Monday, September 5, 2011

East Pakistan - The last resting place of Major Muhammad Akram Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider)

The hero of the Battle of Hilli (Indo-Pak War 1971), Major Muhammad Akram Awan Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider) is buried in a Bangladeshi village of Boaldar, Bangla-Hilly, District Dinajpur, Rajshahi Division, Bangladesh (East Pakistan). 

Shall the Government of Pakistan bring back the remains of Major Muhammad Akram Awan Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider) to his homeland, i.e. Nakka Kalan, Jehlam, Punjab, Pakistan and bury him with full honors or let him rest in peace in Bangladesh? It should also be consider that, after all, he raised martyrdom (Shahadah) in East Pakistan, prior to the creation of Bangladesh, so he may still be resting in peace in his beloved homeland?

During the Indo-Pak War of 1971, the 4th FF Regiment, which Major Muhammad Akram commanded, was placed in the forward area of the Hilli district, East Pakistan. The regiment came under continuous and heavy air, artillery and armour attacks from the 20th Indian Mountain Division.

The main objective of the Indian Army was to control Bogra, thereby cutting off Pakistan forces in the north from the rest of East Pakistan. The best way of getting to Bogra was through Hilli. The frontal assault on the Pakistan fortifications took a huge toll on the Indian Army.

The Indian side consisted of the 20th Indian Mountain Division  with a strength of 20,000 men, led by Major General Lachhman Singh. The constituent units of this division were 66 Brigade, 165 Brigade, 202 Brigade and 340 Brigade (all infantry units), 3 Armoured Brigade, 471 Engineer Brigade and two artillery brigades augmented by 33 Corps Artillery. The ground troops were aided by aerial support provided by the Indian Air Force which had acquired air superiority in the east and were armed with rockets, guns and 100 lb bombs.

On the Pakistan side, the Area of Responsibility (AOR) was on 205 Brigade of Pakistan Army led by Brigadier (later retired as Major General) Tajammul Hussain Malik. He had joined the brigade 4 days ago, when he volunteered to leave GHQ, Rawalpindi and command troops in the East Pakistan.

The 205 Brigade of Pakistan Army, and specially the 4th FF Regiment, which Major Muhammad Akram commanded, put up stiff resistance that earned praise from many quarters. For an entire fortnight, despite enemy superiority in both numbers and fire power, Major Muhammad Akram and his men repulsed every attack, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Major Muhammad Akram raised martyrdom (Shahdah) during this battle. This battle was unique in that it had started before the official start of the India Pakistan war but continued even after the formal surrender of Pakistan.

Major Muhammad Akram Awan Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider) was buried in village Boaldar, Thana / Upozila-Hakimpur (Bangla-Hilly), District Dinajpur, Rajshahi Division, East Pakistan. However, there is a monument, Major Akram Shaheed Memorial, in the midst of Jhelum, Punjab, Pakistan. 

Related Posts:
General Tajammul Hussain Malik, the forgotten pride of Pakistan
Imtiaz Begum the brave daughter of Pakistan

Special thanks to:
Late Dr Malik Muhammad Shah, Secretary General, Africa Pakistan Economic Cooperation

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