By Atique Ur Rehman (ex soldier )
The war against terrorism has proved a brutal war in many ways. It is asymmetric in nature. Enemy is always hidden in , as the opportunity arises, comes out, inflict casualties and vanish back in public. Guerrilla war has been part of political movements but the war on terror is different. This is global war and not restricted to one area. During this war terrorists were equipped with a new and lethal weapon ‘ improvised explosive device’ (IED), which has no credible defence thus far. Terrorists groups has support of states like India to destabilize region. Suicide bombing has emerged most destructive weapon of this war. During period between 2008-2014, as many as 372 suicide attacks were carried out causing death of over 16000 Pakistani citizens and security forces personnel. The attacker would appear out of no where and blast himself near a check post or military convoy causing fatalities. City of Peshawar and Quetta faced the main blunt. Both cities turned war zones. FATA and surrounding area was a death trap both for civilian and soldiers. IED would be planted on road sides, in vehicles and exploded remotely. Nobody had envisioned this type of war. In Afghanistan NATO forces were facing same dilemma. In last twenty three years, since the start of war after US attacked Afghanistan, every officer and man of Pakistan Army has had 3-4 tenures in war zone near Pak-Afghan border. Each tenure extends from one and a half year up to two and a half year. Familiarity soothens our fears. More you encounter the threat, more familiar you are with situation. Our officers and men have come out of this war “most battle hardened soldiers in human history”. They are fearless, trained and highly motivated.
George S. Patton came from one of America’s most distinguished military families. His ancestors had fought and died in the American Revolution and the Civil War. Raised on stories of their heroism, he followed in their footsteps and chose a career in the military. But Patton was also a sensitive young man, and he had one deep fear: that in battle he would turn coward and disgrace the family name.
Patton had his first real taste of battle in 1918, at the age of thirty-two,“during the Allied offensive on the Argonne during World War I. He commanded a tank division. At one point during the battle, Patton managed to lead some American infantrymen to a position on a hilltop overlooking a key strategic town, but German fire forced them to take cover. Soon it became clear that they were trapped: if they retreated, they would come under fire from positions on the sides of the hill; if they advanced, they would run right into a battery of German machine guns. If they were all to die, as it seemed to Patton, better to die advancing. At the moment he was to lead the troops in the charge, however, Patton was stricken by intense fear. His body trembled, and his legs turned to jelly. In a confirmation of his deepest fears, he had lost his nerve.”
“At that instant, looking into the clouds beyond the German batteries, Patton had a vision: he saw his illustrious military ancestors, all in their uniforms, staring sternly down at him. They seemed to be inviting him to join their company–the company of dead war heroes. Paradoxically, the sight of these men had a calming effect on the young Patton: calling for volunteers to follow him, he yelled, “It is time for another Patton to die!” The strength had returned to his legs; he stood up and charged toward the German guns. Seconds later he fell, hit in the thigh. But he survived the battle.
From that moment on, even after he became a general, Patton made a point of visiting the front lines, exposing himself needlessly to danger. He tested himself again and again. Each time it became easier to face down his fears.
Lessons we draw from Patton’s story is, better to confront your fears, let them come to the surface, than to ignore them or tamp them down. Fear is the most destructive emotion for presence of mind, but it thrives on the unknown, which lets our imaginations run wild. By deliberately putting yourself in situations where you have to face fear, you familiarize yourself with it and your anxiety grows less acute.
Having spent 4-5 years, at average by every soldier and officer in operation area, has made our soldiers most battle hardened Army in the world. Senior commanders including Army Chief visit frontlines, regularly and receive briefings on ongoing situation and operations and interact with mighty hearts ” His Officers and soldiers”. Our Young officers have written new chapters of valor and sacrifice for their motherland. Officer to men ratio of martyrdom in this war is highest in military history.
Our is not a missionary Army. They are soldiers of Pakistan. They live and die for Pakistan. Another factor of motivation for our soldiers is the pride and sense of honour belonging to a regiment/ army which is known for rich traditions of valour. Our regiments carry a rich tradition of valor and honour during wars with India since 1947. Some of the regiments have fought even WWI &II. They take pride in fighting for own motherland.
Our officers and men will never give in to fear. They would never lose their presence of mind and disgrace themselves, own self-image, and reputation of their battalion and Army.
Our is not a leisurely trained Army. The day our soldiers enter into their training institutions, may it be an officer or Jawan, he is put through a rigorous physical and mental training and it continues till he retired, no matter, how high he rise in ranks. Discipline, integrity and honour surrounds him throughout his military career.
Officers and men of Pakistan Army fight hand in gloves. They are one unit against enemy. The regimentation in our military resonate in every aspect of a soldier’s routine. Discipline, motivation and pride is haul mark of military outfit. Units are ranked in prestige by number of gallantry awards and martyred while defending the motherlands. Recipients of highest gallantry awards Nishan-i-Haider are most respected outfits of military. Honour is measured through bravery on battle field an excellence achieved in training. Our training standards are best in the world. Training modules revolve around skills in weapon, response in a critical situation and commitment to the cause. Generation after generation, officers and soldiers join same regiment where their forefathers hadvserved. There is no big honour than joining your father or fore-father’s unit. My own son, who is captain now, joined my #Al-Asad Battalion. A proud Azam Kashmir regiment with splendid record of bravery. PMA is the cradle of motivation and a source proving lion heart to the Army
. During last few years officers ratio to lay their life compared with sliders is higher than any Army in the world.
PMA is proud to be most professional training military institution in the world. It is indeed an Army of Lions. Dare not to challenge them. Their only motive is to defend mother land and defend it at all cost.
There r thousands of individual and collective stories of valour of Pakistan Army’s senior commanders brilliance in planning, officers and men’s courage and sacrifices for the motherland. Proud to be a soldier and part of Pakistan Army, one of the best in the world.