Azad Kashmir Regiment
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|Azad Kashmir Regiment|
|Engagements||Pak-Indo War 1948
Pak-Indo War 1965
Pak-Indo War 1971
Unified Task Force
|Colonel Commandant||Lieutenant General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad|
The Azad Kashmir Regular Forces, established in 1947, were armed and supported by Pakistani government. The regiment has the distinction of not having been raised by any government order, but "raised itself" when bands of armed WWII veterans organized themselves into disciplined ad hoc platoons, companies and battalions led by retired officers, JCOs and NCOs, and went out to fight in Kashmir against the Regular Indian Army in 1948. After cease-fire was declared in Kashmir, these elements joined together to form the Azad Kashmir Regular Forces (AKRF). The AKRF had its own intake and training structure separate from the Pakistan Army. The AKRF was the military element of the Azad Kashmir Government. Uniforms and rank structures were the same as the Pakistan Army. At that time, all the battalions of the AKRF were part of the 12th Infantry Division of the Pakistan Army, permanently stationed in Azad Kashmir.
Previous Colonel Commandants of the regiment have included Major General Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan, the former President of Azad Kashmir and Lieutenant General Javed Hassan, who as a Major General commanded the Force Command Northern Areas (FCNA) during the 1999 Kargil War and later served as the commander XXX Corps, Gujranwala. As of 2007 the Colonel Commandant was Major General Mukhtar Ahmed.
In wartime operations, the AKRF was part of the Order of Battle of the Pakistan Army, in which it was involved in 1965 Operation Gibraltar. All of the AKRF battalions were part of the 12th Infantry Division (Pakistan) that carried out Operation Gibraltar as well as defended Azad Kashmir. During the same operation one of the Company Commanders of 21 Azad Kashmir Regiment, Major Malik Munawar Khan Awan, became famous for his heroic action and occupation of Indian Garrison of Rajauri. Later Major Munawar was awarded "Sitara e Jurat" for gallantry and the title of "King of Rajouri" by President Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan.
The Azad Kashmir Regular Forces fought in the 1971 war and then in 1972 when the 9th Azad Kashmir Battalion defended Chakpatra and Leepa Valley against a larger Indian force composed of several regular battalions. This particular battalion was first led in 1948 by Lt. Colonel Ghulam Rasul Raja-Sitara-e-Jurrat (1948), Military Cross (WWII) of Sarai Alamgir, and is associated with its leader. During the Battle of Leepa Valley the 9th AK Battalion with 25 Mountain Regiment Artillery distinguished itself under the leadership of Lt. Colonel Haq Nawaz Kyani, SJ and Bar, who died leading the battalion from the front. The Company Commander of B Coy called for artillery fire upon their own position while being over run by the enemy; in doing this they repulsed the enemy attack. The Pakistan Army later honoured the AKRF by absorbing it into its own ranks and by giving it the status of a Regular Line Infantry Regiment. The AKRF thus became the Azad Kashmir Regiment on 20 September 1972.
In recent times[when?] battalions of the Azad Kashmir Regiment have been stationed all over Pakistan, and have served in places such as Somalia, as part of the United Nations contingent in that country. Presently the regimental center is under the command of Brig. Sikandar Hayat.
- Yaqoob Malik. "Armed forces proved their capability: Musharraf" Dawn, April 5, 2003
- "Maj Gen Mukhtar New Colonel Commandant AK Regiment" paktribune.com, 28 September 2007