Thursday, May 31, 2012

Missile Shield To Middle East Mayhem: U.S. Planning Broad Conflict?

May 31, 2012

Is US preparing for broad Middle East conflict?


Today, it does not seem too far-fetched to suggest that Barack Obama was foisted upon the world stage to rebrand America's foreign policy, which had lost most of its credibility and legitimacy under Bush. Ironically, however, with the benefit of hindsight, Obama has turned out to be far more dangerous than his reckless predecessor.

America's hyperactive impetuousness when it comes to getting its military invested around the world, combined with its determination to build a European missile defense shield, lends itself to the theory that something sinister is afoot.

Reminiscent of the US attack on Iraq in 2003, America seems to be gearing up for a military move on Syria...

[W]hen the Middle East situation is viewed according to the sum of its parts, which include the US missile defense shield over the fence from Russia's backyard, it looks as if the US, Israel and NATO may be pushing hard for a broad military offensive in the Middle East.


Does US intransigence on European missile defense, increasing chaos in Syria and a lack of progress in resolving the Iranian standoff point to the eventual outbreak of full-blown violence across the Middle East?

­But first, before jumping headlong into the Middle East, a little background from Russia's perspective is required.

With the arrival of Barack Obama to the White House four years ago, many in Moscow genuinely believed there would be a normalization of relations between the two former Cold War opponents. There is no crime in dreaming, right?

After all, George W. Bush's almost-eight-year "War on Terror" kept Russia, as well as the entire world, in constant suspense as to what kind of stunt Washington would pull next. They were rarely disappointed. Not only did the Bush administration walk away from the 40-year-old ABM Treaty with Russia, it announced the creation of a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Shortly after Obama was elected president, he announced that he had "shelved" the Bush plan for missile defense. Suddenly, the clouds in the Russian-US relationship were dispelled, but briefly. Then it was announced that the US would build a sea-based version instead; Moscow was duly informed that it need not apply to participate in the project. Now, Russian generals are sounding the alarm that the system – still in its earliest stages – may eventually compromise the nation's nuclear deterrent.

Today, it does not seem too far-fetched to suggest that Barack Obama was foisted upon the world stage to rebrand America's foreign policy, which had lost most of its credibility and legitimacy under Bush. Ironically, however, with the benefit of hindsight, Obama has turned out to be far more dangerous than his reckless predecessor.

Let's face it, nobody had any false expectations about Bush; he was, as they say, the real deal. Obama, on the other hand, was marketed as the very embodiment of change. The marketing campaign was a huge success, and America's first black president even went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize while US troops were hunkered down on two fronts.

Fast forward to 2012: Obama has failed to see through a single campaign promise in the realm of foreign affairs. The Guantanamo Bay detention facility remains open for business, drone missile attacks are killing at a deadlier rate than under Bush, while even the simple promise of "sitting down and talking with America's enemies" has failed to materialize.

Although the Iraq War was declared finished last year, tensions remain high across the Middle East where US naval forces are on high alert.

Meanwhile, to all intents and purposes, the fabled reset with Russia appears to be on life support. US and Russian leaders still go through the diplomatic motions, but Washington is behaving as if it does not want a serious, fully-fledged relationship with Moscow. Little surprise, then, that so many observers in Moscow are speculating that the "reset" was nothing more than a stage-managed event designed to make Russia believe that Washington was serious about a partnership. As the missile defense system gets bolted down in former Warsaw Pact real estate, Washington refuses to provide any sort of legal guarantees.

The United States will never give legally binding guarantees that its missile defense system is not aimed against Russia, said Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, former head of the Fourth Central Research Institute of the Russian Defense Ministry.

"The question of creating the European missile defense system at any stage, be it the first one or fourth, lies in the sphere of political differences," the expert said. "The Americans and NATO will never provide legally-binding guarantees that the US missile defense system is not aimed against Russia, including the technical specifications of counter missiles, because that would slow down the development of their missile defense system."
From missile defense to Middle East mayhem

America's hyperactive impetuousness when it comes to getting its military invested around the world, combined with its determination to build a European missile defense shield, lends itself to the theory that something sinister is afoot.

Reminiscent of the US attack on Iraq in 2003, America seems to be gearing up for a military move on Syria, especially after reports of a massacre in Houla, where 108 civilians, many of them women and children, were murdered. Undeniably, the event was horrific in its sheer brutality, but the question has yet to be answered: who were the killers? The Syrian government blames "professional terrorists" for the massacre. But as was the case prior to the "preemptive strike" on Iraq, the US does not seem interested in hearing both sides of the story in Syria.

"Those who triggered this and ignited this massacre were seeking to ignite a confessional and sectarian confrontation between the populations in that area," Bashar Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters following a meeting of the Security Council. "So, those who did it are professional criminals, professional terrorists."

According to Jaafari, these "terrorists" seek to "instigate a sectarian confrontation in the area," which could lead to developments "more dangerous than what you have seen so far." The goal of these individuals, he said, is to undermine a peace plan set forth by special envoy Kofi Annan.

Iran's Press TV conducted an interview with Syed Ali Wasif, from the Society for International Reforms and Research. Wasif argued it was unlikely that Syrian forces would attack innocent civilians in a region that has shown strong support for the government.

"This was a premeditated, pre-orchestrated component of NATO foreign policy…with regard to this premeditated action and this murder, killing a hundred people there," Wasif argued. "How could the Syrian government kill its own people when [those killed in the massacre] represent the Alawites…and all other pro-Syrian people?"

Meanwhile, Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, spoke of "consequences" for Syria for failing to live up to its commitments, even before the identity of the killers could be established.

"The Syrian government has made commitments. It's blatantly violated those commitments, and, I think it's quite clear, as we have said for many weeks if they continue to do so there should be consequences," Rice said, without offering any advice on how Syria should move forward while terrorists are sabotaging the process. Rice's comments suggest that the United States is selectively viewing the turmoil in Syria from the perspective of the opposition forces, which amounts to taking sides with their objectives.

America's behavior seems inconsistent with that of an impartial, objective observer; it is behaving like a third party to the turmoil with a lot to gain should the Syrian government fall. Instead of waiting for an official investigation to determine the identity of the culprits in the Houla massacre, the US is instigating the situation by tossing rhetorical grenades, needlessly provoking the situation. After all, there are many actors in the region who stand to gain in the event that Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad is removed from power. Israel, a strong ally of the United States, would certainly benefit from such a scenario. Presently, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks to be on a collision course with Iran over the latter's nuclear program. Tehran says it is developing a nuclear energy program for its civilian sector, but Israel and the United States suspect the Islamic Republic of attempting to build a nuclear

In the event that Israel decides to go to war with Iran, there is the strong possibility that Syria will come to the aid of the Iranians one way or another. A war with Syria now, with the assistance of the United States, would dramatically reduce such a possibility and protect Israel's flank in the event of war.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense Minister, expressed his opinion on military involvement in Syria just this week.

"The events in Syria mean the world must take action, not only by talking, but by acting," Barak, said on Thursday. "These are crimes against humanity, and it is impossible that the international community stand aloof."

Ali Laridjani, speaker of the Iranian parliament, warned that an attack on Syria would have dire consequences that would most likely extend to the "Zionist regime."

"US military officials probably have a poor understanding of themselves and regional issues because Syria is in no way similar to Libya, and [the effects of] creating another Benghazi in Syria would spread to Palestine, and ash rising from the flames would definitely envelop the Zionist regime," Laridjani stated.

"It seems that the United States and the West are seeking to pave the way for a new crisis," the Iranian official added.

In conclusion, when the Middle East situation is viewed according to the sum of its parts, which include the US missile defense shield over the fence from Russia's backyard, it looks as if the US, Israel and NATO may be pushing hard for a broad military offensive in the Middle East. After all, in the event of a war in Iran, for example, there is no telling what the results will be.

There is a high possibility of not only Syria, but also Hezbollah in Lebanon getting involved, not to mention the Palestinians. Although it would be impossible to predict the domino effect that would follow in the event of such an altercation in the already troubled Middle East, it may go far at explaining Uncle Sam's tremendous obsession with installing a missile defense system in Europe.

Why the United States, in direct opposition to the spirit of the much-trumpeted "reset", does not want to enlist Russia's valuable assistance in such an ambitious project, however, is an altogether different question that Russia is certainly pondering. Meanwhile, the Russia-US reset wobbles on.




Mans Role in History-Excerpts

Stray Reflections on Geopolitics and History Writing


This is not exactly an article but an attempt to analyse certain current geopolitical and current affairs issues. Many of these are discussed in various articles published in this journal. It is felt with a certain amount of conviction that there are certain psychological hang ups, which in my humble opinion have contributed, a great deal in adding fuel to fire in the Indo-Pak Sub Continent. We mortals are frail creatures vis-a-vis the current of history which we attempt to approach and understand and analyse in our own particular ways. In the process we mostly become subjective and passionate. Long ago the great psychologist Freud had concluded that majority of men are irrational and make most of their decisions on irrational basis! The role of those who write is thus to rise above their impulses and to write something to infuse some rationality in at least a certain segment of mankind!

One typical but vulgar approach in writing articles is to condemn any one particular state, without bothering to analyse the various factors that led a state to a certain point where its actions conflicted with another state or resulted in violation of human rights.  I feel with considerable conviction that history is largely a record of crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind as the great historian Gibbon said and above all is merely the story of manipulation of the many, the populace, by the few, the leaders or the dominant smaller classes, in the name of high sounding slogans like ideology, nationalism etc!

