chapter  2
20 Pages

The First India-Pakistan War, 1947–1948

ByScott Gates, Kaushik Roy

The First India-Pakistan War was fought over Kashmir. Its population was 4 million; 77 per cent of them were Muslims, and about 3.5 million lived in the villages. The civil services and businesses were dominated by Kashmiri Pandits, and its army and police were dominated by the Dogras, both being Hindu. The lashkars assembled at Abbotabad in North-West Frontier Province on 18 October 1947 and were let loose across the Pakistan-Kashmir border on 22 October. In September 1948, the Pakistanis used 25-pounder guns to shell the airstrip of Punch, which was the only lifeline of the garrison with the outer world. The regular soldiers of the Pakistan Army who were on leave were dressed in civilian clothing and participated in this venture. In addition to 10,000 Muslim tribal militia, a substantial number of regular Pakistani troops participated in the ‘invasion’/‘intervention’.