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20 Years After Kargil War: How An Indian Army Officer Helped An Enemy Captain Win Pakistan’s Highest Gallantry Award Nishan-e-Haider

Darpan News Desk , 24 Jul, 2019 08:07 PM

    Eleven years after the Kargil war, Pakistan’s army officially acknowledged its role by naming 453 soldiers and officers killed in the 1999 conflict.

     

    The soldiers have been named and listed on the army’s official website.

     

    One Pakistani soldier who earned Brig M P S Bajwa’s (retd), [Commander of 192 Mountain Brigade in Kargil War, which captured Tiger Hill, respect] was Captain Karnal Sher Khan.

     

    Khan, who was killed in action, was initially abandoned by his country but eventually received Pakistan’s highest gallantry award, the Nishan-e-Haider.

     

    Watch his story:

     
     

     
     

    Recalling his recommendation for Pakistan’s Capt Karnal Sher Khan for a gallantry award, who was later given the Nishan-e-Haider, Pakistan’s highest gallantry award, Brig Bajwa said: “He led fierce counterattacks, which almost dislodged us from Tiger Hill.

     

    Had he succeeded, it would have been impossible to get a hold on the top again. The troops of 8 Sikh battalion, located at Helmet and India Gate locations, bore the brunt of the counterattack led by Karnal Sher Khan,” he said.

     

    Brig Bajwa said he was in direct communication with the jawans of 8 Sikh when they were under Pak counterattack and was told by an injured JCO that one person dressed in a tracksuit was rallying Pakistani troops again and again. “I immediately realised that this was an officer conducting the battle and told the jawans that he must be killed. This was achieved when he led an attack one more time. As soon as he was killed, the rest of the Pakistani troops ran back.”

     

    Brig Bajwa asked civilian porters to get Karnal Khan’s body down Tiger Hill.

     

    “I placed a letter in his jacket stating that he had been killed showing great bravery and should be awarded a gallantry award, hoping that it would be noticed when his body was sent back to Pakistan. I am glad my recommendation was honoured and he was given Pakistan’s highest gallantry award posthumously,” he said.

     

    “It was heartening news that he was awarded the Nishan-e-Haider. I received a letter of thanks to the Indian Army from his father.”

     
     

    In 2006, Pervez Musharraf, who was Pakistan’s army chief during the war and went on to become President, had written in his book that the Kargil war was one of the finest achievements of the Pakistan Army.

     

    By denying its direct involvement in the Kargil operations in 1999, Musharraf’s military establishment was trying to push the line that groups of mujahids (freedom fighters) were trying to “liberate” Kashmir. But in his book he went on to claim the military operations as a success.

     

    “Considered purely in military terms, the Kargil operations were a landmark in the history of the Pakistani army,” Musharraf wrote in his 2006 memoir In the Line of Fire.

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