The Nature of Human Aggression

Human nature is essentially same, man can fight or kill for anything and any idea whether based on ideology, nationalism or class, it can divide people of the same race, even the same religion and even of the same family. The ulterior motivation is always personal or class interest disguised in the garb of high sounding slogans! I want to give certain concrete historical examples to prove this harmless assertion.

Take Spain of 1930s. One race, one country, one religion, and one sect. The struggle is between the feudal-clergy-military junta and the republicans asking for more equitable distribution of resources! No Two-Nation Theory but the Spaniards fight savagely for three years! Mind you there were no fighting in the Indian Freedom Struggle, as we like to call it, although the transfer of power was more the result of war exhaustion brought upon the British Empire as a result of two world wars! The result of the fighting between the Republicans and Monarchists under Franco1, 600,000 Spaniards were killed! In the Russians Civil War fought from 1917 to 1922 the casualties; killed only, were 1 crore or ten million!2 Russian killed Russians simply because one was from Denikin Kolchak or Yudenich's White Army and another from Trotsky or Lenin's Red Army! Even a Menshevik Communist killed another Russian simply because the other man was a Bolshevik Communist! The Chinese Civil War lasting from 1911 with uneven intervals till 1949 was equally brutal with Chinese killing Chinese in the name of an ideology conceived by a German of Jewish ancestry to liberate the workers of the world! The Britishers were horrified with the brutal pillage and destruction of Muslim Rohailkhand3 following conquest of Hindustani Pathan Muslim Rohailkhand by Shia Muslim of Oudh through hiring a British-Indian Brigade of the Honourable English East India Company!

What is the lesson! That man can fight for anything, not because two nations are different or war is inevitable between them or because Pakistan or India was inevitable; but simply because "Aggression" is ingrained in the human character! It is justified in the name of class war, war between two nations, a football riot or wars of successions between real brothers! The issue is never ideology but a piece of land that was lost by folly of one king or a flawed constitutional arrangement or a broken treaty concluded 100 years before. In the background is either class interest or ego of a leader or intrigue by a third party for its own interest!  It's a subtle combination of "Ideology" "Ethnicity" "Opportunism" and "Substance" that this scribe in his humble capacity has discussed in some detail in a small book written a year ago. Journalists make their living or channel their urges for aggression by writing militaristic and jingoistic sabre rattling articles about such issues, as is the case in Indo-Pak or any conflict dominated region! Leaders talk about these issues frequently as Indian and Pakistani leaders do to galvanise their electorate, so that their mind remains distracted from the core issues of class exploitation economic disparity and exploitation!

Take the Indo Pak Subcontinent. The two states of Pakistan and India were created because a third party i.e. the Britishers who were neither Muslim nor Hindu conquered India. Communalism based on religion emerged as a factor, emerged only after 1857 when the Hindu middle classes and business classes saw in introduction of Western Democracy and Competitive examinations, an opportunity to grab power without fighting a battle. It all started from the three coastal cities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras with the highest number of educated Indians dominated above all by the Bengali Hindus who were the first to enjoy the fruits of Western Education by virtue of being colonised by the British before all other parts of India! I will quote some statistics to reveal the Bengali Hindu dominance in education over all other parts of India. From 1864 to 1885, the reader may note that this was Bengali Hindu dominance vis-a-vis other provinces which had similar Hindu majorities; thus the dominance was more provincial and ethnic than religious! From 1864 to 1885, 2,153 Indians from Bengal Province (Bengal Bihar and Orissa) passed the B.A examination as compared to 272 from NWP and Oudh (Modern UP), while only 107 candidates from Punjab (which at that time had two large non-Punjabi enclaves in the Trans Indus territories and the Hariana Districts) passed B.A.4 The Bengalis took the lead and were viewed as a threat by the UP elite both Hindu and Muslim in the 1880s! In 1886 Pandit Ajudia Nath a leading UP Hindu made a statement before the Public Service Commission against recruitment to government posts by competitive examination since the learned Pandit felt that UP men were backward in English education compared with maritime province (i.e. Bombay, Madras and Bengal). Candidates could stand little chance in open competition against the maritime province candidates.5 As education advanced in UP the Hindus of other provinces came closer. Being the larger community and more dominant in terms of education, business assets and representation in the professional and civil servant classes. The Indian Hindus were in a position of strategic advantage to dominate post British politics of India after the British withdrew from India! Even this was a class affair since the Hindus who dominated the Congress were from Brahmin and Kayasth classes while the older Hindu dominant classes i.e. the Rajputs, Jats and Marathas were now relegated to the background by virtue of being less educated and financially insolvent or bankrupt!6 The Muslim League founded in 1906 was on the other hand a Muslim feudal dominated party with its base in UP till at least 1937! In 1937 Nehru foolishly antagonised the UP Muslims who dominated the Muslim League by not offering them any seat unless they left the Muslim League! It was just a question of two seats in the UP Cabinet over which the Hindustani Muslims decided to stand behind Jinnah. Pure Punjabi intellectuals like S.M. Ikram have admitted that Muslim separatism had its origin in the Muslim minority provinces, and that too primarily U.P. Francis Robinson has made a remarkable study of the UP Muslims and has proved, with conctrete facts and figures that it was while defending a position of strength, during the periood 1860-1923 which was threatened by introduction of local; government and the competitive examinations that the UP Muslims decided to opt for separatism, which became the basis of Pakistan Movement! The point is that all these political developments were more related to individual leaders and class interests than ideology as is propagated in India and Pakistan. Mr Jinnah broke away from Congress not over Hindu Muslim issue but over use of violence as a policy to evict the British from India! As late as 1937 Mr Jinnah described Punjab, which became the cornerstone of Pakistan in 1946 as a hopeless place, which he shall never again visit!7

Pakistan was created in 1947. It is thought provoking to note that only 10 % of the population of India was eligible to vote in the 1935 Elections and out of these less than half did not vote8 The situation was not much different in 1947! Muslim separatism which finally led to the division of India in 1947 was not something inevitable since 711 A.D but was a tactical response of the Indian Muslim middle and higher classes to fear of Hindu Brahmin and Kayasth class domination. A valid response but one, which required great vision which was sadly lacking! Once religion was misused to exploit the East wing, Bangladesh was created. Bangladesh has survived, a fact that disproves the pre 1947 Congress assertion that India cannot be divided into smaller states and the post 1947 Pakistani assertion that mere religion is a panacea for all problems!

Kashmir Issue

Now coming to Kashmir, the subject of some 60% articles of many Indo-Pak military, historical and geopolitical journals. The issue in Kashmir is simple. An insurgency in order to succeed must either be backed by armed intervention by the neighbouring state or by massive financial or military aid from outside. The former was the case in Bangladesh in 1971 when the Bengalis got their country because of Indian military intervention! Or it was Kuwait in 1991, which owed its re-birth to US military intervention! The latter happened in Afghanistan or Vietnam with massive US or Soviet/Chinese aid to guerilla forces, or in Spain in 1936-37 with massive German aid to Franco. Now lets look at the failures. The Poles revolt heroically against Russia in 1830 and 1863 but are crushed since no foreign power intervenes or exerts real diplomatic pressure on their behalf! They are overrun in 1939 and are again liberated in 1945 by the Red Army. Now what do we have in Kashmir? We do not have the military potential to intervene and no massive aid like Afghanistan from 1979 to 1988. The Kashmiris are dying, they are fighting heroically, but how do we suppose that Indians will leave without an all out war which our leaders do not have the resolution as proved by Nawaz's irresolution in the Blair House 'Bachao Bachao' rush of June 1999! We don't have any massive finances to back the Kashmiri guerillas! What's the solution! Wait like the Germans from 1945 to 1988 or to let the Kashmiris die like the Poles! Or fight a war, a suicidal war, but that is not in our culture! So Hara Kiri or Kami Kazi attacks are out! What is left is rhetoric! Kashmir Committees!

The employment of the Jehadis voluntarily or deliberate is an interesting phenomenon of the Kashmir situation. Many of these are men  who would be as  happy to kill a Shia as a Hindu! A saying of a Britisher said about a Bannu Tribal Pathan lashkar brought to loot and kill Muslims of Lucknow and Oudh in 1857-58 fits well with these extremists i.e. "whether these blood thirsty brigands kill a rebel Hindustani Indian or are killed is equally beneficial for the British Empire, for in the Trans Indus Frontier one tribal Pathan less will make our task easier and one Indian rebel Sepoy killed in Lucknow will make our task in the Ghadar easier"!

The problem is that mere "Eeman" as some would call or fanaticism as some others may call it is not a tailor made formula to solve all military or political issues! There were Ghazis in 1857 who would charge British positions with the firm conviction to kill or get killed! They were brave men but the British managed to win and Ghazis despite all their devotion failed to carry the day! Some people in our top decision making echelons mistakenly thought in the 1980s that guerrilla war or low intensity operations as presently being waged in Kashmir could solve all our military and political problems!

