— Photo courtesy: gov.uk/government
— Photo courtesy: gov.uk/government

Three soldiers from Pakistan were among 175 men honoured in a ceremony held by the British government for winning UK’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, for services rendered in the First World War.

The soliders include Sepoy Khudadad Khan, Jemadar Mir Dast and Naik Shahamad Khan. There are a total of 11 VCs that were awarded to soldiers from pre-partition of India and of them, three trace their origins to present day Pakistan.

As part of the British government’s First World War Centenary Programme, HRH The Duke of Kent and Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi unveiled commemoration plaques for 175 foreign men.

The 11 bronze memorial plaques, which were on display for public in London this week, bear the names of Victoria Cross holders and will be sent to the recipients’ home countries.

The plaques will be showcased at a prominent location while acting as a symbol of gratitude that is felt towards the recipients by the people of UK.

Meanwhile, the plaque commemorating the Pakistani recipients of the Victoria Cross will be presented to the government later this year.

Speaking about the event, Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi said: "It is important to remember this was a truly global war, one which pulled in people from every corner of the earth. Sacrifices were made not only by people in the United Kingdom but by many millions across the world: whether it was the large proportion of Australian men who volunteered to fight in a war far from home, the 1.2 million troops from the Indian Subcontinent who took part in the war, or the essential support which came from the islands of the West Indies. It is truly inspiring that so many countries came together 100 years ago to uphold our way of life. This was a war which saw extraordinary courage and sacrifice from an entire generation."

"This year, we are marking our gratitude to 175 men from 11 countries, including Pakistan, who demonstrated the utmost bravery “in the face of the enemy” during the First World War. These extraordinary men were awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for valour for their actions during the War. We shall honour them by engraving their names on bronze memorial plaques, to be presented to their home countries, sending out a powerful message that people of all backgrounds and faiths can unite in the name of a common cause."

"I am determined that we ensure that people of all backgrounds and of all generations learn about the courage and heroism of their forefathers a hundred."

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Comments (51) (Closed)


Anarchist
Jun 27, 2014 04:47pm

Pakistan was not even in existence before 1947. But I guess our penchant for seeking approval and accolades from white masters beats everything else.

Moiz Omar
Jun 27, 2014 04:48pm

Great men. If they are deceased, may they rest in peace.

Ganga Din
Jun 27, 2014 04:51pm

What does this mean for the families of these people? Are those families still around? My God, when are we going to free ourselves?

me
Jun 27, 2014 04:53pm

There was no Pakistan in the first world war.

Wasim
Jun 27, 2014 04:57pm

Pakistan did not exist during First World War ?

Ali
Jun 27, 2014 05:04pm

Pakistan Army Zindabad.

Zia
Jun 27, 2014 05:22pm

From the names looks like they are from Potohar region

Aurang
Jun 27, 2014 05:25pm

So we have history of fighting for foreign masters!

No wonders we are so good at this!

Shahzad Ahmed
Jun 27, 2014 05:27pm

Can we trace direct decendent of these men in today's pakistan?

anna kukkar
Jun 27, 2014 06:29pm

how are they Pakistani?????? This kind of thinking has landed your country where you are today. Grow up guys.

Ahmed
Jun 27, 2014 06:57pm

The stupid, insecure nature of the comments ("Pakistan did not exist at the time", "white masters") is mind-boggling. Why not just celebrate the courage of these brave men?

Taqi
Jun 27, 2014 06:57pm

Mr. Shakeel Afridi is the grandson of Mir Dast.

anony
Jun 27, 2014 07:06pm

Congrats to these great people. It's nice to see some appreciation for such sacrifices.

Khan
Jun 27, 2014 07:20pm

Everyone has a history including Pakistan. do people here really believe Pakistan came into existence in 1947 out of nowhere?

Farid
Jun 27, 2014 07:24pm

Fighting for a white master was not honourable. They could have fought with Gandhi, Jinnah and Ghaffar Khan for the freedom of their people.

Troubled
Jun 27, 2014 08:02pm

How about acting like journalists and find out why they were awarded the Victoria Cross. Would make for better reading.

