Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Indian Army 7th Light Cavalry Armoured Cars captured by 11 Cavalry in 1947-48 War

11 Cavalry fought against all three axis powers in Second World War, ie Italy Germany in Japan.

11 Cavalry is the only Pakistan Army unit which advanced inside Indian territory in all three Indo Pak wars.

Agha H Amin

 11 Cavalry Officers line up to receive an old British Army Officer, Kharian December 1984



P.A.V.O 11 Cavalry

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 half hearted 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 favoured 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 !

The situation was getting very swiftly out of control of the Maharaja's forces in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in August 1947 .

There were more than 60,000 demobilised Muslim ex- servicemen who were World War II veterans, and many of these men formed militias and started harassing the dispersed state forces and harassing the various roads and bridges in the state.

By 15th October these militias forced the State Forces to abandon Fort Owen, around the same time the Dogra communication between Kotli and Poonch was severed and the state forces Muslim troops had almost deserted and joined the rebels while the non- Muslim units were besieged at Bhimbar, Mirpur and Mangla.

It must be remembered that at this moment the Pakistani GHQ was not involved in the operations. The Muslim League's high command had tasked Mian Iftikhar ud Din Minister for Refugees to prepare a plan aimed at ensuring that the Muslim majority state of Kashmir should join Pakistan.

Brigadier Akbar Khan then serving in the Pakistani GHQ wrote an appreciation 'armed revolt inside Kashmir ' on Mian Iftikhar ud Din's request. It appears that Mr Jinnah had tasked Liaquat to handle the Kashmir business. Liaquat in turn earmarked Mian Iftikhar ud Din. Iftikhar requested Sardar Shaukat Hayat and Brigadier Akbar Khan for advice. A conference presided by Liaquat was held at Lahore in September 1947.

This was attended by Akbar whose appreciation had already been shown to Liaquat by Iftikhar ud Din earlier. Ghulam Mohammad the Finance Minister who was a contemporary of Liaquat at MAO College Aligarh4 and at this time was foremost in playing sycophant par excellence with Liaquat also attended the conference.

The Muslim League's high command had tasked Mian Iftikhar ud Din Minister for Refugees to prepare a plan aimed at ensuring that the Muslim majority state of Kashmir should join Pakistan.

Brigadier Akbar Khan then serving in the Pakistani GHQ wrote an appreciation 'armed revolt inside Kashmir ' on Mian Iftikhar ud Din's request. It appears that Mr Jinnah had tasked Liaquat to handle the Kashmir business. Liaquat in turn earmarked Mian Iftikhar ud Din.

Iftikhar requested Sardar Shaukat Hayat and Brigadier Akbar Khan for advice. A conference presided by Liaquat was held at Lahore in September 1947.

This was attended by Akbar whose appreciation had already been shown to Liaquat by Iftikhar ud Din earlier.

Ghulam Mohammad the Finance Minister who was a contemporary of Liaquat at MAO College Aligarh and at this time was foremost in playing sycophant par excellence with Liaquat also attended the conference.

Brigadier Akbar recalls that everyone was enthusiastic but no one including the Prime Minister had any concrete idea about the tangible and concrete aspects of the actual plan of operations, specially as far as the logistic and armament aspect was concerned. Shaukat was appointed as overall incharge with Major Khurshid Anwar (Retired) commanding the northern tribal force which was as per Akbar's appreciation to attack on Muzaffarabad-Srinagar axis and Major Zaman Kiani of the INA to command the southern force tasked to operate against the Kathua area in the south.

Shaukat Hayat was not in favour of appointing Khurshid Anwar since he was a non-fighting arm soldier.

Shaukat states in his book that Liaquat under Ghulam Mohammad's influence appointed Khurshid Anwar, then commander of the Muslim League's semi-military national guard to command the main northern invasion force.

Akbar was to provide logistic support to the tribesmen which were to be employed for the invasion. There were three principal parties in the whole invasion affair.

