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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nishan-e-Haider, Major Tufail & Capt. Sarwar (Shaheed) (2000-9)

I.Captain Muhammad Sarwar (Shaheed) Nishan-e-Haider

Born in Lyallpur (Faisalabad) in 1910 in a family from Sanghori, District Rawalpindi, Captain Sarwar was commissioned to the Punjab Regiment in 1944. While serving as Company Commander in the 2nd Battalion of the Punjab Regiment during the Kashmir Operations he launched an attack on July 27,1948, against a strongly fortified enemy position in the Un Sector. When his company was within fifty yards of the enemy, it came under heavy machinegun, grenade and mortar fire, causing heavy casualties and frustrating their advance. Displaying remarkable courage and leadership, Captain Sarwar led a platoon in a flanking movement to within twenty yards of the enemy bunkers. Here he was obstructed by barbed wire. Undaunted by the obstacle, he moved the rest of the company forward, silencing the enemy machine guns with grenades. Undeterred by volley after volley of enemy bullets, although he had already been hit in the right shoulder, he took over a Bren gun of his platoon, after its gunman was killed, and continued firing into the enemy concentration. He then moved forward with six of his men to cut the barbed wire when a burst of automatic fire riddled his chest and he fell. Captain Sarwar thus became the first soldier to be awarded Pakistan\'s highest gallantry award of Nishan-e-Haider.

II.Major Tufail Muhammad (Shaheed), Nishan-e-Haider

Born in Hoshiarpur in 1914, Major Tufail Muhammad was commissioned in 1943 into the 16 Punjab Regiment. After a distinguished career, which included several instructional and command appointments in his own Battalion and also in the Civil Armed Forces, he was posted to the East Pakistan Rifles in 1958 as a Company Commander.
Early in August, 1958, he was assigned the task of clearing some Indian troops entrenched in Lakshmipur area. He executed a faultless night march in the small hours of August 7 and encircled the Indian post. Leading his men to about 15 yards of the enemy, he led the assault party from the rear. When the Indians opened machine gun fire, Major Tufail was the first to be hit. Bleeding profusely, he lobbed a grenade and silenced the machine-gun. With the flame of his life gradually fading away, he continued to direct the operation. When another enemy machine-gun opened fire, killing his second in command, Major Tufail destroyed that gun too with a well-aimed grenade. During the hand-to-hand encounter that followed, he noticed the commander of the Indian post moving stealthily to attack one of his men. Though mortally wounded, Major Tufail crawled towards the enemy commander. He stretched out one of his legs and as the enemy stumbled he hit him in the face with his steel helmet, saving his comrade. He continued to lead his troops till the Indians were driven out leaving four of their dead and three prisoners behind. Major Tufail later succumbed to his wounds the same day.

To commemorate the auspicious occasion (Defence Day of Pakistan) Pakistan Post is issuing a set of two commemorative postage stamps of Rs 5/- denomination each on September 6, 2000, on Captain Muhammad Sarwar (Shaheed) and Major Tufail Muhammad (Shaheed).