Pakistan, ostensibly created to safeguard the interest of the Muslims of India, but in actual fact to save the Muslim landowners of West Pakistan from land reforms which were on the plank of Indian National Congress platform, had a large impact of the more reactionary of the Muslim clerics. Main-stream Maulanas, not recognizing nationalism as a driving force in Islam, had actually opposed it.
It was at any rate a very barren ground for progressive thought.
The Communist Party of India (CPI), much against its will, had supported the Pakistan movement at the behest of Stalin.
After partition, CPI sent a few party stalwarts to organize Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) as most of the communists in what became Pakistan were, as were nearly all educated and politically conscious people, non-Muslims and had to migrate to India. Communist or not they were at the risk of being physically eliminated.
But the party shared the general disarray of the society. Members openly flouted the directives of the Secretary General, claiming that he had been foisted on them and was not the son of the soil etc.
A railway trade union leader in Punjab launched a strike against specific advice of the party chief. He had been told that workers had not attained the degree of political maturity to with stand the inevitable government onslaught. The party chief was proven right. The government was easily able to crush the union into virtual oblivion. In communist parlance it was heresy of the worst kind, and would have merited liquidation if the party were in power
Partition had not rendered the communist party in the Eastern Wing as totally bereft of political workers; it did have mid-level party cadre.
Because of historical circumstances, Hindus in East Pakistan were, by and large, more educated and politically conscious. They controlled business, commerce and industry as their Western provinces counterparts did. Hindus constituted 15% of the population but occupied over sixty percent of positions in the fields of Education, Health, Law, business and other professions. They played a significant role in keeping progressive thought alive in Muslim Bengal. If the province had been 98% Muslim, it might have fallen in the clutches of obscurantism as the Western wing was destined to do.
Non-Muslims controlled 90% of Education and Health, 86% of Industry and commerce and 75% of agriculture of the Punjab province, though only 40% of the population [i]. They were actually in complete control of all the essential services, commerce and industry, though the leading Muslim feudal landowners nominally ruled the province.
Muslim refugees moved from East Punjab and elsewhere to the new country. Punjabis on both sides of the divide had borne the brunt of the worst excesses of partition. They had been robbed of all assets, dignity and honor and had barely escaped with life. Most had lost family members. They lived in refugee camps and other shelters, gradually settling down and occupying houses left by fleeing non-Muslims.
The traumatic experience they had passed through was unprecedented in the annals of human history. All they wanted was to be left alone to pick up the pieces and live as normal a life as they could. They did not have the time, inclination or even the desire to indulge in movements, progressive or otherwise. It, therefore, took a long time for the young immigrants in the Punjab and the few among the locals, to get together and plan for the future
Sind was known for the cordial relations between its ethnic groups. It did not have any communal riots till nineteen forty-eight. In fact the Government is widely believed to have abetted disturbances in Karachi a year after partition to drive non-Muslims out, well after the early insanity had subsided. The conflict was between the immigrants and non-Muslims. Indigenous Sindhis did not take part in it. They in fact protected their non-Muslim compatriots when they could. A substantial percentage of Hindus actually stayed back in the interior of the province.
The communist party of India, for some reason known only to them, “advised” the Hindu members to leave for India. To their credit, many including the best known Sobho Ramchndrani, and Pahumal Gianchandrani flouted the advice.
In NWFP, Khudai Khitmatgars had been for many years openly aligned with of Indian National Congress (INC). Ghaffar Khan echoed Gandhi in preaching non-violence and richly deserved the sobriquet; Frontier Gandhi
Baluchistan was the most feudal-tribal and least developed of the provinces in West Pakistan. Its only city Quetta, was totally dominated by non-Muslims in pre-independence days. In no walk of life- trade, business education, and government service could one find any Muslims. Except for a few Sardars who had houses in the city, Muslims lived in out of town mud houses. One such area was called Islamabad!
As though these handicaps were not overwhelming enough, the so-called Rawalpindi conspiracy in 1951 wiped out whatever little credibility CPP had..
The plot was hatched by some senior officers disgruntled by, in their opinion, less than zealous stand of Pakistan Government on Kashmir dispute. According to the Government of Pakistan (GOP) it was co-sponsored by the (CPP) and their fellow travelers. CPP categorically denied the charge claiming that GOP used the conspiracy as an excuse to neutralize it, reportedly at the advice of CIA [ii].
