Wednesday, December 29, 2010



Essential excerpts from an interview conducted by A.H Amin in March 2001 and published in Defence Journal Karachi ,April 2001,Issue.

Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan: His Life and Times

Z.A. Bhutto Notes from the Death Cell

Z.A. Bhutto's rendevous with history

Z.A. Bhutto: The political thinker

Major General Naseer ullah Khan Babar on Pakistani Military and Political History
A.H Amin

In March 2001 I interviewed Major General N.U.K Babar .

Reference to be quoted:--

Interview-Major General N.U.K Babar by A.H Amin,Defence Journal , Karachi , April 2001 Issue

Below are some essential excerpts which are important primary evidence for researchers and scholars.

A.H Amin


There were many teachers who I can mention. There was Father Shanks, Father Moran, Father Louis a Dutchman who later died at Malakwal, Father Mallet, at Burns Hall and Mr Catchpole and Mr E I Connolly, a Battle of Britain fighter pilot, who had already received a DSO and DFC (Bar) at the RIMC.

Impression about Maj Gen Akbar Khan of the 1947-48 War and Pindi conspiracy fame

I saw him as a guest speaker during my cadetship in PMA . He was a very impressive speaker and left a deep impression on all the cadets. He was the only guest speaker who outshone Brigadier Ingall, our Commandant who, otherwise, was an awesome personality and a great orator.
Views on Pindi Conspiracy of 1951

The conspiracy came as a surprise but all of us understood that it was a natural reaction against the abrupt ceasefire in the Kashmir War.
Eminent Gunner Officers

I was commissioned in 4 Field Regiment Artillery in 1950. However, in those days all officers were initially sent to the basic courses. Therefore, I joined my unit after one year of basic courses at Infantry School Quetta and at Artillery School, Nowshera. Major Elmsley, a Britisher was particularly impressive as a gunner officer and a thorough professional. Also, there was Major Faizullah Khattak.

Some of the illustrious officers that 4 Field produced were Brig D.P. O Reilly, G.M. Nazimuddin, Ihsan Ul Haq Malik who was one of the battery commanders in 1950.
The senior officers were most understanding. I remember one incident in which I was a match referee and I ticked off the CO, Colonel Reilly for entering the Hockey field without my permission. O Reilly thus wrote in my ACR "Honest and forthright"! However, he should be more tactful with his seniors."
He not only rated me as "Above Average" but also endorsed an excellent write up. It is to the credit of these senior officers that they acted with great integrity. progressively, This trait began to fade.

In 1960 I attended the Staff College Quetta after which I was posted as Gso-2 (Operations) 7 Division Peshawar. Here I was lucky to serve with two extremely capable officers (Late) Lt Gen Attiq Ur Rahman and (Late) Lt Gen Altaf Qadir.

I would say that Atiq was extremely sharp while Altaf Qadir's most outstanding quality was extreme meticulousness. I must add that it was Altaf Qadir who was the architect of the brilliant plan to launch the 1st Armoured Division, along with 7 Division from Khem Karan.

However, responding to situations rather than keeping to the original war plans, 7 Division less a brigade was moved to Chamb and 25 Brigade to Mirpur. The operation was then taken up by 1 Armoured Division and 11 Division. Another brilliant officer from whom I learnt professionally was Lt Col (later Brigadier) Haq Nawaz of the Baluch Regiment. In fact, my later success in career was due to this officer.

It was unfortunate for us that since Altaf Qadir was not in the good books of Ayub, he was packed off to Cento Turkey from where he voluntarily came back at his own expense once the 1965 war started but was sent back.

Views on  the 1st Armoured Division attack plan

The plan was brilliant in conception. The fault lay in its faulty execution. If properly executed it would have totally thrown the Indians off balance at the strategic level.

It was unfortunate that Altaf Qadir, who conceived the plan was sidelined and sent abroad. Altaf Qadir had visualised that the plan would be executed by the 1st Armoured Division along with the 7 Infantry Division with a Corps Headquarters in overall command.

This did not happen in reality. Ayub and Musa were militarily naive.
They agreed to Finance Minister Shoaib's proposal not to raise an additional infantry division and an additional Corps Headquarters. Then Altaf Qadir had visualised that the infantry division would establish a bridgehead that would extend till line Harike Patti.

