We lost terribly in the 1965 war

  • KARACHI: With Pakistan just two days away from observing Defence Day and marking the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war, historian and political economist Dr Akbar S. Zaidi dispelled ‘the victory myth’, saying that there can be no a bigger lie, as Pakistan lost terribly.

    People are unaware of this fact because the history that is taught in Pakistan is from an ideological viewpoint, said Dr Zaidi during his thought-provoking lecture titled ‘Questioning Pakistan’s history’. “Students are not taught the history of the people of Pakistan rather it is focused on the making of Pakistan,” he said.

    The event was organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences, Karachi University.

    Dr Zaidi who also teaches history at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, began his lecture by raising a couple of questions: what is Pakistan’s history and is there a need to question Pakistan’s history. And when was Pakistan formed? Aug 14, 1947 or Aug 15, 1947? For him the fact we are still talking about historical events 68 years later that are apparently settled is interesting. “These events and questions have not been settled. They are constantly being reinterpreted, this is because history does not die, it keeps reliving by questioning facts and truths.”

    Coming to the question when was Pakistan created, he said one obvious answer is it did so on Aug 14, 1947 but he read out an excerpt from a Pakistan Studies textbook in which it was claimed it came into being in 712AD when the Arabs came to Sindh and Multan. “This is utter rubbish!” he exclaimed, rejecting the textbook account. He said the first interaction with Muslims and Arabs occurred in Kerala in South India for trading purposes.

    Some historians claim the genesis of Pakistan lie in the Delhi Sultanate or the Mughal Empire. He, however, reminded everyone that the India as we know today did not exist during the Mughal era. It was during the 19th century the concept of nation-state was formed. There are others who state Sir Syed Ahmed Khan laid the foundation for Pakistan. Dr Zaidi felt this statement was partially true, because Sir Syed always maintained that Muslims should get their rights but he had also said: “Hindus and Muslims are the two eyes of the beautiful bride that is Hindustan. Weakness of any of them will spoil the beauty of the bride.”

    The 1940 Pakistan Resolution called for the recognition of Muslims within Hindustan and not for a separate entity, Dr Zaidi added.

    Social history

    He then led the debate towards the questions: “Is the history of Pakistan, a history of the people of Pakistan or is it the making of Pakistan?”As far as he knew everyone is taught a history that includes the Mughals, freedom movement, the Quaid-i-Azam leading the All India Muslim League etc but was completely unaware about the history of the Baloch and the Pakhtun. “I cannot understand Pakistan’s history without knowing the history of the Baloch, Pakhtun, Punjab, Shah Abdul Latif and his relationship with the land.”

    He said he was ashamed as a Karachiite that he had been unaware of Sindh’s history. It was important to know about indigenous histories because the “issues we are confronted with, we would have a better understanding in dealing with them”. He gave the example of East Pakistan to illustrate this point. “East Pakistan has been erased from memory. The Bengalis of East Pakistan have been reduced to they were traitors, India interfered and East Pakistan decided to separate. But what about Pakistan Army’s role in its separation?”

    According to Dr Zaidi, history in Pakistan has been badly treated due to several reasons. Students are forced to study history or Pakistan Studies as a compulsory subject and hence the focus is just to pass the exam and get over with it. It is focused on rulers and generals and not on the social history. He highlighted another important reason for history getting a step-motherly treatment, citing that it is a subject that is taken when a student is unable to get admission in other departments in universities.

    A robust question and answer session followed the talk during which students and teachers wanted to know why they were being taught distorted version of history, why the contribution of religious minorities to cities such as Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar was not mentioned in their textbooks, why does one have to wear separate identities and how can identification crisis be resolved to make Pakistan into one nation.

    Dr Zaidi responded to these queries, explaining that Parsis and Hindus contributed hugely in the educational development of Karachi and in a similar manner the Sikhs in Punjab. “History in Pakistan is taught from an ideological viewpoint. Pakistan needs to be seen as a geographical entity.”

    Referring to the distorted history, he said: “With the celebration of the victory in the 1965 war round the corner, there can be no bigger lie that Pakistan won the war. We lost terribly in the 1965 war.”

    He appealed to the attendees to read Shuja Nawaz’s book Crossed Swords that exposed the reality of the war.

    As for wearing separate identities, he replied there was no need to do so. “I can be a Sindhi, Hindu and Pakistani simultaneously.” He added that the diversity of nations should be acknowledged, since nationalities could not be imposed on people.


  • Taking a realistic view of the outcome of war, the most optimistic assessment could be that it ended in a draw. However, even securing a draw against a much bigger and more resourceful enemy could be interpreted as some sort of victory but not in material terms because we failed to secure any material gain as a result of the war, and neither did it advance the Kashmir cause.

