Azad Kashmir Regiment

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Azad Kashmir Regiment
Military AJK Regiment Green.jpg
Active 1947-Present
Country  Pakistan
Branch  Pakistan Army
Type Infantry regiment
Role Standard Infantry with 10 Heavy Anti Tank, 1 Light Commando
Size 50 Battalions
Part of

Colonel In Chief - General Abdul Waheed Kakar

Colonel Commandant - Lieutenant General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad
Regimental Center Mansar
Patron Khan Liaquat Ali Khan, 1st Prime Minister of Pakistan
Facing Colours Green & Red
Mascot(s) Maple Leaf
Anniversaries Defence Day
Equipment APC M113A, TOW, TOW-II, Milan, BSWS
Engagements Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Indo-Pak War 1965
Indo-Pak War 1971
Siachen conflict
Indo-Pak War 1999
War in Afghanistan
War in North-West Pakistan
Unified Task Force
United Nation Military missions
Balochistan Conflict
Battle honours Jammu 1948 - Kashmir 1948 - 1965 Indo Pak War - Operation Gibraltar - Operation Grand Slam - 1971 Indo Pak War - Operation Koh Paima - 1999 Kargil War
Commanders
Colonel Commandant Lieutenant General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad
Notable
commanders

1- General Abdul Whaeed Kakar, COAS Pak Army 2- Lieutenant General Haroon Aslam, ex Commander SSG 3- Lieutenant General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad, ex Commander 2 Corps 4- Lieutenant General Ikram ul Haq, Commander XXX Corps 5- Lieutenant General Hidayat ur Rehman, Commander XI Corps 6- Lieutenant General Javed Hassan, HI (M)

7- Lieutenant General FS Lodhi, HI (M), S Bt
Insignia
Identification
symbol
The Maple Leaf and Crescent

The Azad Kashmir Regiment, also known as AK Regt, is one of the six Infantry Regiments of the Pakistan Army. As per the order of seniority, it is the Fourth regiment, but first to be raised after the Independence of country from the British Colonial rule of India. Regiment takes sheer pride in the fact that it is to date the only Regiment of Pak Army which was raised on the battlefield[1] by the Independent government of Pakistan. This is why the Regiment is informally known by the adage; "Asli Nasli" meaning "The pure breed". Its Regimental Centre is located at Mansar camp in Attock District on the border of Punjab and KPK province. The Regiment has participated in all major and minor operations and wars fought by the army and displayed high standards of valour,[2][3] grit[4] and professionalism. Regiment has produced some accomplished commanders[5][6][7] including Lieutenant Genral Haroon Aslam, ex commander of Pakistan Special Services Group who led the SSG operation (Operation Rah e Rast) in Swat in 2009.

Historical Background[edit]

The Azad Kashmir Regular Forces, established in 1947,[8] were armed and supported by the Pakistani government. The regiment has the distinction of not having been raised by any government order, but "raised itself" when bands of armed World War II veterans[9] organized themselves into disciplined ad hoc platoons, companies and battalions led by retired officers, JCOs and NCOs, and went out to fight in Kashmir against the Regular Indian Army in 1948.[10] Core of newly formed AKRF consisted of 60,000 ex servicemen of Royal Indian Army who participated in WW II.[11] At the end of war these veterans, still young and fit opted out of forces. The struggle for Independence of Kashmir continued for 15 months from Oct 1947 to 31 Dec 1948. After a cease-fire was declared in Kashmir, these elements joined together to form the Azad Kashmir Regular Forces (AKRF). The AKRF had its own intake and training structure separate from the Pakistan Army. The AKRF was the military element of the Azad Kashmir Government. Uniforms and rank structures were the same as in the Pakistan Army. At that time, all the battalions of the AKRF were part of the 12th Infantry Division of the Pakistan Army, permanently stationed in Azad Kashmir.

