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Operation Gilbralter chapter 1

created Jan 24th, 13:41 by Shahzaib Khan


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326 words
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In August 1965, what looked like an indigenous uprising spread like a jungle fire across the part of Kashmir under Indian control. A month later, India invaded Pakistan in what Pakistanis call an "unprovoked" move. Since the war ended in stalemate, Pakistan holds a victory pageant each year on 6 September to mark the day it fended off a much bigger enemy. But was the uprising in Indian-administered Kashmir really indigenous?
 
Qurban Ali, 71, is one of the "insurgents" who fought the Indian troops in August 1965.
 
But he is a native of the Pakistani-administered side of Kashmir, and he was not an insurgent, but a soldier of the Pakistani army's Azad Kashmir (AK) Regiment.
 
"I was a fresh recruit then, barely 20 years old. I had completed the regimental training, and then we volunteered for the Gibraltar Force," he says.
 
"Our raids were sudden and fierce and terrified the local people"
 
Pakistan is yet to officially confirm it ever commissioned such a force, but a former Pakistan army major, security expert and author, Ikram Sehgal, describes it in a newspaper article as "a mixture of volunteers from the army, mainly those belonging to Azad Kashmir [Free Kashmir, as Pakistanis call the part of Kashmir they control], and fresh recruits" from the Pakistani-administered side of Kashmir who were "hurriedly trained and launched into the valley [Indian-administered Kashmir] in late July/early August".
 
The plan, called Operation Gibraltar, was hatched by the officer in command of the region, Maj-Gen Akhtar Hussain Malik, according to Pakistani and other military historians.
 
 
The idea was to use armed guerrilla bands to destroy India's communication system, and attack nodal points to tie up the Indian army.
 
Qurban Ali and his group took a long, circuitous route through Pakistani territory to infiltrate Indian-controlled Kashmir from the north.
 
They walked for several days, carrying dry food rations, arms and ammunition on their backs, "climbing and descending the hills, sometimes sliding down the snow-covered slopes".

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