December Special

Infantry Chasing Tanks: 27 Brigade in the Battle of Ashuganj

An epic account of valor and sacrifice of 27 Brigade during 1971 War that remained steadfast by their duty and mission, displaying striking heroism while facing a number of perils from all sides.

The Bengali-dominated Awami League contested the 1970 general elections on the basis of their ‘Six Points’, which was a formula for partitioning Pakistan. It won a landslide victory in East Pakistan but failed to win a single seat in West Pakistan, leading to a political impasse.1 Failure of the two sides to reach a settlement led to a vicious revolt in the Eastern wing, where the Awami League sympathizers unleashed a reign of terror and brought the machinery of the state to a standstill. On March 25, 1971, the government launched Operation Searchlight to regain control of the province. This led to a mutiny of Bengali personnel of the armed forces and police, which soon turned into a full-blown insurgency actively supported by India. Pakistan Army had only one infantry division in its Eastern Command. In April, 9 and 16 Divisions were airlifted to East Pakistan. Besides conducting a province-wide counterinsurgency operation, these men had to protect 2000 miles of the frontier, while being cut-off from their home base and surrounded by the enemy from all sides.2 In the meantime, India was planning an invasion of East Pakistan. 

The brigade’s orders were to deny the enemy the crossing on River Meghna at Bhairab Bazar-Ashuganj at all costs.

On November 21, 1971, the Indian Army attacked East Pakistan from three directions. The invading force was distributed into three army corps with eight Infantry Divisions consisting of 400,000 men plus 100,000 Bengali rebels (Mukti Bahini). It was supported by six armoured and 46 artillery regiments, and 11 air force squadrons. Against this force, the Eastern Command could only muster 35,000 regular troops in three infantry divisions, supported by some 15,000 paramilitary troops, one armoured regiment and a single squadron of Pakistan Air Force.3 Even though the outcome of the unequal fight was known to them, the men of Eastern Command faced the challenge with unmatched valor and tenacity. This is the story of these men from 27 Brigade. 
27 Brigade flew into Dacca with 9 Division in early April. Immediately on arrival, it was placed under 14 Division and operated in Mymensingh Sector during Operation Searchlight. In September, it moved to Brahmanbaria. 14 Division, under Major General Qazi Abdul Majid, was responsible for the defense of the area east of River Meghna. It had five infantry battalions, two field artillery regiments and a squadron of tanks, distributed in three brigades.4 27 Brigade, under Brigadier Saadullah Khan, was responsible for a 40-mile front on the right flank of 14 Division. It consisted of 12 Frontier Force (FF) under Lieutenant Colonel Fazal Azim Khilji at Akhaura and Gangasagar, 33 Baloch under Lieutenant Colonel Aftab Hasan Qureshi at Kasba, two companies of 12 Azad Kashmir (AK), several companies of East Pakistan Civil Armed Forces (EPCAF), Mujahids and Razakars, ten 105 mm howitzers, and four tanks. One howitzer of 31 Field Regiment was deployed opposite Agartala, well ahead of the 27 Brigade positions. The brigade’s orders were to deny the enemy the crossing on River Meghna at Bhairab Bazar-Ashuganj at all costs. 27 Brigade planned to oppose the enemy robustly on the frontier and then fall back to Brahmanbaria, which had been developed as a strongpoint. Facing them was the Indian 57 Mountain Division with two brigades, an armoured squadron and a full complement of divisional artillery. The Indians also enjoyed complete air superiority.5 

In the best tradition of gunners, the isolated gun crew had chosen not to abandon their gun and remained at their post. The valiant gunners refused to surrender and continued to engage the advancing enemy with direct fire until they were all killed. 

