6th September 1965, defining day for Pakistan to move forward

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Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), Former Head of FSCD SBP, Former Head of Research ArifHabib Investments and Member IFSB Task Force for development of Islamic Money Market, Former Member of Access to Justice Fund Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Muhammad Arif
Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), Former Head of FSCD SBP, Former Head of Research ArifHabib Investments and Member IFSB Task Force for development of Islamic Money Market, Former Member of Access to Justice Fund Supreme Court of Pakistan.

After 50 years, day of 6thSeptember has been celebrated in 2018, with zeal and full participation of people of Pakistan. The main event was organized at GHQ Rawalpindi with participation of PM Imran Khan, notable leaders of all political parties, all heads of armed forces, relatives of those who gave their life for the country and representatives from almost all walks of life.

In 2018 it was a memorable day. Some analysts term it as a golden day and some term it as a gift to the country. Imran Khan on this day while paying salute to soldiers who have died fighting for Pakistan pledged that he would try to make Pakistan like state of Medina where everybody was equal, getting justice on equal basis and facilities to live like a human being.

In Pakistan that has seen many turns in its history, this pledge seems to be like a dream but we must stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone who tries to change the fate of Pakistan in favor of its people.

It is also the time that we may consider 6thSeptember as a defining day for Pakistan for moving forward.

No doubt 6th September is celebrated as a national day to commemorate Pakistan’s victory against India at the Battle of Chawinda that marked the ceasefire in the 1965 war on 6 September.

On September 6, 1965, Indian army crossed the international borders of Pakistan without a formal declaration of War. It was a time when not just our brave soldiers but the whole nation was cast into the mould of a cohesive unit to defend our home land and defeated the Indian Army and made them retrieve on all fronts.

Army officers like Captain Sarwar, Major Tufail, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, Major Shabbir Sharif, Major Muhammad Akram, Muhammad HussainJanjua, Lance Naik Muhammad Mehfooz, and Havaldar Lalak Jan with others sacrificed their lives for Pakistan and were awarded with “Nishan-e-Haider” for their acts of exceptional bravery.

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. The conflict began following Pakistan’s Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to supportJammu and Kashmir to stand against Indian rule. India retaliated by launching a full-scale military attack on West Pakistan. The seventeen-day war caused thousands of casualties on both sides and witnessed the largest engagement of armored vehicles and the largest tank battle since World War

Hostilities between the two countries ended after a United Nations-mandated ceasefire was declared following diplomatic intervention by the Soviet Union and the United States, and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration.

The United States and the Soviet Union used significant diplomatic tools to prevent any further escalation in the conflict between the two South Asian nations. The Soviet Union, led by Premier Alexei Kosygin, hosted ceasefire negotiations in Tashkent (now in Uzbekistan), where Indian Prime Minister LalBahadurShastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan signed the Tashkent Agreement, agreeing to withdraw to pre-August lines no later than 25 February 1966.

On this occasion, India’s Prime Minister, Shastri, suffered a fatal heart attack soon after the declaration of the ceasefire. As a consequence, the public outcry in India against the ceasefire declaration transformed into a wave of sympathy for the ruling Indian National Congress.

The ceasefire was criticized by many Pakistanis who, relying on official reports and the controlled Pakistani press, believed that the leadership had surrendered military gains. The protests led to student riots. Pakistan State’s reports had suggested that their military was performing admirably in the war – which they blamed as being initiated by India – and thus the Tashkent Declaration was seen as having forfeited the gains.

Operation Grand Slam, which was launched by Pakistan to capture Akhnoor, a town north-east of Jammu and a key region for communications between Kashmir and the rest of India, alsodid not brought any result. Many Pakistani commentators criticized the Ayub Khan administration for being indecisive during Operation Grand Slam. These critics claim that the operation failed because Ayub Khan knew the importance of Akhnur to India (having called it India’s “jugular vein”) and did not want to capture it and drive the two nations into an all-out war. Despite progress being made in Akhnur, General Ayub Khan relieved the commanding Major General AkhtarHussain Malik and replaced him with Gen. Yahya Khan so as not to move forward on this front.

