For quite some time now, the 1965 war between India and Pakistan has been the subject of heated debate and discussion between the two arch-rivals.
Who really won it?
Pakistani historian and political economist, Akbar Zaidi, minced no words when he claimed that Pakistan “lost terribly in the 1965 war” with India!
Published in Dawn, Akbar Zaidi’s take on the war has ruffled many feathers in the Pakistani establishment. Dispelling Pakistan’s ‘victory myth’, the fearless historian said: “The people of Pakistan are unaware of this fact because the history being taught in the Pakistani classrooms is from an ideological viewpoint.
Mr Zaidi shared his perspective during a lecture, titled, ‘Questioning Pakistan’s history’. He teaches history at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi.
Akbar Zaidi recommended to his students to read political and strategic analyst, Shuja Nawaz’s book – “Crossed Swords” – that brought into light the true outcome of the war.
His statements came just two days prior to Pakistan’s Defense Day on September 6, when the country marked the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war.
Mr Zaidi asked his audience: “What is Pakistan’s history, and is there a need to question Pakistan’s history? And when was Pakistan formed? August 14, 1947, or August 15, 1947?”
On when was Pakistan created, the historian said the obvious answer is August 14, 1947. However, he went on to read out an excerpt from a Pakistan Studies textbook, in which it was claimed that Pakistan came into being in 712 AD when the Arabs came to Sindh and Multan. “This is utter rubbish!” he countered, and added: “History in Pakistan needs to be seen as a geographical entity.”
On separate identities, he replied there was no need to do so. “I can be a Sindhi, Hindu and Pakistani simultaneously.”
The 1965 war was fought for control of Kashmir’s territory. Thousands of lives were lost on both sides of the fence.
The United States and the Soviet Union realized the need for mediation as the war had begun to get out of control. The two superpowers applied pressure on the arch-rivals and forced them to agree to a truce. It led to a January 1966 peace accord, known as the Tashkent Declaration.
In the end, though, what is the point in raking up the past? How does it matter who won? Half a century has passed, generations have come and gone. The focus is on development today, not war.
If it’s purely for bragging rights, then we are behaving childishly.