Guerrilla warfare as perfected by Sivaji, the father of modern guerrilla warfare was a savage and protracted affair and it took about eighty years to succeed even at that time! A rudimentary glance at guerrilla warfare's history proves that guerrilla warfare is a story of successes as well as failures. A Guerrilla war in order to succeed must be fought in an environment in which both internal, local and international conditions favour it. Imam Shamyl who led the Daghestanis war of resistance against the Russian Czars was one of the most charismatic and brilliant leaders in the history of guerrilla war. Yet Shamyl failed and finally died as a prisoner under house arrest in European Russia. The international conditions did not favour Shamyl's war and the great man despite all the valour and advantages of adverse terrain failed! Almost during the same time the Greeks were successful in attaining independence since West European powers specially Britain actively helped them. Around the same time, the Armenians, another Christian people failed to attain independence since no external power favoured their cause! Sandino of Nicaragua was a great guerrilla leader of Central American history! He eluded the US Marines who hopelessly tried for a long time to militarily defeat him but was finally treacherously killed by the Somozas. Nicaragua had to wait for many more decades to evict the Somoza dynasty till the late 1970s. Local conditions favoured guerrilla warfare but international conditions were against it and USA was bent at all cost to defeat any radical movement in Central America. Cuba with the particular Cold war tension of the late fifties and early sixties was the only guerrilla success story in South and Central America. The Basmachis also failed for similar reasons to defeat the USSR in Central Asia in the 1920s and 1930s. Biafara was yet another failure of a secessionist movement. The worst story of failure of guerrilla warfare can be found in Kurdistan where the brave Kurds despite being morally right, ethnically homogeneous and terrain wise well placed have failed to create an independent Kurdistan. Local conditions favour them but international conditions by virtue of being divided into three different countries as well as lack of open superpower support has so far doomed their struggle. I do not think there is any braver race in the Middle East than this warrior race that produced a Saladin! But all the valour and sacrifice of many decades has so far not brought them any success! Balochistan is yet another failure story of guerrilla warfare. Local conditions favoured the guerrillas in Balochistan in the 1970s but international conditions were against them and those indomitable men who were superior in minor tactics than any Afghan Mujahideen group failed in the final reckoning! They failed not because they lacked valour or because of tactical incompetence but simply because they did not get a billion dollar aid package from a super power and all important neighbouring countries did not actively help them! Malaya is yet another example of failure. Distance from Mainland China, ethnic composition of the local population and international involvement doomed the cause of the extremely brave, motivated and tactically sound, Chinese Communist guerrilla warriors of Malaysia. Che Guevera an extremely charismatic and brilliant guerrilla leader is yet another example of failure in guerrilla wars. Che drew wrong conclusions from the successes of the Cuban revolution and paid it with his life while trying to bring a similar revolution in Bolivia through guerrilla war! The ethnic logistic as well as internal conditions of Bolivia were different from Cuba and did not favour guerrilla warfare. The population was largely Mestizo (Red Indian/European mixed) and was far more conservative than Cuba. Distance from main external base country was so great that logistically it was difficult to support Che's brilliant war from outside.

Now compare figures like Che Guevera, Shamyl, Barzani with pedantic officers in charge of guerrilla operations in Third World countries! These are the officers working in the agencies dealing with guerrilla forces fighting a war of secession in neighbouring countries!  What is their intellectual calibre or what is their motivation! Does an army's best lot serve in the Intelligence agencies which at least in the Third World perform most despicable task of petty spying rather than any grand strategic intelligence work! Can these pedants succeed where Che, Shamyl and many extremely brilliant motivated and brave leaders failed. The organisation dealing with the so-called Kashmiri Jihad is more illustrious for so scientifically rigging elections that the first Nobel Prize for rigging elections without being caught can be awarded to it. This organisation has a history of doing everything including personal fortune enhancement, selling Stingers, and sleeping all the time when the Indians infiltrated 35 miles inside Siachen glacier! In short doing everything except its actual intelligence job!

Back in the 1980s we in Pakistan drew the wrong conclusions from the Afghan Guerrilla war! It was mistaken as the success of Islam over Godless communism! In reality it was the success of a multi- billion dollar CIA sponsored war over the army of a country which was hardly communist but was run by third generation bureaucrats who had survived all the Soviet purges of 1920s and 1930s in which all real communists were killed by Stalin! The first blunder that resulted from false conclusions was our backing of Sikhs! The Sikhs fought well and local conditions favoured their cause but Pakistan did not have the military potential to deliver the final coup de grace and transform the Sikh guerrillas into creators of a new Sikh Desh as was India able to do with a physical invasion of East Pakistan in 1971!.  In the process the flower of Sikh youth died although they were relatively far braver than the Afghans were without CIA Stingers, or without the relative security of the high mountains of Afghanistan! A whole generation was destroyed for no purpose and simply because someone in an intelligence agency thought that lessons of Afghanistan could be applied in Indian Punjab. Resultantly and most mysteriously around the same time as the Indians came close to crushing the Sikhs another kind of political semi-secessionist and ethnic movement emerged in urban Sindh in the shape of MQM

To come back to the main discussion i.e Kashmir. Kashmir is not Afghanistan by any definition. The growth of militancy in Kashmir is the result of a complicated series of historical processes. It is not simply a case of Islam versus Hinduism but a case of a history of disillusionment of a particular ethnic-religious group with a central government which increasingly infringed over provincial autonomy to a point where a conflict situation was created where the Kashmiris perceived that their ethnic as well as religious survival was at stake unless they struck back! This was largely a result of the Indira Gandhi era when India was transformed from a relatively secular progressive state into a pseudo secular but essentially Hindu Chauvinistic state with a most negative tendency to destroy provincial autonomy. The Kashmir struggle in this sense has a very close similarity with the East Pakistani struggle against West Pakistani domination, the only difference being that the Bengalis were Muslims by pure chance and the Kashmiris are Muslims by pure chance! We must remember that the same Kashmiri Muslims betrayed thousands of infiltrators from Pakistan to the Indian Army in 1965! A subtle difference has to be recognised at this point of discussion! The same Kashmiri Muslim in 1965 viewed India or to be more specific India's Federal Government differently! The difference between 1965 and 1999 or 2000 is not about Kashmiris being good or bad Muslims but a radical transformation in Kashmiri Muslim perceptions about India's Hindu identity! The conflict is essentially between centrifugal tendencies in an ethnically and religiously divergent province made further intense by religious differences! But then we must remember that a similarly savage war between ethnically different but religiously same West and East Pakistanis in 1971! We must not forget that the Kashmiris war with India did not start over independence but over the Indian Federal Governments infringements on Kashmir's special status relatively slowly from the 1950s and markedly speedily since the 1984 elections! The situation became more radical following the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan since many extremist religious groups of Pakistani Pathan or Afghan origin diverted their energy towards Kashmir! Many people in the highest echelons of Pakistani decision-makers thought that Kashmir could be another Afghan Jihad!

The Kashmir situation unfortunately is very different from that of Afghanistan. The war being fought there may be outwardly or symbolically a war of Islam with Hinduism! In reality the issue is far graver for both the successor states of the post-1947 partition of British India i.e India and Pakistan!  Kashmir is an ironic Catch 22 situation for both the states, which some political scientists have termed as 'failed states'. The core issue till 1947 was the controversy whether religion is the basis of a nation or is geographic compactness, economic viability requirements of external Defence and abstract ideas like democracy and secularism more important! The result was a compromise, India being divided as Muslim and Hindu India, while in reality Muslims were divided into Muslim majority Pakistan and India with a huge Muslim minority. 

The populace of Indo-Pak had voted for the Congress and the League motivated by vague hopes, unrealistic expectations and impractical ideals! Secular or supposedly secular Bharat did not bring prosperity for millions of Indians whether Hindu or Muslim! The class that did the best was the middle class, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh that had most shamelessly collaborated with the British and had little to do with any tangible or concrete anti-British actions! The new rulers of Indo-Pak were little different from the oppressive Aurangzeb or the Colonial British. A non-Muslim Government at Delhi did not save the Indian Sikhs from or the brave Nagas or Mizos from persecution. This was despite the fact that all of these groups were not Muslim by any definition! Similarly a pure Muslim government in Pakistan did not save the Pakistani Muslim, Baloch or Bengalis from genocide, discrimination and persecution! The Baloch or Bengalis soon discovered that their new masters were far worse than Outram Sandeman, Jacob or even Clive and Warren Hastings! Ironically the partition of India was justified with the constitutional rationale that "if India was not divided the Hindus would use a Hindu controlled and dominated army to discipline Muslim provinces! But the Baloch and Bengalis discovered that the Butcher of Balochistan or Bengal Tikka Khan was not a Hindu but a Muslim! Similarly the Sikh Kabba i.e the Golden Temple was not desecrated by a Muslim Army but by a Hindu army of a supposedly Secular Socialistic country!

In this respect thus both the countries were partial failures. The partition was logically a neat solution but future developments proved that things were not as simple as both Mr Nehru and Jinnah could have imagined in the wildest of their dreams! The course which future history as we have briefly discussed took proved that both great leader premises were fallacious! The separation of East Pakistan in 1971 and the resultant creation of Bangladesh proved that mere religion was no panacea for all political problems! That religion was an important aspect of man's life but was not an absolute basis for nationhood! Bangladesh further proved wrong the pre-1947 Congress assertion that India's provinces could not survive as smaller states!

In Kashmir the issue is once again at stake! Ironically Kashmir is a vindication of the "Smaller State Theory" just like Bangladesh rather than a proof of Islamic identity as we in Pakistan are inclined to believe! Kashmir is no Afghanistan, which was an unproductive country far away from the Great Russian heartland! It has been a province of the Indian Union for half a century just like Sindh or Balochistan are provinces of Pakistan! It's not an uninhabited desert like Sinai or something like Algeria with many hundred miles of sea in between France and Algeria! How on earth do we expect that the Indians would withdraw from Kashmir without a major war or a multi-billion dollar logistically backed hi-tech guerrilla war like Afghanistan!

