Naik Saif Ali Janjua Shaheed
Naik Saif Ali Janjua Shaheed

KARACHI: Glowing tributes were paid to a Pakistan Army soldier who embraced martyrdom while demonstrating exemplary gallantry against the advancing Indian forces on Oct 26, 1948.

“Gallantry of Naik Saif Ali Janjua Shaheed, NH, will forever remind us of our commitment to #Kashmir. His immortal action is glowing precedent for those struggling to restore the sanctity of land that he laid his life for. Nation venerates his sacrifice,” the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations said in a Twitter message on Sunday.

Naik Janjua was born in Tehsil Nakial, Kotli, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and was martyred at Pir Kalewa, Mendhar Sector, IIOJ&K, at the age of 25.

Saif Janjua joined the Royal Corps of the British Indian Army as a sepoy on March 18, 1941 and served overseas for four years during WWII.

On termination of war, his unit sailed back to the subcontinent, and remained stationed at Jullundur and Lahore.

Saif Janjua showed exceptional leadership qualities, and was promoted as a Naik, well before his time and appointed as platoon commander — a position normally given to officers or Junior Commissioned Officers.

For his selfless conduct and devotion to duty, Saif Janjua was awarded Hilal-i-Kashmir (posthumous), the highest operational award of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, on March 14, 1949.

The government of Pakistan on Nov 30, 1995, notified the equivalence of Hilal-i-Kashmir with Nishan-i-Haider.

Indian forces after landing in Srinagar on Oct 27, 1947, advanced with the intention to capture the whole of Kashmir.

Naik Saif ordered his platoon to engage the assaulting troops. Four Indian attempts against Pir Kalewa post had also been repulsed. The Indians could not succeed in capturing the post despite heavy losses due to brave Naik Saif Janjua.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2020