"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
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September 65 and the Nation 


Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)






In early September 1965 clouds of war were gathering ominously but had not burst as yet. On 5th September a van stopped alongside my car at Elphinstone Street Karachi and its driver seeing me listening to the news on my car radio, eagerly asked, “Has Pakistan declared war?”.  “No” I replied, but could see the disappointment writ large on his face. Early next morning the Indians started it but treacherously without declaring war. Karachi Oil Refinery, the Naval Ship Yard and similar other strategically important targets were attacked by the Indian Air Force but apparently with little damage to the targets. The ‘Air Raid’ sirens and the “All Clear” sirens kept howling most of the day but did not seem to be taken seriously by the Karachites. However, our Japanese lady teacher was visibly shaken and disheveled when she came to the classroom. She was simply amazed at the unbelievable courage and valour of the Karach! ites as the city streets  hummed with the normal traffic and the business was as usual as if nothing had happened.  She was apparently in no mood to teach and we all discussed war and its ramifications. She openly confessed that Tokyo would have presented much desolated a picture under similar air attacks. She was so much overwhelmed by it that she sent a telegram to the GHQ “offering her services to the Pakistan army in any capacity”!!  I hope this memorable document is still there in the archives  of  MT Directorate GHQ.




I remained at Karachi for the first three days of the war and witnessed there many an instance that would make anyone immensely proud of! The entire city seemed to welcome the war. Morale was at its zenith. The Recruiting Office  at the Transit Camp was thronged by thousands of young men from all walks of life to get themselves enrolled as ordinary soldiers in the army. Many of them dressed in jeans and joggers were heard speaking in English to their Moms and Dads from the Camp telephone to apprise them of their whereabouts. They all just wanted to be transported from there and then as they were to wherever the war was being fought. 




I came to Lahore and found it no different than Karachi. On 13t September an old tall graceful man  remarkably dressed in a big white turban (to serve as his Kaffan), wearing a green Angrakha over Shalwar, Supporting a beard freshly dyed in Henna with two leather bandoliers full of 12 Bore cartridges that adorned his chest. Had a Double Barrel gun slung from his left shoulder and a sword in his right hand. He looked every inch a Mujahid personified.  Waiving frantically he stopped my jeep and requested to be taken to the front where the fighting was going on.  When I tried to explain him that it was a different kind of war and that he would not be able to do much with his DB gun and sword the old Mujahid with a stern look in his eyes admonished me not to underestimate him. He just wanted to take part in Jihad and become a Shaheed if Allah so willed.He left me with no option but to drive him to the demolished brid! ge over the BRB canal near Jallo beyond which we could not go. “But where are the Kafirs?”, he enquired anxiously. “About a mile away”, I replied, “you cannot see them from here”.  Visibly disappointed he inquired in anguish, “then how can I fight them?”  On our way back the old man who had been fondly reciting Talbiah all his way to the front, now sat quietly, dejected, with bowed head in his hands as if deprived of a great opportunity in life.  Then suddenly, he asked me to stop the jeep and jumped out of it.  He had spotted a few army men digging a pit at some distance – probably for an artillery gun or so.  He ran towards them waiving me to go and shouting  “Beta,  yeh khodana bhi tau jihad hey, meri kismat men yehi likha hoga”.  (Son, this digging is also Jihad and probably I am destined for it only).




On September 7th BBC TV showed a Lahore Omni Bus laden with Indian soldiers, purportedly to be sight seeing in Anarkali Lahore.  Actually the Indians had found an overnight parked bus at Bata Pur – Jallo and filmed it with the Indian soldiers on board in the bazaars of Amritsar, claiming the scene to be that of Anarkali, Lahore. Watching this on the BBC the brave Lahoris in UK and other countries jam-packed all the flights to reach Lahore to fight the Indians there.  Similarly the Lahoris wherever they were vacationing or visiting within Pakistan on hearing of Lahore being attacked immediately headed towards it in such a haste that it created the worst traffic jam in the history of Ravi bridge. This even impeded the movement of the troops so vitally needed to be rushed to the Lahore front from up country. Whoever heard of a people running into the war zone rather than running away from it?  Only the Lahoris do it! It was aga! in a common practice for  the Lahoris to watch the aerial dogfights between the PAF F-86s and MIG-19s and the IAF Mysteres and Gnats and no amount of advice, persuasion and warnings could keep them away from their roof tops and shouting Bo Kata exultantly at the downing of the Indian aircraft.




Strange are the ways of proud Pakistanis.  A van driver is disappointed on the war not  declared. Air raids or no air raids the business in the streets and the traffic on the roads goes on as usual. Jeans Jogger dandies keen to enroll as ordinary soldiers. Old Mujahids with Kaffan around the head, eager to embrace Shahadat. Lahoris rushing to Lahore when anywhere else the people would flee from the scene of the war. The entire nation unified – soldiers and civilians alike – like a seesa pilaie deewar to face the enemy.




If it happened in September 1965, why won’t it happen again ?




PakistanPainda Baad






*     End.




Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)


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