The pedants who make our strategic decisions fallaciously imagined that Kashmir could be yet another Afghanistan! The men in charge of overseeing the guerrilla war are not having a fraction of Mao's or Lawrence's or Che's acumen, nor any of Ho Chi Min's ideological conviction! They are the ones who act once their personal interests whether that of a politician or that of a serving officer are threatened; but never in cases when national pride is at stake or the country is forced into a humiliating political retreat. The most convincing proof of this assertion is the Kargil Crisis when the army should have removed Nawaz Sharif! The action of 12th October albeit necessary and decisive was taken once personal careers were under danger of termination and the situation was that of a clash of personalities rather than a clash of ideas! So much for the strength of conviction of our leaders, civil or military! I am tempted to agree to the adage that the danger is not that a particular  class is unfit to govern but that every class is unfit to govern! At least in the Indo-Pak subcontinent where one thousand years of subjugation has destroyed the leadership qualities of all the classes that dominate the society! The elite in reality is fooling the common man in the name of Hinduvta or Islam!

Pakistan lacks the military potential to physically invade Kashmir and lacks the economic potential to finance the proxy war. The foreseeable result is that the fate of the Kashmiris will be something similar to that like the Polish people of East Europe. The reader may note that the Poles were crushed by Germany, Austria and Russia for two hundred years despite the fact that they fought more than three heroic wars of independence against Russia, the country which was occupying the vast bulk of Polish territory till 1918. The Poles were as brave as the Kashmiris but no country was willing or geographically able to assist them! They were liberated only as a result of the First World War, which destroyed Russia, Austria and Germany. Germany and Russia only liberated in 1945 yet again occupied them in 1939 when they traded German oppression for Soviet Russian oppression till 1988! All that we are doing is pushing the Indians as well as ourselves into a "Catch 22" situation which has the danger of a nuclear exchange which both the countries cannot afford! The issue is more sentimental than substantial and will trigger a process of Balkanisation of the Indian subcontinent, which will affect both the countries. Even if India withdraws from Kashmir, a remote possibility, it will resort to measures to redress the balance by encouraging separatism in any of Pakistan's ethnically diverse provinces! Gain of territory did not help the Germans in 1870, or the Israelis in 1967 or the Russians in 1979! The main danger lies in the post-conflict bitterness and the feelings of revenge ignited in the party, which comes worst off out of the conflict!

In addition we in Pakistan must not forget that we are also a multi- ethnic state with as brutal insurgency record as India in Balochistan and East Bengal! Inflation is growing and if a youth can become a Jehadi, he can also become an ethnically motivated secessionist!  History is not constant and it does not move in straight lines! If there are high mountains in Kashmir there are even higher mountains in the northern areas and even more barren and desolate ones in Balochistan. Sindh has been a historically turbulent province whether it was the Talpur times or the Hur Rebellion, the MRD Movement or the MQM Urban guerrilla business. And what do we have to offer to the Kashmiris? Four successive and phenomenally corrupt democratic ministries! Four military governments, the first three of which hopelessly failed to solve the country's economic or constitutional problems and the second one leading to the country's dismemberment! The fourth one's performance will vindicate its place in history if it steers Pakistan out of 2000 in face of an intensely complicated geopolitical situation ! An open question but one which only a prophet can answer, although subcontinental history has ample proofs of mediocrity at the highest level in both the countries!

Writing of articles dealing with Small Unit Actions

Writers of such articles tend to exaggerate their unit's performance in any war. The following quotation from "Memoirs of General Sherman" is quite thought-provoking: —               

" I am not publishing my memoirs, not theirs and we all know that no three honest witnesses of a brawl can agree on all the details. How much more likely will be the differences in a great battle covering a vast space of broken ground, when each division, brigade, regiment and even company naturally and honestly believes that it was the focus of the whole affair! Each of them won the battle. None ever lost. That was the fate of the old man who unhappily commanded".

The humble advice to writers of small unit actions is to remember that their battalion, regiment, company or troop was the only unit or sub-unit that did everything!

On dealing with countries perceived as "Enemy States" 

The press and this includes newspapers, journals etc are one of the major culprits in making the Indo-Pak atmosphere more tense. Vajpayee is a demagogue and may perhaps be dead in a year or two. India is witnessing social unrest, which is amply proved by protracted labour strikes. A positive development since the common man in both countries is a victim of the same class of exploiters! The Press/Media in this situation should not behave like a Nathoo Khan; just calling the enemy bad guys! Instead practical solutions should be offered.

I read two books recently in which the writers showed a remarkable attitude. One was by an Indian Christian titled "The Tigers of Mysore" on Hyder and Tipu. The author praised Tipu despite the fact that Tipu had persecuted the authors southern Indian Christian community for betraying Mysore's national interests and collaborating with the English East India Company. The authors verdict was that Tipu's actions were just since the author's community had played the role of traitors! It's a remarkably detached treatment of a subjective part of history. Calling the enemy bad is counter productive in most cases. The other party reciprocates and resultantly the atmosphere becomes more highly charged and tense without any actual provocation by either state. What's the point in unnecessary verbal sabre rattling!

The other book was written by a brilliant German officer who became a Russian prisoner of war in WW Two.The layman reader may note that the Russo-German conflict was one of the most savage military conflict of WW Two in terms of atrocities against combatants as well as non-combatants committed by both sides. Yet Colonel Baron Hans Von Luck in his excellent book "Panzer Commander" makes an admirable attempt to understand the Russian point of view! Some excerpts are worth quoting! This is how Von Luck describes the situation on being captured in action. "From all sides Russians came with Tommy guns at the ready, I saw to my dismay that they were Mongolians, whose slit eyes revealed hatred, curiosity and greed. As they tried to snatch away my watch and Knight's cross, a young officer suddenly intervened. 'Stop don't touch him. He's a geroi (hero), a man to respect". Now Baron Hans Von Luck is taken to a colonel and this is how he describes the meeting." This burly man who made such a brutal first impression laughed. 'You see' he cried, that's poetic justice; you shot up my tanks and forced us to retreat; now in re-compense I have you as my prisoner ...he fetched two glasses and in Russian style filled them to the brim with Vodka, so that together we would swallow them with one swallow! "Baron Hans Von Luck reflected," my thoughts took shape...the conduct of the young lieutenant and the colonel scarcely fitted into the image of the Russians that we had formed for ourselves. Certainly the atrocities of the mass that had invaded Germany were indisputable and exceeded all that could be imagined, but what had been inflicted on the Russians in huge losses, also among the civilian population, in the treatment of prisoners in Germany and in the devastation of the areas occupied by us, had with reason given rise to immense hatred, which had been further inflamed by Russian propaganda (herein comes the negative role of the media/press) and was now venting itself in personal encounters. However, as in my own case, it appeared that soldiers all over the world have one thing in common; they have chosen their profession or called upon to defend their homeland. They respect their opponents, who are doing no more than their duty. Wars are begun by politicians. They are the true militarists"! Von Luck's reflections on life as a Russian prisoner are also thought provoking. "In the first two years, especially in the severe winters in the Elburs mountains about 50% prisoners be fair it should be said that even the Russians in the years 1945 and 1946 were not much better off than we as far as food was concerned. We worked (in the coalmines) alongside Russians and Georgians who proved to be good mates and often shared their last bits of bread with us. Hans Von Luck gave the following advice to Russian haters on being released. "On the train journey to France I tried to make clear to them that the black and white portrayal of the Russians as nothing but evil and us in the west as nothing but good was mistaken and led us nowhere ".

Now lets draw some practical lessons in rational writing. All serious and earnest writers should rise above the role of a mere propagandist .The thinking audience expects dispassionate analysis rather than propaganda. The second subjective or regional lesson for Pakistani writers is the fact that Kashmir was lost by our politicians in 1947-48 and 1965. Ayub being more of a politician than a soldier! How do we suppose that now the Indians will behave ethically and give up a piece of valuable real estate without a war, or that the Americans would act as our fathers in getting us back a piece of ancestral property that we lost because of lack of political acumen and decisiveness!

On Atrocities in Civil War/Partition etc:— Atrocities are committed once law and order breaks down and the fear of coercive power that keeps the beast in most men under control is removed! These atrocities have no connection with ideology or even race. The point that I want to drive home is the simple fact that atrocities in 1947 or 1857 or 1971 were committed because the multitude knew that there was no central coercive authority to protect a particular community, which was momentarily perceived as enemy or exploiters!

The first point that I want to drive home is the fact that atrocities in 1947 were committed by on both sides! But as they say truth is the first casualty in a civil war or in any crisis situation.

Lord Roberts of Kandahrar adopted a novel way of dealing with the Kabul mob in the Second Afghan War! He erected gallows in the city and hanged anyone suspected of being a potential trouble creator! The affect was positive and Kabul thereafter remained more tranquil and calm! Probably Nawab Mohammad Hayat had accompanied Roberts as sort of a political assistant. A family anecdote told by my grandfather's brother thus goes that Nawab Mohammad Hayat had advised Roberts that "Sahab, if we hang them like Metcalfe Sahab did at Delhi, it will have a good impact on these savages! In any case we are not going to stay in this accursed place permanently"! The reader may note that my great grandfather's father who was from the Punjab Police Department had also accompanied the British Expeditionary army as a Persian interpreter. In those days Pan Islamism was not yet in vogue. The Indians whether Muslim, Sikh or Hindu had different perceptions about Afghans who were much hated because of their raids on India from 1739 to 1799 as mercenaries of Persia or as Abdali's army! During these raids these Afghans had indiscriminately looted all Indians whether Muslim Indian or Sikh! On one occasion the loot that Ahmad Shah Abdali's army was carrying from Delhi to Afghanistan  was so heavy that the Akhnur bridge of boats over the Chenab collapsed while the looters baggage train  was  crossing it and  considerable movable wealth was lost  and many Afghans were drowned in the fast flowing Chenab river !

