Side Show the Sulaimanki

The defence of Sulaimanki Sector was the operational responsibility of 105 Infantry Brigade located in the Bhalwalpur. When the situation became tense in early September, the Brigade Group moved into the defence localities on 5 September.

The Brigade Commander, brigadier Mohammad Akbar decided not to give the Indians an opportunity to take the initiative in their hands. He decided to attack Sadiqa and Jhangar, the moment it was known that the Indian Army had invaded Pakistan. The task was allotted to 10 Punjab. Opposite them was an Indian Brigade group supported by a Squadron of medium tanks. The attack was mounted at 1820 hours on 6 September. It was led by Major Hikmutullah with one company of 10 Punjab and a platoon of the Rangers. The Indians tried to bring in all the fire at their disposal but only for 5 or 10 minutes. At the end of this short burst of activity, they left their posts and all their arms seeking safety in flight. Four of them were taken prisoners, a few were killed and the rest escaped. There were no casualties to our troops.

The other objective decided upon for the closing hours of 6 September was Jhangar. D Coy 10 Punjab under command of major Mohammad Aslam Janjua attacked this objective without any H Hour shelling. Here the Indians put up better resistance. Hand to hand fight ensued and grenades had to be used to ferret them out of their bunkers. The Indian casualties inside the bunkers were large including the company commander of the area. The remaining Indians fell back to a discarded kiln in the vicinity but were chased out of this position also. Hand grenades had to be used once again. A few were able to get away. The Indians left 19 bodies in the kiln. 3 prisoners were taken. The second phase of this attack was a small post in village Noor Mohammad. This proved to be an easy affair. A platoon was able to deal with this post.

The objective given to the 10 Punjab had been achieved but the Commander Lt-Col. Amir Hamza Khan was tempted to keep up the momentum of the advance and continue upon village Pakka which had been kept for the final phase to be undertaken by 4 Punjab. This unscheduled attack brought about as it should have done , the situation , which often happens, and its recurrence cannot be avoided under such circumstances. The battalion became a target to our own artillery and enemy MMG for simultaneously. The battalion commander was quick to appreciate the situation and at once halted the battalion advance. Although dark, he quickly managed to reform the battalion and left enough room for 4 Punjab to carry out their share of task.

4 Punjab had done a march of 16 miles to reach the battle positions that very morning but the news of Lahore having been attacked and they so far away was enough to redouble their determination to avenge the losses which they thought, their companions must have suffered at Wagah and Gawandi.

The attack of 4 Punjab was led by C Coy under Major Mohammad Abdul Rashid. They left their positions at 2200 hours. The movement had perforce to be slow as the enemy positions were behind water-logged area. The deeper portions of the Sem lake were waist-deep but they waded through it under heavy small arms and mortar fire and by 2230 hours the enemy had evacuated pakka village also. Five prisoners were taken. The major portion of the enemy had disappeared in the dark. 4 Punjab had only 4 ORs wounded.

One could not expect the Indians not to retaliate. They started shelling our positions early next morning, 7 September and continued this economic method of retaliation throughout the day. Pakistani positions had no overhead cover but fortunately there were no direct hits. As night approached the intensity of enemy shelling increased. The patrols reported enemy concentrations near Gurmukh Khera. AT 2000 hours, a battalion of Indian 14 Punjab Regiment composed of Sikhs, put in an attack on A Company of 4 Punjab. This company behaved in an extremely cool and calm manner. It showed very high quality of fire control. The Sikhs were allowed to come right up to the middle of the company position . The Indians saw the villages ablaze as a result of their shelling and were happy to have reached the objective without any opposition. In their joy they sent up their success signals. The very light showed them up as nothing else could have done and they received well aimed rifle and LMG firm from very close quarters. This sudden volley of small arms fire in the middle of rejoicing, produced the shock effect, which in other circumstances , thousands of artillery shells could not have done. The Indian commanders , were shouting orders on vain:

Take positions

Charge

Hamala Karo

Jai Hind

All these calls were of no avail. The men could think of nothing except their safety. They ran back as they had seldom run before. The Indians reinforced this sector by 67 Indian Infantry brigade but did not venture to attack our positions until after the cease-fire. 1 Baluch was planning its further attack on 15 September when it was pulled out of this sector. 4 Punjab was relieved by 22 Punjab, a newly raised battalion, mainly composed of retired soldiers.

105 Infantry Brigade, in spite of its numerical inferiority, kept up pressure on the Indians and was able to reduce a number of small posts one by one. By the time cease-fire was agreed, this brigade had at least 30 Indian villages under its control and had succeeded in capturing over 150 square miles of Indian territory. The Indians tried hard on 25 September to recapture the territory, they had lost but had to sit quiet after the unpleasant experience of 3/0 Gurkhas, who apart from heavy casualties in dead and wounded, lost 5 tanks and 2 officers, 4 JCOs and 45 ORs as prisoners, during only one night of operations. The Indian brigadier came forward the next morning and requested for stopping the battle which he himself had started. His request was agreed to as he promised not to attack again.