But in reality the Armoured Division was launched prematurely thanks to Colonel (later Major General) Ghulam Umar. Also there was no co-ordination as Major Generals Nasir and Hamid were not even on speaking terms.

The initial Indian reaction is well known — Gen Chaudhry having ordered withdrawal beyond Beas. However, it was countermanded by Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh and saved the Indians from total embarrassment.

Furthermore, 7 Division had done considerable recce and identified the Hudiara Drain. The detail on a trace, were sent to 1 Armoured Division — but regrettably, this information was not passed down to the subordinate formations/units and led to certain failure (1 FF)
Inter Arm Rivalries in Pakistan Army

I feel that the fighting arm officers generally did not understand the importance of artillery. They were more interested in singlehandedly winning glory and battle honours and would not involve in fire planning. Considering it too technical I would say it was more a lack of understanding of the immense importance of inter arm cooperation. Particularly notorious in this regard was the 1 Corps in 1971 war. Despite the fact that the three battle winning factors in 1965 war were considered to be Allah, Air and Artillery!

The 1 Corps Commander  (Lieutenant General Bakhtiar Rana) had no understanding of the importance of artillery. The most glaring example of this was the Battle of Barapind that could have been easily won, heavy artillery which was readily available in great bulk had been utilised at all. It has been the tragedy of the Pakistan Army that it has been foisted with infantry officers at the higher levels of command.

How was the 1958 martial law viewed by the young officers

Very few officers were involved in martial law duties. In retrospect I would say that it was the most unfortunate event in
Pakistan's history. Corruption was institutionalised from 1958. Initially senior officers started from buying dinner sets and proceeded in allotment of agricultural land and urban refugee property. Presently, it is in mega millions. It is most ironic that it was initiated by the Ayub martial law.

1965 war as you saw it

I saw 1965 war very closely as a helicopter pilot and had the opportunity to visit all sectors. There were many forgotten heroes of the 1965 war.

Air Vice Marshal Eric Hall was instrumental in forestalling an Indian heavy artillery bombardment on Lahore.

Colonel (later Brig) Amir Jan Colonel Staff 10 Division came to know that the Indians had brought heavy guns very close to the BRB Canal in order to pound Lahore city.

I was the Duty Officer at Dhamial and the PAF C-130, being used as bombers were operating from Dhamial that night. They had been given a target, but when they heard my conversation with the Colonel Staff, they volunteered to take on this target in view of its impact on Lahore (morale).

The Army Commanders were very apprehensive about this idea. They feared that some heavy bombs might fall on the BRB  Canal and damage it. Hall, a thorough professional that he was, convinced me and indirectly the Colonel Staff, who having been there accepted my assurance that the C-130 dropped bombs would not fall on the BRB.

The plan was approved. Hall successfully bombed the Indian heavy artillery poised to pound Lahore with C-130's and the entire regiment was destroyed before even a round had been fired. Another great hero of the war was the Nawab of Kalabagh who ignored the advice of staying away from Lahore. Kalabagh was a great inspiration for the people of Lahore. According to the "Grey Book" he was to move to Thar.

However, he refused to do so and said that his body could be recovered from the debris of the Governor House. Then I saw Major General Naseer of 1st Armoured Division and General Hameed of the 11 Division at Khem Karan. Both the General Officers were supposed to co-operate but were not even on speaking terms with each other! And the battle was being conducted by Major (Late Lt Col) Feroze Alam, then GSO - 2 (I).

Views about  Operation Grand Slam

I would again say that the plan was brilliant in conception. In this case there were no execution faults too since both Akhtar Hussain Malik and Yahya executed it brilliantly. The fault in this case lay with the higher command i.e Ayub and Musa.

They thought that the Indians would come to the bargaining table as soon as we reached the Tawi and occupied Chamb as had happened in Rann of Kutch.

Thus they slowed down the advance on the line of Tawi by ordering change of horses in the midstream. (Change of command) in this did not happen.