On one side was the Muslim League leaders like Shaukat Hayat (an ex-major) Iftikhar ud Din and Khurshid Anwar who had been ordered by Mr Jinnah to do something to help the Kashmiri Muslims.

Then there were the tribesmen who were concentrating at Batrasi opposite the Kashmir border and there was Brigadier Akbar Khan a Burma DSO who was Director of the newly formed Weapon And Equipment Directorate at the General Headquarters, tasked unofficially to support the tribal raiders logistically, using all resources at his disposal in GHQ as Director Weapons and Equipment without letting the Britishers controlling the Pakistan Army know! 

The tribesmen were brought from the NWFP tribal areas on trucks requisitioned by Government of Pakistan and concentrated in Batrasi north-east of Abbottabad.

But the most decisive man whose plan if followed was Lieutenant Colonel Tommy Masud , the commandant of P.A.V.O 11  Cavalry !

Why ?

This will be explained in the following paragraphs !

Brigadier Akbar Khan had been tasked by the Pakistani GHQ to prepare this plan !

Major General Akbar Khan , DSO , not to be confused with the ASC General Akbar Khan writes in his monumental book " Raiders in Kashmir" about a cavalry officer in the following words :--

"...Lieutenant Colonel Masud (latter Brigadier Tommy Masud) of the Cavalry, offered to help with collecting and storing the condemned ammunition..."

Here Akbar Khan is referring to the ongoing preparations for sending the tribal Pashtuns into Kashmir in October 1947 !

Geography, weather, sentiments of the bulk of the population, initial comparative location of regular army troops available for action in Kashmir and the layout/alignment of communication; all favoured Pakistan. Rawalpindi was not more than 47 miles from Abbottabad, 51 miles from Murree and 90 miles from Rawalpindi the three major garrison towns of Pakistan.

All the major road and rail links to the state ran through Pakistan. The likely direction through which the Indians could rush in the reinforcements ran through a dirt road from Pathankot to Jammu and from here to Riasi across the Bannihal Pass (snowbound from November to March) to Srinagar which was more than 257 miles long.

Whereas Muzaffarabad was linked to Srinagar by an all weather tarmac road without any major water obstacle or any serious gradient. The distance between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad was less than 100 miles. The only rail link of the state was the one connecting the town of Jammu with Sialkot in Pakistan.

The only way Indians could reinforce the State and save its capital Srinagar was by airlifting troops to Srinagar. If Srinagar was captured the whole Kashmir vale and the entire northern areas including Ladakh could no longer be held by the Indians.

There were no subtleties or complexities of operational strategy in the whole situation except following one simple straightforward plan ie; a bold and swift advance to Srinagar assisted by a troop or squadron of armoured cars. We will discuss in brief in the following paragraphs what actually happened and the major reasons which led to failure.

The centre of gravity of the whole war was the Jhelum Valley, which was the only place where an advantageous decision could have been achieved at the earliest and in the relatively shortest time and space as far as the Pakistan Army was concerned; had the Pakistani political and military leadership possessed greater strength of resolution and independent spirit; than they actually did!

The fate of the war in Indus valley depended on the degree of success in the Jhelum Valley since the Indian line of communication to this theatre lay through the Jhelum Valley.

The Indian GHQ ordered 7th Light Cavalry to be ready to move into Kashmir in the end of October. Its Hindu Jat Squadron equipped with armoured cars (this was from 6 Lancers which went to Pakistan) started movement from Ambala on 1st November and after a tough march reached Srinagar on the evening of 5th November.

It has to be noted that although the Indians starting reinforcing Srinagar from 27th October onwards, the Indian superiority till the end of the first week of November was not as formidable as to ensure that Srinagar could not be threatened again, in case the Pakistan Army joined the tribesmen.

Enters Major Tommy Masud not yet in command of P.A.V.O 11 Cavalry but earmarked to be the commanding officer !

This  is one extremely important event which has generally been ignored by most Pakistani military historians including Shaukat Riza.

