Pak War
The British started with a strategic plan having Britishers dominating the key posts in both the newly created countries! The war was fought largely by individuals on the Pakistani side and by the British Governor General and senior army commanders on the Indian side! Gilgit was won by Pakistan simply because the British officers of Gilgit scouts and the Gilgit Scouts VCOs acted with remarkable unison! No credit to the Pakistani Government, which had no clue about what was happening in Gilgit in September-October 1947. The Indians were doomed in this case since their Dogra Governor made plain his intentions to do away with the Gilgit Scouts! The VCOs of the Gilgit Scouts acted tactically but while doing so achieved a great strategic victory for Pakistan! It was a fairly even contest. There were two non- Muslim Companies in the 6 J and K at Bunji against two non-Muslim Companies! There was an airfield at Gilgit just like there was one at Sringar! The Indians lost the Northern Areas because of outright strategic incompetence! The Pakistanis have proved equally strategically barren! No statue at Islamabad commemorates what the VCOs of the Gilgit Scouts led by the indomitable Scott Major W.A Brown achieved for Pakistan in October November 1947! Without Gilgit or Baltistan what would have been Pakistan’s China policy! There was a Dogra Governor in Gilgit in 1947! Today the Northern Area still does not have a Gilgiti Muslim Governor! Continue reading Major Amin’s Summing up of the 3 Major Indo-Pak Wars

Run up to the Kashmir War of 1947-48, Pakistani POV

From Major Amin.

  • There was duplicity on Pakistan side in not agreeing to simple formula proposed by Lord Mountbatten that Muslim majority states join Pakistan and non-Muslim majority states join India-Thus Pakistan was unrealistically hoping to get Hyderabad Deccan , Jodhpur ,Bikaner and Junagadh–
  • Thus technically and legally Maharaja of Kashmir’s joining India was legitimate
  • Nehru’s agreement to plebiscite in Kashmir was the most stupid blunder of the whole
  • Ideally Kashmir should be demilitarized and made independent after a plebiscite but this is not acceptable to Pakistan, India or China.

Also for general interest an extract from my book HISTORY OF PAKISTAN ARMY VOLUME ONE

History is made by those who seize fleeting opportunities in the critical time span in any particular situation and relentlessly execute their plans without second thoughts, subduing inner fears, overcoming procrastination and vacillation, and above all by those who are propelled by the burning desire to defeat the enemy rather than any halfhearted judiciousness and timidity. Ninety years of loyalism and too much of constitutionalism had however made the Muslims of 1947 slow in taking the initiative and too much obsessed with consequences of every situation. This attitude was excellent as long as the British were the rulers, but not for a crisis situation, in which geography, time and space, alignment of communications and weather temporarily favored Pakistan, in case initiative and boldness was exercised and simple but audacious plans were executed in the shortest possible time! Today, it is fashionable to blame the Indians, Mountbatten, Gracey etc. as far as the 1947-48 War is concerned. A dispassionate study of the events of 1947-48 clearly proves that victory was closer in 1947 than ever again as far as the Pakistan Army was concerned. Opportunities were lost because very few people who mattered at any level apart from Mr. Jinnah, Brigadier Akbar Khan and some others were really interested in doing anything! Continue reading Run up to the Kashmir War of 1947-48, Pakistani POV

Why Did the Indian and Pakistani Armies fail in 1965?

This is a chapter from Major Amin’s history of the Pakistani army. It is a very long post and there is a lot of repetition (do keep in mind that he wrote it mainly for a Pakistani audience, who may need convincing on some of the points) but I wanted to post it as a historical document and as something  people who are interested in military history may want  to read at leisure. As with any such analysis, there will be no many different opinions.. feel free to add yours in the comments.. Major Amin’s book has some excellent maps and tables that I was unable to transfer successfully. My apologies for that, but the points are pretty clear even without those.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN ANALYSIS – 1965 WAR by Major Agha Humayun Amin

Havelock said that ; “In philosophy, it is not the attainment of the goal that matters, it is the things that are met with by the way”. So it is with war. The most important thing for the student of military history or the art of war is not whether a country lost or won the war but how it was fought, how units performed in action, how decisions were made in face of the stress and strain of battle, the difference between practice and precept in short all matters pertaining to strategy tactics leadership equipment etc. In other words to simply analyze the war to answer the questions like “Whence”? “Whither” ? “Why”? and “How”?