The enemy struck on November 30, with a brigade attack on 12 FF positions at Akhaura and Gangasagar. With the Commanding Officer of 12 FF admitted in the hospital, command of the battalion was taken over by Brigadier Saadullah Khan, the Brigade Commander. The Piffers put up a gallant fight and would not let the enemy pass. However, after six days of stubborn resistance, the enemy finally broke through on December 5.6 Meanwhile, the lone howitzer deployed against Agartala was overrun on the opening day of the Indian offensive. In the best tradition of gunners, the isolated gun crew had chosen not to abandon their gun and remained at their post. The valiant gunners refused to surrender and continued to engage the advancing enemy with direct fire until they were all killed. “When the Indians finally reached the gun, they found the bullet splintered bodies of Havildar Yasin, Lance Naik Ehsan and Gunner Aziz, draping the breech and trails of their guns”.7 

The Indians were taken by complete surprise and retreated in much disorder, abandoning 8 tanks in running order.

The Indian penetration threatened to cut off 33 Baloch and it was ordered to fall back to Brahmanbaria. The next day, the Indians landed a heliborne infantry battalion north of Brahmanbaria but soon withdrew after losing some men to the Balochis. In the meantime, 313 Brigade deployed to the north withdrew towards Sylhet under enemy pressure, exposing the left flank of 27 Brigade. 14 Division ordered the brigade to evacuate Brahmanbaria and fall back to Bhairab Bazar-Ashuganj to defend the bridge on River Meghna. Defence of Ashuganj was entrusted to a company of 12 AK supported by elements of EPCAF, while 12 FF was deployed in Bhairab Bazar. Meanwhile, 33 Baloch took up positions astride the railway line between Ashuganj and Talshehr. On December 7, two companies of 12 FF were sent to Dacca, further depleting 27 Brigade.8 
On December 9, the Indians launched their attack on Ashuganj with air and artillery support. Leaving a brigade to contain 33 Baloch at Talshehr, the other Indian brigade along with the armoured squadron outflanked the Balochis from the north and arrived in Ashuganj after overcoming EPCAF troops defending the city. Major Sarfraz Ahmed, the Brigade Major, collected the headquarters staff and rushed to join the company of 12 AK under Major Muhammad Kazim, SJ, which was fiercely resisting the enemy on the railway embankment near the bridge on River Meghna. They were joined by Major General Qazi Abdul Majid, who personally directed the artillery fire. During the battle, Major Sarfraz was grievously wounded by a bullet to his neck. Earlier, he had stayed on his post despite being shot in the arm at Akhaura on December 4. He was awarded Sitara-i-Jurat for his gallantry.9 Miraculously, he survived his injury but the equally gallant Major Kazim, who was also shot while leading his brave Kashmiris, did not. 
On hearing about enemy infiltration in the rear, Brigadier Saadullah rushed back from Talshehr. Just outside Ashuganj, he came across some of his soldiers on the side of the railway embankment, who informed him about enemy presence on the other side. The commander and the few men with him immediately opened fire on the Indians, pinning them down. They were joined by an assortment of other troops and the only remaining tank in 14 Division. Brigadier Saadullah decided to attack the Indians before they had time to settle. He and Captain Saeed personally led the charge with fixed bayonets, putting the Indians to flight. Brigadier Saadullah Khan was recommended for Nishan-i-Haider, but was awarded Hilal-i-Jurat for his gallant leadership. While the Brigade Commander was fighting his brave little battle, 33 Baloch was moving towards Ashuganj to deal with the enemy. One platoon of 30 FF and some Razakars were left behind under Major Ahsan Ullah Khan of 33 Baloch to hold the enemy’s attention at Talshehr. This small force kept at bay an entire Indian brigade, which made no effort to advance.10 