CPI had been the most militant and fiercely anti-British component of the whole spectrum of the independence movement of India. They had joined hands with INC and other parties under the umbrella of the nationalist coalition. Except for singing praises of the Soviet Union, with which the intellectual/liberal wing of INC was in any case enamored, members of CPI, though they were stridently vocal against capitalism/imperialism, generally toed Gandhi’s line. They constantly vowed to fight the system to extinction, but had wisely put off the fight till the colonial masters had been thrown out of the country.
They were a little uneasy and ambivalent over Soviet/German non-aggression pact, but were able to gloss over it by calling it a pragmatic and practical necessity. They contended that once Fascism and Capitalism had eviscerated each other, communists would be able to build glorious workers paradise on the ruins.
But they lost valuable political capital by seemingly unprincipled approval of a fascist system, which, except for a few Muslims and Hindus on the lunatic fringe, was derided by the whole spectrum of public opinion in India.
Once Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, the communist regime in the Soviet Union had to climb down the perch of ideological heights and request Capitalist/Imperialist America and its allies for arms and financial aid.
Capitalists/ Imperialists had hitherto cherished the same hope as the Soviet communists did. They wanted Fascists and Communists to annihilate each other.
With the prospect of the imminent collapse of the Soviet regime leaving Hitler free to concentrate on and over whelm the allies in Europe and monopolizing resources of the colonies, they rushed in massive amounts of arms, ammunition, logistic and financial support to the beleaguered country.
Communists of India were in an ideological quandary. They were faith bound to support Soviet Union. They had to find a face saving formula to find some merit in hitherto despised class enemies, the Imperialists/capitalists. They fell back on Marxist doctrine. Capitalism was a necessary precursor of Socialism, an essential step to achieving a class-less society.
The colonists had asked for INC support in the war effort. As a price of its support INC, in its turn, had demanded an unequivocal declaration from the British Government of intent to grant independence to India after hostilities were over. They also wanted control over the department of defense in the government of India. The British were not willing to make a firm commitment, neither were they prepared to countenance an Indian directing the activities of the British Commander In Chief in India.
INC ministries resigned in a huff, and Gandhi gave a call for Quit India movement.
CPI had to take an extremely unpopular stand of supporting the colonial masters, against the tide of overwhelming public sentiment. They had to rechristen, what had the day before been an imperialist/capitalist war, as Peoples war. Communist stalwarts and staunch fellow travelers willingly accepted army commissions. Only the initiated can appreciate it, but Faiz must have looked a sight in a military uniform. He was the leading leftist-revolutionary poet of Urdu. He taught English in a college and was to be the Chief Editor of the leading publishing house of the country, Progressive Newspapers of Pakistan and a recipient of Lenin peace prize. He was, as is the wont of academics, bohemian in his habits and did not quite fit the image of an officer in a spit and polish army. He joined all India Radio and was given the rank of Captain. (He eventually rose to the rank of Lt Colonel.
But the CPI had to pay a heavy price for supporting the colonial masters. They were accused of supporting anti national interests, of being traitors to the cause and were effectively marginalized by the INC.
In any event, the conspiracy was such an amateurish affair; more akin to a school prank than a serious attempt to wrest power from an entrenched regime. Key members in their cups – apparently there is no conflict in being a Jihadi and drinking good whisky- 9/11 high-jackers also used to temper their zeal with alcohol- confided detailed plans to fellow officers, many of whom were in the intelligence wing of the Army.
The conspirators were apprehended. P.M Liaquat made a great speech on Pakistan Radio, castigating ideological foes of the nation, pledging his life to integrity of the country and complimenting security services for the good job they had done.
He was able to get the nation to close ranks, at least for the time being.
It was widely believed that he was going to use his enhanced standing to get the better of his detractors in the ruling party. His earlier declination to visit the Soviet Union appeared to have been vindicated. He implied as much in his denunciation of the plotters.
An empowered Liaquat had become an existential threat to the landowners. They killed him.
Sajjad Zaheer, the Secretary General of the CPP, after a prolonged incarceration in jail was sent to India. Hasan Nasir was released reportedly at the intervention of Pundit Nehru. His mother took him to Switzerland. Faiz wrote some of his best poetry in Hyderabad jail.
As an interim measure, the establishment persuaded Khwaja Nazimuddin to step down from the office of GG to that of PM and appointed Ghulam Muhammad, a bureaucrat to the GG’s office.
Ghulam Muhammad orchestrated the first ‘Musical Chairs’ sacking Nazimuddin, appointing Muhammad Ali a virtual no body in the context of PM office, then dissolving the constituent assembly and so on.
Ghulam Muhammad died. He had been nom-compos for a long time. He was reportedly suffering from G.P.I [iii]. He had to be kept in the office, Mafia Don style, so the power brokers could take any decisions in his name with out falling out among themselves, till his last breath. But now the man was dead.