Again they ordered Yahya to slow down after Jaurian was reached. This did not happen. Instead, the Indians had by the evening of 1st September, decided to attack across the international borders —indication being that they injected the Air Force in Chamb area.
The design was to offset the losses in Chamb with gains in other areas. While they were clear in their objectives, the calibre of our leadership is evident from the statement of C-in-C General Musa that while sitting in the Ops Room (GHQ) he heard a transmission from Radio Jammu that an attack on Pakistan was imminent (what a source - speaks volumes for our intelligence agencies).

He directed the DMO  to caution the formations. The DMO asked the GSO-3, Captain (later Lt Col) Javed Younus to send a signal to all formations. It would be recalled that in late August all formations had withdrawn to cantonments.

On 6th September when the Indian offensive was launched, there were only the Rangers to confront them. Brig (later Major General) Khudadad Khan, Director Rangers, received the message from his forward troops and then, in his sleeping suit, went around contacting the formation Commanders. It being a Sunday, they were all enjoying late breakfast.

However, the PAF took a heavy toll of the Indians. This attack coupled with suspicions by the Indian command that they were deliberately being lured in (new concept of defence), they slowed down their advance and thus enabled the unit/formations to reach their positions.
Again, they ordered Yahya to slow down after Jaurian was reached. Events by now overtook them with Indians attacking across the international border — resultantly some forces and the Corps Artillery being withdrawn. The opportunity of reaching Akhnur by the 1st/second evening had been frittered away. The logic that Gen Musa advanced was that if one pushed even a dog into a corner, the dog would turn around and bite!
Strange have been the ways of our higher command.

On Brigadier (later Lieutenant General )
Niazi in 1965?

In 1965, A.A.K  Niazi had no appointment and was moving around in Muzaffarabad, when he was appointed Commander 2 ak Sector. From here he was posted to 14 (
PARA) Brigade at Zafarwal (to replace the existing Commander - on the plea that the said officer was from signals!). As a consequence of this, he was promoted Major General and assigned Command of 8 Division at Sialkot.

His antics at Sialkot are only too well-known to deserve repetition.
Additionally, he wasted millions on "Strong Point" defence — the result of a static mind.

He was later promoted to Lt Gen rank and sent to East Pakistan, which proved disastrous because he lacked both moral and professional competence. He repeated his erstwhile "strong point" defence.

The Mukti Bahini and the Indians came around their positions and despite all bravado, he surrendered to the Indians, which no other Commander would have deemed appropriate.

I must also add that on 5th December Gen Niazi donned his pyjamas and entered his bunker and was not to surface until surrender. Additionally, he and his Chief of Staff (Brig Baqir Siddiqi) spent four hours discussing the meal that was to be served to Gen Jacobs, when he came on a visit with the surrender document.
He also failed to order implementation of "Denial Plan", designed to render military equipment unserviceable so that it cannot be used by the enemy. On the contrary, the direction were to clean and polish up all equipment. His moral fibre can be assessed from the fact that he not only received Gen Arora at the Air Field but endeavoured to share dirty Punjabi jokes with him.
Gen Arora to further humiliate him brought along his wife with him for the surrender ceremony at the Paltan Maidan. On return to Pakistan, he had the audacity to ask the then coas, Gen Tikka Khan, to order the establishment of his Corps HQs so as to enable him to compile his report.

On being denied this he yet had the courage to ask that his "formation flag" be placed on his staff car. He was ticked off and suitably reminded that he had not returned as a victor but a vanquished Commander so as to put him in his place.

Did the Pakistan Army learn any lessons from 1965 War

I would say that very few lessons were learnt. The Army was run on personal likes and dislikes. Thus Brigadier Irshad who was one of the principal characters responsible for the intelligence failure as Director Military Intelligence was promoted whereas in terms of justice he should have been retired.  

He was commander 1 Corps in 1971 and with absolutely diasastorous results for Pakistan Army (A.H Amin)

Characters like A.A.K Niazi who had nothing to do with any fighting were awarded Hilal-i-Jurrat for some action which never took place at Zafarwal simply because he was from Ayub Khan's unit.

Thus Niazi was promoted to General rank and we finally saw him in East Pakistan. That is history.

In 1962 while writing A.A.K Niazi's ACR for the year 1960-61 Major General Atiq ur Rahman had written that "This officer had reached his ceiling and should not be promoted to Brigadier rank".