In this analysis of war we have to go beyond probabilities and examine various facets of a particular situation and arrive at conclusions that will assist us in face of a similar crisis situation in future. War is the final audit of an army in which unit efficiency as well as higher and lower leadership is gauged and no book on an army is complete without analyzing in detail the qualitative efficiency of an army in actual War. Unfortunately most books written on both Pakistan and Indian Armies by foreigners and therefore meekly accepted by the subcontinentals who suffer from a subtle inferiority complex; as the final authority; do not discuss the qualitative efficiency of both the Pakistan and Indian Armies in any actual war; both as British Indian Army and as two different armies after 1947!

Instead these books beat round the bush discussing vague and largely irrelevant issues which their authors have decided to highlight, merely because they have decided to write a book and want to write their book without going into the subtleties of actual wars fought by the Indo Pak armies.

In the following paragraphs an attempt has been made to analyze the conduct of 1965 war and to answer certain questions about the qualitative efficiency of the Pakistan Army in a detached manner separating myth from reality and fact from fiction. This analysis is important because a considerable part of Pakistani military history has been deliberately or inadvertently distorted based on nationalistic parochial personal and inter arm prejudices and jealousies.

THE BRITISH COLONIAL LEGACY

We have already discussed in detail the impact of the British military tradition on the Indo Pak armies in our earlier chapters dealing with the armies of the English East India Company and the pre 1947 British Indian Army. This was not something confined to Indo- Pak subcontinent alone but an all Asia trend. From the late eighteenth century the “European Way of Warfare” was generally borrowed and follow as the gospel truth by many East European and Afro-Asian armies. The trend of “importing the European way of war” started around 1600 when the Ottoman Turks came into contact with the European powers in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Till 1500 the Europeans who had as a matter of fact military failed in the Crusades against Asia enjoyed no significant military advantage over Asia. Till the invention of gunpowder the cavalry remained the dominant arm in battle and the infantry was relegated to a secondary role. The ascendancy of European methods of warfare starts with the advent of Gustavus Adolphus(1496- 1560) of Sweden who introduced a renaissance in the art of warfare by “harnessing modern technology to a practical military philosophy” . (1)

Gustavus principal contribution was the introduction of a relatively superior conceptual framework of integrating military organization with weapons and tactics. He created an infantry organized in brigades of two to four regiments each of which had eight battalions of four companies etc. He introduced similar reforms in cavalry and artillery integrating artillery with infantry and cavalry in battle and restructured infantry formations in such a way that their firepower was enhanced. One of his most important reforms was employment of cavalry as a “shock weapon”.

Gustavus’s methods were copied by the French and the British. Gustavus ‘s tactics were improved by Turenne of France and Cromwell and Marlborough of England and were further improved by Napoleon who was able to benefit from the analytical studies of great military thinkers like Gribeauval Maurice de Saxe Bourcet Joseph Du Teil and Guibert. Formal military schools were organized in France where the art of war was studied while similar institutions were founded in Prussian and Sweden.

By 1600 Russia was the first country outside mainland Europe to realize that there was something conceptually and organizationally superior in the West European way of warfare which enabled them to defeat numerically superior but more primitively organized armies. lt may be noted that as late as 1592 the Russians were no match to the Muslim Tartars of the Golden Horde who sacked Moscow in 1571 and managed to penetrate into suburbs of Moscow as late as 1592. 1t may seem unbelievable to many but as late as 1660s the Crimean Muslim Tartars were one of Russia’s most feared enemies.(2)

A similar pattern of imitation was followed in the Ottoman Turk Army fromapproximately 1750 to 1914 when the Ottomans discovered that medieval tactics of cavalry assault were of little utility against relatively numerically superior or equal strength European armies with superior organization’.(3) Continue reading Why Did the Indian and Pakistani Armies fail in 1965?