The Ruling Junta was a bit uncertain that they could replace him with one of their own who would maintain the collegiality of power distribution.They could not put his mortal remains on the throne Pharaoh Style, and continue ruling in his name. In the event they managed to replace him with a past master of the art of divide and rule, Iskander Mirza. He had been trained by colonial bureaucrats themselves and had served as a political officer in tribal areas. He had military background too.
Mirza manipulated members of the new national assembly like puppets on a string. He managed to entice Suharwardy and many others with lure of office and power. A new political grouping was concocted. Even Dr Khan Sahib, an icon of Pushtun nationalism and secular politics, who had been the pro INC Chief Minister of the Frontier province in 1947, joined the new group, christened Republican Party.
All the cards, feudal establishment, bureaucratic cadres, the armed forces and the Mullahs (The Evil Quad) , were stacked against East Pakistan. Despairing of the hope of ever attaining their rightful goal of commanding majority of seats in the central assembly proportionate to their population, East Pakistan leaders capitulated and agreed to parity between the two wings. Suharawardy though walked out of the assembly, but he commanded the votes of his party alone, numbering twelve out of a total of eighty.
Bengalis perhaps consoled themselves with the hope that after general elections under a duly passed constitution, they would get access to, at least, half the resources of the country. They had, hitherto, been doled out less than a third of investment and expenditure even though the wing had earned more than half of the country’s income through export of Jute.
It was decided that all the provinces of the Western wing be merged into one unit and given parity with the Eastern wing. The pretext was that neither of the two wings would be able to dominate over the other. Members of the smaller provinces were forced to vote in favor of the unholy union, some literally at gunpoint. One recalcitrant member Ghulam Ali Talpur, scion of an ancient house of rulers of Sindh, was abducted, put on a camel’s back and left to fend for himself under scorching sun in the middle of the desert in his own domain. He was an old man, and barely survived the ordeal.
PM’s continued to come and go at the whim of the GG. Only the year long tenure of Suhrawardy gave a feeling of belonging to people of East Pakistan.
The assembly was, however, able to pass a constitution in 1956. Pakistan was to be an Islamic republic with a parliamentary government. Iskander Mirza the GG was elected the first President of the country.
The left had by then recovered, though not completely, from the after effects of the Pindi conspiracy.
Hasan Nasir focused on the task of reorganizing and restructuring the CPP and as the first step, he gave autonomy to the East Pakistan wing of the party. Many party leaders had made a deal with the government. Hasan Nasir set about removing them from the party (one had been a member of the Organizing committee of CPP in 1947) and promoted Sher Afzal Malik to the office of in charge of the student front. The henchmen of the party bosses, not all collaborators, resented the appointment. Most left the party or became inactive. But they never forgot.
Now the stage was set for the first general elections, based on adult franchise. All political parties started campaigning in earnest. Qayyum Khan a veteran ML leader led a procession tens of miles long. It consisted of trucks, carts pulled by donkeys and bulls, tractors, buses, cars, bicycles, motorcycles, any mode of transport one can imagine, except tanks and armored vehicles. Scores of thousands of men and women trudged on foot cadging a ride on any vehicle when they could walk no more. It was a carnival making its serpentine way from one end of West Pakistan to nearly the other.
People were euphoric. At last the dark night of illegitimate governance will be over. They would be able to stand tall in international community. They will be able to face up to their rivals from birth- India-which had had a democratic dispensation all along. The press was rejuvenated. All shades of opinion from radical left to fanatic right had their unfettered say. Suharwardy, Bhashani and Fazal-ul- Haque addressed mammoth crowds in East Pakistan.
Suharwardy would command a following in smaller provinces as well. They would use him as a counter weight to the Punjab. He was accepted in the Punjabi heartland too which was the core of the support for the Evil Quad.
This was perhaps what frightened them the most. If they lost Punjab to an East Pakistani leader they were well and truly lost. They had nearly lost it to another outsider-Liaquat. Religious parties were conspicuous by the lack of support they could command and would not be much help. The army was still unsure of its credibility in political domain.
