Raja Aziz Bhatti

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Raja Aziz Bhatti

Native name
راجہ عزیز بھٹی
Birth nameAzizi Ahmed
Other name(s)Raja Abdul Aziz Bhatti
  • Raja
  • A Great Hero: 220 [1]
  • A. A.
  • Protector of Lahore
Born(1928-08-06)August 6, 1928
British Hong Kong
DiedSeptember 12, 1965(1965-09-12) (aged 37)
Near Burki, West Pakistan, Pakistan
Allegiance Empire of Japan (1944-1945)
British Raj British India
Years of service1944–1965
Rank Major
Service numberPA-2695
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistani War of 1965
Awards Nishan-e-Haider
Pakistan Medal
Sword of Honor
RelationsGeneral Raheel Sharif (Nephew)
Major Shabbir Sharif (Nephew)
WebsiteMajor Raja Aziz Bhatti

Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Ahmed (Punjabi: راجا عزیز بھٹی; Urdu: راجہ عزیز بھٹی; 6 August 1928– 12 September 1965)[2][3] was a Pakistani military officer. He was the 4th recipient of Pakistan's highest military award, Nishan-e-Haider (Lit.: Emblem of Lion), which he was awarded for his actions of valour during the Battle of Burki in the Indo-Pak War of 1965. He is revered as a hero of the 1965 war in Pakistan.

Prior to gaining officer's commission in the Pakistan Army, Major Bhatti served in the Pakistan Air Force as an enlisted man and left the air force as a corporal in a favor of transferring to the Army.[4] In his brief military career, he was a staff officer working on administrative positions and widely popular as the "Muhafiz-e-Lahore" (Protector of Lahore).[5][6]

In 1997, he was the subject of a critically acclaimed[4] biographical war drama telefilm, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, produced by the ISPR and directed by Salim Tahir of the PTV.[7]


Early life and military career[edit]

Raja Aziz Ahmed Bhatti was born in British Hong Kong on 6 August 1928 into a Punjabi Rajput family.[4] His family hailed from a small village about 23 miles away from the Gujrat city of the Punjab in India, who had immigrated to British Hong Kong after his father and two uncles found employment in the Hong Kong Police Force.[4] His father, Mohammad Abdullah Bhatti, was an alumnus of the Queen's College in Hong Kong who later served as an Inspector in the Hong Kong Police Force.[4] Aziz Bhatti was educated in Hong Kong where he completed his matriculation and attended the Queen's College but his education was halted due to the Japanese invasion and occupation of Hong Kong in 1941.[4] He was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1944, first serving at the rank of the seaman recruit and as the tower watchman (observation post) before being directed to attend the officer school offered by the Imperial Japanese Navy due to his educational qualifications.[4]

However in December 1945, the Bhatti family relocated to India, and Aziz Bhatti enlisted to join the Royal Indian Air Force as an airman in June 1946.[4] After the establishment of Pakistan in 1947, Bhatti joined the Pakistan Air Force and promoted as corporal (Cpl.), which he continued to serve in the air force until 1948.[4] Cpl. Bhatti was a prospective candidate to join the Air Force Academy in Risalpur and was known to be among the brightest members of the Air Force in its early years.: 220 [1]

On 21 January 1948, Bhatti submitted an application to the Ministry of Defense (MoD), asking to be transferred to the Pakistan Army, which was approved and Bhatti was directed to attend the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul in 1948.[4] There, he distinguish himself in studies and athletics among his classmates, and passed out from the academy at the top of his class in the class of the first PMA Long Course, in 1950. He was awarded the Sword of Honor and the Norman gold medallion by the ceremony's chief guest, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan.: 177 [3] He was commissioned as the 2nd-Lt. in the 4th battalion of the 16th Punjab Regiment (4/16th Punjab Regiment).[4] He was promoted to lieutenant in 1951 and to captain in 1953.[4]

In 1956, Aziz was sent to Canada to attend the staff course at the Canadian Army Command and Staff College where he remained until graduation from strategic studies courses in 1960.: 71 [8][4] Upon returning to Pakistan, Capt. Aziz was posted with the 17th Punjab Regiment as a General Staff Officer (GSO) until 1962.[4] After being promoted as major in the Army in 1962, Maj. Aziz was taken in the faculty of the School of Infantry and Tactics in Quetta, which he remained until 1964.[4]

