"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Riaz
Full Name: Riaz Jafri
User since: 25/Jan/2008
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06 September 1965 Revisited


I was a Major in the army and doing a course in Transit Camp Karachi when on 6th of September 1965 a number of IAF fighter planes appeared over the Karachi skies and tried, though unsuccessfully, to bomb some strategic targets like oil refinery, Faysal Air Base, West Wharf complex and  Karachi sea port etc.  The bombs and fighter planes noise coupled with the continuous Air Raid Siren pulled the Karachites out of their slumber and most of them came out or climbed up their roof tops to see what was happening. On realizing that the war which was expected had actually broken between India and Pakistan and the planes flying so low were Indian they, strangely enough, instead of taking some shelter against the Indian air attack started  shouting and booing at the Indian planes with their bare fists and anything that came their way – a piece of rock, a stick or an iron rod --- anything. Soon after a few F-86s scrambled from Mari Pur air base, now Ma! sroor air base, and in no time were  much higher in the skies than the Indian planes, who seeing them in such a commanding position immediately  made a bee line for the Indian border. No damage was done except for a pipe catching fire in the Oil Refinery, which was soon taken care of. At around 8 a.m. our Japanese teacheress (whom we out of respect used to address as San-se, meaning Master) arrived in her daily taxi but looked visibly shaken and disheveled. Naturally, there was no class that day as we all talked about the war. After a while the San-se spoke but her voice was wavering and wobbly. “What kind of people you Pakistanis are”, She asked quizzically.  She said that first she didn’t expect her taxi driver to come but he was there as usual at the appointed time and greeted her smilingly, then the roads had the usual morning schools and office going traffic. People were having their “pan” from the busy shops before going to! their works and businesses. Every thing looked normal like an! y other day as if nothing had happened. Dash it—you had been under an air attack only a few minutes ago!” She nearly shouted. Tokyo would have been all quiet. Not a soul out. All home or in shelters. No traffic on roads. No -- nothing. 


She asked me if I could take her to a post office, which I obliged her  respectfully. She came out of the post office with a telegram sent to the GHQ (Director of Military Training) which read, “In this hour of peril I offer my service to Pakistan Military in any capacity”. That was the most unexpected thing for me and asked her as to what could she do for the military? “Oh I can be a Secretary, an office clerk,   Telephone Operator, Nurse or whatever.” Is it not a matter of pride for we Pakistanis?!


Around mid morning we started receiving our posting orders for the fronts except me which didn’t come even for next three days when my patience gave up and I took a train to Lahore on my own on 9September 1965. These three days provided me with the opportunity and time to watch the morale, vigour  and patriotism of the Karachites from close quarters. Every single soul was imbued with the spirit of giving a befitting reply to India. It was so inspiring and motivating that it made me proud of them and I shall cherish it  as long as I live. 

Just to site an example or two: 

A Recruiting Office was hurriedly established in the Transit Camp by about 11 a.m. that day. And by about 2 p.m.—just in a matter of three hours -- there were more than two thousand young men, some visibly looking from fairly well to do families, some in branded jeans and jaugers and Rayban Sun Glasses (mind you Jeans Joggers were not so common in 1965 and only the elite wore them), quite a few of them graduates offering themselves to be enrolled as simple foot soldiers (sepoys) and go to the front. Amazing!!  


One of my car tires went flat and the person repairing it, who incidentally served me with a cup of tea and some confectionary also, would not take any money for it, because he came to know that I was from the army.  That was the spirit of the Karachites and of all Pakistanis in 1965. And that made the Indian eat dust who had designs of over-running Pakistan. Same would be the morale and the spirit of every Pakistani, In Sha Allah, again if India tried any adventure again.


Col. Syed Riaz Jafri (Retd)

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