Unfortunately, it was an Army run on personal likes and dislikes. Niazi was from Ayub Khan's unit! Ayub Khan ignored Atiq ur Rahman's report and promoted Niazi to Brigadier rank.

On Pakistans greatest Intelligence Failure of 1965 War in failing to correctly process available information about location of Indian strategic offensive formations

The SSG (commandos) captured a despatch rider of the Indian Army on the Jammu Samba Road on night 3/4 September 65 carrying the mail of the Indian 1st Armoured Division.

This mail bag was taken by Director Aviation Brigadier Mahmud to the DMI Brigadier Irshad who dismissed it as an Indian deception plan! Thus the DMI insisted that the Indian 1st Armoured Division was at Jandiala Guru, East of Amritsar while in reality it was in Samba area right next to our jugular vein in Sialkot sector!

Thus once the Indian 1st Armoured Division attacked us opposite Chawinda on 8th September we were caught off balance. And then kept reacting to situations. The initiative had been lost, thanks to intelligence.

The move of the formation takes 7-10 days, which acts as warning time.
A.H Amin's Note:--Despite this imperial faux pas this officer the DMI Brigadier Irshaad was promoted major general and later as corps commander 1 Corps in 1971 where he was again highly incompetent !

How did the Army Officers view the second Martial Law as Pakistanis?

The situation at that time was highly complex. It turned out to be worse than what anyone could have expected. It turned out to be the precursor to disintegration.
Opinion about General Ayub, Musa and Yahya. How would you compare all three as professionals?

Ayub was not competent but was promoted simply because of the unfortunate crash of General Iftikhar and Sher Khan. About Musa I would say that everyone is aware of his professional capabilities.

Yahya was a thorough professional from Chamb. However, his contact with Rani in this period proved his undoing.

I would add that Lieutenant General Habibullah Khan was relatively speaking a thorough professional but was sidelined since he was perceived as a potential political threat by Ayub.

He repaid Ayub for this by establishing the Gandhara industry. Along with his, Ayub's son, Gohar Ayub and tarnishing his image totally. It can be said that by appointing Musa as C-in-C, he lost the 65 war and by his appointment as Governor West Pakistan he lost his government. Impressions about General Eftikhar as a General and Field Commander

Eftikhar was a thorough professional, an excellent Field Commander and a very brave man who led from the front. It was a great experience fighting the 1971 war with Eftikhar in command.

On the impact of General Eftikhars martyrdom in action on assessment of war performance of brigade commanders under his command

At least five (Brigadiers) Officers would never have been promoted. Similarly other Officers (Brigs) who became full General would have met their Waterloo if the Awan Committee Report had been acted upon or if cases of failure in command had been reported.
On Brigadier  Rahimuddin not joining his 111 Brigade in 1971 War

Basically I was Commander Artillery 23 Division.

On 5 December I was detailed to command 111 Brigade since its original Commander Brigadier Rahimuddin (later full General) did not join his Brigade despite saying before the war that he would do so once war had commenced.

The MS (Military Secretary) Brigadier Nasrullah was not in favour of having an Artillery Officer to command an Infantry Brigade. However, General Eftikhar instructed me to take command of the 111 Brigade which I did till I was injured by enemy shelling on 6 December. It was on this day that I received my second sj coincidentally within 100 yards of where I had received my first SJ in 1965 war.Impressions about operational level leadership in the 1971 war

I would only comment about the 1 Corps area which I saw as a direct participant. The Corps Commander had no operational talent and should not have been promoted after all that he had done in 1965 war. He lost his nerve from the first day of the war. This led to a very serious operational failure. Under the basic concept/plan 17 Division was to be under Command 23 Division for all operations north of
Ravi. 66 Brigade (ex 17 Division) and 17 Division Artillery joined us before the war. Later on getting cold feet General Irshad informed GHQ that he could not guarantee holding of Sialkot and in response to his request 17 Division less Brigade were made available to him and deployed on Maralla-Ravi link. They did not see battle and were wasted. This militated against a decisive breakthrough in Chamb.

