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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Moral Fiber of Pakistan Army

The magnificent performance of the rank and file of the Army fighting the counter-insurgency in Swat is no surprise. Whether in Kashmir in 1947-48, Dir in 1958 and 1976, the Rann of Kutch, occupied Kashmir (Operation Gibraltar) and later in the full-fledged war of 1965, during the 1971 war, in the Balochistan counter-insurgency in 1973-5, Siachen continuously since 1985, in Kargil in 1998 and in FATA since 2004 (and many more small conflicts that would take many more pages), officers and men have kept their commitment.

The average officer-to-soldier ratio in combat fatalities during conventional operations being 1:17 or 1:18 in most Armies represents the command structure at the field level functioning adequately, young officers (including lieutenant colonels) leading rather than sending men to their deaths. In the Pakistan Army and the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), the superior 1:10 or 1:11 average through many conflicts means that the young officers are far more enthusiastic at leading from the front in the face of fire. This ratio is also usually higher among commandos (Special Forces).

The 100-plus fatalities to-date reveals a disproportionate number of officers in combat-related deaths, the ratio in Swat reportedly 1:5 or 1:6 being unusually high. Sons of a number of ex-servicemen (including friends of mine) have given the ultimate sacrifice for their nation, this is a great indication (and vindication) of the moral fibre of this Army. One cannot eulogise such men, fathers and sons, in mere words.

By Ikram Sehgal

Source: News

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