Maulana Bhashani, also known as the “red” Mullah because of his radical views, combined in his person a peasant leader, a practicing “Pir” with a huge following and a populist politician. In the referendum held in the area in 1947, he was responsible, single handedly, for getting the Sylhet region of the province of Assam to vote for Pakistan. He had been one of the main pillars of Awami League launched by Suhrawardy, but had broken away and formed his own much more radical “National Awami Party”. He had co-opted the progressive elements in the western wing. Support of the party was concentrated in the NWFP, Baluchistan, Sind and urban areas of the Punjab.The redoubtable Hasan Nasir, Secretary General of CPP, was in charge of the central office. He provided intellectual and administrative gravitas of the party and wielded far greater influence than his title of office secretary would suggest. He actually kept the disparate elements in the party-feudal land owners, leftists, communists, socialists, liberals, Baluch and Pushtun nationalists, rebels, national bourgeoisie, tribal chiefs, students, peasant leaders, trade unionists- together, exhorting them than the first goal was to defeat the Quad. Bhashani was thus a considerable player on the national scene.
Moulvi Fazlul Haque was a populist par excellence and a cleric/attorney as well. He came from a mid level land owner family and had the largest following in Bengal till overwhelmed by Jinnah. He had served as Chief Minister in the province and in the central cabinet of Pakistan as well. He could sway the crowds like few others. He had great personal charm and an uncanny sense of theatrics.
I had had an opportunity to observe the rising ferment in Quetta, a Baluchi-Pushtun town. Public meeting were well ordered and generally free of strife. Public listened to all leaders, and attended all the meetings with exuberant enthusiasm. They cheered the speakers when they made a good point and were duly respectful to men of national stature. Rowdy behavior was rare. They jumped on agents provocateurs, and the latter were numerous and well financed, if there was the slightest sign of disruption. The size of the crowd was a good gauge of the speaker’s popularity. Illiterate third world country masses, routinely derided in the west, analyzed economic, welfare and development issues intelligently.
They were, by and large, well informed. I may be biased, but I have found an average denizen of South Asia much better informed than his North American counter part. Only Europeans could match them in the knowledge of current affairs.
Holy cows like religion and Kashmir were freely argued over. The inordinate amount of funds spent on maintaining a disproportionately huge, some said parasitical, armed forces establishment at the cost of health, education, creation of jobs and public welfare were freely discussed.
The power brokers could, how ever, not countenance the possibility of losing even a tiny measure of control. They set about creating chaos as a pretext to unconstitutional take over, much as they had successfully attempted it as a prelude to Khwaja Nazim’s dismissal (The Mullahs had orchestrated anti-Qadiani riots at the instigation of the then Punjab Chief Minister, who was in cahoots with the GG in the campaign to destabilize Nazimuddin government). Professional job seekers masquerading as politicians played in their hands. Police informers, gangsters, smugglers, petty thieves, and all the anti social elements financed by the Quad at public expense, got into the act. Mullahs played the most infamous role with a vengeance. Islam was in danger. Bhashani, Suhrawardy, Ghaffar Khan and others were secular. They will subvert the very basis of Pakistan, which was “La Ilaha Illal Lah”; there is no God but God. Bureaucrats used their power, authority and patronage unscrupulously to disrupt public life. Feudal landowners used their considerable muscle.
It was an old game for the relics of the Raj. They had honed their anti-national skills at the feet of the masters in the colonial days. Law and order situation in many places was messed up by design. Frequent fistfights in assemblies were staged. The deputy speaker of East Pakistan assembly was killed when he got in the way of a chair thrown at a member of the assembly.
It was an exciting time.
But the Evil Quad struck; the bureaucratic wing handed over the power to the army wing.
Ayub had prudently and with Machiavellian finesse refused to take over with out a Presidential proclamation. Ayub was not sure of his hand. He was to reveal his inner thoughts later in his book “Friends And Masters”, that he had been planning a take over ever since he had tasted blood when in 1954 Ghulam Muhammad had appointed him Defense Minister and had allowed him to hold his job as Army chief simultaneously.
Ayub addressed the nation over the radio. He spoke eloquently, and with martial thrust and precision. He would clean the house thoroughly and completely. Mercifully, he did not declare that Islam was in danger, and it was his mission to save the faith too. To his credit he availed of the opportunity to sideline Mullahs.
The public took to Ayub like a drowning man does to straw. Muslims have always have had a penchant for the man on the white charger. Even the much-venerated Miss Fatima Jinnah endorsed the take over.
A lawsuit against dissolution of the parliament and suspension of the constitution was filed in the Supreme Court. The court, which had caved in when hearing a case against the much weaker Ghulam Muhammad regime, could not possibly stand up to the military.
The early performance of the regime was all one could desire. Streets were cleaned, garbage collected, and polluters were punished on the spot. Trains ran on time, mail was delivered regularly and government servants arrived in offices punctually and spent time on actual work rather than on socializing. Adulteration of food stopped, black marketeers offered products at fair price, hoarders let go of stocks, and smugglers and racketeers were jailed.
