By Sajjad Haider
….. The day he took over the PAF in July 1965, he discovered much to his chagrin and more so for Asghar Khan that neither had been told by president Ayub Khan or Gen Musa that thousands of mujahideen including Pakistan army commandoes had been launched to take Kashmir. He shot off to GHQ to confront Gen Musa, the army chief, asking why the PAF had been kept in the dark. Musa told him that the president did not want to escalate the limited operation and the PAF had to stay out.
Nur Khan had anxious moments knowing that the ill-conceived action would inevitably conflagrate. What would he say to the nation if the Indian Air Force (IAF) was to pre-empt and ground the PAF in a relentless air operation? The rest is history. But for his alacrity and strategic perception the PAF would been devastated by a numerically preponderant IAF.
Nur Khan put the PAF on red alert on Sept 1 as the army’s Operation Gibraltar came to a grinding halt and the Indians began a massive assault against Pakistan. In those moments Nur Khan was deeply concerned about the survival of the mujahideen force in the Kashmir valley with no hope for supply reinforcements. …..
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