The point is that the riots of 1947 which are cited as the vindication of 'Two Nation Theory' in Pakistan as a matter of fact were outbreaks which had a far deeper connection with the bursting out of the innate animal aggression in human nature, which in normal times is restrained by the coercive machinery of the state! The atrocities committed by Muslim mobs on non-Muslims and vice versa, mostly in West and East Punjab were acts of a hostile mob against defenceless unarmed people who were perceived as belonging to an enemy country and thus an ideal pray for rape, loot and slaughter! The problem had a deeper connection with the British failure to keep a large purely British force to restrain the Indians from killing each other in a situation where no purely Indian force could have effectively controlled the wild mobs! Both Mr Jinnah and Nehru never foresaw the amount of carnage and slaughter that would accompany the transfer of power and partition. Nehru even vetoed the proposal of keeping British troops to control the mob by stating " I would rather have every village in India put to the flames rather than have the British Army after August 15".9 The most ironic part is that atrocities are never wholly ethnic or even religious.They have more to deal with group perceptions regarding another group! Thus the atrocities of the Pakistan Army in 1971 in East Pakistan when the Bengalis despite being Muslims were perceived as enemies or traitors and the official policy was that of endorsing all killings as necessary. In addition the situation was made more emotionally charged by similar atrocities committed by Bengali mobs against non-Bengali civilians in the four weeks before the army action. Similarly Indian Army atrocities in Kashmir cannot be taken simply in terms of bifurcation of religion!

This reminds me of a unique true story of ethnic hatred, which has little to do with religion! This story is based on the experiences of the Ranghar Muslims of a village Chak 130 LGB or Nao Rohtak in district Lyallpur! My great grandfather settled in that village in the 1880s as a colonist of the newly created Chenab Colony. The settlers in that particular village were mostly Ranghar Muslims from East Punjab districts of Rohtak and Hissar. These men hailed from the old Bengal Cavalry villages like Kanar, Kalanaur, Jatu Satna and Jamalpur. Most of them in the 1880s were serving or had retired from Skinners Horse, 1st and 3rd Punjab Cavalry and 19 Lancers. They hated the Punjabi Sikhs and Muslims  and Pathan Muslims who in 1857 had committed countless atrocities in Rohtak and Hissar district as part of Hodson's Horse or as part of General Van Cortlandt's force!

The Writer's Job:— So what is the writer's job! One may say that it is neither to laugh, nor to cry, nor to romanticise nor to hate or spread hatred...but to understand! This should be digested by all Indo-Pak writers! I sincerely hope that this journal will act as a forum where light instead of heat is supplied. One where the broader vision is improved and the reader does not get lost  in the trees and bushes of communal or regional hatred but is provided a vantage point from where he can look down and survey the forest as a whole!


The important task for the policy-makers and executors in both India and Pakistan is to read some practical psychology in order to solve the pathological problem of regional and communal hatred that has gripped the region since mid -1920s. Perhaps they should study someone like Dr Eric Berne! They have two broad options i.e; either makes their mental images correspond to reality or to fashion reality in such a manner that it corresponds with their mental images! The second option is more impracticable now since both the countries are nuclear powers. They also must remember that both parties do not have the potential, both military as well as economic to impose their will on the other party! The Indians must remember what Ravi Rikhye had observed some years ago, i.e, the Nuclear Bomb would prolong Pakistan's life by another 50 years. Pakistani policy makers must also remember that the so-called Afghan Jihad succeeded (which in itself is debatable keeping in view Afghanistan's post Soviet withdrawal conditions!)  Not simply because of Islamic zeal but because of many other factors, out of which the most important one was US military material and financial aid! Another fact that the Pakistani policy makers must remember is, that men galvanised to do Jihad will not stop at Srinagar! Their next destination that is if they survive Kashmir will surely be the Penthouses in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad! They should also not forget the extremist germs in the Pathan psyche! How the Hindustani Rohilla Pathans dealt with the de jure Mughal Emperor of India once they blinded him. How they made the Mughal Princes wear female clothes and dance! They should also not forget that finally Shah Alam was not rescued by the Punjabi, Pathan or Afghan Muslims but by the Hindu Marathas!

Similarly the Americans must remember that the Muslim Jehadi Count Dracula that they resurrected many centuries after the crusades with CIA Dollars and modern US military hardware in Ningrahar and Paktia is definitely far more dangerous than the older original Transylvanian version of Bram Stoker which was only confined to the London journal in which it was serialised! This new Muslim Dracula may one-day travel in the hidden vaults of a merchant ship across the Atlantic or Pacific to USA! The reader may note that as per one respectable authority only five out of 100 containers arriving at US ports are checked thoroughly!

Ironically the result would be the re-creation of a medieval or pre medieval religious rivalry, for vampires can only be destroyed by recourse to religion! As in Indo-Pak religious extremism in India was intensified once religious extremism intensified in Pakistan from the post-1977 period. The case in Europe and USA may be almost similar. Fears of Islamic resurgence may give rise to another similarly absurd reaction in shape of Christian military resurgence!

The Western policy makers and US also must remember that terrorism will become increasingly global if only one religion or a selected number of countries. After all those who had dug a hole in Vietnam stumbled in an Afghanistan in their old adversary's hole! Unfortunately it's a never-ending story! Terrorism never was and never will be Islamic or Communist or capitalist only! Pentagon or the DIA or CIA must not forget this fact! It may be easier to catch a man with Arab or Asian features and a beard but it took the FBI and many other agencies many years to track the UNA Bomber!


1 Page-988-Hitler and Stalin-Parallel Lives - Alan Bullock-Alfred. A. Knopf-New York-1992.

2  Ibid.

3 Page-142-A History of the British Army-Volume Three-1763-1793- Hon J.W Fortescue-Macmillan and Co Limited-Saint Martin's Street-London-1911.

4 Page-84-Aligarh's First Generation-David Lelyveld-Princeton University Press-1978.

5 Page-114- Separatism among Indian Muslims-The Politics of the UP Muslims-1860-1923- Francis Robinson-Oxford University Press-Delhi-1993

6 Page-88-Lelyveld-Op Cit.

7 Page-311-Mian Fazl I Hussain-A Political Biography-Azim Hussain-London-1966

8 Pages-221 & 222-Nehru- A Tryst with Destiny-Stanley Wolpert-Oxford-New York -1996

9 Page-8-The Indian Army after Independence-Major K.C Praval (Retired) -Lancer Paperbacks-New Delhi-Paperback Edition-1993.




The British Legacy and Pakistan Army

The British Legacy and Pakistan Army



Major Agha.H.Amin (Retired)


This is a chapter of my book The Pakistan Army since 1965 published in August 1999


Havelock said that ; "In philosophy,it is not the attainment of the goal that matters,it is the things that are met with by the way".So it is with war.The most important thing for the student of military history or the art of war is not whether a country lost or won the war but how it was fought,how units performed in action,how decisions were made in face of the stress and strain of battle,the difference between practice and precept in short all matters pertaining to strategy tactics leadership equipment etc.In other words to simply analyse the war to answer the questions like "Whence"? "Whither" ? "Why"? and "How"?In this analysis of war we have to go beyond probabilities and examine various facets of a particular situation and arrive at conclusions that will assist us in face of a similar crisis situation in future.War is the final audit of an army in which unit efficiency as well as higher and lower leadership is gauged and no book on an army is complete without analysing in detail the qualitative efficiency of an army in actual War.Unfortunately most books written on both Pakistan and Indian Armies by foreigners and therefore meekly accepted by the subcontinentals who suffer from a subtle inferiority complex;as the final authority; do not discuss the qualitative efficiency of both the Pakistan and Indian Armies in any actual war; both as British Indian Army and as two different armies after 1947!Instead these books beat round the bush discussing vague and largely irrelevant issues which their authors have decided to highlight,merely because they have decided to write a book and want to write their book without going into the subtleties of actual wars fought by the Indo Pak armies.
In the following paragraphs an attempt has been made to analyse the conduct of 1965 war and to answer certain questions about the qualitative efficiency of the Pakistan Army in a detached manner separating myth from reality and fact from fiction.This analysis is important because a considerable part of Pakistani military history has been deliberately or inadvertently distorted based on nationalistic parochial personal and inter arm prejudices and jealousies.
We have already discussed in detail the impact of the British military tradition on the Judo Pak armies in our earlier chapters dealing with the armies of the English East India Company and the pre 1947 British Indian Army.This was not something confined to Judo Pak subcontinent alone but an all Asia trend.From the late eighteenth century the "European Way of Warfare" was generally borrowed and follow as the gospel truth by many East European and Afro-Asian armies.The trend of "importing the European way of war" started around 1600 when the Ottoman Turks came into contact with the European powers in Eastern Europe and Russia.Till 1500 the Europeans who had as a matter of fact military failed in the Crusades against Asia enjoyed no significant military advantage over Asia.Till the invention of gunpowder the cavalry remained the dominant arm in battle and the infantry was relegated to a secondary role.The ascendancy of European methods of warfare starts with the advent of Gustavus Adolphus(1496-1560) of Sweden who introduced a renaissance in the art of warfare by "harnessing modern technology to a practical military philosophy" .Gustavus principal contribution was the introduction of a relatively superior conceptual framework of integrating military organisation with weapons and tactics.He created an infantry organised in brigades of two to four regiments each of which had eight battalions of four companies etc.He introduced similar reforms in cavalry and artillery integrating artillery with infantry and cavalry in battle and restructured infantry formations in such a way that their firepower was enhanced.One of his most important reforms was employment of cavalry as a "shock weapon". Gustavus's methods were copied by the French and the British.Gustavus 's tactics were improved by Turrene of France and Cromwell and Marlborough of England and were further improved by Napoleon who was able to benefit from the analytical studies of great military thinkers like Gribeauval Maurice de Saxe Bourcet Joseph Du Teil and Guibert.Formal military schools were organised in France where the art of war was studied while similar institutions were founded in Prussian and Sweden.By 1600 Russia was the first country outside mainland Europe to realise that there

