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Pakistan's Desert Rangers


Brian Wolfe
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The Desert Rangers

Several years ago I purchased several Sitara-i-Harb 1965 known as the combat star for the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. These were all named, as most of the 1965 stars are, and the regiment noted on the reverse was simply given as D.R. After doing as much searching as I could for the meaning of D.R. I contacted the members of another forum I belonged to at the time for assistance. There were some suggestions such as Dogra Regiment but these were all eliminated by other members leaving me no further along in discovering the regiments name. I suppose that is not a fair statement as in any research the elimination of possibilities can be an important part of the process and I do not want to diminish those members efforts, which were appreciated.

Not too long ago one of our fellow members and a long time friend, Ehjaz, made it possible for me to purchase a two medal Pakistan group consisting of the Sitara-i-Hard 1965 and accompanying Tamgha-i-Jang 1965 (the 1965 War Medal). The star was named to a member of the D.R. While the pair was a welcomed addition the best part was that Ehjaz had also answered my long standing question as to what D.R. stood for.

Pakistans Desert Rangers

In 1958 the West Pakistan Rangers (WPR) was formed. This group comprised of,

. Sutlej Rangers (Punjab Border Police) HQ: Lahore

. Desert Rangers (Bahawalpur Border Police) HQ: Bahawalpur

. Indus Rangers (Kharipur Military Police and Sindh Border Police) HQ:

Hyderabad

The WPR was changed to the Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) in 1972.

According to the Pakistan Army web page the roles of the Pakistan Ranger (Punjab) are as follows.

. Protection of persons and proper tint he border areas.

. Apprehension of persons unlawfully entering into Pakistan or going out of Pakistan territory.

. Prevention of smuggling.

. Provision of assistance to police to detect and prevent crime in the border area.

. Reinforcing police for the maintenance of law and order, primarily in the border area.

. Collection of intelligence and provision of early warning about smugglers movements /enemy concentrations.

. Be under command of the Army during war/escalation.

According to the web site the major responsibilities assigned to the Pakistan Ranger (Punjab) is to prevent smuggling. Gold, narcotics and drugs are smuggled from Pakistan and liquor and acetic anhydride are smuggled into Pakistan from India.

[Acetic anhydride is used in the synthesis of heroin by the diacetylation of morphine.]

The Rangers fought shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistan Army in the past two wars [against India in 1965 and 1971].

The Rangers suffered 168 dead and 66 wounded in the 1965 War and in 1971 causalities were 65 with 10 wounded.

Regards

Brian

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