All happened at  a conference held between 30th October and 4th November. Brigadier Akbar Khan the military man incharge of the raiders operations had returned to Pindi after a visit to the frontline at Srinagar.

The tribesmen had not yet been repulsed and were planning infiltration operations with the aim of capturing Srinagar airfield.

Akbar Khan's analysis about the operational solution to the problem of tribesmen's inability to attack well entrenched Indian infantry, supported by aircraft and artillery was to provide the tribesmen with armoured cars.

Enters Tommy Masud !

Akbar Khan states in his book "Raiders in Kashmir " that Major Masud from 11 Cavalry stationed at Rawalpindi volunteered to take his own squadron's armoured cars to Srinagar, on his own initiative, without informing any superior headquarter.

Akbar Khan thus stated that Major Masud said that the armoured cars would go without official permission, at his own risk and that the men would be in civilian clothes.

This fact is proved by two independent authorities who were not from armoured corps and thus had no ulterior motivation or desire to project 11 Cavalry.

The references of this incident are discussed in "Raiders in kashmir" by Major General Akbar Khan in 1960s and 1965 War by Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry and are primary historical evidence as both were direct participants in the Kashmir war of 1947-48.

One was General Akbar who was present at the conference and the other was Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry who was a gunner, and was also present at the same conference.Amjad Chaudhry discusses this incident in his book on 1965 war published in 1976 or 1977.

Akbar states that as the conference was coming to an end Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan a Muslim League leader and Central Government Minister entered the room. Brigadier Sher Khan who was the Director Military Operations had also joined the discussion.

This, Raja Ghazanfar (despite being from a so-called martial area) was horrified about the armoured cars proposal, and according to both Akbar Khan and Amjad Chaudhry opposed the idea. He was supported by Brigadier Sher (Lion) Khan!

Both the Minister and the Lion Hearted brigadier feared that such a step would lead to an open war between Pakistan and India . Amjad Chaudhry states that one of the participants at this conference even voiced an apprehension that the unruly tribesmen may get unruly and damage the Maharajas palace at Srinagar!

Thus in the end Akbar Khan who was not directly in charge of the operations of tribesmen was overruled by a pacifist Minister more keen to enjoy ministerial perks and a paper tiger brigadier wearing the mask of the high-sounding appointment of Director Military Operations.

The only difference between India and Pakistan was not whether one side possessed armoured cars or not, but the simple fact that while Mr Jinnah did not have any able Muslim deputy to advise him about military affairs (whether Punjabi, Hindustani or Pathan) .

Nehru was assisted by a much larger team of more resolute, more intellectually capable Hindu deputies like Patel who ensured that armoured cars of 7th Light Cavalry; under command Lieutenant N.G David; did reach Srinagar area on 7th November and inflicted on the poorly armed tribesmen equipped with bolt action rifles a defeat at what the Indians themselves call the decisive battle of Shalateng!

It may be noted that on the night of 2/3 November the tribesmen had successfully infiltrated north of the Indian main position at Pattan and had reached Shalateng in the rear of Pattan and a little to the north of Srinagar.

Sen the Indian brigade commander countered this move by ordering 1 Sikh to pull back from Patan and to take a position at milestone four astride the Srinagar-Baramula road. By 6th November a large number of tribesmen who had been slowly infiltrating since 3rd November had gathered at Shalateng.

Major Aslam and Major Khurshid Anwar the Pakistani officers in charge of these tribesmen decided to launch their main attack on Srinagar on the night of 6/7 November.

The Indian Brigade Commander Brigadier Sen was also simultaneously analysing this threat and had decided to launch a deliberate attack on this force supported by 7th Light Cavalry's squadron on 7th November.

Sen's plan was to launch a frontal attack supported by aircraft while one troop of 7th Light Cavalry under Lieutenant David which had already been sent towards Bandipura on a recce mission and was already in the tribesmen's positions rear was ordered by wireless to attack the tribesmen from the rear.

