Monday, October 15, 2012

11. Saif Ali Janjua

Naik Saif Ali Janjua Pakistan Army Azad Kashmir Regiment (Sher-e-Riasti Battalion) was a platoon commander during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. He received the Hilal-e-Kashmir from the government of Azad Kashmir, which is equal to Nishan-e-Haider, the highest military award given by Pakistan. He fought in the Kashmir sector during the 1948 War and was killed there.

Nickname Naik Saif Ali Khan
Born April 25, 1925
Khandbaz(Khandhar) Tehsil Nakial, Kashmir
Died October 10, 1948 (aged 23)
Buddha Khanna, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan
Buried at Azad Kashmir, Pakistan
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Pakistan Army
Years of service 1941-1948
Rank Naik
Unit Royal Corps of Engineers
Azad Kashmir Regiment (Sher-e-Riasti Battalion)
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistan War of 1947
Awards Hilal-e-Kashmir - an equivalent to Nishan-i-Haider (Military)

Early life and military career

Naik Saif Ali Khan was born on 25 April 1922 in Khandbaz(Khandhar) Tehsil Nakial (Azad Jammu and Kashmir). He was enlisted in the Royal Corps of Engineers in British Indian Army on 18 March 1941. After completing his service in the British Indian Army in 1947, he came back to his native town and started establishing Haidri Force with the support of Sardar Fateh Muhammad Karailvi. After the creation of Pakistan, he was inherited into the Pakistan Army. Due to his engineering background, he was inducted in Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers where he was stationed in the Kashmir region. Before starting the war, he served in the Pakistan Army's civil projects that were started in Kashmir region.

Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-1948

On 1 January 1948, Pakistan Army was raised as “Sher-e-Riasti Battalion” under the command of Lt. Col. Muhammad Sher Khan. Due to his courage and commitment, he was given the rank of naik and was made platoon commander. He set personal examples of gallantry and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy at Bhudha Khanna where his platoon was given the responsibility to defend Budha Khanna where he faced never-ending frontal and crossfire from machine guns.

Final phase of war

Janjua and his few jawans defended his post and repulsed many aggressive ventures by the Indians and imposed colossal losses on them. The enemy used every mean to capture the post with two companies attack and heavy artillery bombardment, but was unsuccessful. During the course of action, despite being hit in the chest by artillery fire, Janjua retained his position and frustrated the Indian assault. Due to severe injuries he died on 26 October 1948.

Honors and recognitions

On 14 March 1949, the Defence Council of Azad Jammu and Kashmir adorned him with Hilal-e-Kashmir (posthumous) and on 30 November 1995, the Government of Pakistan initiated the gazette notification to declare his Hilal-e-Kashmir equivalent to Nishan-e-Haider.

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