The Qualitative Destruction of Pakistan Army between 1955 and 1971

From Major Amin. Originally written in 1999

Why Military Defeat in 1971-The Qualitative Destruction of Pakistan Army between 1955 and 1971 Major A.H Amin (Retired) https://www.militaryhistorycentre.com/blogs/news/pakistan-army-between-1965-and-1971
Why Military Defeat in 1971-The Qualitative Destruction of Pakistan Army between 1955 and 1971
• August 2020

Research teaching and writing were unproductive jobs in British India since they did not enable a man to be a deputy collector or barrister or doctor! It was a mad race made further mad by frequent outbursts of communal frenzy, which increased as population increased during the period 1890-1940. All this helped the Britishers who had been traumatically shaken by the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 when a largely Hindu majority army had rebelled under Muslim leaders! The British were thus happier playing the role of judges resolving Hindu Muslim disputes rather than performing the more unpleasant task of facing a combined political movement of all Indians regardless of race or religion as in 1857, 1919 or 1922! This is the basis of anti-intellectualism in the Indo-Pak Sub-continent. It is truer for Pakistan since the Muslims were educationally more backward and relatively less true, yet still true and applicable to India too! Pakistan and India have produced very few serious military writers. In Pakistan the situation is worse since an unofficial ban was imposed on military writing by various military usurpers who ruled the country for the greater part of its existence.

The finest summarizing of the incalculable qualitative harm inflicted on the Pakistan Army, by the self-promoted Field Marshal of peace, by a contemporary, was done by Major General Fazal I Muqeem, when he described the state of affairs of the Pakistan Army during the period 1958-71; in the following words: “We had been declining according to the degree of our involvement in making and unmaking of regimes. Gradually the officer corps, intensely proud of its professionalism was eroded at its apex into third class politicians and administrators. Due to the absence of a properly constituted political government, the selection and promotion of officers to the higher rank depended on one man’s will. Gradually, the welfare of institutions was sacrificed to the welfare of personalities. To take the example of the army, the higher command had been slowly weakened by retiring experienced officers at a disturbingly fine rate. Between 1955 and November 1971, in about 17 years 40 Generals had been retired, of whom only four had reached their superannuating age. Similar was the case with other senior ranks. Those in the higher ranks who showed some independence of outlook were invariably removed from service. Some left in sheer disgust in this atmosphere of insecurity and lack of the right of criticism, the two most important privileges of an Armed Forces officer. The extraordinary wastage of senior officers particularly of the army denied the services, of the experience and training vital to their efficiency and welfare. Some officers were placed in positions that they did not deserve or had no training for” 1.

Continue reading The Qualitative Destruction of Pakistan Army between 1955 and 1971

Pakistan and Military Rule (and a long interview with General Babar)

The following are two posts (originally written many years ago) from the Pakistani military historian and analys Agha Humayun Amin.  It is interesting to y see that nothing has changed since 2002 (the article is from 2002 and the interview is from early 2001, before the fall of the taliban). Anyway, whether you agree or disagree with his analysis, you will always get interesting nuggets of information from Major Amin… The first post is a newspaper article he wrote. the second is a very detailed interview he conducted with General Naseerullah Babar, an outstanding military officer who served as Zulfi Bhutto’s Governor in NWFP, then as Benazir Bhutto’s interior minister and played a role in the Karachi operation against MQM as well as in the setting up of the Taliban (as IGFC he was also involved in setting up the first Pakistani-sponsored insurgency in Afghanistan way back in 1973). He was an eyewitness to many important events and whatever you may think of his views, his interview is an extremely important historical document..