Nasir
Jun 27, 2014 08:05pm

Yes. I have contacted the British government in the past to at least acknowledge the fact that many of the sub-continent soldiers who were part of the British army before partition died defending the British throne against the Nazi Germany. My grandfather was one of them. We are not looking for anything other than a letter acknowledging these fact and how these people including my grandfather died? Such actions will provide some comfort to men and women who grew up without knowing their fathers. My father was only 5 years old when my grandfather died in WWII. I know for sure that my father's future would have been very different if my grandfather was around.

Nasir

Atif
Jun 27, 2014 08:15pm

All those pointing out that Pakistan did not exist back then, I ask you: how does that matter to this event? BRITAIN chooses to honour their ex-soldiers, and our country men on here are livid that we are still slaves. I can't see the connection.

It is just that some of those soldiers belonged to the areas that are now a part of Pakistan.

Ali
Jun 27, 2014 08:28pm

Remembering their bravery or remembering their slavery? Anyone weilding a gun and paid to kill humanity either for nationalism or religion never deserved to live amongst us. These are awards of shame for us as humans and nothing to be proud of

Mohammad Shahnawaz Hussain
Jun 27, 2014 08:45pm

The Dawn article headline clearly say 'present day Pakistan'

Ahmer
Jun 27, 2014 08:47pm

When are we going to free ourselves from our British masters? It has already been almost 67 years and our chest still swells on how bravely these three fought against Turkey, the leading Islamic nation of the day.

Dr Sarwar Shah
Jun 27, 2014 08:49pm

These heroes were born in areas that are now part of Pakistan. One of these heroes, late Naik Shahamad Khan was a Punjabi Muslim who was born in 1879 in Rawalpindi. He served in the 89th Punjabis of the British Indian Army during the First World War. [source: www.1914.org]

usher
Jun 27, 2014 08:53pm

Mercenaries

noobguy19
Jun 27, 2014 09:27pm

They are acclaiming bravery of these men. Pakistani government has not begged this acclamation. It is not 'we' who have asked for this it is 'they' who are honoring 'our' sacrifice. So if anybody has any problem with this they are free to tell the UK government to not send this plaque to Pakistan. I hope they will appreciate your 'belief' and 'efforts'.

noobguy19
Jun 27, 2014 09:33pm

So there was a time when sepoy's bravery was also honored? Few days back I read in Dawn newspaper that 2 colonels and a driver (who was also an army man but of junior rank) died in an attack. I couldn't understand why two colonel's name were announced in the loudspeakers while poor driver was left unhonored by not even announcing his name and rank. What a pity!

Adeeb
Jun 27, 2014 09:50pm

They fought for their White Masters in WWI, and most probably at the front against Ottomon Empire, which leads to the occupation of Constantinople (present time Istanbul). I think the family members of these recipients must be embarrased to be surfaced. Our past and present white masters don't honor the award or title unless you perform on the lines which defy the very basics of our religious beliefs and thoughts.

Jamal
Jun 27, 2014 10:00pm

These people fought for the occupier of our land. This is some thing to be ashamed of not proud of!

Shan
Jun 27, 2014 10:05pm

100 years' celeberations!

joe
Jun 27, 2014 10:27pm

This year, we are marking our gratitude to 175 men from 11 countries, including Pakistan, who demonstrated the utmost bravery “in the face of the enemy” during the First World War. Including pakistan.. All VC were awarded to INDIAN soldiers..

saqib
Jun 27, 2014 10:43pm

@Anarchist Just so I can help wake you up. Pakistan has existed from the time people who lived in the area have existed, which is from old as human history. If we take your view point as stated date being the creation of a nation state as a country then no country in the world can lay claim to its history as each and every country came into being only at a recent point in history. But the fact is there-on that country claims the history falling with in its geographical boundaries. So please, let us pay respect to our forefathers who played an important part in defence of freedom and keep politics out of this.

saqib
Jun 27, 2014 10:46pm

Pakistan's history goes back to the Indus Valley civilisation and beyond. So quit complaining people and respect your forefathers.

AbbasToronto
Jun 28, 2014 12:33am

LOL

These browns laid their lives for white colonialists.

Now, so many European and Western youth are fighting with the Jihadists.

Which of the 2 folks are you cheering?

blahistani
Jun 28, 2014 12:33am

Pakistan and Bharat (modern India) didn't exist back then, but both are successor states of India/Hindustan. This includes the many independent kingdoms of India. Just because our neighbouring country chose to retain the anglicized name for our region does not mean that Pakistanis are not Indian or Hindustani.