The result was the battle of Shalateng on the morning of 7th November. The tribesman had started their main attack by infiltration on the night of 6th November and were fighting on the northern outskirts of Srinagar when the Indians launched their main attack at first light.

David's troop had already got into the rear of the tribesmen as planned; thus while the tribesmen were attacked frontally by Indian infantry supported by armoured cars and aircraft, armoured cars were attacking them from the rear.

This was too much for men armed with bolt action rifles. The tribesmen were routed and it was with great difficulty that the situation was finally stabilised at least temporarily at Rampura a narrow defile halfway between Baramula and Uri.

The abandonment of the conduct of war to tribesmen armed with bolt action rifles; while the Indians attacked them with Spitfires, Tempests, Harvards and Daimler/Humber/GMC Armoured cars was without any doubt one of the most disgraceful acts in Pakistani military history.

Akbar who was a man of much greater integrity than many characters discussed in this tragic albeit comical narrative etc was more accurate once he said in his book; 

' They felt themselves let down by Pakistan. They had, of their own free will, agreed to come and fight in Kashmir but only against the State Army. In this they had done more than what was expected of them. But no one had arranged with them. But no one had arranged with them to fight also against the regular Indian Army, with artillery tanks and aircraft.

It must be noted that there was one very major difference between the tribesmen and the vast majority of Muslim League leaders like Ghazanfar Ali and men like Aslam Khan, Khurshid Anwar etc, i.e.; these men and their ancestors since 1849 had been serving the British and even the Dogras (as far as Aslam Khan was concerned) and suddenly in 1940 or 1947 these men had become leaders of Pakistan or officers of the Pakistan Army; in contrast the tribesmen and their ancestors had been fighting the British with unequal intervals since 1849!

As per General Akbar Khans narrative in his 'Raiders in kashmir" neither Liaquat the Prime Minister nor any single of his ministers; Hindustani, Punjabi, Sindhi, Bengali or Pathan crossed river Jhelum. The attitude of Gracey in not agreeing to commit the army to Kashmir, however disgraceful and negative can be explained by saying that he was a foreigner!

Mr Jinnah and Acting C in C General Gracey who refused Jinnahs orders to attack with a brigade each on Axis Murree Srinagar and Axis Sialkot -Jammu.Gracey knew Jinnah from 1930s and had snubbed him earlier as per Jinnahs biographer Hector Bolitho.

What kept the Pakistani political leadership from visiting the tribesmen who had won a territory that to this day has been ruled by Pakistan is hard to explain. Akbar Khan was not wrong once he said that fear prevented these leaders from visiting Kashmir while the war was being fought !

In contrast the Indian Prime Minister Nehru ,a much braver man than Liaquat and his entire cabinet visited Kashmir on 11th November and travelled in an armoured car of 7th Light Cavalry till Baramula. Compare this with the attitude of the Pakistani politicians.

Liaquat eventually fell victim of an assassin in 1951. Had he died because of enemy action while visiting Kashmir, posterity would have remembered him as a much greater man.

According to Akbar, Messervy was the main culprit for spreading a fear of Indian reaction in Pakistan Army. 'Messervy addressing a meeting of G.H.Q officers warned us against hostilities with India warned us against hostilities with India.

General Messervy

He said that, in his opinion, in case of war India would overrun Pakistan within ten days' . Compare this negative attitude with the Israeli Army which defeated far better armed and well organised Arab armies in the 1948 War.

Just 30,000 Jews had served in the British Army in the second world war.

More than 600,000 Muslims, more than half of them from areas which constituted Pakistan had fought in the Second World War and yet the Pakistani leadership was unwilling to stand on its own feet preferring the two unreliable British crutches i.e.
Messervy and Gracey!

Mr Jinnah had already done too much for the army by insisting on the division of Indian Army, against tremendous opposition on part of the Britishers.

The great tragedy was that Mr Jinnah was surrounded by men of zero military insight and devoid of all independent judgement. The Secretary of Defence, Mirza being a man who had never fought in actual war and the Muslim League politicians who were only good followers!

