“The research work, the data and details which have gone into this book, make it very valuable for any student of military history. In fact, it would serve as the text book for study and research on 1965 Indo-Pak War.”

General Mirza Aslam Beg
COAS Pak Army 1988-1991

Hardback: 638 pp
Size: 245 x 315 mm
Weight: 2.27 Kg
ISBN: 969-9063-009

Now a textbook for the Military History Entrance Examination Paper of The

During a visit to the Command and Staff College Quetta in 1976 General Zia ul Haq ordered the Commandant Major General Wajahat Khan to undertake research on the Indo-Pak War of 1965. Two groups were formed each comprising selected member of the directing staff and about ten students attending that year’s course. These two groups began research on Sialkot and Chhamb Sectors – two areas which had seen the most critical battles of the War. During the term breaks the officers were dispatched to the GHQ and formation headquarters to collect documents and papers pertaining to the War. With official patronage from the very top, material began to collect in considerable quantity and by the end of 1976, the Sialkot Syndicate was able to present its study in the College. During the following year research material continued to flow and work on the other five sectors was also begun. By the time the Author came to attend the Staff Course in 1978, research work was in progress on all the seven sectors; the Author was appointed leader of the syndicate working on the Lahore Sector. In 1981 this research work was completed in the form of seven green folders, one each on Kashmir, Chhamb, Sialkot, Lahore, Khem Karan, Sulemanki and the Desert Sectors.

In November 1983, the Author who was member of the faculty since June 1981, was tasked to compile the seven green folders in the shape of a book. The original idea of the Chief Instructor Brigadier Tanwir Husain Naqvi (later Lieutenant General) was to design the book on the lines of the excellent West Point Atlas of Napoleonic Wars. However, upon scrutinizing the green folders the Author discovered that they contained very little material on the enemy’s operations. Inevitably a fresh research focused on Indian publications was begun which eventually resulted in the book called ILLUSION OF VICTORY.

Much happened between 1984 when the fresh research was started by the Author and 2002 when the book was ready for printing. General Zia died in the fateful air crash in 1988. A decade later, General Pervez Musharraf took over as COAS Pak Army. After a year he became head of the Government thanks to the critical role played by the Author in the military takeover of 12 October 1999. Soon after the dreadful Event 9/11 in 2001, the Author having retired from the Army was able to place before General Musharraf the final draft of his book in October 2002 which he approved. On 31 October 2002 he signed the President’s Note which was to appear at the beginning of the book.

ILLUSION OF VICTORY was to be a publication of the Services Book Club whereby 22000 copies were to be produced and distributed to officers who were at that time members of the Army Book Club. However, in November 2002, while the printing process was completed and binding was about to begin, the project was suddenly halted by orders of General Musharraf as he felt the title of the book disconcerting and inharmonious with the annual celebration of ‘6 September – Defence Day’ as a victory. The fact that he had been well aware of the whole project since 1986 and that he had been shown the complete draft in October 2002 by the Author personally and that the printing process had been started only after he had given his approval was totally disregarded. He was also told that the title of the book was prompted by a quote from an Indian general but to no avail. Apart from the title other changes were also ordered to be made in the book.

The modified book was distributed to the members of the Services Book Club in 2006 under the title HISTORY OF THE INDO-PAK 1965.

In 2007, the Author eventually undertook printing of his original book in its original form with the Foreword by Dr A Q Khan. The President’s Note by General Musharraf was excluded upon which a sympathetic friend remarked, “The sole loser (meaning General Musharraf) is the last soldier who fought that war and was still in uniform when the book was (going to be) published.

General Mirza Aslam Beg’s words written in 2006 became reality in 2015 when the GHQ selected 1965 War to form part of the syllabus for the Military History Paper of the Command and Staff College, Quetta Entrance Examination. When the Author suggested ILLUSION OF VICTORY to be nominated for this purpose, the GHQ was reluctant to go against the version approved in the days of General Musharraf. Therefore the second edition of HISTORY OF THE INDO-PAK 1965 was printed with a new cover.