was something conceptually and organisationally superior in the West European way of warfare which enabled them to defeat numerically superior but more primitively organised may be noted that as late as 1592 the Russians were no match to the Muslim Tartars of the Golden Horde who sacked Moscow in 1571 and managed to penetrate into suburbs of Moscow as late as 1592.1t may seem unbelievable to many but as late as 1660s the Crimean Muslim Tartars were one of Russia's most feared enemies2..A similar pattern of imitation was followed in the Ottoman Turk Army from approximately 1750 to 1914 when the Ottomans discovered that medieval tactics of cavalry assault were of little utility against relatively numerically superior or equal strength European armies with superior organisation'.It was adoption of superior West European military tactics which enabled the Russians to defeat the Ottomans during the period 1699-1878.A similar effort was made in the Egyptian Army of Mohammad Ali during the period I803-304.The Chinese started organising their army on European lines from approximately 1850 onwards following disastrous military performance in the Opium War of 1840-42.The Japanese learnt a similar lesson from the humbling of China by the Europeans in the Opium Wars and invited a French Military Mission in 1867 to organise and train their army in modern military methods5.
We have seen that a similar trend was followed in India when the European companies appeared on the Indian scene as major participants in the struggle for political supremacy in the period 1740-1800 in the situation created because of the vacuum which developed as a result of the decline of the Mughal Empire.The Indian native states discovered that smaller armies with a European nucleus and larger number of Indians trained in the European way of war could defeat numerically much larger armies of the Indian rulers.Thus all Indian states imitated the European companies and imported military advisors from France Italy Germany Ireland etc to train their armies on European lines.By 1849 however the English East India Company had defeated all native states employing as we have earlier discussed a largely native army led by British officers and based on a smaller European core element.From 1757 to 1947 for a period of approximately 190 years India saw an army of Indian mercenaries led by British officers which dominated India.This army was primarily an internal security army which was theoretically supposed to defend India against a possible Russian invasion from the northwest.Later as w-e saw the outbreak of first world war forced the British to employ the Indian Army as a desperate remedy against the German invasion of France.After the first world war the Indian Army was once again relegated to its major role of internal security.This was followed by the Second World War which forced the British to once again re equip and modernise the Indian Army in order to fight the second world war.This was followed by the partition when the British Indian Army was divided on religious lines and was bifurcated into two blocks of a tree whose sapling was planted by Clive in 1757.Any discussion or analysis of the performance of Pakistani or Indian Armies based on the assumption that these armies came into existence in August 1947 is meaningless and incomplete.The organisational tactical and social development of both the armies had a 190 year old connection with British rule in India and influenced their conduct in 1948 1965 1971 wars and even today in many aspects.We will therefore first of all analyse the conduct of Pakistan Army in 1965 with particular reference to the influence of the "British military Legacy".An attempt was made by sycophants in the period 1958-69 to prove that the Pakistan Army was largely the creation of Ayub Khan!There are two types of men in history;ie those who follow the status quo and those who are originators or executors of dynamic ideas which change the course of history ! Both Indian and Pakistan Armies were dominated by men of the former category.In India primacy of civilian leadership did not allow the growth of dynamism in the army while in Pakistan concentration on improving personal fortunes and in perpetuating military dictatorship ,kept the military usurpers attention fixed on non military things!In other words no major change or reform was undertaken in both the armies as far as doctrine staff procedures and military organisation were concerned .The armies which fought the 1965 war were led by men who were the products of the British Colonial heritage. We will examine the influence of British military colonial legacy on Pakistan Army's conduct in 1965 war in the following paragraphs.
British Indian Military Tradition:-Britains power was never based on its army but on its naval power and superior diplomacy which enabled it to defeat its various European mainland rivals by coalition warfare.Thus after Marlborough British Army's role in land warfare on European mainland decreased and during the Napoleonic wars Britain's main contribution consisted in naval warfare or in providing finances for sustaining the various coalitions against France than in actual war against France.Thus Napoleon was destroyed in Russia and in the campaigns of 1813 and 1814 in which the British Army had no role.Even Waterloo was a coalition affair in which the Prussians played as major a role as the British.In short the foundation of British supremacy or British power was not military excellence but other factors like naval power,super.ior diplomacy and an overall superior political system.In this sense the British legacy which the

Indo Pak armies inherited was certainly not the finest in the world.But the difference did not end here.The British Indian Army which was the father of the post 1947 Indo Pak Armies was an even more outdated organisation than the regular British Army.This was so because the regular British Army was designed to fight Britain's European enemies and thus got more attention in terms of finances equipment and was more vigorously reformed by a concerned parliament.The British Indian Army which was primarily an internal security army was far more backward than the regular British Army because it was not designed to face any European foe till 1914 except the Russians whose military potential or effectiveness was regarded as far more inferior than Britains West European rivals like Germany and France and which in any case performed very poorly in the Crimean War of 1854-56 and was later defeated by an Asiatic power in the Russo Japanese War.In terms of equipment the Indian Army as we have already seen was deliberately kept one generation behind the regular British Army whether it was infantry weapons or artillery (which was taboo for Indians except few mountain batteries in which Indians could serve as common soldiers).The Indian Army was trained as late as 1900 to fight primarily as battalions or brigades against frontier tribesmen. We have already discussed that the First World War forced the British to slightly modernise the Indian Army and the massive Indian contribution to the British war effort forced the British to grant the Indians the privilege of Regular commission in the army.The Indians selected for officer rank were from the most loyal classes with proven record of loyalty to the British Empire.Even Indianisation (introduction of Indian Army Officers) was resisted by the British Indian Army officers and as late as 1939 twenty years after Indianisation had started there were just 333 regular Indian officers in the Indian Army as against 3,031 British officers6.We have already seen that after 1918 it was felt that the Indian Army would not be required to fight in a European war and this led to massive reduction in the size and resource allocation of the Indian Army.Thus the Indian Army was so outdated in 1938 that General Auchinleck observed in 1938 that in terms of modernisation and equipment it was behind even the Iraqi Egyptian and Afghan Armies '!There was another serious misconception in many minds and has been carried forward till today that the Indian Army was the finest army in the world and played a major part in many British victories.There is no doubt that the Indian Army played a significant role in British Empires wars.However it must be remembered,as we have just discussed, that Britains wars right from the time of Marlborough were coalition wars and British Army's role in these successively became lesser and lesserin this context the Indian Army's share in the relatively limited contribution made by the British Army in both the world wars was even more limited.In any case the Indian Army was Indian only as far as the rank and file was concerned and its principal strength was its British officer cadre.Even beyond battalion level each Indian Brigade was stiffened by one pure British battalion and the Indian Army always functioned as part of a larger team and mostly in circumstances where the British enjoyed a comfortable numerical material and logistic superiority over their adversaries.The Indian Army at its best was used only as a defensive force in France in 1914.The British final success in both world wars had a deeper connection with US aid and Russian blood than with the Indian Army.In any case the principal force multiplier of the Indian Army was the British officer and the vast resources of the British Empire rather than the Chakwal Jhelum men who were merely cannonfodder.In this regard there was absolutely no comparison between the quality of performance of the pre 1947 Indian Army and the post 1947 Indo Pak armies.In Pakistan specially it was mistakenly assumed that the British Indian Army did well because their soldiers i.e. the Punjabi Muslims were more martial than the Hindus !These naïve commentators failed to see the essential fact i.e. that it was the British officer who was able to organise and lead Indians of all nationalities and religions equally well in battle .The cardinal factor in the whole equation was not the martial race,as has been mistakenly asserted by many Pakistani officers, but the white officer who inspired the espirit de corps and the relatively superior organisation skill that created the Indian Army.
Legacy of inter arm compartmentation and rivalry:-One of the most negative legacies which inhibited the performance of both the armies in 1965 and even in 1971 was a purely British inculcated and British inherited legacy of inter arm and even inter regimental rivalry within the same arm.While German successes in the WW II had a deep link with emphasis on fighting as a division with intimate coopertion between all arms,many British military failures had a deep link with inter arm rivalry which severely retarded their ability to fight as combined arms teams.Thus at Gazala in 1942 the 2nd Highland Infantry was overrun by German tanks "whilst a superior British tank force looked on"8
Lack of leadership tradition:--We have briefly discussed the fact that the West European way of warfare was imported by many Asian and East European countries like Russia.There was a major difference between the other countries who imported the European way of warfare and the British Indian Army.While the entire officer corps in the Ottoman ,Russian,Japanese,Egyptian and Chinese Armies consisted of their