I would say that our performance was very poor at operational level in the 1 Corps area in Sialkot Shakargarh area. 1 Corps Commander's unnecessarily exaggerated reports imposed a defensive mindset on the GHQ as a result of which the 6 Armoured Division was not used offensively and the momentum of advance was seriously slowed down. In addition 1 Corps Commander had no understanding of artillery. Corps Artillery HQ was kept at a distance of 10 miles from 1 Corps HQ and Gen Irshad would not even allow the Commander Corps Artillery (Brig Iqbal Malik) to enter the Corps Operations Room. Resultantly there was no co-ordination between the Corps Reserves and Corps Artillery for launching counter attack plans. The situation at Brigade level was no different and resulted in the fiasco at Barapind.

Impressions of Mr Z.A Bhutto

I had seen Mr Bhutto as a Minister in 1958-66 as an Army Major and felt that he had great talents. From 1972 onwards I saw him far more closely as IG FC.

 On  the Balochistan Crisis  of 1974-76

Larkana to Peking: (some travels with Mr Bhutto)

This problem was created through the intrigues of Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, the then Interior Minister. Qayyum was an arch intriguer and wanted to strengthen his party in Balochistan.

Thus the problem in Lasbela was started due to his machinations. Mengal was a patriot who was manoeuvred into a controversial role through Qayyum's intrigues. I may add that the motivation of taking the army to Balochistan was positive. Given the task even the FC  could have done the job as we earlier did in Kakar Khurasan.

Mr Bhutto was a bit impatient since all members of his family had not crossed the 50 year age mark. He wanted to do away with the Sardari System and bring development in Balochistan. Regrettably, the Chief Secretary and the Corps Commander were brothers and this led to a much quicker employment of the Army.
It is on record that Mr Bhutto wanted to withdraw the Army from Balochistan in 1976. The then Army Chief Zia opposed this idea. In addition around the same time Mr Bhutto wanted to wind up the Hyderabad Tribunal. 


This was again opposed by Zia as Army Chief. Ironically Zia did exactly what Mr Bhutto wanted in 1977 rather than 1976. The two subjects were discussed in my presence in November 1976 at Dir. Zia had wanted to use these as excuses pretexts for military take over. He was already in collusion with the opposition.

 On the Pakistani Proxy war in Afghanistan

Mr Bhutto had already seen me as IG FC and was keen to have me in the province as a Governor since the province was a political trouble spot and he wanted to integrate the tribal areas and organise the nascent Afghan resistance, a task, commenced by me in October '73 as IG FC resistance.

We did well. During this period there were a large number of bomb blasts in the NWFP with Ajmal Khattak and Azam Hoti sitting in
Kabul indulging in anti-Pakistan speeches and activity.

In order to convey a message to Sardar Daud that we could play the same game and to assess the training level of the resistance an operation was initiated in Panjsher Valley in August 1975.

In October 1973 while I was serving as IG FC an Afghan named Habibur Rahman (Shaheed) came and contacted me about setting up a resistance movement in Afghanistan with active military assistance of Pakistan. I conveyed the same to Mr Bhutto, who accepted my proposal in view of the changed situation in Afghanistan and asked me to organise training of Afghans.

From 1947 till that date all Afghan governments had generally not been friendly towards Pakistan. They raised the bogey of Pakhtunistan but refrained from acting against us in 1965 and 1971 when at war with India because of the political environment after the Liaquat Bagh meeting.

There were a large number of bomb blasts. Mr Z.A Bhutto was very clear even in 1973 after Daud's coup. An analysis of the regional environment was undertaken, highlighting the break in the Afghan system of continuity; the impending generational change in the leadership in the USSR and China (Chou had died).

The inability of continuity/stability in Iran with removal of Shah of Iran from the scene. Being the last of the party ideologues it looked likely that the USSR leadership may take the opportunity to move once more and invade Afghanistan, a step towards the fulfilment of Peter the Great's will (1777). Thus we established the base of Afghan Mujahideen resistance in 1973.

The SSG  (a team) imparted training in the belief that they were training Frontier Corps personnel (all trainees were enlisted in the Frontier Corps before training) 


We gave them basic infantry weapons, some specialised training in how to conduct guerrilla warfare under an SSG team until it was discontinued 05 July 1977 by Gen Zia, who lacked the strategic vision.

The operation was a total success. The Afghans suffered heavily in men and equipment and Daud sought peace and accepted the Durand Line. He initiated an agreement in mid-1976. However, the formal agreement was not signed in view of Zia's take over. 