Indo-Pakistani war of 1965[edit]

From January till May 1965, Maj. Bhatti served as the General Staff Officer (GSO) of the 17th Punjab Regiment, but was later posted as the commander of the two military companies after the Indian Army's counter attack to Operation Gibraltar, crossing the international borders in September 1965.: 279 [9][4] Leading the military companies, Maj. Bhatti was initially deployed on the forward positions of the BRB Canal near the Burki area that falls in the vicinity of the Lahore District in Pakistan-side Punjab.: 177 [3]: contents [10]

Official engagement with the Indian Army took place between 7–10 September when the Indian Army begin its push of capturing the Burki sector through artillery and armory in a view of entering in Lahore.: 178 [11] Despite Indian Army's efforts of relatively easily capturing of the Burki sector through the BRB Canal, the outnumbered military companies under Major Bhatti had forced the Indian Army to engage in hand-to-hand combat during the night of the 7/8 September 1965, and the fighting continued till the next three days despite Indian Army having numerical advantage.: 178 [11] Although the defense of the Burki sector through the BRB Canal had less importance in the views of military strategists working at the Army GHQ in Rawalpindi, its defense was fierce and tenacious, and the Indian Army had to halt its plans of capturing Lahore and focused on capturing the Burki sector and destroying the bridge connecting the BRB Canal.: 178 [11]: 52 [12] It is unclear why the Pakistan Army did not send the reinforcement teams to provide back up to Maj. Bhatti's teams and the questionnaire-based controversy was later generated on why Maj. Bhatti and his teams were left alone to fight bravely for a long time.: contents [10]

Bhatti declined an offer to take leave with his family in Lahore and instead told a sergeant, "Do not recall me. I don't want to go back. I will shed the last drop of my blood in the defense of my dear homeland."[13] Maj. Bhatti moved towards building up the trenches and positioned himself towards forward observation to view enemy movements, where he would often stand for a better view to direct howitzer fire.: 231 [14]

Bhatti was killed on 10 September 1965. He stood up to observe enemy positions and direct artillery fire, despite warnings to take cover,: 238 [15][16] and was killed by shellfire.[4]: 238 [15] Maj. Bhatti was 37 years old at the time of his death.[4]


The Gravestone of Maj. Bhatti with the Nishan-e-Haider citation.

Ancestral Home[edit]

Maj. Aziz Bhatti was buried in the courtyard of his ancestral home at Ladian, a small village near Gujrat, Punjab in Pakistan.[17] In 1966, the federal government accepted the recommendations and announced to posthumously award

the Nishan-e-Haider for his gallantry and actions of valor during the defense of the Burki.: 83 [18]

Later the federal government funded to build the marble tombstone at his ancestral home in 1967 at his locality.[4]

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


Rouge on the face of shahadat, pride of the country and the nation are these fearless warriors, a strike of their sword wipes out the mightiest of foes this one who came out victorious in the struggle for the cause of ALLAH is lying here in the delight of the afterlife dream. Major Bhatti fought valiantly on Lahore Front, and is posthumously presented with the Nishan-e-Haider.[17]

Memorial at Barki[edit]

A memorial to Major Aziz Bhatti was built in 2019 at the site where he was killed defending against an Indian attack on 6 September 1965. The memorial is located approximately 500 metres north of the Barki Road/BRB Canal checkpoint on the west side of BRB Canal. The citation reads as follows in English (with editorial additions):

Major Raja Aziz Bhatti known as "Muhafiz-e-Lahore (Defender of Lahore)" received Pakistans highest award for his valor. He was born in Hong Kong in [a] Muslim Rajput family (belongs to Lahore) in 1928. He got commissioned in [the] Pakistan Army in 1950 (17 Punjab Regiment). Major Aziz Bhatti was posted to Barki sector Lahore, during [the] Indo Pakwar 1965. Being [a] Company Commander, he moved his Platoon forward to this bank of BRBLC [BRB Canal] under constant fire of enemy tanks and artillery. He resisted for five days and nights in defending [this] Pakistani outpost on [the] strategic BRBLC without rest. On 6 September 1965, he left his company Headquarter[s] and move[d] to his forward Platoon and stayed with them under incessant artillery & tank attacks. He positioned himself in this elevated place to watch every move of [the] enemy. This point was vulnerable to enemy tank & artillery fire. After five days of continuous fighting on [the] front he was offered to be relieved for rest but he refused of [sic] being relieved and said "I do not want to go back, I will shed the last drop of my blood in the defense of my dear homeland." On 10 September 1965, Major Aziz Bhatti was hit by enemy tank shell in the chest while observing [the] enemy move from this elevated place. He was awarded with highest Gallantry [the] award of Nishan-e-Haider on [as a result of his] supreme act of bravery.