own people,there was no leadership tradition in the British Indian Army as far as Indians were concerned.The English East India Company was very careful in not allowing native Indians from becoming officers in their native Presidency Armies and did not allow even Anglo-Indians to become officers after 1805 barring few exceptions like Colonel Skinner etc.The objective of the company was simple i.e. not letting a leadership tradition grow in the natives and also not to let the natives master the European methods of warfare.The US War of Independence convinced the British Government that it was dangerous to let any colonial subjects from mastering the art of warfare by getting the officers commission.This policy played rich dividends when the native soldiers of the Bengal Army failed to handle units larger than platoons and companies and were easily defeated by the British despite their relative numerical superiority at least in the initial stages of the rebellion.The Sepoy Rebellion reinforced the British determination not to allow Indian to become commissioned officers and till 1919 there were no Indian officers in the Indian Army.This meant that there was no leadership tradition in the Indians who became officers.The Indians selected to become officers from 1917 onwards were from classes with proven loyalty and men meant to be groomed for lower level command ranks only.After the formation of Indian Military Academy a large proportion of cadets were from the ranks which never attracted the best available young men in India9.Many of these were sons of rankers or VCOs who had spent their whole lives in serving the juniormost British officers and had inherited from their family a narrow approach of a life spent in playing sycophant par excellence with the juniormost British officer who was senior to the seniormost Indian VCO in rank and authority.In future analysis this will be referred to as the Ranker/VCO approach which was found in plenty in the 1965 Indo Pak Armies!Colmar Von der Goltz spoke of the "aristocracy of education" which constituted the corps of German officersIn India bulk of the real aristocracy had been eliminated when the British emerged victorious.The new aristocracy which they created was an aristocracy of toadies The German aristocracy which constituted the bulk of the German officer corps was basically an impoverished aristocracy„butrich in tradition of contributed many generations of officers to the Prussian/German Army.In Indo Pak armies bulk of the men who reached the officer rank were neither an aristocracy of education nor possessed a long tradition of leadership by virtue of having ancestors in the officer ranks!The Germans on the contrary did not encourage NCO to become officers and Von Seeckt the founder of the Reichswehr which was the iron frame of the Wehrmacht deliberately increased educational qualifications to discourage ex NCOs from getting officer rank.Thus in 1928 just 117 out of 4000 officers were ex NCOs In the Indian and Pakistani Armies a much larger proportion of rankers or rankers sons were in the officer rank. Contemporary evidence suggests that the British preferred these over directly commissioned Indian officers with good college or university education since the ex rankers or rankers sons who were educated at the military schools of Ajmer Jullundhur and Serai Alamgir (schools for rankers sons education) were more pliable and easier to handle material!h is not difficult to understand that the small number of Indians who joined the army as commissioned officers were viewed as a necessary evil arising as a result of a civilian governments policy to accept Indians in the commissioned ranks.These men were not held in much high esteem by their British superiors and viewed the army as just one career where they could improve their personal lot and as an avenue of social advancement.What leadership tradition could be expected from such mercenaries.The real hero of the British Indian Army was the British officer who was from the first thirty cadets in the Sandhurst entrance examination, and was fighting for his King Emperor!His Indian counterpart was just a mercenary for whom serving the British was just a job!
Conservative Military Doctrine:--The British Army being an extremely snobbish and class conscious army was the bastion of conservatism.There was no threat to Britain in the period till 1933 and military reform or radical change was never serious agenda in the British Army.Thus the British Army that fought the WW Two was an out of date machine which performed extremely poorly in France and North Africa till overwhelming material superiority,thanks to US aid finally enabled it to turn the tables at Alamein.Thus progressive and dynamic military thinkers like Fuller were sidelined from the British Army before the war in an atmosphere where Polo and social contacts were more important than strict professionalism.Thus the British approach towards warfare was extremely conservative and outdated .If this was the case in the regular British Army which was supposed to defend Britain in a war against European adversaries it is not difficult to imagine the rudimentary and primitive approach that dominated the British Indian Army which was designed to imperial policing jobs in countries like Iraq and Persia after the end of First World War.
Lack of Permanent General Staff-The British Army lacked a permanent General Staff unlike the German Army.This was serious drawback and played a major role in relatively poor performance of the British Army in the two world wars.Organisationally the British Army was not as efficient in carrying out

military operations as the German Army.Cardwell the revolutionary British Secretary of State and the father of reform in the British Army was in favour of having a permanent General Staff like the German Army but was frustrated in his attempts to do so by the conservative elements in the British Army led by Duke of Cambridge" .Just because the British did not have a permanent General Staff,the post 1947 officers of both the Indian and Pakistani Armies saw no need to have one.Thus Staff work and procedures stayed as poor and rudimentary in both the armies as in the pre 1947 Indian Army or the British Army.There was an ocean of qualitative difference in between the British and German Staff institutions of instruction.The British Staff College at Cambrai in words of Montgomery's biographer Nigel Hamilton was an institution preoccupied with "hunting and socialising"12.The same was the case with US institutions like Fort Leavenworth where in words of General Bradley to rose to great heights in the US Army the system of education was "predictable....unrealistic and did not encourage unconventional tactics" 13In addition while the German General Staff course lasted for three years that at Staff College Quetta lasted for two years and was later reduced to six months from 1940.Most of the senior officers who held important command and staff assignments in the 1965 war were graduates of this six months crash course in which entry was by nomination.ln 1965 as we shall discuss many opportunities were primarily lost because of poor staff words of a British Army officer ; "The British Army lacked an institution which deliberately cultivated and carefully fostered a self-conscious intellectual existence like the German general Staff.For the German Army this institution became the focus for professional debate and a vehicle for operational innovation.The officer corps to which it gave rise received a thorough grounding in military history and an induction into the critical methods of historical study.These formidable intellectual foundations conferred on the minds of staff trained German officers a powerful and sensitive analytic approach to the problems of managing violence"I4General Von Mellenthin who served as a general staff officer in North Africa noted a major different in the quality of thinking of the British about their staff officers and the measure of trust that was placed in British Army in the staff officers; "The officers of the German General Staff were not mere clerks or mouthpieces of their commanders (as was the case with British and their corrupted off shoot i.e. the Sub Continental Indian and Pakistani Armies) ,but were trained to accept responsibility for grave decisions and were respected accordingly.In contrast the British fighting commanders tend look down on the staff,and the British show a curious reluctance to appoint capable staff officers to operational commands15.
Orders Oriented British Legacy:-Another legacy common to both the Indo Pak armies was an orders oriented approach.This was the opposite of the German approach of Auftragtstaktik under which commanders at all levels were trained to function without waiting for orders in case a tactical or operational situation warranted it and valuable tactical or operational opportunities were being lost in case one waited for orders from higher headquarters.The famous British staff officer Dorman Smith observed that ; " Essentially in a professional army the commander is left to carry out an order without wet nursing.In the British system,on the contrary a subordinate will do nothing until he will have the next above breathing down his neck.The result is that everyone is doing the proper job of of the next below instead of his own battle job.This is the main cause of stagnation in the British tactical mind" 16The
Indo Pak armies suffered from another subtle drawback in this case.On one hand the British were conservative in attitude towards orders and secondly Indians till the second world war were mostly very junior officers barring few exceptions who commanded companies or battalions or one who commanded a brigade.The Indian was fighting the White Man's war and took no interest in exercising his initiative  always pursuing a safe course of waiting for orders.The same bunch of people who fought the second  world war constituted the Indian and Pakistani armies who fought the 1965 war from Lieutenant Colonel onwards.These men as subalterns and captains or majors were not trained to take mission  oriented decisions,nor were they motivated to risk their career by exercising any initiative since they were fighting the white man's warlA large number of them like Musa Tikka etc were ex rankers who  were even more limited and conservative in their typical "ranker approach".Thus when these men became brigadiers and major generals they expected the same from their juniorsJt was the case of a habit getting instilled and internalised as an essential part of ones personality.Thus many opportunities were lost since all commanders from squadron/company till divisional level preferred to  wait for orders rather than do anything on their own initiative.Gul Hassan's memoirs is full of examples of approach of senior Pakistani officers using the weight of their rank and intimidating their juniors by use of court of inquiries and warnings!Anyone who is keen to know about the "Conspiracy against originality boldness and initiative" should read General Gul Hassans " memoirs which though otherwise not  wholly accurate provide an excellent image of the attitudes of senior officers of that time as regards cultivation or rather discouragement of initiative!

Analysis continues.This is just a part of the 120 page chapter on analysis.





What was wrong with Assessment of Officers and Military Training-Pakistan Army and What continues to be wrong till to date as research indicates

Click on scanned pages pictures to enlarge

Major Agha H Amin (Retired)

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 ?



War Performance had nothing to do with promotion to higher ranks in Pakistan Army

Major Agha H Amin (Retired)

Altaf Gauhar Ayub's close confidant inadvertently proves this fact once he quite uncharitably, and for reasons, other than dispassionate objective historical considerations, described Yahya as one " selected…in preference to some other generals, because Yahya, who had come to hit the bottle hard, had no time for politics and was considered a harmless and loyal person".

Major General Abrar, who had proved himself as the finest military commander, at the divisional level, at least by sub continental standards, was sidelined and ultimately retired in the same rank!

Lieutenant Colonel Nisar of 25 Cavalry who had saved Pakistan's territorial integrity from being seriously compromised at a strategic level at Gadgor on the 8th of September 1965 was sidelined.

Lieutenant Colonel Nisar of 25 Cavalry who had saved Pakistan's territorial integrity from being seriously compromised at a strategic level at Gadgor on the 8th of September 1965 was sidelined. This may be gauged from the fact that at the time of outbreak of the 1971 War Nisar although promoted to brigadier rank, was only commanding the Armoured corps recruit training centre, a poor appointment for a man who had distinguished himself as a tank regiment commander in stopping the main Indian attack. A man whose unit's performance was described by the enemy opposing him as one "which was certainly creditable because it alone stood between the 1st Indian Armoured Division and its objective"23 was considered by the Pakistani General Headquarters pedantic officers as fit only to command a recruit training centre while one who was instrumental in failure of the main Pakistani intelligence failure as DMI was promoted to Major General rank and trusted later with the command of Pakistan's 1 Corps with disastorous results !