    And when we consider that we lost a lot of very brave men as well as billions of rupees worth of arms and ammunition in this needless misadventure, which we started, and which failed to bring us even a penny’s worth of benefit, the only logical conclusion could be that we lost terribly IN the 1965 war, without losing the war per se.

  • In Bhutto's civil dictatorship after 1971 war, intellectuals, academics, print media and teachers specifically were coerced into facilitating historical fabrications as Pakistan's islamic ideologue. This served as the foundation to author sharia based constitution and make Pakistan the islamic republic as per the wishes of Saudi monarchs and their thug Maudoodi. The whole of educational syllabus was rewritten to poison generations to come and academic institutions were high-jacked. High caliber Teachers were abducted and learned personalities were blackmailed all across new Pakistan.

    Subsequent dictators and pimp political leaders from Sindh and Punjab followed and infact further enhanced the precedence of Bhutto by flavoring the whole of history with jihad.

    I am waiting for the day when these c-category intellectuals like the one who has been given coverage in Dawn article, could really have the guts to go beyond stating only half of the obvious political and historical prostitution committed by the establishment and politicians in the name of Kashmir, Islam and Jihad.

  • Those who do not know a b c of Military strategic war can write this much. Even the references quotes to empower their own point of views do not overtly or covertly point towards the basic cause of opening the fronts of BRB canal, Sialkot Sector, Shakargarh sector, Rajhastan sector et al. The core issue was Kashmir. To weaken all out onslaught on Kashmir front, India opened all these fronts. India never meant to occupy any part of Pakistan. In this era it is very very costly to occupy enemy's soil and keep it. When all these fronts were opened by India, Pakistan had to reinforce their jawans and officers on all these fronts that removed the iron claw of Pakistan on Kashmir front. From this point of view, one can assess that India succeeded in jeopardizing the main plan of Pak Army i.e. redefining the Kashmir borders.

  • @Shirazi

    Wrong choice of the Title, I am afraid. Dr. Zaidi has talked about the History of Pakistan.

    He teaches History at the Pakistan Institute of Business Administration? If he is a self-proclaimed historian, he should be teaching in the History Department of a University and not at the Institute of Business Administration!!!

  • @Anjaan, you are correct to mention that IBA being a business school has no business talking about India Pakistan relations. If there is to be any history class in IBA, it should be economic history of the country,

    Leaving aside the details of battles, it is obvious that 1965 war was a stalemate. The essential lesson of that war is that India does not respect any international boundary and it was duly confirmed in 1971. As a direct consequence, Pakistan had to develop nuclear weapons. India keeps on pushing the envelope. For example the activities on western border are ongoing and consequences yet to come.

    I would suggest Dr. Zaidi to focus his research such productive activity as China-cutting.

  • Do wars have winners?

  • صدیوں سے ایک ساتھ رہتے ، ہنستے روتے ، کھاتے پیتے ، کھیلتے کودتے ، ناچتے گاتے ، کروڑوں انسسانوں کو کس ظالم نے چند سالوں میں ایک دوسرے کے خون کا پیاسا بنا دیا

    ایسا کیوں ؟ ایسا کیوں ؟ پھر ایسا کیوں ؟

  • One way to assess who won or was there stalemate is to try to understand the any agreement that was signed at the end of hostilities.

    For 1965 hostilities, which according to the Tashkent declaration started on Aug 5th, 1965, I have attached link to the agreement between India and Pakistan.

    http://peacemaker.un.org/sites/peacemaker.un.org/files/IN PK_660110_TashkentDeclaration.pdf

    Death of Indiam PM and revolt of ZAB against the pact need to be assessed also.

  • lol pakistan defeated indian large army at kashmir in Operation Grand Slam and in tank battle pakistan american made tank crushed indian slow french tanks and pakistani successfully defened lahore

  • اگر پاکستان نے حملہ کر کے بھارت کو فتح کر لیا تو اس کا ایک فائدہ ہو گا کہ مسلمان کبھی بھی دوبارہ بھارت کی تقسیم کا مطالبہ نہیں کریں گے

  • Pakistan did not gain any victory in 1965 war,this is true.all we read in text books are lies mostly.but a muslim never lies.a nationalist lies.

    Pakistan never won against the most coward race in human history (hindus) because of one reason alone.pakistanis have lost faith in islam and have become secular nationalists.just like when arabs in 1960 war gave up islam and fought against Israel under banner of nationalism (and lost terribly ) similarly Pakistan loses again and again .

    take example of Taliban and dolat e islamia isis fighters.few young men with old weapons won again and again against super powers like usa and its allies.

    isis consists of renegade men and has now occupied an area greater than great britian in area and has even started Islamic economic system there.

    if Pakistanis also become muslims and fight against india with faith like talibana nd isis do,than Pakistan will also have victory