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A League of His Own

A League of His Own

An example of valour, Capt Muhammad Sarwar went beyond the call of duty

Captain Muhammad Sarwar is the first Nishan-e-Haider in the history of our great nation.

He started his military career as a Sepoy. He was a self-made man who rose through the ranks and became a commissioned officer. He joined as a recruit in the Baloch Regiment on April 15, 1929 and received his initial training from the old Baloch Centre in Karachi. He served there until April 30, 1941. On April 27, 1944, Sarwar passed out as a Commissioned Officer from Indian Military Academy Dehradun and took part in World War II, where he was awarded the Burma Star.

After independence, Captain Muhammad Sarwar joined the Punjab Regiment of Pakistan Army. The Indian Army had landed in Srinagar on October 27, 1947 and since then had advanced upto Uri Sector in Kashmir. The enemy had made plans to capture the remainder of Kashmir. There was a need to stop Indian advance and save the innocent people of the region. During this time Sarwar was serving as a Company Commander in Uri. He was tasked by his Battalion Commander to undertake a very important operation which involved a pre-emptive attack on a well defended Indian position that was to serve as a base for further operations by his battalion. Young Captain Sarwar decided to volunteer for the noble cause of defending Kashmir.

Unflinching Courage

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The strength of the Indian Army in the Uri Sector was more than eight Brigades, supported by tanks and engineers. What made the task more challenging was the fact that the Indian posts were located uphill, with many Light Machine Gun positions and tanks in this area. When the Commanding Officer asked for a volunteer who can silence enemy tanks and guns by a ‘surprise attack,’ Captain Sarwar boldly said, “sir, I will perform this duty.” Sarwar thus planned his attack with diminutive details, the success which depended upon the charge with an element of surprise. This called for great leadership – to lead his company by example – which he did by heading the charge himself. By attacking a strongly fortified enemy position under heavy machine gun, grenade, and mortar fire, he not only led his Company bravely but inflicted heavy casualties. Having achieved this initial foothold, he held it against several repeated counter-attacks and finally secured it as a base of future operations. In order to provide a safe passage to his battalion, he volunteered to make way for the rest of his battalion.

During the early hours of July 27, 1948, he, along with six men, crawled out of his bunker to cut the enemy’s barbed wire barrier to make way for his battalion to move through. He moved  stealthily and bravely, closed up to the defensive position of the Indians and was able to cut the barbed wire. When he was still perched up near the gap in the barbed wire, while waiting to guide his comrades, his presence was detected by the Indians.

He received a direct burst of the enemy’s heavy machine gun fire, and was badly wounded. Despite this, Sarwar continued guiding his battalion and eventually embraced martyrdom on the spot. By that time, the battalion was able to pass through, assemble and complete its task successfully. In recognition for his courage, selflessness, and bravery, he was posthumously awarded with the first Nishan-e-Haider.

Early Life

Sarwar was born in village Singhori, Rawalpindi in 1910. His father, Raja Muhammad Hayat Khan, served in the British Indian Army and rose to rank of Havildar. He served with distinction during World War I and was awarded with a war medal. The British Government also awarded him with three squares of agricultural land in Chak 229 Tehsil Samundri. After his retirement from the British Indian Army, Raja Muhammad Hayat Khan was also appointed as the ‘numberdar’ of his village. He passed away on February 23, 1932.

Since his childhood, Sarwar was fond of reading and acquired extensive religious knowledge. The people of his village named him ‘Sakhi Sarwar’ (Generous Sarwar). The chief characteristic of his nature was piety and devotion. His other hobbies were horse riding, hunting, and playing football.

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Remembering a Hero

This year marks the 74th martyrdom anniversary of Capt Muhammad Sarwar

This week marked the 74th martyrdom anniversary of Captain Muhammad Sarwar – one the nation’s greatest soldiers, who was awarded a Nishan-e-Haider in 1947. His death anniversary was observed on July 27, at his native town village Sanghori in Rawalpindi. Major General Mumtaz Hussain laid a floral wreath at Captain Muhammad Sarwar Shaheed’s mausoleum. A smartly turned out contingent of the Pakistan Army presented a guard of honour at the occasion. Various people from different walks of life, civil and military officials and relatives of Shuhada attended the wreath laying ceremony.

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