On this Defence Day, let’s remember the sacrifices and the contributions of those who are represented by the white part of our national flag.
General Muhammad Musa Khan
- Hailing from Quetta-Hazara family, Musa Khan led the 1965 Pak-Indo war as the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan (1958-1966).
- Under his leadership, Pakistan succeeded in its defense strategy against India during the war.
- He also served as governor two times—West Pakistan (1966-1969) and Balochistan (1985-1991).
- He wrote two testimonies on the 1965 war
- He died in 1991 and was buried in Iran as per his wishes
Air-Marshal Musa Sharbat Ali Changezi
- Famous for his aerial operations in the 1965 war as fighter pilot
- He was also known for refusing to meet the Afghan ruler Zahir Shah in 1955 over his regime’s mistreatment of Hazara community living in Afghanistan
- He is reportedly alive today.
Major-General Iftikhar Janjua
- Famously known as “Hero of the Rann of Kutch”
- In April 1965, nearly five months prior to the full-fletched war in September, Pakistani contingents under his command, fought with the Indian counterparts at the Rann of Kucth, advancing their military positions.
- The Rann of Kutch incident was perceived as victory for Pakistan at that instant and consequently, it played some role in the developments leading to the 1965 Pak-Indo war.
- Gen Janjua was awarded with Hilal-e-Jurrat (twice), Sitara-e-Pakistan and Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam.
- He was one of the first high-ranking military officers to die for the country in the battle field as his helicopter crashed during war in 1971.
General Akhtar Hussain Malik
- Famous for his heroics in the early stages of the 1965 war as he commanded the 12th Infantry Division at Kashmir border.
- Controversially, his command was handed over to General Yahya Khan in the middle of the battle due to personal favours given to the latter by then military ruler, Ayub Khan.
- Zulfikar Ali Bhutto also admitted that it was a tactical mistake made by the military ruler to take back the command from Akhtar Hussain and hand over it to his favourite man—Yahya Khan.
- For his contributions in the war of 1965, he was awarded with Hilal-e-Jurrat.
- In 1969, he died in road accident while he was serving a position in Turkey.
Lieutenant General Abdul Ali Malik
- Famous for his commanding skills during the Battle of Chawinda—one of the major clashes of the 1965 war, based in Sialkot District.
- He was the brother of Gen Akhtar Hussain who also participated in 1971 war in which he commanded the 8th Infantry Division.
- After retiring from the military services in 1974, he breathed his last in 1993 at the age of 87.
Air Marshal Zafar Chaudhary
- Zafar Chaudhry was Director Air Operations in 1965.
- He was responsible for planning combat aerial operations against Indian Air Forces while serving in the Air Headquarters.
- He also served as the country’s first Chief of Air Staff (1972-1974)
- After the retirement, he got involved in activism as he was one of the founding members of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
Wing Commander Mervyn Lesley Middlecoat
- As a pioneer fighter pilot for Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Mervyn Middlecoat was famous for his valour and bravery during the 1965 War.
- Hailed as the “defender of Karachi”, Mervyn shot down two aircrafts of the Indian Air Force when India attacked Karachi.
- He laid down his life for the country in the War of 1971 while fighting with the enemy aircrafts.
- It was said that his plane had been shot down over the Gulf of Kutch and he then fell into sharks-infested water.
- He was later declared missing in action as his remains were never found.
- In his letter, King Hussain of Jordan paid tribute to Mervyn Lesley Middlecoat for his contribution during the Six Day War with Israel.
- Pakistan awarded him Sitara-e-Jurat twice each for his heroics in 1965 and 1971.
- In Karachi’s Mauripur, a road was named Middlecoat Road in his honour.
Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry
- Fighting as flight lieutenant, Cecil Chaudhry was famous for valiantly combating Indian Fighter Jets during the 1965 war.
- Chaudhry along with three other pilots, was credited with attacking and destroying Amritsar Radar Station.
- He was awarded Sitara-e-Jurat and Tamgha-e-Jurat for his exceptional aerial skills in the wars of 1965 and 1971.
- After retirement from military services, he became educationist and social activist.
- He breathed his last in April 2012 while in 2013, he was bestowed with Pride of Performance Award.
Air Commodore Nazir Latif
- Nazir actively participated in air warfare in 1965 and 1971.
- For his services, he was awarded Sitara-e-Jurat twice.
- Nazir passed away in 2011.
Air Vice Marshal Eric Gordan Hall
- Known as “Heavy Hitter”, Eric G. Hall led a strategic bombing mission in the 1965 war which proved as crucial for Pakistan Air Force.
- He was among the pioneers of the PAF.
- He was awarded Hilal-i-Jurat (1948), Sitara-e-Juraat (1965) and Hialal-i-Imtiaz (1971).
- After retiring in late 1970s, he moved to the United States amid General Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamisation in the country.
- He died in 1998 at the age of 75.
Squadron Leader Peter Christy
- Known as “Fire Master”, Peter Christy served as a navigator of the 7th Bomber Squadron in 1965.
- He was credited with a number of successful operational missions by flying B-57.
- During 1971 war, he was declared missing in action and later assumed to be dead.
- He was bestowed with Tamgha-e-Jurat (1965) and Sitar-e-Jurat (1971).
Air Commodore Balwant Kumar
- Air Commodore Balwant Kumar Dass or B.K. Dass was the first senior Hindu Officer of Pakistan Air Force
- It was believed that Balwant fought in the wars of 1948 and 1965 as PAF officer.
- Unlike many of aforementioned personalities, Balwant’s legacy has long been forgotten and has remained untold.