However in spite of these moves, at 3:00 AM on September 6, 1965, without a formal declaration of war, Indians crossed the international border of West Pakistan and launched a three-pronged offensive against Lahore, Sialkot and Rajasthan. There was a fierce tank battle on the plains of Punjab. The domestic Indo-Pak conflict transformed into an international conflict and raised Super Power concerns.

The war was viewed in the context of the greater Cold War, and resulted in a significant geopolitical shift in the subcontinent.Before the war, the United States and the United Kingdom had been major material allies of both India and Pakistan, as their primary suppliers of military hardware and foreign developmental aid. During and after the conflict, both India and Pakistan felt betrayed by the perceived lack of support by the western powers for their respective positions; those feelings of betrayal were increased with the imposition of an American and British embargo on military aid to the opposing sides.As a consequence, India and Pakistan openly developed closer relationships with the Soviet Union and China, respectively. The perceived negative stance of the western powers during the conflict, and during the 1971 war continued to affect relations between the West and the subcontinent. In spite of improved relations with the U.S. and Britain since the end of the Cold War, the conflict generated a deep distrust of both countries within the subcontinent which to an extent lingers to this day. Now in 2018 another scenario is developing with India on the side of USA and Pakistan on the side of China and Russia. The Ayub Khan government also failed to recognize that the Indian policy makers would order an attack on the southern sector in order to open a second front. Pakistan was forced to dedicate troops to the southern sector to protect Sialkot and Lahore instead using them to support penetrating into Kashmir.

One of the farthest reaching consequences of the war was the wide-scale economic slowdown in Pakistan that is still in move with some improvement in 2001-2005. The war ended the impressive economic growth Pakistan had experienced since the early 1960s. Between 1964 and 1966, Pakistan’s defense spending rose from 4.82% to 9.86% of GDP, putting a tremendous strain on Pakistan’s economy. By 1970–71, defense spending comprised a whopping 55.66% of government expenditure.

Nuclear theorist Feroze Khan maintained that the 1965 war was a last conventional attempt to snatch Kashmir by military force, and Pakistan’s own position in the international community, especially with the United States, began to deteriorate from the point the war started, while on the other hand, the alliance with China saw improvements.

Chairman joint chiefs General Tariq Majid claims in his memoirs that Chou En-Lai had longed advised the government in the classic style of Sun Tzu: “to go slow, not to push India hard; and avoid a fight over Kashmir, ‘for at least, 20–30 years, until you have developed your economy and consolidated your national strengths”.

Another negative consequence of the war was growing resentment against the Pakistani government in East Pakistan through dismemberment of Pakistan supported by India through its direct interventions in 1971.

Than started the era of Ziaul Haq after he hanged ZA Bhutto in which he lost upper side of Siachen and created sectarian and linguistic divide in the country. Musharraf adventure on Kargil also created a gap between Military and Civil leadership. He also allowed USA to act from Pakistani soil and handed over Swat to Taliban. Osama assassination was also carried out in his tenure on Pakistani soil.

Forward going period of 2008 to 2013 had brought some ray of hopes in spite of corruption charges on PPP and PML N governments.

Now Imran Khan is in command in collaboration with COAS Bajwa. The day organized on 6th and 7th Septembers 2018 has given a signal that now Military and Civil leadership is on one page on minimum agenda i.e. to save Pakistan and to get out of crisis hanging on Pakistan.

This is a good beginning but with crisis like shortage of water, electricity, health facilities and above all education the success can only come when all political parties act together along with Military and judiciary on their back.

Technically this can be done only by restoring 1973 constitution to its 1977 position. If done than Pakistan would emerge as an exemplary nation with no elites and sacred cows.

If we adopt in practice one word i.e. “merit” in all institutions and every walk of life than we can do everything and that is the way to accommodate sacrifices of all those who gave their blood for the nation and this should be the message of 6th and 7th September of 1965.

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