Brigadier Qayyum Sher who had distinguished himself as a brigade commander in 10 Division area in Lahore was also not promoted! Qayyum Sher was one of the few brigade commanders of the army who had led from the front.

Major General Shaukat Riza who rarely praised anyone had the following to say about Sher's conduct while leading the Pakistan army's most important infantry brigade counter attack on Lahore Front as a result of which the Indian 15 Division despite considerable numerical superiority was completely thrown off balance. Shaukat stated that "Brigadier Qayyum Sher, in his command jeep, moved from unit to unit and then personally led the advance, star plate and pennant visible. This was something no troops worth their salt could ignore".

But the Army's Selection Boards ignored Qayyum Sher once his turn for promotion came! Qayyum Sher did well in war and was awarded the Pakistani D.S.O i.e. the HJ!


But war performance or even performance in peacetime training manoeuvres was, and still is, no criteria for promotion in the Pakistan Army! Qayyum retired as a brigadier, remembered by those who fought under him as a brave and resolute commander, who was not given an opportunity to rise to a higher rank, which Qayyum had deserved, more than any brigadier of the Pakistan Army did.

Brigadier Nisar of 25 Cavalry who was praised by Indian historians as outstanding in delaying battle in Shakargarh as commander of changez Force was also sidelined because he was not close to Tikka Khan and company and did not possess Zias mastery of art of sycophancy and appeasement of seniors !

It was typical of Pakistan Army that Brigadier Rahimuddin who did not join his brigade in Chamb on pretext of martial law duty was promoted to general rank while Nisar who fought both the 1965 and 1971 wars exceedingly well sidelined !

In 1965 Nisar by his singular action at Gadgor had literally saved Pakistan ! But promotion in Pakistan Army had nothing to do with war performance or real soldiering ! Pathetic !

Interestingly Brigadier Irshaad heading the military intelligence in 1965 and guilty of Pakistan Armys greatest intelligence failure of 1965 i.e disregarding a genuine report that Indian Armoured division was in kashmir , dismissing it as a deception plan , was promoted to two and three star after the war .He played hell with Pakistans 1 Corps in 1971 War !

Major General Sarfaraz whose conduct as GOC was outstanding in 1965 War was not promoted because his ability was regarded as a threat by Ayub Khan !

Brigadier Tajammul Hussain Malik was praised as an outstanding commander by a person no less than the Indian opponent of his Major General lachman Singh .

A special commission was appointed by Indian Army to study Tajammuls brigade actions !

The tragedy is that all starting from Liaquat Ali Khan sidelined officers with outstanding war performance ! The first being the elevation of Ayub Khan to army chief with a proven record of tactical timidity in Burma !

Ayub Khan ,Tikka Khan and Bhutto sidelined the best officers of 1971 ! Tajammul was sidelined because he was not a pathetic sycophant with no war record like Zia ul Haq ! This is a man whose war performance was so outstanding that the Indians appointed a high level commission to study his epic brigade battle at Hilli where he literally repelled a division plus! His direct Indian opponent Major General Lachman Singh praised him as an outstanding and very brave man in his book Indian sword penetrates East Pakistan ! But the Pakistani selection boards criterion for promotion was certainly not war performance !

Major General Abdul Ali Malik noted by Major General Fazal i Muqeem for launcjing the most ill planned and failed counter attacks of 1971 War in Shakargarh Bulge was promoted to three star rank after the war !

General K.M Arif who had no war record in 1971 and no command experience beyond a brigade command for few months was promoted to two three and four star rank !

Brigadier Ameer Hamza who conducted a brilliant brigade offensive battle at Sulaimanke was similarly sidelined as a Lieutenant General whereas many others who had no war record in 1971 war as brigade commanders became corps commanders !

Major General Tajammul Hussain Malik in an interview with this scribe in September 2001 summed up these promotions in the following words:--

The peculiarity about these promotions was that except for Jahanzeb Arbab, who had been superseded earlier because of having been found guilty of embezzlement of huge amount of money while in East Pakistan by a Court of Inquiry, headed by Major General M H Ansari but continued to remain in an officiating Command of a Division with the rank of a Brigadier for nearly two years upto as late as February 1976 when he was promoted to the rank of a Major General, all others were those who were on staff in GHQ.

Major General Iqbal was doing as Chief of General Staff, Major General Sawar Khan was Adjutant General, Major General Chishti was Military Secretary and Major General Ghulam Hassan was Director General Military Training.

The Division Commanders that is to say myself, Major General Akhtar Abdur Rehman, Major General Fazal e Raziq, Major General Mateen, Major General Ch Abdur Rehman, Major General Jamal Said Mian, Major General Amir Hamza (DG Civil Armed Forces), Major General Wajahat Hussain (Commadant Staff College) were all superseded."

General Zia ul Haq had seen my conduct during the Division Commanders conferences expressing my view very candidly. He, therefore, thought that he would not be able to control me. He selected a team of 'yes men' who were more docile and prepared to accept his command without any hesitation."

Even the normal and highly defective ACR system in the army was disregarded in promotions.

Thus while Major General Tajammul had been graded as "OUTSTANDING", as a Brigadier, in his last Annual Confidential Report and again as a Division Commander was graded "Above Average" by the then Corps Commander Lieutenant General Aftab Ahmad Khan, his contemporaries Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chisti and Late General Akhtar Abdur Rehman were adjudged on the lower side of the "Average" grade were promoted to three star rank .Chishti in 1976 and Akhtar Abdul Rahman in 1977-78.

Tajammul Hussain thus well summed up Pakistan Armys tradition of promotions when he stated:--

"In our Army, Field Marshal Ayub Khan since he became Commander-in-Chief in 1951, made sure that only those people were promoted to higher ranks, who proved their personal loyalty to him rather than loyalty to the state.

He did so because he had the ambitions of becoming the Head of State from the very beginning. As I said before, he had a contempt for the politicians and with the passage of time he went on getting extension of his tenure till he finally took over in Oct 1958.

From amongst the senior officers anyone who expressed his opinion against the Army indulging in politics was immediately retired. Some of the very capable generals who had passed out from Sandhurst were superseded when General Musa was appointed Commander-in-Chief. Now that he is dead, it is not proper for me to pass any remarks against him but I have no hesitation in saying that he was a typical Gorkha Soldier, who had learnt to obey the command of their superiors whether right or wrong. The junior officers following examples of the seniors, had also learnt that perhaps sycophancy, rather than professional capabilities, was the only criteria for attaining the higher command.

Exceptions are always there, but as a general practice many good officers who would have become very good Generals could not go beyond the rank of Lieutenant Colonel because they were intellectually and professionally far superior to their seniors and always expressed their views without any hesitation whenever and wherever required.

Commanders who attain the higher ranks through following the path of sycophancy soon crumble in the face of danger and cannot stand the test of battle fatigue. That has been an inherent weakness in our Army, which perhaps continues till today.

I had not intimately known General Zia before he became the Chief of the Army Staff but from his conduct during the Divisional Commanders Conferences, he appeared to me an incompetent and low grade officer.

In one of the Division Commanders promotion conferences, I even saw him sleeping with his mouth open.

He surpassed all limits of sycophancy when meeting the Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. While in uniform, he used to bow when shaking hands with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.


I remember my old Brigade Commander, Brigadier Hayat, with whom I served as his Brigade Major, once told me that he had written in Major Zia ul Haq's ACR when he served under his command, "Not fit to go beyond the rank of a Major". It is an irony of fate that a person of such a calibre had ruled Pakistan for a long period of eleven years till he was finally killed in an air crash."

There is no second opinion possible about how Pakistan Army suffered because of military rule.Thus Major General Fazal Muqeem Khan in an officially sponsored book admitted this cardinal fact when he wrote :--

"We had been declining according to the degree of our involvement in making and unmaking of regimes. Gradually the officer corps, intensely proud of its professionalism was eroded at its apex into third class politicians and administrators. Due to the absence of a properly constituted political government, the selection and promotion of officers to the higher rank depended on one man's will. Gradually, the welfare of institutions was sacrificed to the welfare of personalities. To take the example of the army, the higher command had been slowly weakened by retiring experienced officers at a disturbingly fine rate. Between 1955 and November 1971, in about 17 years 40 Generals had been retired, of whom only four had reached their superannuating age. Similar was the case with other senior ranks. Those in the higher ranks who showed some independence of outlook were invariably removed from service. Some left in sheer disgust in this atmosphere of insecurity and lack of the right of criticism, the two most important privileges of an Armed Forces officer. The extraordinary wastage of senior officers particularly of the army denied the services, of the experience and training vital to their efficiency and welfare. Some officers were placed in positions that they did not deserve or had no training for"

The tradition continued till to date.Lieutenant General Mahmood and Usmani with all their drawbacks was far superior to Generals Aziz Yusuf and Ahsan Saleem Hayat promoted to four star rank but sidelined because feared as more resolute and thus dangerous ! It would be actually comical to match these two groups at all ! Usmani was so upright that he risked his career twice as a brigadier and major general when he took a righteous stand with his direct superiors Malik Saleem Khan in Karachi and Mumtaz Gul at Peshawar !

It is no secret that had Yusuf or Ahsan Saleem Hayat been commander 10 Corps in place of Mahmud on 12 October 1999 , Musharrafs coup would have failed ! Perhaps that was the key selection criterion for both ! Lack of resolution ! But that's what Pakistan is all about !

A Conspiracy against originality and boldness ! An undoubted failure !

Pakistan has no short of talent and military genius but our military system is a conspiracy against talent originality and boldness.Below is an article of this scribe published in Daily Nation summarising whats wrong with Pakistan Army published  :---