Every year on the 6th of September, Pakistan celebrates ‘Defence Day’ in which it commemorates its “victory” over India in the 1965 ‘Indo-Pak War’. The military takes out a parade in which it displays its latest armaments and missiles. A huge spectacle is created where there are songs sung in praise of the military. And this is even nationally televised.
The narrative of India being the aggressor and that Pakistan had to defend their country from a “surprise Indian attack”, is all part of an elaborate scheme of the military to fool the public. Such false claims are also taught to children as part of their curriculum, as a result of which they grow up hating India.
Although Pakistan had far less military and economic resources compared with India, the armed forces of Pakistan, filled with the spirit of jihad, forced an enemy many times bigger to face a humiliating defeat – a Pakistani textbook reads.
But the fact is that, despite all such claims, Pakistan never won the war.
The 1965 war was nothing short of a debacle for the Pakistani military. It began with Pak’s ‘Operation Gibraltar’ which was supposed to be a covert operation aimed at subverting Indian control over Kashmir. A key aspect of the plan was to supply the local population with arms in hopes that they would rise up in rebellion against the “tyrannical rule” of the Indians. But in reality, nothing of this sort happened. In fact, it was these locals that altered the Indian forces who clamped down on the Pakistani army, thus putting an end to any Pakistani military’s ambition.
But this is something that has been conveniently hidden from the public.
Every year, the Pakistan army uses this opportunity to further militarize the Pakistani public. Claiming such false victories has become an innate feature of the Pakistani military for whom it has become essential in order to maintain its legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Creating a sense of fear and hatred of its neighbor, shadows them from any criticism and allows them to take over a substantial chunk of the dwindling Pakistani economy.
The Pakistani authorities have even gone to the extent of destroying pieces of literature which narrate anything other than the narrative prescribed by the military, so much so that it even restricted a book by its own top ranked general.
In 2002, Gen. Mehmood Ahmed released a book titled ‘Illusion of Victory’, which gives an apt narration of the 1965 war which was a series of military misadventures by the Pak forces. One would not be able to find a single copy of this book in the public. Much like this, there are numerous other works by Pakistani scholars who have attempted to correct all misconceptions regarding the war, but have met with stiff resistance from the authorities who continue on to claim victory against India.
Such accounts of the war enumerate the various blunders committed by Pakistani military’s top brass which led to its humiliating loss, but this, like other facts, has been kept from the public. What Pakistan has won is the hearts and minds of its gullible citizens who continue to believe this myth and celebrate it each year.
If Pakistan aspires for peace internally and externally, it must stop propagating such lies and start questioning the Pakistan Army, its military adventurism and its militarization of Pakistan and the region.