Bharat alone is not India. Pakistan (and Bangladesh) have as much of a claim over our shared past as our neighbour.

patriot
Jun 28, 2014 12:50am

they were mercenaries who died for the coin

shah
Jun 28, 2014 12:52am

These were not Pakistanis since the country and identity did not exist at the time. These folk were Indian Muslims.

Omer Irfan Kayani
Jun 28, 2014 01:07am

No links to descendants of Sepoy Khudadad Khan and Naik Shahamad Khan have been found, but on Wikipedia Dr Shakil Afridi is mentioned as descendant of Jemadar Mir Dast.

Taimoor Khan
Jun 28, 2014 01:15am

Pakistan always existed even before Egypt and Babylon in the form Indus empire or as they Indus civilization. On the subject though its quite pathetic to give importance to issues like world wars which had nothing to do with the people of this region.

Ali
Jun 28, 2014 01:24am

So we fought against last Muslim caliphate Ottoman Empire as well. No doubt we are so good in this field

av8r
Jun 28, 2014 03:56am

@Anarchist - Very nicely said. Couldn't agree more.

SKY
Jun 28, 2014 04:06am

@Wasim ....first read than comment bro dont just read topic

He explained "There are a total of 11 VCs that were awarded to soldiers from pre-partition of India and of them, three trace their origins to present day Pakistan."

Taimur
Jun 28, 2014 04:34am

so when are "the people of United Kingdom" going to apologize for the looting, plundering and brutal killing during the colonization of South Asia. If they can award victoria crosses to their former slaves then they can apologize for the colonialism.

goldigger
Jun 28, 2014 08:23am

How about we honor our own heroes of the war against British; the likes of Hoshu Sheedi maybe? A gallant and brave Talpur army commander who gave his life for his motherland..

sudeep Bhattacharyya
Jun 28, 2014 10:22am

@Ahmed Brave, yes, but they should have turned their guns towards the white masters for independence of out mother land. There are many who betrayed.

sudeep Bhattacharyya
Jun 28, 2014 10:23am

@anna kukkar Let them think! What difference does it make? People should not celebrate Victoria Cross. It reeks of slavery

sudeep Bhattacharyya
Jun 28, 2014 10:29am

What is there to celebrate Victoria Cross? This only reeks of slavery. Those who fought along with and for the British actually fought for the crown. Instead they should have turned their guns towards the white masters and fought for the liberation of their motherland ... mother India. People in Pakistan should learn from Col. Habibur Rahman, who was in INA and fought the British alongside Netaji Subhash. Such was his loyalty that Rahman could lay down life for Netaji, let alone liberation of India. Rahman fought for India's independence and not for the crown, which makes him great.

sudeep Bhattacharyya
Jun 28, 2014 10:30am

@Farid Well said Farid. Should have fought alongside Subhash Chandra Bose in the INA to defeat the British.

Frank
Jun 28, 2014 11:14am

These guys were mercenaries not heroes. Nothing to celebrate there.

BTW, neither India nor Pakistan existed at that time. Both are successor states to the British Indian Empire.

Moiz Omar
Jun 28, 2014 02:04pm

@Wasim They were part of the British forces during WW1 but chose to immigrate to Pakistan upon independence.

Salim Bevda
Jun 28, 2014 04:43pm

@blahistani - I am totally with you. These brave men were from what was 'British India'. Modern India/Pakistan/Bangladesh didn't exist then. So pointless argueing on those lines. You are spot on when saying Pakistani's, Bangaldeshis have as much of a claim over our shared past as any Indian. We are all from the subcontinent. Arabs, were are not.

SK
Jun 29, 2014 08:41am

@Nasir Just want to let you know that British government has an archive that can be searched on the internet for all the soldiers who died in World War II. It also contains information (name, rank etc.) for the Indian soldiers who fought in WWII. It can be searched by your grandfather's name. Sorry I do not have the web address right now but you can search on the internet. My brave grandfather also fought in the WWII in Burma (Myanmar) and died during the war and was buried in Rangoon. We could not find any information about him till early 2000 when I searched for him on the internet and was able to find information about him and was able to confirm the information since my grandmother's name was also listed. These brave men will always be remembered for their courage and sacrifice in WWII.

arun
Jun 30, 2014 09:18pm

@Atif britain is honouring british indian army soldiers .