ISI role in Afghanistan in the period 1974-77

It was a top secret affair and the ISI had no role. The secret was shared between Mr Bhutto, myself, Aziz Ahmad and the then Army Chief Tikka Khan. This was for obvious reasons. The Foreign Office could with, nonchalance deny if raised at un or any other forum.

The Afghan pioneers  were Ustad Rabbani, Hikmatyar, Ahmad Shah Masood and a host of others who came to Pakistan after October 1973.

On joining the  PPP

I was impressed by Mr Bhutto's progressive policies since 1972. On 27 July 1977 after Martial Law Mr Bhutto personally requested me to join the PPP. I did so out of conviction once Mr Bhutto was out of power.

 Why did Mr Bhutto select Zia as a COAS

There were a number of reasons and these were discussed with me personally by Mr Bhutto, while in detention at Murree. One was the pretended humility and this disarmed Mr Bhutto into the belief that he would pose no threat to the nascent democracy. Secondly, his performance when he invited Mr Bhutto to the centenary celebrations of 11 cavalry at Kharian.

He took pains to ascertain Mr Bhutto's tailor in Karachi (Hamid Khan) and had a Blue Patrols as Colonel-in-Chief of Armoured Corps. On entering the room, Mr Bhutto found a suitcase on his bed and on inquiry was told that it contained the Blue Patrol.

Supreme Court judgement on Begum Nusrat Bhutto's petition challenging detention of Mr. Z.A. Bhutto and others under Martial Law Order 12 of 1977, Lahore, November 10, 1977

The next day, Mr Bhutto was requested to climb a tank and engage a target.

Quite obviously the target was hit. Then was his performance while on deputation in Jordan, where he killed a large number of Palestinians (Black September), Mr Bhutto was led to the belief that if he was so loyal to Jordan, he would be even more loyal to Pakistan. His prime performance came at Multan, where he invited Mr Bhutto as Colonel-in-Chief.

After the function, when Mr Bhutto had barely returned to Mr Sadiq Qureshi's house, when he was informed that General Zia requested to meet him. Mr Bhutto was surprised, having met him in the mess a little earlier. However, he called him into Mr Sadiq Qureshi's study/library.

Gen Zia on entrance went round the Almirah, looking for something and on inquiry he revealed that he was looking for a copy of the Holy Quran. On finding a copy he placed his hand on and addressing Mr Bhutto he said, "You are the saviour of Pakistan and we owe it to you to be totally loyal to you".

Then was the fact that there was little to pick and choose amongst the other aspirants. The only other suitable candidate was General Majeed Malik who was Mr Bhutto's favourite as a sound professional. Unfortunately was involved in the International Hotel Scandal where he was caught with Mustafa Khar.

He was sent as Ambassador to Libya.


Finally, of course was the American angle. They had picked Zia as suitable material at Fort Leavenworth, followed his career progress and possibly lobbied in his favour. They made it known to friends months in advance that he would be appointed COAS.

Zia's obsequeous behaviour made Mr Bhutto think that he was a non-political man. Pakistani democracy was at an infant stage and could not afford an Army Chief with political ambitions. Then there was not much choice. Gen Sharif was considered politically unreliable since he had been very close to Ayub Khan. Jillani had no command experience and was the head of isi. Akbar Khan had not performed well as a GOC 12 Division in Kashmir in 1971 war.

Gen Aftab and AB Awan had no command potential and were not suitable.

How would Mr z.a Bhutto have behaved had he been in power when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan?

Mr Bhutto laid the foundation of the Afghan resistance in 1973.

He had the foresight and vision to do it. As a matter of fact we created the organisational network which was used by Zia and the usa to oppose the Soviets. Zia had a short term vision and ignored the political angle of organising an Afghan government in exile with ulterior aims of gobbling us aid. Had Mr Bhutto been in chair he would not have deliberately neglected the political angle like Zia.

