Pakistan Army on Sunday paid its tribute to Major Shabbir Sharif, martyred on December 6 at Sulemanki Sector during the 1971 War. Sharif was awarded Nishan-i-Haider, the highest military honour, for his bravery.
A battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment wherein Major Shabbir Sharif was commissioned, celebrates Shabbir Day every year. On Sunday, a fresh contingent of Frontier Force Regiment took the honour guard duties at Major Shabbir’s grave at the Miani Sahib graveyard.
Commanding Officer Major General Fida Hussain Malik and Major General Kaleem Asif laid floral wreaths on behalf of the chief of army staff. The Lahore corps commander, too, offered fateha. Senior officers of the Piffers Group and siblings of the deceased were also present.
Major General (r) Zahoor Malik and Major General (r) Ghaziuddin Rana laid floral wreaths on behalf of the Piffers. Major Shabbir Sharif Shaheed is among the most decorated soldiers of Pakistan Army. He is the recipient of Sword of Honour, Sitar-i-Jurrat and Nishan-i-Haider.
During the 1971 Indo-Pak War, Pakistan Army had launched an offensive on the western front against the Indian forces.
As commander of a company of 6 Frontier Force Regiment, Major Shabbir Sharif was ordered to capture the ground overlooking Grumukhi Khera and Beri village in Sulemanki Sector.
The area was defended by the Assam Regiment supported by a squadron of tanks.
On December 3, Shabbir and his men fought valiantly and holding two Indian battalions at bay by killing 43 soldiers and destroying four tanks.
Shabbir cleared the Jhangar Post, fearlessly passing through a minefield and swimming across Sabuna distributary under intense enemy fire.
He led his company up the embankment and engaged in hand-to-hand combat. He succeeded in clearing Indian soldiers from their fortified trenches.
The Indian Army launched several counter-attacks to regain the position but Pakistani troops stood their ground and repulsed more than 15 attacks. They also inflicted heavy losses to the enemy.
On the night of December 5, Shabbir jumped out of his trench, got hold of Indian Company Commander Major Narian Singh of 4 Jat Regiment and killed him in a hand-to-hand fight. Valuable information was obtained from the documents recovered from Singh’s pockets.
On the afternoon of December6 1971, Indian troops launched another attack, preceded by air strikes and heavy artillery shelling.
Major Shabbir took over the duty of the gunner in his crew and started firing at the enemy tanks. During this battle, he was hit by an Indian tank and killed.
Shabbir was fondly known as Superman by his colleagues and superiors. He was awarded Nishan-i-Haider posthumously.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2015.
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