Commandants of the Regiment[edit]

Notable Colonel Commandants of the regiment have included Major General Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan, the former President of Azad Kashmir, Lieutenant General Javed Hassan, who as a Major General commanded the Force Command Northern Areas (FCNA) during the 1999 Kargil War and later served as the commander XXX Corps, Gujranwala.[12] Major General Mukhtar Ahmed,[13] Lieutenant General Haroon Aslam and Lieutenant General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad. General Abdul Waheed kakar, ex COAS pak Army has remained the Colonel In Chief of the Regiment. At present the regiment is headed by Lieutenant Genral Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad. Other notable commanders of present era include Lieutenant Genral Ikram ul Haq - commander XXX Corps, Lieutenant General Hidayat ur Rehman - commander XI Corps and Major General Sher Afgan, IG FC Balochistan.

War History[edit]

Kashmir 1947-48[edit]

What began as a revolt by young rebels and ex servicemen turned out to be a big setback for tripartite alliance of Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Government and remnants of outgoing British colonial authorities still in control of India and partial control of Pakistan. To quote the words of Pakistan Army's Official Portal "They liberated over 34,000 square miles of the State's territory that is now called Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Areas." AKRF began its struggle as Armed Militia known as Lashkar, Ghazis and Jathas. As the volunteers swelled the ranks and files, a command structure was established to control these para military force of vigilante. Being well aware of aspirations of the people of State, Pakistani Government under the leadership of Governor General M A Jinnah and Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan decided to support the Lashkars. To Pakistan's misfortune, British CinC of its Army, General Frank Messervy refused to obey the Instructions of his superior and "Father of the Pakistani Nation" M A Jinnah. The connivance between rivals was not to deter the newly formed AKRF, which took Muzaffarabad by 13 October 1947, Mirpur by 25 November 1947 and Jhangar in December 1947. India meanwhile managed to get the Instrument of accession signed by the Hindu Maharaja of state and landed its Military forces in the valley using massive air lifts. Fierce fighting continued for over an year but AKRF with the assistance of Pakistani tribals and regular army managed to liberate Districts of Mirpur, Bhimber, Kotli, Bagh, Rawlakot, Muzaffarabad and Neelum. A total of 2633 all ranks of the Regiment laid down their lives for the defence of motherland.[14] Naik Saif Ali Janjua[15] of 18th Battalion of AK Regt (Al Saif) exhibited unparalleled commitment and valour at Mendhar sector of Jammu. He was commanding a platoon at Pir Kalewa feature and embraced martyrdom on 25 Oct 1948 during the battle of Pir Kalewa which was attacked by 5 Infantry Brigade of Indian Army.

Indo - Pak War 1965[edit]

In wartime operations, the AKRF was part of the Order of Battle of the Pakistan Army, in which it was involved in 1965 Operation Gibraltar. All of the AKRF battalions were part of the 12th Infantry Division (Pakistan) that carried out Operation Gibraltar as well as defended Azad Kashmir. Subedar (later Honorary Captain) Muhammad Israel Khan of 39th AK Regt was then part of Ghazi Battalion. He was awarded second Sitara E Jurat for his bravery. He had previously won an SJ in 1948 during the Battle of Paran Hill[16] at the foothills of Pir Badesar in 1948. During the same operation one of the Company Commanders of 21 Azad Kashmir Regiment, Major Malik Munawar Khan Awan, became famous for his heroic action and occupation of Indian Garrison of Rajauri while commanding Ghaznavi Force during Operation Gibraltar. Later Major Munawar was awarded "Sitara e Jurat" for gallantry and the title of "King of Rajouri" by President Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan.