General Akbar Khan (then Lieutenant Colonel) met the tribals at Uri on 8th November .The tribals questioned Akbar about why Pakistan Government was behaving so spinelessly and not assisting them with artillery/regular troop support etc.

Akbar Khan had no answer and tried to explain the legal position or simply lack of guts in the Pakistani political leadership and lack of guts in most the Pakistan Army's Muslim officers, except few indomitable men like Major Tommy Masud to risk their commissions by disobeying orders of the British C-in-C and showing some initiative

According to General Akbar Khan the tribesmen were so demoralised and disappointed by lack of Pakistan Army support that they withdrew from the frontline opposite Baramula on 31st October and 10th November, and withdrew to Uri area, contemplating about returning to the tribal area.

Had the Indians possesses sufficient resolution or a commander with coup d oeil there was nothing stopping them from capturing Muzaffarabad between 31st October and 10th November. The same viewpoint is advanced by the official history.

The probability that Akbar Khan who wrote the famous book 'Raiders in Kashmir' or Major Aslam, whose personal account was one of the many personal accounts used by the official historians who compiled the official history dealing with operations in Kashmir, were exaggerating their own role cannot be ruled out.

There is one fact, however, that stands out as the crux of the issue, and which still raises the stature of the tribesmen higher than both Akbar or Aslam; i.e. the fact that the initial shock of the tribal onslaught on Srinagar was so traumatic that it imposed a 'once bitten twice shy approach' on the mind of the Indian Commanders.

This ensured that the Indians despite the absence of any tribals in front of them; (as Messrs Akbar and Aslam allege) were in no mood to advance hurriedly towards Muzaffarabad after having captured Baramula. 

After 10th November according to Akbar Khan the Mahsud and other tribesmen returned and played a major role in stabilising the front between Uri and Muzaffarabad.

As one advances westwards from Baramula to Uri the Jhelum Gorge becomes narrower and the defenders task becomes easier while the attackers task becomes more difficult.

The Indian Army although supported by aircraft artillery and armoured cars was too psychologically shattered to advance rapidly westwards, despite the fact that most tribesmen were not fighting the battle, at least temporarily few demolitions and a few snipers who were too motivated to withdraw stopped the Indian advance approximately 3 miles west of Uri.

There is no doubt that Pakistan was in a favourable position to win the Kashmir War at least till the first week of November. Mr Jinnah exhibited great Coup de Oeil when he ordered Gracey to employ two brigades and advance with one brigade each towards Jammu and Srinagar.

But Mr Jinnah was unlucky in possessing no one like Patel and his Prime Minister and his entire Cabinet proved to be an undoubted failure at least as a war cabinet.

Mr Jinnah's decision not to have a Pakistani C in C although taken in the best interest of the country and the Army as Mr Jinnah saw it ensured that the British acting C in C procedurally blocked the execution of Mr Jinnah's orders in October to attack Kashmir.

Pakistan was unlucky in having a man like Iskandar Mirza at the Ministry of Defence.

Mirza did not advise Mr Jinnah correctly and the fact that he had hardly served in the Army and did not understand military affairs further ensured that Mr Jinnah and the Prime Minister remained as ignorant as they were about military affairs as they were when they were in high school.

It is incorrect to criticise Liaqat for Operation Venus since in December 1948 the Indian position was much more secure than in 1947.

Liaqat can be criticised for not ever visiting Kashmir while the war was on and for not standing by Mr Jinnah in pressurising Gracey in October 1947 to order the Army to attack Kashmir.

Had a Pakistani C in C been appointed even in December or in March 1948 the Indians may not have held on to Poonch-Nowshera area at least.

Had Major Masud been allowed with his armoured cars on Domel-Baramula Road despite Ghazanfar Ali and Sher Khan's objections;Srinagar may have been captured by the Tribesmen by first week of November 1947.

The Indians were lucky in having comparatively more regular army officers who led from the front and is evident from higher officer casualties among Indian Army officers above the rank of captain vis a vis the Pakistan Army.

