Shuja Nawaz examines the army and Pakistan in both peace and war. He then draws lessons from this history that may help Pakistan end its wars within and create a stabler political entity. Updated 2nd edition To order from Amazon. The result is an insightful study of an institution that has been, and remains, the center of gravity in Pakistan. A must read to understand the past and the ongoing events.

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Crossed Swords is the latest addition to the list of books dealing with Pakistan Army. Written with an eye on the Western audience by a Pakistani who has settled in USA the book is a welcome addition to books on Pakistan Army. It contains some new sources and some new information. Unfortunately most of the information is anecdotal and the narrators are extolling their own performance.

The book contains some factual errors , some possibly typing errors,expected from Oxford University Press Pakistan which has a reputation of doing this. Some errors are however historical and factual and were entirely avoidable. On page he changes the ethnicity of Sardar Balakh Sher Mazari a Baloch Seraiki by calling him a Punjabi , an honour that no Baloch would like to have.

A far more serious error Shuja makes while discussing the ethnic composition of Pakistan Army on page He states that Sindhis and Baluchis are 15 percent of Pakistan Army. This is a serious distortion of history.

The aim was to rationalise the recruitment of Ranghars in Pakistan Army. The Baloch are hardly represented in the army. As a matter of fact the Pakistan Army has such a reputation in Balochistan that no Baloch would like to join it.

These are expected errors and more so from Oxford University Press Pakistan known for changing authors photograph with those of their uncles on jackets of books as they did with Colonel M. The old prince narrated to me the sad story when I met him and was also quite cheesed off by the fact that the princess running the Oxford Pakistan is too arrogant to meet any author or to even discuss anything on telephone. It is significant to note that so disgusted did Effendi become with this Ameena Syed of Oxford that he withdrew his books rights from Oxford University Press Pakistan.

Its possible that Effendis book was deliberately sabotaged by Ameena Syed as her brother brigadier Javed Hussian was with Effendi in the tank corps and both did not get along well. The above errors are insignificant. However Shuja has made some asertions which can be classified as serious errors or even distortion of history. I state this because the sub title of the chapter is " Why the War Failed". On the other hand he fails to point out the major fatal decision when the Pakistani government refused to allow the armoured cars of 11 PAVO Cavalry to assist the tribesmen in breaking through to Srinagar.

Those who are not familiar should know that the main reason why the tribals failed to take Srinagar was because Indian armour counterattacked them and destroyed them at Shalateng. This fact was discussed by Brig A. K Chaudhry also in his book. Operation Venus plan came much later. At that time the Indian Army was well established in Kashmir and well poised to meet any threat. Very few participants of the Kashmir War have left any written accounts of their war experiences.

General Iqbal who participated in the war and later on rose to the rank of full general and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, long after the Kashmir War made one very thought provoking remark about the Kashmir War in an article in the Pakistan Army Green Book He had relegated the fighting to a senior battalion commander.

Was it assumed weakness; or as a result of pressing advice; or from misplaced chivalry towards an unfriendly neighbour in distress? It was a risk worth taking.

In addition there were two armoured regiments in the same area i. Central India Horse and the Deccan Horse. In addition the Indians also possessed more than 10 other armoured regiments which were not in Kashmir but in Punjab or Western UP and could move to Kashmir.

We shall see in how Pakistani armour functioned and the reader can keep that as a yardstick in order to appreciate how Pakistani armour and infantry would have behaved in Operation Venus; had it been ever launched! Fazal does not explain how capture Of Beri Pattan bridge would have led to complete collapse of Indian hold over Kashmir,apart from temporary severing of the line of communication to Poonch. Greater part of the Central India Horse was at Nowshera close to Beri Pattan while Deccan Horse in Chamb-Akhnur area was also within striking range and the battle would have been a hotly contested affair!

Lately in an article General K. There is no doubt that Pakistan was in a favourable position to win the Kashmir War at least till the first week of November. Mr Jinnah exhibited great Coup de Oeil when he ordered Gracey to employ two brigades and advance with one brigade each towards Jammu and Srinagar. But Mr Jinnah was unlucky in possessing no one like Patel and his Prime Minister and his entire Cabinet proved to be an undoubted failure at least as a war cabinet! Pakistan was unlucky in having a man like Iskandar Mirza at the Ministry of Defence.

Mirza did not advise Mr Jinnah correctly and the fact that he had hardly served in the Army and did not understand military affairs further ensured that Mr Jinnah and the Prime Minister remained as ignorant as they were about military affairs as they were when they were in high school. It is incorrect to criticise Liaqat for Operation Venus since in December the Indian position was much more secure than in Liaqat can be criticised for not ever visiting Kashmir while the war was on and for not standing by Mr Jinnah in pressurising Gracey in October to order the Army to attack Kashmir.

The Indians were lucky in having comparatively more regular army officers who led from the front and is evident from higher officer casualties among Indian Army officers above the rank of captain vis a vis the Pakistan Army. The treatment of is also very superficial. His use of the term British for the pre period is also factually incorrect as India till was ruled by the English East India Company using mostly its private Bengal Army ,Madras Army,Bombay Army , its private European regiments and some regiments on rent from British Army to conquer ventire India.

