Iftikhar Khan Janjua

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Iftikhar Khan Janjua
Died December 9, 1971 Kashmir
Allegiance Pakistan Pakistan
Service/branch Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg Pakistan Army
Years of service 1943–1971
Rank Major General
Unit 10th Battalion The Baloch Regiment
Commands held 10 Baloch
6 Brigade
6 Armoured Division
23 Division
Battles/wars World War II (North Africa, Sicily, Italy & Greece)
Rann of Kutch 1965
Indo-Pakistan War of 1965
Indo-Pakistan War of 1971
Awards Hilal-e-Jurat & Bar, Sitara-i-Pakistan, Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam

Major General Iftikhar Khan Janjua Shaheed, HJ & Bar, SPk, SQA, (Urdu: افتخار خان جنجوعہ) (died December 9, 1971) of the Pakistan Army is the most senior Pakistani officer to have been killed in action. He is known in Pakistan as the hero of Rann of Kutch, as he was a brigadier in command of 6 Brigade, during the fighting in April 1965 prior to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. He was killed in a helicopter crash, in Kashmir, during the Battle of Chamb while in command of 23 Infantry Division during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.

1965 War[edit]

In April 1965, as part of a tri-service exercise (Arrow Head), the Indians brought in 31 and 67 Infantry Brigades in area Karim Shahi - Kavda. The IAF and the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, supported by other naval vessels, also moved into the gulf. On 8/9 April, in a series of events not entirely clear, clashes broke out between the Indians and the Pakistanis at a post near Ding, Rann of Kutch.On 23 April Brigadier Iftikhar Janjua ordered the 4 Punjab to capture point 84 by first activity around Chad Bet. Since the progress of 6 Punjab was slow 2 Frontier Force (FF) was directed to join them. By first light, the battalion reached its objective without suffering too many casualties. 2 FF later attacked Biar Bet along with a squadron of 12 Cavalry. Biar Bet was captured by 0600 hours on 26 April.[1][2]

The outcome of the Rann of Kutch was considered as a positive for the Pakistan Army. As described by Lt General Gul Hassan Khan, then Director of Military Operations, in his later memoirs - "the set back in Kutch proved immeasurably disconcerting to the Indian army. As a result the Government of India was in a quandary. On the other hand, ours was in a state of euphoria. The high command of our army was intoxicated by our showing and our morale could not possibly have been higher. We were ready for any task that may be assigned to us without any question.".[3] The restraint shown by India would later convince Field Marshal Ayub Khan that the Indian Government was in no mood to fight. This encouraged them into launching the Kashmir offensive, which led to the War in September 1965.[3] After the 65 War, Janjua was the divisional commander of 6 Armoured Division even though he himself was an infantry officer [4] - no mean feat. He spared himself the time to learn about the nuances of armoured fighting vehicles and their operations. Soon after, Janjua would command 23 Division based at Jhelum.

1971 War[edit]

In the 1971 War, Janjua was divisional commander of 23 Infantry Division. He was assigned the task of capturing Chhamb, a strategically important town in Kashmir, which would turn out to be the only decisive victory for Pakistan on the Kashmir front of 1971. The fighting around Chhamb was intensely fierce and took toll on both the advancing Pakistani troops and the fiercely resisting Indian regiments. Although Janjua was advised by high command to try to take Chhamb from the south, Janjua said it was a better to take Mandiala bridge his troops would outflank the Indians eventually forcing them out of Chhamb and all the area west of Tawa.[5]

After intense fighting Mandiawala was captured, then Pallanwala and Chak Pandit, and on 9 December 1971, the first Pakistani troops entered the surrounding area around Chhamb under the personal supervision of Janjua. In the middle of fighting around Chhamb proper, on 9 December 1971, Janjua was killed when his OH-13S (Sioux) light helicopter, in which he was travelling on to coordinate and position his troops, was attacked.[6] He was badly burned and was evacuated to Combined Military Hospital Kharian Cantt. Iftikhar Khan Janjua Road is named after him in Rawalpindi, Cannt.

Iftikhar Janjua was a brilliant and charismatic leader who inspired his troops to continue to fight. It was leading from the front for which General Iftikhar Janjua is remembered even today by the troops who served in 23 Division during the Battle of Chhamb. It was this quality which enabled him to arrive at a realistic appraisal of the actual situation without undue reliance on exaggerated reports from lower echelons and successfully take Chhamb.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Major General Iftikhar Janjua was known for his boldness and for the confidence he inspired among his men by being in the front lines during the heat of the battle. He was a Janjua Rajput, a tribe known for its Martial Reputation and royal ancestry. His father Raja Mehmood Amjad was a barrister and the family was settled in Sargodha District. He is brother of Major General Ijaz Amjad, another outstanding general.[7]

Further reading[edit]

  • John H. Gill, An Atlas of the 1971 India - Pakistan War:The Creation of Bangladesh, Near East South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies, accessed at [2] July 25, 2006 - pp. 46–47 mention death of Iftikhar Janjua.


  1. ^ From Kutch to Tashkent: The Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 By Farooq Bajwa pg.77-80
  2. ^ Pakistan Review, Volumes 1-4 by S. Ahmad, 1985 pg.20-21
  3. ^ a b Quoted by Altaf Gauhar in 1965 War: Boomerang (possibly from The Nation, September 24, 1999) retrieved from Pakistan Link website [1] July 26, 2006
  4. ^ COVER STORY Remembering Our Warriors Brig (Retd) Shamim Yasin Manto S.I.(M), S.Bt Interview By A H AMIN Archived 2013-05-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  6. ^ News article in Jang Archived 2007-03-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ http://www.thepersecution.org/50years/general.html

External links[edit]