Major Ziauddin Abbasi,SJ-Obituary
Major Agha H Amin (Retired)
War takes away the best men , the most handsome men , as well as the most gifted man.
Two of these handsome as well as outstanding men were Major Mian Raza Shah , Sandhurst Commissioned from my regiment and Major Z.U Abbasi.
Major Mian Raza Shah with Captain Sardar Yahya Effendi ( from Emir Sher Ali Khan of Afghanistans family)
Raza Shah had studied at the Lawrence College and was my commanding Officer Colonel Mian Liaqat Shahs elder brother.
Commandant 11 Cavalry Lieut Col Mian Liaqat Shah introduces officers to the VCOAS, Pasrur Area 27 November 1984
My dear friend Khalid Aziz remembers him as the most dashing man that he had ever seen.
So was Major Ziauddin Abbasi was killed in the tank battles that were fought near Chawinda.
His mother was a close friend of my grandmother and my father fondly remembers him as a very lively and brilliant young officer.I believe he was a close relative of late V.A Jaffery the famous ICS , who again was a close family friend.
His uncle was a doctor at Pindis Jail in 1947 and 1950s while my grandfather had just settled in Pindi as Assistant Secretary at Ministry of Defence , the lone ministry bulk of whose staff was based in Pindi because of reasons of closer coordination with the army General Headquarters.The famous Sikandar Mirza was the Secretary Defence while political appointees like Ghayur Khan who had come through the backdoor without merit through the British system of giving army quota in services also served in this ministry.
A course mate Saadullah Fatmis father stands behind my grandfather .Mr Fatmi was also father in law of late Honorary Major General Rafi (SSG/Baluch regiment)
Madina Appa as my grand mother called her was a very dear family friend .
Pindi was a closed knit society with Saleem Jillani and Aitizaz Jillanis father as the police SP , LTG Kallues father as the MS, Gordon College with fire brand luminaries like Prof Khwaja Masud , Raja Khudadad of Military lands , a close family friend , Major Khwaja Allauddin of Bhopal State Forces , my grandfathers class fellow and dear friend. He was father of General Khwaja Ziauddin . Ahmad Jamal son of Raja Khudadads and Khwaja Ziauddins sisters weddings were held in lawns of my grandfathers house.
Raja Sultan Mahmud who was killed in action in East Pakistan was my fathers class fellow at the Gordon College.While Nasir Nawaz Janjua and Asif Nawaz were my fathers younger brothers class fellows at Saint Marys Murree Road.Just next to this school was an old Hindu House which housed a young boy who later commanded the submarine Ghazi and was killed in action off Vishakapatnam in 1971 , Agha Zafrullah , son of very dear family friends.
Indian Victory Monument at Viazagapatnam
Remains of PNS Ghazi
Interesting Major Mian Raza Shahs brother also served in the submarine arm of the Pakistan Navy and authored a very interesting book " Bubbles of Water".
The Sinking of the Ghazi
Both my uncle and Nasir Nawaz Janjua had joined Cadet College Hassan Abdals First Entry and my uncle was the first cadet captain , later detaped by the famous Catchpole , and succeeded as cadet captain by his friend and class fellow Nasir Nawaz Janjua.
Nasir Nawaz Janjua was outstanding but drank heavily and died as a brigadier.
Ironically when the second Benazir government sabotaged Punjab Governments plan to construct privately financed highways, my fathers brain child as director general Punjab Highways Authority , Mr V.A Jaffery had to act as Benazirs pointman to confront my father that Private Highways with foreign financing were against Pakistans Constitution etc .
Jaffery Sahib was polite , respected my father , but had to follow his own leaders orders !
When Mr Jafferys arguments failed the FIA was asked to gun my father . However fate had it that FIA still had outstandingly honest officers like Mr Inamullah Sehri of the Police Service who refused to accept the bull shit orders that they got from the PPP political appointees in the FIA.
It was a strange and pathetic situation to see a prime minister supposed to be from a minority province simply blasting into bits what is known as provincial autonomy.
This is despite the fact that my father had given a clean chit to 91 PPP parliamentarians in 1977-78 , to the great anger of the usurper Zia.
But that is how the PPP acts against all ist benefactors and appoints rankers like rahman malik to the highest posts !
Major Z. U. Abbasi, who was the Armour instructor at the Infantry School at Quetta, was posted back to the Guides Cavalry shortly before the 1965 War.
|Major Z.U Abbasi|
Another very fine officer Captain Hussain Shah son of the legendary Colonel Pir Abdullah Shah was also killed in action in this attack.
Colonel Pir Abdullah Shah was my fathers examiner in the officers basic map reading examination in 1955 and had actually kicked a relative of Gen Yahya Khan in the same examination on suspicion of cheating !
Pir Abdullah Shah was a legend in the tank corps and three of his sons joined the tank corps.
|Captain Hussain Shah|
Abbasi had just got married and moved into married accommodation in Quetta.
Guides Cavalry received orders on wireless at about 1000 hours 11 September 1965 that there had been a serious Pakistani reverse at Phillora, and that Guides Cavalry should take action to relieve pressure on Phillora.
The Indians wanted to advance towards Bhagowal and Khakanwali in the west.
The commandant of Guides Cavalry Lieutenant Colonel Ameer Gulistan Janjua decided to attack with two Squadrons of M-48s with the objective being area Libbe on track Phillora-Bhagowal.
He issued orders to this effect on wireless.