Essence of the Matter
A.H Amin
August 21 2002
Daily Nation , Lahore
www.nation.com.pk
While analysis of todays Pakistani politics is outwardly subtle and convincing , serious historical analysis remains the weak point. What is lacking is the long view , the inability to penetrate through appearances, the motivation to write with an ulterior motivation to please or to secure personal business objectives, and worse of all, to criticise simply because a writer has acquired the reputation of a cynic and his writings are read simply because his cynicism provides a catharsis for many! This does not mean that all is well or all military or civil rulers are well meaning reluctant coup makers !

This article is an attempt to capture the crux of the whole issue in a few paragraphs! An ambitious but certainly not impossible endeavour! First of all the basis of modern Indo Pak politics was initially a type of liberal set of beliefs based on faith in British parliamentary system and liberalism mixed with the philosophy of self rule. The British introduced Western democracy in India with a view to afford a vent to the Indians desire for participation and sense of involvement ! The urban professional classes picked it up as a means for self realisation or self advancement ! The feudals picked it up as a means of continuing their unfair advantage or position of influence in the Indian society. The middle classes ran after government jobs as a means of self advancement and economic benefit. The Indian soldiers served in the army as mercenaries motivated by economic benefits and in part propelled by espirit de corps. The politicians came into conflict with the British not because all of them were heroes or martyrs but because it was a struggle for power! The civil servants and mercenary pre 1947 Indo Pak soldiers collaborated with the British because it improved their prospects of self advancement ! The pre 1947 Indian Army , the father of the post 1947 Indian and Pakistan Army had nothing to do with Indo Pak political struggle at least in what they voluntarily or deliberately did less a platoon of Garhwal Rifles which refused to open fire on Muslims demonstrating in Peshawar in 1930 ! After all who was shooting down Indo Pak civilians like partridges in Wana , Razmak ,Sindh and Jallianwalla Bagh other than the British Kings Indian Army ! Four brigades in tribal areas , two brigades in Sindh in the Hur Rebellion! The Indian or Muslim civil servant, soldier and policeman till 14th August (and some to date) were collaborators of the Western power which ruled India till the transfer of power!

The Hindus were better organised politically since the Indian National Congress was dominated by a strong Hindu professional and business class while the Muslims were condemned to be politically more backward since because of peculiar historical reasons Mr Jinnah had no choice but to accept the Muslim feudals who dominated Muslim politics! Mr Jinnah was forced to ally with the Unionists in Punjab and the Sindhi landlords in future against the advice of Punjabi Muslim urban leaders like Dr Iqbal because it was a strategic compulsion. Thus from August 1947 India inherited a strong political culture while The Muslim League was destroyed just a few years after Mr Jinnah’s death by the feudals who had joined it out of fear of land reforms and because of being in debt to Hindu money lenders! Here again economics played a major role ! It has been estimated that in pre 1947 Punjab and Sindh money lending was the most important occupation after agriculture and that while the net revenue of Irrigation Department of Punjab was 267 Lakh Rupees that of money lenders was 500 Lakh Rupees! In 1911 out of a total of 803,560 money lenders in India some 25 % or 193,890 lived in Punjab alone! Thus while the total population of pre 1947 Punjab was one eleventh of India ,it had some one fourth of India’s money lenders! All this ensured that the feudal elements jumped on the Muslim League band wagon not out of genuine motivation but because of economic compulsion!

Now the post 1947 era; While post 1947 Indian Congress leaders like Nehru and Patel chided the Indian Army for their un-nationalistic role in British rule and reduced their basic salary Pakistan was condemned to be ruled by a civil military clique within eleven years of independence! Men who had collaborated with the British before 1947 became Pakistan’s rulers within seven years of Independence! Officials of Indian Audit and Accounts Service like Ghulam Mohammad and Mohammad Ali! Feudals like Kalabagh who before 1947 were faithful servants of a man no higher than the British Deputy Commissioner of Mianwali! Compare the fact that while Nehru abolished Cantonment Boards within no time after independence even today a Pakistani civilian living in a plot of land bought by paying through his nose in a cantonment area lives within perpetual awe of the cantonment boards simply because no Pakistani statesman had the courage or the vision to reduce the military or civil bureucrats to size! Continue reading Pakistan and Military Rule (and a long interview with General Babar)