The subsequent Pindi Conspiracy of 1950 was a logical result of disgust of the army officers with the irresolute civilian political leadership as exhibited during the 1948 war.
We can say with the benefit of hindsight that if the army did have to rule Pakistan as it later did from 1958;it would have been far better had real soldiers and patriots taken over in 1950!

These men after all were men of crisis ; highly patriotic and outlook;and possessed an independent mind! Ironically paper tiger soldiers with poor war record and naive intellect ; more interested in improving their personal fortunes took over.
A seal of essential mediocrity despite an outwardly impressive form , was thus firmly stamped ; as far as higher military leadership,doctrine and organisation was concerned; on the Pakistan Army. But this was proved only fourteen years later in 1965!

While we have forgotten Akbar Khan , the real architect of use of irregular proxies in low intensity wars , described in some detail in his book , we keep on hearing about so called silent soldiers !

Who was Colonel Tommy Masud !

He lacked the qualities of slavishness or diplomacy to become a general officer in the Ayubian army !

This explains why he did not go beyond a brigadier! Tommy Masud who was a very famous figure in Lahore Gymkhana finally settled in Lahore where he died in the late 1990s.

Under his indomitable command in 1947-48  conducted very aggressive actions under his able leadership , one of the proofs of which i.e two captured Indian Armoured cars of the 7th Light Cavalry still adorn the front of the unit quarter guard .

Till 1983 when this scribe joined the unit Tommy Masud was remembered with great respect and admiration by many reservists and old timers both from the officers and the rank and file who were attached with or visited the unit .

Mr Jinnah the Governor General wanted to conduct the war aggressively,and had the vision but not the energy . He was a dying man and had too many things to do. Unfortunately he was  not supported by his ethnically divided as well highly incompetent and irresolute cabinet of weak men who had neither the vision nor the resolution to function as a war cabinet! The Pakistan Army on the other hand was commanded by a non interested Britisher.

The P.A.V.O 11 Cavalry equipped with armoured cars were the only unit employed in the war. The GHQ assigned the unit an essentially defensive and passive role but the indomitable Colonel Tommy Masud commanding the unit  was too resolute a man to be restrained .

The unit thus took a prominent part in operations in Bhimbhar-Mirpur area under Tommy Masud, but its role remained limited since it was not allowed to conduct any major offensive operation to support the militia by an over cautious general headquarters.

A study of the 1947-48 War reveals that without Tommy Masud the Indians would have captured Bhimbhar and many parts of Kashmir right till river Jhelum !

Brigadier Tommy Masud however on his own risk took the armoured cars of 11 Cavalry into Kashmir ! In the process he also captured two armoured cars of Indian 7th light Cavalry which are 11 Cavalrys war trophies and adorn its quarter guard till to date !

This process and how he did it is explained in great detail in the book below although the books editing was badly scr___d  by the most unprofessional Oxford University Press.

But no one in Pakistan knows about this great man !
The Indians on the other hand employed their armour much more aggressively and imaginatively in Kashmir. Armoured cars of the 7th Light Cavalry saved Srinagar in November 194745.

The Indians also employed tanks decisively in recapture of strategic towns like Jhangar and Rajauri of which the latter was captured single-handedly by a tank squadron of Central India Horse.
The greatest Indian strategic success by employment of tanks was the recapture of the otherwise impregnable 11,578 feet high Zojila Pass on 1st November 194847   which enabled them to relieve Leh and recapture the vast bulk of Ladakh.
These areas  without Zojila Pass were  for all purposes lost to the Indians. Today the Pakistan Army is still paying the price for loss of Zojila with approximately three infantry brigades committed in Pakistan held Kashmir opposite Indian held Ladakh.