27 Brigade remained unshakeable till the very end. What more can a nation ask from its soldiers?

Lieutenant Colonel Aftab, the Commanding Officer of 33 Baloch, dispatched a company to distract the enemy’s attention at Ashuganj, while he moved along a dry nullah with two companies to arrive in the enemy’s rear. The Indians were taken by complete surprise and retreated in much disorder, abandoning 8 tanks in running order. The retreat soon turned into a rout, as the Balochis chased the Indians out of Ashuganj.11 In the words of the Brigade Commander, “Aftab had struck the unaware tank squadron, personally capturing the first two tanks, his men did the rest. Infantry chasing tanks! Brave Balochi boys, they really enjoyed the chase.”12 The Balochis were joined in the chase by virtually every Pakistani soldier in Ashuganj, as 4 Guards, 18 Rajput, 10 Bihar and 2 East Bengal, which had mutinied in March and defected to the enemy, along with the armoured squadron of 63 Cavalry, all bolted from the battlefield. Lieutenant Colonel Aftab Hasan Qureshi and Major Muhammad Naeem Khan of 33 Baloch were awarded Sitara-i-Jurat for this action.
While the battle of Ashuganj was raging, 14 Division had ordered the demolition of the bridge over River Meghna to prevent it from falling in to enemy hands. With the bridge gone, there was no longer a need to hold on to Ashuganj. That night, 27 Brigade crossed the Meghna on boats and rafts and regrouped at Bhairab Bazar. Unfortunately, while the brigade was securing the defences of Bhairab Bazar, the Indians bypassed it by ferrying troops across the Meghna by helicopters.13 By now, the enemy was converging on Dacca from all directions. On December 16, 14 Division received the order to surrender. The undefeated men of 27 Brigade were stunned. They had just put to flight an entire Indian brigade and yet they were now being ordered to surrender to the same enemy. It was a cruel twist of fate, but such are the vagaries of war. The Battle of Ashuganj is an epic tale of valor and sacrifice, where everyone from general to jawan was at the forefront of fighting. Despite facing overwhelming odds, the morale and fighting spirit of 27 Brigade remained unshakeable till the very end. What more can a nation ask from its soldiers? 

1. Matinuddin, Lt. Gen. Kamal, Tragedy of Errors: East Pakistan Crisis 1968-1971, Lahore: Wajidalis, 1994, p.116.
2. Riza, Maj. Gen. Shaukat, The Pakistan Army 1966-71, Rawalpindi: Services Book Club, 1990, p. 86.
3. Matinuddin, pp. 341-357.
4. Riza, pp. 96, 150-151.
5. Khan, Brig. Saadullah, East Pakistan to Bangladesh, Lahore: Lahore Law Times Publications, 1975, pp. 87-91.
6. Rahman, Lt. Gen. M Attiqur, The Wardens of the MarchesA History of the Piffers 1947-71, Lahore: Wajidalis, 1980, pp. 114-115. 
7. Riza, p. 152.
8. Ahmad, Lt. Col. Rifat Nadeem, History of the Baloch Regiment, Abbottabad: The Baloch Regimental Centre, 2017, pp. 236-237.
9. Ibid, pp. 237-238.
10. Khan, pp. 147-159.
11. Ahmad, pp. 238-239.
12. Khan, p. 166. 
13. Matinuddin, pp. 402-403.

