By Brig Saeed Ismat, Retd (31st PMA), Punjab/Avn
Editor: Brig Saeed Ismat (Retd) is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He joined his parent unit, 8 Punjab Regt, in 1965. He has also served in Avn and was awarded SJ in 1971 War as L-19 pilot. He was Pakistan’s first Ambassador to Azerbaijan. He is currently running a Think Tank in London.
After commissioning from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, I joined my battalion, 8 Punjab Regt, in June 1965. It was then stationed at Rawalpindi as President’s Guard Battalion. In early September the unit was ordered to move to Sialkot Sector.
After the 1965 War the battalion returned back to Rawalpindi in the spring of 1966 and resumed its duty as President’s Guard Battalion. One day, the President of Pakistan, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, and the C-in-C, Gen Yahya Khan, were our guests at a dinner in our regimental mess. It was a formal affair and I was designated Mr. Vice. While coffee was being served, Gen Yahya asked me, “Young man, you have been to Sandhurst and must have studied military history, tell me what is the shortest operational order you know?”
Hell, if I knew and started waffling and some other guest tried to help but Gen Yahya was not to be satisfied. To my great relief the Field Marshal intervened, “Yahya, stop harassing the young man. You tell us.”
Gen Yahya replied, “The shortest operational order ever in the military history was by C-in-C, Gen Musa, to his Corps Commander Lt Gen Bakhtiar Rana when on 6 September 1965 the Indians attacked across the International Border. It was — ‘Rana! Pai Ja, O’.
Field Marshal Ayub Khan and all other officers burst into laughter.
This photo was probably taken on 6 Dec 1965 when Gen Mohammad Musa Khan, C-in-C, Pakistan Army arrived at a landing strip during his extensive tour of forward areas.
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