Major Tufail Mohammad

Mohammad Tufail

Major Tufail Mohammad (Urdu: طفیل محمد; b. 22 June 1914 – 7 August 1958: 26[2]), NH, was a military officer in the Pakistan Army and the second military officer in the Pakistani military who was cited with the Nishan-e-Haider (Eng. Trans.: Emblem of the Lion) for his “distinguished actions of valor other than bravery” in the 1958 India-East Pakistan

Tufail Mohammad was born in Hoshiarpur, Punjab in India into a Punjabi family on 22 June 1914 according to his gravestone markings.: 45[4] His family was of Gujjar descent [5] – and was educated at the D.A.V. College in Jalandhar.[1] In 1932, he enlisted in the Indian Army and was trained at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun in 1941, gaining a commission in the Indian Army into the 1st Battalion of the 16th Punjab Regiment (1/16th) of the Indian Army in 1943.: 45[4] Attached to the Punjab Regiment, he served on the training assignments to the Punjab Regiment of the Indian Army and later serving on the administrative positions on the Punjab Regiment of the Parmy in 1947–58.[1] From 1947–54, he was later deputed by the federal Pakistan government to the provincial governments to serve as an advisor and trainer to the law enforcement agencies before being permanently dispatched to the East Pakistan Rifles in 1954.[6]

His career in the military mostly served with the East Pakistan Rifles where he served as the commanding officer of the military company near the Indo-East Pakistani border.[3] In 1957, the Indian Army troops crossed into the Indo-East Pakistani border and occupied the Laxmipur District in East-Pakistan.[7] Responding to the infiltration, Major Tufail was ordered to formed three quick response teams to launch an attack on three sides on the resting Indian Army battalion.[7]

On 7 August 1958, Major Tufail made a slow quadrupedal movement towards the Indian Army posts and engaged in a firefight with the enemy forces as close as 15 yards in an attempt to make them withdraw from their positions.[6] Leading attack team from the backside of the post while other two teams engaged the enemy from front and right sides,[6] Major Tufail was the first casualty that sustained the injury from the upcoming fire inside the bunker and threw a grenade at the near post, that killed the enemy machine gunners.[6] Inside the bunker, the mortally wounded Major Tufail had to engage in a close-quarters battle with the Indian Army soldiers, eventually taking out the machine gunners that were targeting the Pakistan Army soldiers on the front side by throwing grenades and engaging with machine guns.[6]

His actions of valor reportedly saved many Pakistan Army soldiers when he led the attacking team from the backside of the battalion bunker as the Indian Army soldiers were driven out retreated to their original positions, leaving four dead and three of their personnel behind, who were taken as the war prisoners.: 26[2] Despite receiving immediate medical attention, Major Tufail himself succumbed to his wounds and quoted his last word to his junior officer: “I have completed my duty; the enemy is on the run.”[7]: 26[2] On 7 August 1958, Major Tufail succumbed to his wounds– he was 43–44 years old at the time of his death.: 26[2]

Major Tufail was buried in Burewala, Punjab in Pakistan, and the feral government later built a marble tomb in 1967.: 38[8] In 1993, he was subjected to a biographical war telefilm, “Major Tufail Mohammad Shaheed” produced and directed by the Qasim Jilali of the PTV.[9]

In 1967, he was posthumously awarded the Nishan-e-Haider by the President of Pakistan, becoming the second officer to receive the award.: 38[8]: 26[2]

The Presidential Nishan-e-Haider citation on his grave is written in Urdu; and its reads with translation as:


After the establishment of Pakistan, Tufail Muhammad served with distinction in the 13th Punjab, leading to promotion to Major. In 1958, the Maj. Tufail was affiliated with the East Pakistan Rifles and was trusted as the commanding officer of the quick response teams of the close-quarters combat to liberate the Lakshmipur District by undertaking the difficult mission. The success of these efforts came….with the display of tremendous courage despite being mortally wounded while being under fire.

The “Green and White Flag with the Star and Crescent” was hoisted by the troops at the Lakshmipur District in East Pakistan. On 7 August 1958, Maj. Tufail sacrifices his life to save his insubordinate troops and is posthumously presented with the Nishan-e-Haider.[10]

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