The Battle of Hussainiwala, 1971
An account that narrates the gallantry of 106 Brigade in carrying out a successful offensive in Hussainiwala.
In response to the Indian invasion of East Pakistan in November 1971, Pakistan attacked India in the West. In Punjab, 11 Division, under Major General Malik Abdul Majid, was responsible for the Kasur Sector, with 52 Brigade deployed in front of Khem Karan, and 106 Brigade concentrated opposite Hussainiwala. 21 Brigade was in reserve. The offensive task assigned to 11 Division was the capture of Indian enclave of Hussainiwala by 106 Brigade under Brigadier Mohammad Mumtaz Khan, SJ. The brigade consisted of 3 Punjab under Lieutenant Colonel Ghulam Hussain Chaudhry, 9 Punjab under Lieutenant Colonel Walayat Khan and 41 Baloch under Lieutenant Colonel Habib Ahmed, supported by a squadron of 4 Cavalry. 45 Field Regiment, Artillery, under Lieutenant Colonel Asif Khurshid Afzal was in direct support. The Punjabis were holding the frontline, while the Balochis were in reserve.1 Hussainiwala Headworks are situated on the southern edge of the enclave where River Sutlej enters Pakistan. The Lahore-Ferozepur road crosses the river at the headworks. The surrounding area is marshy, overgrown with tall elephant grass and crisscrossed by protective bunds. Two fortified strong points, called Qaisar-i-Hind and Fakhr-i-Hind, guard the headworks on either side of the river. In December 1971, the entire front was heavily mined and defended by a network of fortified bunkers held by the Indian 35 Brigade.2
106 Brigade planned its attack in two phases. In the first phase, 3 Punjab was to secure the ‘perimeter’ near the headworks on the right, while 41 Baloch was to capture Qaisar-i-Hind Fort in the centre. In the second phase, 19 Punjab from 21 Brigade was to capture some bunds behind Qaisar-i-Hind on the left. At 6:15 pm on December 3, 106 Brigade opened its attack on Hussainiwala, with a 15-minute preparatory artillery barrage by 45 Field Regiment.3 Captain Arif Saeed of B Company, 3 Punjab led the assault on the perimeter from the West with D Company on his right. B Company soon ran into an enemy minefield but continued its advance under heavy fire. On encountering an enemy bunker, they attacked it with a flamethrower which set the elephant grass around it on fire, lighting up the whole area. Taking advantage of the light, the enemy brought down accurate fire on the Punjabis, resulting in heavy casualties. Captain Arif, despite being wounded, attacked the enemy position with a grenade and silenced it. This valiant officer was killed while attacking a third enemy bunker. Lieutenant Colonel Ghulam Hussain Chaudhry, the Commanding Officer, immediately rushed to take over the command of B Company, but he too was killed by a burst of machine gun fire. He was awarded Hilal-i-Jurat for his valor, while the gallant Captain Arif Saeed received Sitara-i-Jurat.4 
At the same time, a combat group under Lieutenant Mohammad Abdul Malik, which included elements of West Pakistan Rangers attacked the perimeter from the south. After an intense firefight, the entire group was killed. Lieutenant Abdul Malik and Inspector Hanif were awarded Sitara-i-Jurat for their gallantry.5 Later that night, A Company, 3 Punjab, under Major Arshad Zaman attacked Hussainiwala enclave from the north and captured the Indian post of Rajoke after a fierce hand-to-hand fighting. Major Arshad was awarded Tamgha-i-Jurat. At the same time, a company each of 9 Punjab and 41 Baloch captured the posts of Ulleke and Shamoke respectively. During the Battle of Hussainiwala, 3 Punjab suffered casualties of 41 killed and 61 wounded. It was awarded with one Hilal-i-Jurat, six Sitara-i-Jurat and five Tamgha-i-Jurat.6 
Meanwhile on the left of 3 Punjab, 41 Baloch crossed the disused Dipalpur Canal at 6:30 pm, under heavy enemy fire. A Company in particular had a difficult time and suffered heavy casualties. Major Muhammad Hanif despite being seriously wounded continued to lead his company until he received a fatal burst form machine gun fire. His gallant leadership was recognized through the award of Sitara-i-Jurat. The company was taken over by Subedar Muhammad Iqbal, who was also awarded Sitara-i-Jurat for displaying exceptional gallantry. He was personally engaged in hand-to-hand fighting as his company wrested the bund on Dipalpur Canal from the enemy. Sepoy Muhammad Ayub showed great courage by guiding his company through the enemy minefield while Naik Zulfiqar Ali charged and destroyed a troublesome enemy bunker single-handedly. Both men were awarded Tamgha-i-Jurat for their heroism.7