Indo - Pak War 1971 and Sub Sequent Operations in Kashmir[edit]

The Azad Kashmir Regular Forces fought in the 1971 war and then in 1972 when the 9th Azad Kashmir Battalion defended Chakpatra and Leepa Valley against a larger Indian force composed of several regular battalions. This particular battalion was first led in 1948 by Lt Colonel Ghulam Rasul Raja-Sitara-e-Jurrat (1948), Military Cross (WWII). During the Battle of Leepa Valley the 9th AK Battalion with 25 Mountain Regiment Artillery distinguished itself under the leadership of Lt Colonel Haq Nawaz Kyani, SJ and Bar,[17] who died leading the battalion from the front. The Company Commander of B Coy called for artillery fire upon their own position while being over run by the enemy; in doing this they repulsed the enemy attack. The Pakistan Army later honoured the AKRF by absorbing it into its own ranks and by giving it the status of a Regular Line Infantry Regiment. The AKRF thus became the Azad Kashmir Regiment on 20 September 1972.

Operations Along LOC[edit]

The Azad Kashmir Regiment, being a mountain warfare specialist has been the most dominnat force of Pak Army in operations along LOC. The claim is justified by the mere fact that during the 1947-48 war and 1965 war, all battalions of regiment were employed on LOC. Notable operations by the Regiment in LOC environment include Battle of Pir Kalewa,[18] Battle of Paran Hills, Siege of Poonch, Liberation of Mirpur, Liberation of Kotli, Liberation of Muzaffarabad, Operation Grand Slam, Operation Gibraltar, Leepa Action, Chumik operation, Siachen operations, Operation Koh Paima and countless other major and minor operations. In recognition of bold and brilliant performance of Regiment, it was changed from an irregular to regular Infantry regiment on 20 September 1971.[19]

Operations Along Western Front[edit]

Azad Kashmir Regiment has maintained its rich legacy of valour and displayed highest standards of professionalism in operations along western front. Regiment has distinguished itself during the operation Rah e Rast and Rah e Nijat in Swat valley. Interestingly, the Swat operation was led by (then) Major General Muhammad Haroon Aslam, a commando and a valiant commander of the (36th Azad Kashmir Regiment) Azad Kashmir Regiment. In FATA, a number of major operations have been carried out, including Operation Al Mizan, Operation Brekhna involving famous Salala post, Operation Zarb e Azb. Regiment has also exhibited same level of commitment in Operation Destiny. Martyrdom of Major Khalid Aziz (35th Battalion of the Azad Kashmir Regiment[20]) is a testimony of the same. During the horrendous and brutal [Peshawar terror attacks] of 16 December 2014, innocent children were rescued by team of SSG led by Maj Ihsan ullah of 39th Battalion the Azad Kashmir regiment. The operation saved lives of 960 teenage students, although 132 young pupils were killed by the terrorists, all of whom were foreigners. In recognition of his selfless act of valour, Major Ihsan was awarded gallantry award of Tamgha E Basalat. He was conferred with COAS Commendation in 2011 in recognition of his brave action against [attack on Salala Check Post].

International Assignments[edit]

Regiment's experience transcends the borders of motherland. Its battalions have served on at least four continents as part of international peace keepers under the UN mandate[21] or training battalions for friendly countries. The International duties include Bosnia, Haiti, DRC (Congo), Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Brundi, Sudan and Bahrain. The experience of its all ranks employed on independent duties surpasses the list and includes all continents of world.

Martyrs and Gallantry Awards[edit]

Regiment is humbled and honoured to have laid more than 3000 lives for the motherland, 2633 martyrs in 1947-48 Kashmir War alone.[22] In recognition of this unparalleled service, the Azad Kashmir Regiment have been bestowed with a full range of National and International gallantry awards. The crown jewel of Regiment's gallantry awards is "Nishan E Haider" awarded to Naik Saif Ali Janjua of 18th Azad Kashmir Regiment in 1948.[23] This award is equivalent of Britain's [24] Victoria cross and USA's Medal of Honour[25]. List of gallantry awards is covered in first edition of Regiment's History published by the Regimental Center in 1990s and second edition currently under production.[26] http://pakdef.org/roll-of-honour-officers-azad-kashmir-regiment-1947-1948/

