Maj Gen Retd Saleem Ullah Khan

Today when I reminded Rangers memories, I rcalled two  brave Jawans of Punjab Rangers. It was evening of 07 Sep 1965 C Coy ex 5 FF was deployed on the bank of BRB. They were Akbar and Shah Wali from Sutlej Rangers. Their post was destroyed by Indian fire last night. Jawans ex C Coy of 5 FF on their return captured them and took them to Platoon Head Quartes. After initial investigations, it was decided to send them to Bedian Coy of Sutlej Rangers. But they refused to go back and preferred to fight against enemy. Infantry battalion accepted them half heartedly.  Soon they became beloved of all due to display of their extra ordinary courage and bravery. They volunteer their services for tough duties like going on fighting patrol. Thirty years old Shah Wali belonged to Mahsood Tribe of South Waziristan. He had an attractive personality having 6’-4” height and traditional hair style. Lnk Akbar was senior to Sep Shah Wali. This medium height Jawan was belonged to “Wazir” family of North Waziristan. They both used to remain in the same banker and carry out patrolling together. They became asset to the coy being aware of every inch of the area. Shah Wali was an aggressive and challenging soldier who was ever ready to fight with the enemy. On every mission he had brought some thing of Indian Army like trophy, bennet of rifle, helmet or even drum of TT wire. He loved to chase the enemy at his own. Comparatively, Akbar had a strong body and a serious person. On night 8 Sep brought a message of happiness as their host company was assigned a task of “Thah Char Walia” and “Kirka” which were 2 important villages of the area chosen for operation. This operation was to start before evening so there was no time for reconnaissance. But company  was blessed with two brave sons of soil i.e Akbar and Shah Wali who were aware every inch of the area. So they were included in the construction of area sketch. They improved order group about pavements, streams and nullahs of the area. Hence they were chosen as guides. It was an honor for both of them. Especially Shah Wali was a focal person of that operation. Due to better knowledge of the area carried by these rangers jawans first two phases achieved successfully. Sequel to this infantry battalion’s entry into Chah Walia and Kirka became easy. Indian soldiers forced to retreat when surrounded from all round. But enemy had to pay the heavy price. In  2nd phase, Akbar guided well for attack on Kirka. On successful operation Infantry battalion received fresh orders to re-organise along Bedian head works and UBDC.

From 9-11 Sep the coy achieved the task. The infantry unit had no link with its remaining elements deployed 10 kms back of BRB canal. Troops had to live at their own with out any food for 72 hrs.

On 11 Sep, a reconnaissance patrol came late from it mission, patrol comd, NK Khayal Baz was reluctant two answer the questions of platoon commander. This suspense broken, when Khayal Baz, Akbar and Shah Wali came with the fried chicken and insisted to eat. Platoon Commander took one piece of fried chicken. Later on, it was reveled that during last two days, patrolling party on zero line came to know about an Indian  poultry farm in “Char Walia”. Last night Shah Wali disappeared from patrolling and came back with two hens.

On 13 Sep Shah Wali was looking very fresh. Today there was visit of Platoon Commander. Shah Wali washed his mazri dress, shaved and took bath. At about 0900 hrs, a jet of enemy had a low flight towards Bedian Company. Indian jet was fired upon by a Machine Gun of Company but that managed to escape. Indian Artillery started shelling on company position. Our troops went into bankers. Soon heavy shelling started on company location. Shah Wali and Akbar both were in an open banker. When shelling started Akbar jumped into a covered banker and asked Shah Wali to leave the open bunker. But he encountered with a shell of enemy. He sustained injuries and was dragged to the bankers and field bandage was applied. After shelling, he was laid on a stretcher. A jeep ambulance was called. Akbar was with him till ambulance. In the noon, news of Shahdat of Shah Wali was received. Restless and brave Ranger Jawan went to eternal sleep. Akbar lost his friend. On 23 Sep, after cease fire he was sent back to Sutlej Rangers honorably. An officer accompanied him with the details of their heroic acts. Certificates were sent for both jawans by the Infantry battalion. But they both were not recognized as they deserve.n

The writer is former DG Pakistan Rangers (Punjab)