In the meantime, B Company, under Major Zahid Yasin, captured the railway bund after a fierce hand-to-hand fighting. During the assault, Lieutenant Nawaz Afzal, the Forward Observation Officer of 45 Field Regiment, was killed while trying to stop an enemy soldier from lobbing a grenade at the Balochis. The gallant officer was awarded Sitara-i-Jurat for his sacrifice.8 At 7:30 pm, A and C Companies also arrived at the railway bund, and the Balochis consolidated their gains. An hour later, the enemy counterattacked with tanks from the direction of Hussainiwala Headworks. The Balochis immediately retaliated with anti-tank grenades, hitting the leading tanks. At this stage, the tanks of 4 Cavalry started moving up to counter the enemy, who abandoned their attack and withdrew.9 
Meanwhile, an ad hoc company made up of battalion headquarters personnel under Lieutenant Colonel Habib Ahmed, which was following A Company, suffered heavy casualties due to the intense enemy fire, which had set the elephant grass around them on fire. They finally reached the bridge over Dipalpur Canal at 8:00 pm, where they discovered a group of Indian soldiers who had taken refuge under the bridge. Naik Sher Dil immediately opened fire with his machine gun, killing a number of them. He then destroyed an enemy post, which was firing at his position. The brave NCO was killed in action during an enemy attack the next day. For his exemplary courage, Naik Sher Dil was awarded Sitara-i-Jurat.10 
At the railway bund, Major Ashraf Khan, who had arrived earlier with a platoon of C Company, discovered the crawl trenches which the enemy had dug for movement in the heavily mined area between the railway bund and Qaisar-i-Hind Fort. Using these crawl trenches, B Company was able to advance towards the Fort but lacked the firepower to breach its fortifications and thus was pinned down by intense enemy fire. Major Ashraf decided to look for another way in, and while Major Zahid provided covering fire, he ran towards the rear of the fort with Havildar Mansabdar. On arriving at the rear entrance, he charged inside after lobbing three grenades. The Indians, fearing a major attack, panicked and retreated inside. Major Ashraf followed the fleeing Indians, who opened fire on him. When he tried to return fire, his sten gun got jammed. After throwing the remaining grenades at the enemy, he went back and returned with a rifle and more grenades. In the meantime, some Indians fled the fort towards the river, while the rest retreated to the machine gun nest on top of the fort, where they barricaded themselves. Major Muhammad Ashraf Khan had single-handedly captured the Qaisar-i-Hind Fort. It was an act of remarkable audacity. The gallant officer was recommended for Sitara-i-Jurat but received an Imtiazi Sanad.11

Some Indians fled the fort towards the river, while the rest retreated to the machine gun nest on top of the fort, where they barricaded themselves. Major Muhammad Ashraf Khan had single-handedly captured the Qaisar-i-Hind Fort.

The enemy machine gun position on top of the fort continued to defy until next morning, when it was taken out by tank fire. 106 Brigade had secured most of its objectives well before midnight. However, 3 Punjab was facing stiff enemy resistance at the perimeter. Shortly after midnight, the Brigade Commander ordered Major Ashraf Khan to destroy the enemy. In the meantime, two platoons of the ad hoc company under Subedars Ghulam Ali and Safdar Khan attacked the northern edge of the perimeter after crossing Dipalpur Canal under heavy fire. Fierce fighting took place as the Balochis methodically cleared the enemy bunkers. Sepoy Arshad Ali crawled towards an enemy bunker and lobbed a hand grenade through a loophole. He then shot and killed two Indians soldiers who had tried to escape from the bunker. He was awarded Tamgha-i-Jurat for his brave action.12 
Major Ashraf Khan arrived at the bridge on Dipalpur Canal with his depleted platoon and positioned his men at the ‘mouth’ of Hussainiwala Headworks to cut off enemy soldiers still resisting in the perimeter. The enemy was finally cleared from the position with the support of 4 Cavalry. On the morning of December 4, the Indian Air Force repeatedly strafed the positions of 41 Baloch. In one of these attacks, Major Ashraf Khan was severely wounded while engaging an enemy aircraft with his rifle. By late evening, all enemy resistance had ceased in the Hussainiwala enclave. The Indian 15 Punjab had put up a gallant but lonely fight. The Indians had an entire brigade deployed in the area but made no serious effort to assist their beleaguered battalion. Balochi losses at Hussainiwala during the night’s fighting were 58 killed and 90 wounded. The battalion was awarded with five Sitara-i-Jurat, six Tamgha-i-Jurat and one Imtiazi Sanad for its magnificent performance. For a battalion which was barely nine months old, it was a remarkable achievement.13 The Battle of Hussainiwala was yet another chapter of heroism and sacrifice by the gallant officers and men of Pakistan Army, whose memory would endure long in the annals of Pakistani valor.