Even Daud was convinced by Mr Bhutto in 1976 and said "Pakistan and Afghanistan are in the same boat. If it is the threat from the North (USSR) it is Afghanistan today and Pakistan tomorrow. If it is the threat from the South (India) it is Pakistan today and Afghanistan tomorrow". You see after 1971 Indian strategists had placed Pakistan and Afghanistan in the same category as the next target.
Mr Bhutto laid the foundation of the Afghan resistance for reasons discussed earlier. However, being a political animal, he also continued with a political alternative/solution. In November 1976, in consultation with the resistance leadership two individuals, namely Wakil Azam Shinwari and Yunus Khugiani were selected to proceed to Rome and request King Zahir to return and as his father had done earlier, to lead a movement into Afghanistan.

The caveat was that Zahir Shah could return as a constitutional monarch under the Constitution drafted by Mr Musa Shafiq, a former Prime Minister and the mentor/founder of the Hizb in Afghanistan. However, Zahir Shah indicated that he was willing to play his role but he would first visit Saadat (Egypt), then visit the Shah of Iran and finally arrive in Pakistan.

Mr Bhutto was confident that King Zahir Shah could act as a rallying point and play his historical role. Events, however, took a different turn and martial law was imposed in Pakistan. The other aspect was the negotiations with Sardar Daud. Even Daud as earlier discussed had accepted the Durand Line in 1976 and wanted peace with Pakistan.

On  Zia's Afghan policy

It was based on sheer opportunism and personal interest. Initially, he lacked the vision and, therefore, suspended financing the movement. This resulted in break-up of movement from one to seven groups — each leader fending for himself. Secondly, when the Soviet invasion took place he did not form a government in exile, which could gain experience during the Jehad and be available when the Geneva talks took place.

Also all the us/Saudi and other assistance would have been routed through institutional organisations (Ministries) rather than individuals and would have prevented heart burning and divisive tendencies.

Finally, he opposed the Geneva talks and visualised only a military solution - the bane of all our subsequent military leadership — Hamid Gul, Beg etc.

We were very deliberate. Every resistance is based on a political centre, a hierarchy, like the DeGaulle government in exile, the Algerian and Yugoslav Government in exile etc. Zia deliberately kept the Afghan Mujahideen divided into various groups in order to ensure that the bulk of the us aid could be embezzled. The future events thus led to the post-1988 civil war in Afghanistan.

On Role of the COAS General Mirza Aslam Beg and the President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in the period 1988-90 in destabilising the PPP Government
Initially Ghulam Ishaq was very grateful to the PPP  for having elected him as the President. After about three months he changed into his true colours and actively started conspiring with the then COAS   General Beg & IJI  to destabilise the PPP government.


They should have no political role as ISI. It is an Inter Services Intelligence agency.


The Taliban was a purely indigenous movement. We came in where we rightly assessed that the Taliban were restoring peace in Afghanistan and our chief interest being that there would be no peace in Pakistan unless there was peace in Afghanistan. Our policy was based on purely humanitarian grounds and the cornerstone being the unity and integrity of Afghanistan. We were not interested in individuals but the well being of the Afghan people.

In September they entered Kabul and in October we commenced negotiations between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. A formal draft was prepared. It was to be finalised on 5 November 1996, because of an important clause (political) was removed by Dr Hulls, the un representative on Afghanistan. On 4 November President Sardar Farooq Leghari dissolved our government.

On Musharrafs Accountability Hoax of 1999-2000

Accountability is a farce. This was well proved once Nawaz Sharif was pardoned. Another test case is that of Qidwai a highly corrupt man who is Pakistan's Ambassador in Kenya and goes around bragging everywhere that it was he who persuaded Mr Nawaz Sharif into appointing Musharraf the Army Chief!

Furthermore important segments like Armed Forces Officers, judges and ulema have been excluded, they are no angels!

On Pakistans Future

Pakistan is here to stay. Despite all failings and setbacks on the whole great progress has been made. The human mind is never satisfied. In 1947 Pakistan had hardly any industry. Since 1947 great progress has been made.

