Understanding Pakistan Project Team September 16th, 2007
Guest Post By: Brig (Retd.) Shaukat Qadir
Part 1: Operation Gibraltar: Battle that never was
Unfortunately most of our history, particularly that relating to the conduct of military operations, remains shrouded in mystery, since none of the actual details is made public. Consequently, even those like myself who possess some knowledge of the actual events need to piece these together with educated speculations to fill in the gaps. Today, 40 years after this war, the true story remains untold.
Within the military an effort has been made to detail and analyse the actual events, but even these efforts might not be the whole truth, nor have they been made public. Therefore, those who choose to read this version with skepticism might be more sensible than those who consider this an accurate version, but I will attempt to relate the events as I am aware of them. If these read like a comedy of errors, I can only suggest that occasionally truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
Early the same year Pakistan army had successfully defended itself against the Indian attempted incursion in the Rann of Kutch, but that chapter was closed since the dispute had been referred for arbitration. Why therefore should Pakistan embark on a venture that might lead to war remains an unanswered question to date, particularly when we were aware that such a venture in which we were considered the aggressor would result in the severance of aid from the US, which ultimately happened?
It is a matter of historical record that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, then foreign minister, convinced Ayub Khan, the president, that the Indian response to our incursions in Kashmir would not be across the international boundary and would be confined to Kashmir.
He must have offered powerful diplomatic arguments as forcefully and articulately as he could, but despite that I find it difficult to comprehend how Ayub accepted such an argument which was militarily untenable and, while Ayub could be accused of many things, he was far from being militarily unwise.