1.    Riza, Maj. Gen. Shaukat, The Pakistan Army 1966-71, Rawalpindi: Services Book Club, 1990, pp. 202-203.
2.    Khan, Maj. Gen. Fazal Muqeem, Pakistan’s Crisis in Leadership, Islamabad: National Book Foundation, 1973, pp. 205-206.
3.    Riza, p. 203. 
4.    Rizvi, Brig. SHA, Veteran Campaigners – A History of the Punjab Regiment 1759-1981, Lahore: Wajidalis, 1984, pp. 414-415.
5.    Riza, p. 204. 
6.    Rizvi, pp. 416-417.
7.    Ahmad, Lt. Col. Rifat Nadeem, History of the Baloch Regiment, Abbottabad: The Baloch Regimental Centre, 2017, p. 267.
8.    Ahmed, Lt. Col. Habib, The Battle of Hussainiwala and Qaiser-i-Hind, The 1971 War, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 146. 
9.    RN Ahmad, p. 267.
10.  Habib Ahmed, pp. 156-157, 171-172.
11.  RN Ahmad, pp. 268-269.
12.  Ibid, p. 269.
13.  Ibid, pp. 269-70.

An Encounter in the Desert
The Failed Indian Bid to Capture Umerkot
India’s grand plans during 1971 War knew no bounds, as evident from this account narrating the offensive that was launched with the intention to breach Umerkot. However, the brave men of Pakistan Army defended the territory in a heroic manner, laying the Indian plans of the conquest of Umerkot to rest.

On the outbreak of war in December 1971, Pakistan launched an offensive towards Jaisalmer in Rajasthan with 18 Division, which was responsible for the defence of Sindh. This left only one infantry brigade to defend the whole of Sindh. Meanwhile, the Indian Army had planned an offensive of its own in Sindh by their 11 Division, which was given the mission to capture Chhor through Khokhrapar. Later, the scope of their operations expanded with a subsidiary effort by a brigade towards Umerkot from Gadra.1 Standing in their path at Naya Chhor was 55 Brigade with 21 and 39 Frontier Force (FF) and 26 Baloch. The Indian division began its advance on December 4, after capturing Khokhrapar and Gadra. Pakistan’s covering troops deployed on these axes opposed the enemy’s advance by fighting successful delaying actions. On December 8, the Indians arrived in front of Pakistani defences at Naya Chhor. However, despite repeated attacks, the enemy was unable to make any headway against 55 Brigade, which by now had been reinforced by a brigade from 33 Division.2 
26 Baloch, under Lieutenant Colonel Sher Afzal Khan, had arrived at Chhor from Hyderabad on the night of December 2. Four tank hunting parties under Captain Mumtaz Khan joined the covering troops on the Khokhrapar-Chhor axis, where they did an excellent job of delaying the enemy by carrying out raids on his advancing columns. On December 8, Naib Subedar Gul Sari Khan ambushed and captured an enemy reconnaissance party along with two officers. Meanwhile, Lance Naik Muhammad Adalat shot down an enemy fighter aircraft over Chhor. While two Indian brigades were moving towards Chhor from Khokhrapar, their 31 Brigade advancing from Gadra captured Khinser and Chachro, southeast of Umerkot. A platoon of B Company, 26 Baloch under Major Muhammad Iqbal was rushed to reinforce the Indus Rangers at Kantio to counter this new threat. Major Iqbal and his men beat back two attacks and did not allow the enemy to advance on this axis. On December 12, he was joined by the rest of his company.