Both the squadrons attacked at the H-Hour. A Squadron led by Major Lateef and B Squadron led by Major Z.U Abbasi.
Both the Squadrons reached short of the objective and inflicted serious casualties on the Indian tanks .
Major Z.U Abbasi and Captain Hussain Shah were killed in action. Major Z. U. Abbasi was killed on this day when an artillery shell went through the open turret hatch of his tank. He was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurrat for the successful attack that he had led.
The attack was a success in the sense that Indians did not resume advance for the next two days.
|Guides Dinner night.Major Z.U Abbasi sitting on the floor.Also in the photograph Major Fazal i Haq,Major General Shahid Hamid ,General Ayub Khan ,Colonel Pir Abdullah Shah and others|
Colonel Adnan Janjua alias Bunty was a senior in Saint Marys Academy Lalazar and his younger brother my class fellow.
|Captain Adnan Janjua alias Bunty|
Brigadier Gulzar father of Brigadier Farooq Lala and grandfather of Adnan Janjuas wife and my grandfathers close friend
Colonel Asad Khan my coursemate was a very dear friend .
Colonel Idress Niazi was a most inspiring senior and gave me great solidarity and guidance when we served at the School of Armour togerher in 1990-91.
A great regiment Guides , certainly ! Few regiments can match it in battle performance other than 11 Cavalry and 25 Cavalry.
OPINION OF FRIENDS OF MAJOR Z.U ABBASI
BRIG Z.A KHAN WHO I INTERVIEWED IN 2002
Major Z. U. Abbasi was from Tariq Company, he had come to the Military Academy after doing the full 1st OTS course at Kohat; he and I became friends during our Young Officers’ Course at the Armoured Corps School, he had a rare personality, efficient in his work, a good writer and speaker in English and Urdu, exceptional sense of humour and a practical joker who did not spare his seniors, he was killed in the 1965 war and was awarded the SJ.
BRIGADIER SHAMIM YASIN MANTO WHO I NTERVIEWED IN 2002
Major Zia ud Din Abbasi, Shaheed. My dear friend and a brother officer of Guides Cavalry. He was a competent and a serious professional. A sensitive person with all the fine qualities which goodness demands. His sense of humour was characteristic and unmatched. Whatever be the company (of Senior or Juniors) and whatever be the mood his remarks and conversation would create his characteristic humour, and even hilarity. Those who knew him yearned for his company. His unprintable TAKIA KALAM was inadvertently acquired by most, including some seniors. He was equally good in humorous writing. It is a joy to read the Newsletter written by him. Before 1965 War we both happened to be in Quetta. I was doing staff course, he was posted as Instructor in Infantry School. The High event of that time was his marriage in early part of the year. He got family accommodation. My wife Farida and his wife Shakira happened to have been college-mates. Farida helped him set up the house before arrival of Shakira. ZU was looking forward to calm family life after a long bachelor’s life of almost fourteen years. He had hardly started to taste it when Rann of Kachh operation took place. He was posted to Guides Cavalry in Cone Area Gujranwala. He had a few days leave in Karachi (or Quetta) before the start of 1965 War and never returned.
Meeting with Z.U Abbasi was rather emotional. Before going back to his Sqn he took me aside and we chatted for quite some time. It did not occur to me that this was my last meeting with him ever.
Before first light next day, 11 Sept Squadrons were deployed along the general line of railway line, aside Alhar Railway Station. Being on the rear link I became aware of some serious setbacks in Philora, where CO and 2IC 11 Cav and CO Arty Regiment had become casualties. Guides Cav were ordered to take action to relieve pressure on Philora. CO ordered a classic tank attack by two M 48 Sqns. It was a partial success. Both the Sqns suffered casualties; Maj Z U and his 2IC Capt Hussain Shah (son of Col Pir Abdullah Shah) embraced Shahadat; Maj Latif was wounded, with other casualties as well.
It goes to the credit of officers, JCOs and men of my Sqn and indeed to the CO and Shaheed Z U Abbasi, who had trained and motivated them, that with very heavy odds and in the face of relentless offensive of numerically superior enemy “B Squadron” frustrated every attempt by him to break through.
I was manning the rear link of the regiment from CO’s Rover. This means that I was listening into the transmissions being made on the command net of 6 Armoured Division as well as command net of my Regiment. Guides Cavalry received orders on wireless at about 1000 hours to the effect that there has been a serious setback at Phillora, and that Guides Cavalry should take action to relieve pressure on Phillora.There was a small meeting in the RHQ between CO, 21C Fazl-e-Haq myself and Adjutant Farooq Shahbaz. The CO decided to attack with two Squadrons of M-48s with the objective being area Libbe on track Phillora-Bhagowal. He issued orders to this effect on wireless. Both the squadrons attacked at the H-Hour. A Squadron led by Major Lateef and B Squadron led by Major Z.U Abbasi. Both the Squadrons reached short of the objective, inflicted number of casualties on the enemy and suffered casualties themselves losing in the process Major Z.U Abbasi and Captain Hussain Shah and Major Lateef wounded. I think this attack was a success, though at a cost. It imposed caution on the enemy (the advancing Indian 1st Armoured Division) to the extent that they did not resume their offensive till 13th September. Just as action of 25 Cavalry of knocking down the leading enemy tanks on 8th September at Gadgor imposed caution on this force which resulted in resumption of their offensive on 10th September. There are many points of learning and criticism of this particular attack but we must not forget that it made a major contribution in improving the defensive operations in the area.