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A Tribute to Son of the Soil Maj Raja Aziz Bhatti

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A Tribute to Son of the Soil Maj Raja Aziz Bhatti

Major Raja Aziz Bhatti originally named Aziz Ahmed was born in 1928. His named stayed Aziz Ahmad during his period in Hong Kong. In 1946, Major Aziz Bhatti was enlisted as Airman with RIAF and within a short period rose to rank of Corporal by 1947.

At the time of partition, he decided to join Pakistan Army and applied for selection as an officer. He got selected for the first long course of Pakistan Military Academy. The course began in the last week of January 1948. Gentleman Cadet Aziz Bhatti excelled and performed well in all aspects of life at PMA.

On 1st PMA Long Course’s passing out parade, Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, was the chief guest. On his distinguishing performance as best all-round cadet, being brilliant in academics, Liaquat Ali Khan presented the Sword of Honour and the Norman Gold Medal to Gentleman Cadet Raja Aziz Bhatti. Aziz Bhatti’s Khalid Company (being Champion Company) was also awarded with Quaid-I-Azam’s Banner.

It was generally accepted that this parade was the finest one among all those held at PMA. The words of command of Raja Aziz Bhatti had such alacrity and power that even the spectators came to attention in their seats.

At the time of passing out, as a commissioned officer, he joined the 4/16 Punjab regiment (now 17 Punjab). He became adjutant of the battalion with only 11 months of service due to his extraordinary performance. After being posted and passing out from the School of Infantry & Tactics, Quetta he appeared in the entrance examination for Command and Staff College. His name was there at top of the list of successful candidates as expected. On recognition of his brilliance as an officer he was selected for the foreign staff course at Kingston Staff College Canada. No officer entered the course from any country around the world having such a short service. Before he left for Canada, he was promoted to the rank of Major. In a letter he wrote to Brig Niazi, he said, “My English seems to be better than that of the Britishers; my exercise books hardly have any red marks on the pages.” He distinguished himself in every test and with time became a popular figure in college.

Major General Hayauddin (who was killed in Cairo crash) during the Kingston Course came over from New York and upon checking the results of Major Aziz Bhatti he was immensely impressed by him and congratulated him on his successes. Major Aziz Bhatti passed the Canadian Staff Course with distinction. C-in-C of the Army General Muhammad Ayub Khan sent him a special message of felicitations on his return from the course.

Major Aziz was heading the Alpha Company, which was deployed forward of BRB Canal when the 1965 war broke out. The Indian advancing columns on 6th September in their bid to surprise Pakistanis found Major Raja Aziz Bhatti with his men ready to counter them with an unwavering will to defend their mother land at all cost. Major Bhatti selected his forward platoon to locate himself under constant firing from Indian tanks and artillery. Defensing his soil, the brave Major spend six days and nights and proved to be a bulwark against the enemy. His commanding officer had sent him a message that he had been fighting untiringly for the last few days, he should take a little rest and that another officer was being sent to replace him just before his martyrdom. The reply of Major Aziz on this is written with golden words and serve as an inspiration for future generations of Pakistan Army soldiers and officers. He wrote, “Do not call me back. I will shed the last drop of my blood in the defense of my dear homeland.”

In the afternoon of September 10th, IAF aircraft made their appearance felt again, had a circle or two over the border, and went back without any action. Things appeared quiet then with no transport was visible and no sign of troops movement. He hardly slept for 15 minutes and despite his subordinates urging him to take rest he refused and continued with his duty. The enemy launched an attack with an Infantry Brigade comprising of 16 Punjab and 4 Sikh regiments, with a tank regiment and heavy artillery in their support. At night, the Regiment Adjutant, Anwar Muniruddin, came over to meet him. He narrated to him the episodes of previous days, recounting the enemys attacks, how they were repulsed and how they managed to pull back safely after the ammunition had been exhausted. Then he handed over his gold ring to him. “Make sure to deliver it at my place in case I am martyred,” he urged.

Anwar put on the ring on his own finger. Major Bhatti had been wearing it all along since his Hong Kong days. He turned to Anwar again, “You are a young officer,” he said, “You’ll one day write the history of your Regiment. Bhatti may not be among you at that time, but one thing you must definitely keep in mind – don’t forget to mention the historic role of the artillery in this war.” Major Bhatti ordered fire and knocked down two enemy tanks. Just then a shell from the enemy whizzed past Maj Bhatti and landed on the heap of bricks rising a cloud of dust. His men feared that Major had been hit and ran towards him where they found him unscathed. “Go back to your positions immediately,” ordered Major Bhatti, “This shell was not for me; the one for me has yet to be manufactured in India’s ordnance factories!” Destiny smiled on the words uttered by the fearless son of motherland. He about to scan the enemy area once again when an armoured piercing shot fired from an Indian tank hit him in the chest and passed through his right lung. In this way the dedicated, selfless, valorous, and fearless military hero got relieved of his duty.

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