18 Madras broke under the combined onslaught of the two companies and bolted from the battlefield, leaving behind 49 dead and 13 prisoners of war, besides a large quantity of arms, ammunition and equipment.

In the meantime, 26 Baloch was ordered to take up defence around Umerkot. Its three remaining companies were deployed towards the east of the town, with C Company, under Captain Mumtaz, on the right and D Company, under Major Hafiz Ur Rehman Tariq on the left. A Company, under Major Riaz Aizad, was on the extreme left, facing northeast. On December 16, Balochi patrols detected enemy activity at Hingoro Tar, five miles east of Umerkot. The battalion reported the enemy’s presence, which it estimated to be at least two-company strong, and requested permission to attack. The intruding enemy force was actually a complete battalion, the 18 Madras, which had slipped in undetected from Khinser. However, Brigade Headquarters was not convinced and believing it to be only an enemy patrol, gave permission for an attack by two platoons only. Captain Mumtaz Khan was deputed to lead the attack on the enemy’s left flank with two platoons of C Company, while his third platoon under Havildar Mehboob was deployed as a screen between C and D Companies. In the next phase, D Company under Major Tariq was to secure the northern end of Hingoro Tar.
At first light on December 17, Captain Mumtaz Khan and his men charged at the Indian battalion. The enemy was shocked by the fierceness of the attack and Captain Mumtaz, after overrunning the Indian defences, penetrated up to their battalion headquarters. Seeing their outnumbered comrades in the midst of the enemy, Havildar Mehboob’s platoon charged at the enemy from the front. The Indians were completely unhinged by this new direction of attack. Meanwhile, Captain Mumtaz broke into their battalion headquarters, killing three officers. At around 8:00 am, D Company, attacked the enemy on the right flank. 18 Madras broke under the combined onslaught of the two companies and bolted from the battlefield, leaving behind 49 dead and 13 prisoners of war, besides a large quantity of arms, ammunition and equipment. The losses of 26 Baloch were four killed and eight wounded. The Balochis chased the Indians all the way to Khinser. Captain Muhammad Mumtaz Khan and Naib Subedar Gul Sari Khan were awarded Sitara-i-Jurat, while Havildar Muhammad Sultan and Sepoy Mushtaq Hussain received Tamgha-i-Jurat for their gallantry during the day’s action.5 After their debacle at Hingoro Tar, the Indians gave up all attempts at further offensive operations in Sindh. Spirited action by one intrepid Pakistani battalion had inflicted an embarrassing reverse on the Indians and laid to rest their plans of conquest of Umerkot.

The writer was commissioned in the Army Medical Corps in 1989. A graduate of Army Medical College and Fellow of College of Physicians  & Surgeons Pakistan, he retired from the Army in 2009. He is presently working as a Professor of Pathology in a medical college of Islamabad. He is the author of several books on the history of the Baloch Regiment.
E-mail: [email protected]

1.  Singh, Maj. Gen. Sukhwant, India’s Wars since Independence, volume 2, New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1981, p. 193.
2.  Khan, Maj. Gen. Fazal Muqeem, Pakistan’s Crisis in Leadership, Islamabad: National Book Foundation, 1973, pp. 216-217.
3.  Ahmad, Lt. Col. Rifat Nadeem, History of the Baloch Regiment, Abbottabad: The Baloch Regimental Centre, 2017, pp. 277-278.
4.  Ibid, p. 278. 
5.  Ibid, pp. 278-279.


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