06 September 1965 Revisited; The Spirit of the Karachiites

By Lt Col S. Riaz Jafri (Retd) 7th PMA

Lt Col Riaz Jafri - 06 September 1965 Revisited - The Spirit of the KarachiitesEditor’s Note: Lt Col S. Riaz Jafri (Retd), 7th PMA Course, was commissioned in a Signals Regt in Feb 1953. After the retirement, he has settled in Rawalpindi. Currently, he is the Vice Chairman of Pakistan Thinkers Forum.

06 September 1965 Revisited - Jang Newspaper announcing 1965 WarI was a Major in the army and doing a course in Transit Camp Karachi when on 6th of September 1965 a number of Indian Air Force fighter planes appeared over the Karachi skies and tried, though unsuccessfully, to bomb some strategic targets like Oil Refinery, Faisal Air Base, West Wharf complex and Karachi sea port, etc. The bombs and fighter planes noise coupled with the continuous Air Raid Siren pulled the Karachiites out of their slumber and most of them came out or climbed up their roof tops to see what was happening. On realizing that the war which was expected had actually broken between India and Pakistan and the planes flying so low were Indian they, strangely enough, instead of taking some shelter against the Indian air attack started shouting and booing at the Indian planes with their bare fists and anything that came their way – a piece of rock, a stick or an iron rod — anything.

The Spirit of the Karachiites, 1965 War -  F-86 Sabre plane of Pakistan Air ForceSoon after a few F-86s scrambled from Maripur Air Base (now Masroor Air Base) and in no time were much higher in the skies than the Indian aircraft, who seeing them in such a commanding position immediately made a beeline for the Indian border. No damage was done except for a pipe catching fire in the Oil Refinery, which was soon taken care of.

At around 8 a.m. our Japanese female teacher (whom we out of respect used to address as San-se, meaning Master) arrived in her daily taxi but looked visibly shaken and disheveled. Naturally, there was no class that day as we all talked about the war. After a while the San-se spoke but her voice was wavering and wobbly. “What kind of people you Pakistanis are?”, She asked quizzically.  She said that first she didn’t expect her taxi driver to come but he was there as usual at the appointed time and greeted her smilingly, then the roads had the usual morning schools and office going traffic. People were having their “paan” from the busy shops before going to their works and businesses. Everything looked normal like an!y other day as if nothing had happened.

“Dash it—you had been under an air attack only a few minutes ago!”. She nearly shouted, “Tokyo would have been all quiet. Not a soul out. All home or in shelters. No traffic on roads. No — nothing.”

She asked me if I could take her to a telegraph office, which I obliged her respectfully. She came out of the telegraph office with a telegram sent to the GHQ (Director of Military Training) which read, “In this hour of peril, I offer my service to Pakistan Military in any capacity”. That was the most unexpected thing for me and asked her as to what could she do for the military? “Oh, I can be a Secretary, an office clerk, Telephone Operator, Nurse or whatever.” Is it not a matter of pride for we Pakistanis?

Around mid morning we started receiving our posting orders for the fronts except me which didn’t come even for next three days when my patience gave up and I took a train to Lahore on my own on 9 September 1965. These three days provided me with the opportunity and time to watch the morale, vigour  and patriotism of the Karachiites from close quarters. Every single soul was imbued with the spirit of giving a befitting reply to India. It was so inspiring and motivating that it made me proud of them and I shall cherish it as long as I live.

Just to cite an example or two;

A Recruiting Office was hurriedly established in the Transit Camp by about 11 a.m. that day. And by about 2 p.m.—just in a matter of three hours — there were more than two thousand young men, some visibly looking from fairly well to do families, some in branded Jeans and Joggers and Ray Ban Sun Glasses (mind you Jeans and Joggers were not so common in 1965 and only the elite wore them), quite a few of them graduates offering themselves to be enrolled as simple foot soldiers (Sepoys) and go to the front. Amazing!

One of my car tyres went flat and the person repairing it, who incidentally served me with a cup of tea and some confectionery also, would not take any money for it, because he came to know that I was from the army. That was the spirit of the Karachiites and of all Pakistanis in 1965. And that made the Indian eat dust who had designs of over-running Pakistan. Same would be the morale and the spirit of every Pakistani, In Sha Allah, again if India tried any adventure again.

Related Page:
Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)

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  1. Brig Saeed Ismat (31st PMA) UK says:

    Karachi to Khyber the spirit of Pakistanis in 1965 was something amazing and unbelievable. Young officers and men of the armed forces were aspiring and praying for Shahadat. I can never forget that spirit, enthusiasm and excitement when I left Rawalpindi for Phillora ( Sialkot). If there be war again and the spirit of 65 is revived no nation in the world can defeat us.
    Thank you Col Jafri sir for Revisiting The Spirit of the Karachiites.

  2. Capt Muhammad Abdul Qadir Faruqi (2nd SSC), USA says:

    I remember those days. I was a school boy. That’s true, we all came out in open to watch dog fight.
    Alhamdolillah, our country is here and we’re it’s humble but proud citizens. I am almost 70 years old now and being a Veteran I still have the desire to serve my country against any enemy.

  3. People of Karachi are really very brave.

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