Peace Time Performance[edit]

When not engaged in operations of war, the Regiment continues to train. Its battalions have a habbit of displaying highest standards of training, sportsmanship and military professionalism. 8th Battalion of the Azad Kashmir Regiment won Gold Medals and secured 1st position in Exercise Cambrian Patrol, considered to be the toughest military training competition of the world.[27] Regiment has a Bagpipe band, considered to be the best of Pakistan Army. The band has represented Pak Army internationally, a number of times[28] [29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Azad Kashmir Regiment". www.pakistanarmy.gov.pk. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  2. ^ "Naik Saif Ali Janjua". www.pakistanarmy.gov.pk. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  3. ^ "The Forgotten One, Naik Saif Ali Janjua (Shaheed)". Pakistan Defence. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  4. ^ ""Remembering Lt Col Haq Nawaz Kayani (Shaheed), SJ & Bar"". Native Pakistan. 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  5. ^ "Major General Hidayatur Rehman of Gilgit Baltistan promoted Lieutenant General - Sost Today". Sost Today. 2014-09-22. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  6. ^ "Lt Gen Hidayat Ur Rehman, first Corps Commaner From GB". Pakistan Defence. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  7. ^ "COLONEL COMMANDANTS- AZAD KASHMIR REGIMENT". www.pakarmymuseum.com. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  8. ^ https://www.scribd.com/document/324043639/Indias-Wars Page 150, Part III of "India's Wars A Military History 1947 - 1971" by Air Vice Marshal Arjun Subramniam - Published by Harper Collins India
  9. ^ http://www.defencejournal.com/2000/apr/war-lost.htm Research Article War of Lost Opportunities by Agha Humayun Amin Paragraph 3, Line 23 - 24
  10. ^ https://www.academia.edu/2473712/THE_FIRST_INDO-PAKISTANI_WAR_1947-48 Research Article by Peter Almo Kis, Page 12, Paragraph under the Heading "December 1947 to April 1948 – winter and spring offensives"
  11. ^ ^ http://www.defencejournal.com/2000/apr/war-lost.htm Research Article War of Lost Opportunities by Agha Humayun Amin Paragraph 3, Line 23 - 24
  12. ^ Yaqoob Malik. "Armed forces proved their capability: Musharraf" Dawn, April 5, 2003
  13. ^ "Maj Gen Mukhtar New Colonel Commandant AK Regiment" paktribune.com, 28 September 2007
  14. ^ History Of The AZAD KASHMIR REGIMENT Volume I, Page 436
  15. ^ http://blogs.dunyanews.tv/14410/11th-nishan-e-haider-pakistan-naik-saif-ali-janjua
  16. ^ Page 85, the History Of The AZAD KASHMIR REGIMENT Volume I
  17. ^ ""Remembering Lt Col Haq Nawaz Kayani (Shaheed), SJ & Bar"". Native Pakistan. 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  18. ^ http://defence.pk/threads/the-forgotten-one-naik-saif-ali-janjua-shaheed.34302/
  19. ^ https://www.pakistanarmy.gov.pk/AWPReview/TextContent.aspx?pId=159
  20. ^ https://www.facebook.com/pakistanidefence/photos/a.264394517662.142309.146828502662/10152424298622663/
  21. ^ http://www.dawn.com/news/1215166
  22. ^ History Of The AZAD KASHMIR REGIMENT Volume I, Page 436
  23. ^ http://www.pakarmymuseum.com/exhibits/naik-saif-ali-janjua-shaheed/
  24. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Cross
  25. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medal_of_Honor
  26. ^ http://pakdef.org/operational-military-awards-for-kargil-war-heros/
  27. ^ http://tribune.com.pk/story/979201/pakistan-army-wins-gold-in-exercise-cambrian-patrol-in-uk/
  28. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOiOG227il4
  29. ^ http://www.pakarmymuseum.com/exhibits/history-of-army-school-of-music/