The rule of the thumb of the 1947-48  War was the fact that all Indian successes had a deep connection with presence of tanks or armoured cars while all Pakistani failures were attributable to the absence of tanks or armoured cars! Indians stopped only where either the gradient became too steep for their tanks or where there were bottlenecks like the Indus or the Jhelum valley and tank or armoured cars could not make an impression.
Had Tommy Masuds ideas been implemented things may have been entirely different !
But then as Schiller said " What was lost in a moment was lost for eternity " !
People of Murree today know about Khaqan Abbasi who made name in construction but not about Brigadier Tommy Masud whose personalitys cardinal attribute was flirting with danger and with hot lead !

This remains the tragedy of Pakistans history !


Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."  --
Albert Einstein !!!

ch This Blog






Visit of the VCOAS an 11 Cavalry officer to the regiment near Pasrur

Move back to Kharian after de-escalation of India Pakistan tension December 1984

Kharian-April 1983

Tuesday, November 22, 2011



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Major among 14 FC troops killed in Musa Khel ambush

* 16 others injured as armed men attack FC convoy sent to guard a coalfield in Bahlol Basti

* BLA claims responsibility, says they also took away arms of FC soldiers

By Mohammad Zafar

QUETTA: At least 14 personnel, including a major of the Frontier Corps (FC), were killed and 16 others were injured when their convoy was attacked by a group of armed men near a coalfield in Musa Khel on Sunday night.

The banned outfit Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed the responsibility for the attack and further claimed that BLA attackers also took away the arms of the FC soldiers.

“As many as 40 FC personnel and one of BLA’s attackers were killed in the clash,” the spokesman of BLA who introduced himself as Azad Baloch told the local media from an unspecified location.

The incident took place near Bahlol Basti and Kingari in Musa Khel district where a coalmine project was initiated on August 12. Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had inaugurated the project.

According to the FC spokesperson, an FC unit was sent to Kingari and Bahlol Basti in Musa Khel on the request of local people for providing adequate security cover to the coalmine project.

Some armed men opened fire on the FC convoy a few kilometres from Bahlol Basti, killing 14 personnel, including a major, and injuring few others, he added.

He further stated that Loralai Scouts were responsible for security of the project, but the FC unit was sent on the request of the local people for adequate security for smooth functioning of the project

The deceased army major was identified as Muhammad Amir Shahzad and other slain personnel include Sobedar Dawood, Hawaldar Ghafoor, Lance Naik Makram, Sepoy Muhammad Taufiq, Mira Jan, Ghulam, Sarwar, Mubullah, Zubair Ahmed, Abdul Nabi and Muhammad Asif. According to the FC spokesperson, militants also fired 30 rockets on the FC checkposts in Kohlu. The assailants also opened fire on some checkposts and fled from the scene after retaliatory firing by FC personnel. “No causality was reported in both attacks,” he added.

The FC termed the attack cowardice and said the blood of soldiers will not go in vain.

The spokesperson strongly condemned the incident and said that FC went to maintain peace in the area but some elements trying to create disturbance that will be dealt with an iron hand.

The province straddles a key NATO supply route into neighbouring Afghanistan and on Sunday gunmen torched three trucks carrying supplies to US-led troops.




Monday, November 14, 2011

Coercion through Leniency: British Manipulation of the Courts- Martial System in the Post-Mutiny Indian Army, 1859-1913, Journal of Military History, 65, 937-64

Coercion through Leniency: British Manipulation of the Courts- Martial System in the Post-Mutiny Indian Army, 1859-1913, Journal of Military History, 65, 937-64,October 2001

Selective distortion of criticism by Journal of Military History USA

In an article titled 

Coercion through Leniency: British Manipulation of the Courts- Martial System in the Post-Mutiny Indian Army, 1859-1913

On page 951 of the subject article he stated that Muslims comprised 45 % of Indian Army which is factually incorrect.The references that he cited i.e Roberts letters and some house proceedings also do not prove so.

When I wrote a letter to editor to the Journal of Military History of VMI,USA the editors ommitted this most serious criticism and instead published my letter in the journal retaining my minor criticism of the subject of flogging in Indian Army.

Agha.H.Amin,Major (Retired)