Initially Pakistan suffered great setbacks like the early death of Mr Jinnah, the aircraft crash in which Gen Iftikhar and Sher Khan died, the assassination of the first Prime Minister and selection of Ayub Khan a non-professional soldier with poor/nominal war record and a pathetic performance in the Punjab Boundary Force. While the first Constituent Assembly had delayed Constitution making and elections Ayub actively conspired with the bureaucrats to destabilise democracy.
All these factors greatly retarded progress. But for Pakistan there would have been no Pakistani Presidents, pms, Ministers, Governors or Generals etc. It has been a blessing. Look at the abject poverty and third rate citizenship of Muslims in India.
If there was no opportunity the ilk of Beg, Jamal, Moin or Musharraf would not have come to Pakistan. We are generally an ungrateful people. In retrospect we are much better off in 2001 than in 1947. There is great hope. I have not lost faith in Pakistan's future. I dismiss the assertion that Pakistan is a failed State!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Forgotten Heroes of Suez Canal

Forgotten Heroes of Suez Canal

Compiled and Researched by Major Agha H Amin (Retired)-1999

Sikh Heavy Machine Gunners of 62 Punjabis

62 Punjab defends the Suez Canal against main Turkish attack

Turkish troops attacking Suez Canal

Turkish troops

Friday, December 3, 2010

Selection and Assessment of Commanders in Pakistan Army-Pakistan Army Journal-Citadel-Command and Staff College

Selection and Assessment of Commanders in Pakistan Army-Pakistan Army Journal-Citadel-Command and Staff College

These articles published in military journals of Pakistan Army endeavour to subject the highly defective system of assessment of officers to criticism despite strict censorship.

One must add that some discussion became possible in the army only after 1988 when General M.A Baig took over .

In the Zia era , with intellectual honesty buried and hypocrisy and sycophancy being hallmark of the army for 12 long years (1976-88) this was impossible.

After 1998 once Brigadier Riaz took over as DG ISPR the situation improved.

Three editors of Pakistan Army Journal were outstanding , all in succession , i.e Colonel I.D Hassan (a chronic bachelor and very cereberal and well read) , Lieutenant Colonel Syed Ishfaq Naqvi (outstanding) and Lieutenant Colonel Syed Jawaid Ahmad (soft spoken but bold as far as publishing articles and extremely knowledgeable).

In the command and staff college there was Lieutenant Colonel Ashraf Saleem (later lieutenant general) , Lieutenant Colonel Tariq Khan (now lieutenant general) and Lieutenant Colonel Ahsan Mahmood (now major general) , all three were well read and had a high intellectual calibre particularly Tariq Khan.

After these three the pedants came and pedants and the conformists off course are in preponderance !

I would say the assessments that I made in faulty and fallacious assessment of military commanders continue !

If Tariq Khan became a three star it was a triumph of destiny over a thoroughly rotten system !

But then we must remember that Moses survived in Pharohs palace and finally overcame the Pharoah !

This unfortunate country Pakistan needs a Moses , a man who purges this rotten country !

If not , then I dont have the least doubt that Pakistan will be destroyed ! It will cease to exist as a country ! This is my conviction !

This country Pakistan has no soft solutions !

If Pakistan has to survive it will have to go through night and blood ! And the blood of the elite !


On the first page a question is raised " if selection and assessment system in an army is realistic" .
There was a big question mark in 1991 when I wrote this , it remained when I retired in December 1993 because the army then was run on whims and likes and dislikes and no one bothered how good an officer was in real command and intellectual ability ! I fear that the large gaps and question marks remain to date ? The very Kargil operation proves that an overambitious man with myopic strategic vision like Musharraf can rise to the highest ranks ,shamelessly abandons bodies of soldiers and then proclaim Kargil as his greatest success ! One could see an ambitious man in him in 1993 , who was obsessed with self projection ! I had asked Lieuenant Colonel Ashraf (then CO 46 Field and my platoon commander in PMA , also GSO 1 , 14 Division what he thought of Musharraf his brother gunner officer .Ashraf an outstandingly honest and straight man hailing from Kalar Saidan near Pindi stated " what can you make of a man who uses generator  of his locating unit for his house "

No one in kargil had the courage to point out that the operation was a wild gamble ! Brigadier Simon confided that that General Tauqir Zia was against it but then Tauqir Zia never gave his dissent ?


A real soldier in the peacteime environment of jee hazoori and yes man ship hardly has any chance of being promoted ! True in 1992 when I wrote this and true today ! Can Pakistan afford this ?




Wednesday, December 1, 2010

But he had a beautiful wife too

Connecting history while staying above narrow ideological or ethnic divisions and assessing todays events

Agha H Amin
Citizen of wilderness and stateless man