Popular culture and extended family[edit]

In 1968, a paintings exhibition was inaugurated in Lahore, Punjab in Pakistan depicting Pakistan's war heroes including the first sketched portrait of Maj. Aziz Bhatti.[19] In 1997, he was the subject of a popular and critically acclaimed biographical war drama telefilm, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, produced by the ISPR and directed by Salim Tahir of the PTV.[7]

It was reported in media that former Pakistan Army's General, Raheel Sharif who was the former Chief of Army Staff and Major Shabbir Sharif, another recipient of Nishan-e-Haider of Pakistan Army, are the nephews of Major Raja Aziz Bhatti.[20]

His grandson Babar Bhatti, a Canada-based businessman, is married to the famous supermodel-turned-actress Iman Ali.[21]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Nishan-e-Haider Recipient
CountryIslamic Republic of Pakistan
Presented byPresident Ayub Khan

(Emblem of the Lion)

1965 War


Sitara-e-Harb 1965 War

(War Star 1965)


Tamgha-e-Jang 1965 War

(War Medal 1965)


Pakistan Tamgha

(Pakistan Medal)



(Republic Commemoration Medal)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Zajda, Joseph; Tsyrlina-Spady, Tatyana; Lovorn, Michael (2016). Globalisation and Historiography of National Leaders: Symbolic Representations in School Textbooks. Springer. p. 250. ISBN 9789402409758. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Major Raja Aziz Bhatti". Nishan-i-Haider recipients. Pakistan Army. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Malik, Imran Ali (2018). "Major Aziz Bhatti)". Moon Glade (PDF) (1st ed.). Rawalpindi, Punj. Pakistan: Inter-Services Public Relations. p. 248. ISBN 9789697632022. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Major Aziz Bhatti: biography in Urdu". www.urdubiography.com (in Urdu). 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Raja Aziz Bhatti". PakistanTimes. 31 March 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Raja Aziz Bhatti". Pakistan Times. 31 March 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Full Movie mp4". www.youtube.com. ISPR Films. 5 September 2016. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  8. ^ Illustrated Weekly of Pakistan. Pakistan Herald Publications. 1969.
  9. ^ Beg, Aziz (1966). Seventeen September Days. Babur and Amer Publications. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  10. ^ a b Cloughley, Brian (2016). A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections (3rd ed.). Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781631440397. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Bajwa, Farooq (2013). From Kutch to Tashkent: The Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. Hurst Publishers. p. 400. ISBN 9781849042307. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  12. ^ Musa, Gen. Mohammed (1983). My version: India-Pakistan war, 1965. Wajid Ali Publishing co. p. 125. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Will shed last drop of blood for homeland: Major Raja Aziz Bhatti's last words | Pakistan | Dunya News". dunyanews.tv. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  14. ^ Nawaz, Shuja (2008). Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within. Oxford University Press. p. 665. ISBN 9780195476606. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  15. ^ a b Ghaznawi, Khalid (1966). Story of Indian Aggressions Against Pakistan. National Book House. p. 328. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Nation remembers Major Aziz Bhatti on 56th martyrdom anniversary". Daily Times. 13 September 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  17. ^ a b "September War & Our Solo Nishan e Haider". 15 October 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  18. ^ Illustrated Weekly of Pakistan. 1966.
  19. ^ From the past pages of Dawn (newspaper): Fifty years ago: War paintings show Dawn (newspaper), Published 24 April 2018, Retrieved 4 November 2018
  20. ^ "Lt. General Raheel Sharif Appointed as Chief of Army Staff". Pakistan Tribune. 27 November 2013. Archived from the original on 28 November 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  21. ^ "Pakistani model and actor Iman Ali ties the knot in Lahore" (22 February 2019), Samaa. Retrieved 25 February 2019.