In discussion of Martial Races Theory the author totally ignores the fact that Punjab Loyalty in to the British was one of the main reasons why martial races theory was evolved. This is a simple point noted even by British writers like Philip Mason.

The author also fails to note that the Sikhs were in majority in the fighting arms till First World War and were reduced to a minority by being replaced with Punjabi Muslims after First World War because the Punjabi Muslims were regarded as phenomenally loyal , even against Muslims by the British.

Thus the author conveniently ignores two important developments of WW One i. This incident was discussed by three writers of the time. In an article Brigadier Nur Hussain a reliable authority did state that Ayub Khan was close to General Gracey because they drank together.

The authors discussion of old officers is also partial. On page 33 he states that " Akbar Khan who gained notoriety in Kashmir Akbar Khan was the pioneer of Kashmir war but Shuja thinks that he was notorious. A strange assertion. It may be noted that Ayub Khan refused to expand the East Bengal Regiment till as a result of which the Bengalis were further alienated for not being given the due share in the armed forces. The authors analysis of origin of officer corps is also superficial.

The authority he quotes is Farouk Adam , then a very junior officer and not in 24 Brigade Headquarter. Thus the analysis of Chawinda Battle done with pure loyalty to service without any inter arm rivalry or nationalistic motivation.

Pure and unadulterated military history filtered dispassionately separating fact from fiction and myth from reality.

History as Frederick the Great once said can be well written only in a free country and ours has been continuously under civil or military dictators since I maintain as one great master of English prose said that "all history so far as it is not supported by contemporary evidence is romance"! Battle of Chawinda was thus not romance!

What many in this country wrote and was outwardly military history was essentially "Romance"! Inspiring, superhuman but a myth promiscuously mixed with reality! Chance plays a key role in battle and at Chawinda chance played a very important role! Nisar, when he deployed 25 Cavalry did not know what was in front of him!

This mutual ignorance saved Pakistan on that crucial day! Later heroes were created! I repeat "Heroes were created"! The hero had to be from the Salt Range however! At least Shuja Nawaz wants it this way! What were the key facts? Most important tangible fact was "casualties"!

These were deliberately hidden since these would have let the cat out of the bag! Everyone would have discovered who really fought and who got gallantry awards on parochial,regimental or old boy links! How many were killed in the biggest military blunder "Operation Gibraltar"! This is Top Secret! How many infantry men died at Chawinda? Again no mention of any figures! The real motivation here is not national interest but to preserve or more important to "guard reputations" Now lets talk about the broad front deployment that Shuja Nawaz refers to.

There is no doubt that the "broad front deployment" was done by Nisar and Nisar alone and Brigadier Abdul Ali Malik had no role in it. It is another matter that Nisar also did not know what was in front of him. It was like Jutland when both contending fleets were running towards each other at express train speed.

Why Nisar behaved as he did and what actually happened even today is hard to understand, whatever anyone may claim now with the benefit of hindsight! Shuja Nawaz here in his page book offers no tangible proof that the actions of 25 Cavalry had anything to do with what Brig A.

A Malik told Nisar. There is no doubt that Nisar did something without the least clue of what was in front of him. The important thing is that Nisar did something rather than getting paralysed into inertia and inaction!

The "Do Something" order by Brig A. A Malik to Lt Col Nisar CO 25 Cavalry should not have been glorified to something higher by Shuja Nawaz simply on authority of an article written by a person who was a company 2IC in an infantry battalion of 24 Brigade and that too only in This is a serious historical failing. At least in a military historian but is the Oxford University Press Pakistan run by professionals. One may ask Colonel M. Y Effendi. The same words of Brig A.


Crossed Swords-Shuja Nawaz

Crossed Swords is the latest addition to the list of books dealing with Pakistan Army. Written with an eye on the Western audience by a Pakistani who has settled in USA the book is a welcome addition to books on Pakistan Army. It contains some new sources and some new information. Unfortunately most of the information is anecdotal and the narrators are extolling their own performance.


Crossed Swords

Shuja Nawaz has a wonderful view from his vantage point as an observer of this well-oiled machine, its deficiencies and its strengths. Sep 29, Amanullah rated it liked it Recommends it for: those interested in the role of the military in Pakistan Recommended to Amanullah by: Hassan Rehman Rich in sources; probably a good reference book; but only interesting where the author sheds his Military Establishment skin and expresses his own thoughts. Oct 11, Rabie rated it really liked it History of Pakistan Army before there was Pakistan and British India and continues till the s. It starts off by explaining the military tradition of the population in the Pothohar region and how they have always been the feeding ground of the militaries throughout history. This was one of the reasons that the Pakistan army initially had a larger presence of Punjabis in their ranks. The book then goes on to explain the culture, history, and politics of the army during and after the partition History of Pakistan Army before there was Pakistan and British India and continues till the s. The book then goes on to explain the culture, history, and politics of the army during and after the partition of the sub-continent.


Book Review | Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army and the Wars Within by Shuja Nawaz


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