Ayub announced land reforms with a lot of fanfare. A new organization was setup to look into the productivity of land in different regions. But bureaucracy found new ways to fill slots with their favorites. Legal advisers found means to insert an extravagant number of loopholes in the ordinance. Feudal landowners wriggled through the gaps and distributed land among their relatives and faithful retainers. Some barren land was given away to favorite peasants [iv]. It was all done with active connivance of the administration.
Beyond making pious noises nothing was achieved.
Ayub’s basic failure was that he did not develop durable base of institutional support for his regime.
A brusque general Azam Khan,the marlial Law administrator in Lahore after Anti-Qadiani riots, was assigned charge of East Pakistan. He turned out to be a closet populist and opened the Governor house to the public. Soon many a person was heard boasting that “hum governor ke sath Chai pia” I had tea with the governor [v].
Politicians were jailed on flimsy and trumped up charges. Hasan Nasir, an avowed communist and a man of indomitable courage had gone ‘underground’ after imposition of martial law. He was reportedly picked up from the house of a ‘communist’ journalist and a suspect collaborator. He would not divulge the names of the members of the party and was tortured to death in the Lahore Fort.
Trade and students unions were proscribed, press gagged, and journalists were dismissed.
Faiz, the doyen of Pakistani intellectuals, formerly professor of English, arguably the most admired Urdu poet of the twentieth century and unarguably the most respected progressive muse of the era, was the chief editor of the only progressive publishing house, which brought out Pakistan Times and Imroze. Yet another leftist Sibte Hasan edited Lail o Nahar. The publishing house was taken over by the government.
Not content with proscribing newspapers and magazines the regime banned Progressive Writers Association (PWA) [vi]. It was replaced with Pakistan Writers Guild run by a banker-writer Jamiluddin Aali. It naturally initiated a campaign of unabashed hagiography of the government.
The critical mistake, though, that Ayub made was to mistake transient adoration for permanent fealty. Like courtiers all over, they helped inflate Ayub’s already prodigious ego that he was a man of destiny charged with revitalizing Pakistan. His brightest acquisition Zulfiqar Bhutto also called him uncle and fawned on him.
He went through the charade of appointing a constitution commission headed by a Supreme Court judge. They presented a report, proposing a bicameral legislature, an executive and a judiciary all balancing each other. The draft was hastily shelved. A constitution in the image of Ayub’s vision incorporating a provision of electing eighty thousand Basic Democrats (BD) through unrestricted adult franchise, was promulgated through ordnance in 1962. BDs were to run municipal and local affairs under the supervision of District officers and their assistants. They would serve as the Electoral College for provincial and central assemblies as well as for the office of the President.
The poet Habib Jalib aptly caught the mood of the public. In his inimitable style he wrote a poem
“Aisai Dastoor ko Subhe Be noor Ko,
Main Nahin Manta, Main Nahin Janta”
I do not recognize, nor do I accept such a constitution. It is like a morning with out light.
First elections under the system were held in 1960. Some idea can be had from the person who stood against Bhutto, the rising star of the regime, from their common hometown. A second rate lawyer filed his nomination papers for the seat Bhutto was contesting. He got the man to withdraw his papers and as quid pro quo sent him as the country’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Now nearly all the ministers raked it in. The institution of kick-backs on any contracts, licenses and any sort of government approval, which developed into an art form under Bhutto and later dictators, and quasi-democratic set ups, was founded under Ayub.
Virtual absence of representation in the Civil Service, judiciary and the army was one of the major factors in alienation of Bengalis from Pakistan. This combined with far lower investment in, lack of the safety valve of representative government, and contempt of the better built West Pakistanis far Bengalis of slighter physique eventually led to the demise of United Pakistan. Ayub in his book “Friends and not Masters” expressed the opinion that Bengalis were the progeny of the original Dravidian Indians. This is a very unflattering description for a north Indian.
The biggest curse of Ayub’s dictatorship was suppression of all forms of political activity; freedom of expression and organization, political parties, students and trade unions had been proscribed for a while. Strikes had been banned. Intellectual development, level of social consciousness, concept of civic rights had all been stunted. Judiciary had been thoroughly cowed.
But the single most important, one may say the defining aberration was the racketeering of Ayub’s son Captain Gohar Ayb. On ascension of his father to the “throne” he resigned his commission and started spreading out, junketing around in luxury limousines, consorting with film stars, carousing in expensive night clubs, and abducting women in the style taken to art form much later by Saddam’s sons.
This was, however, not all. Very soon he launched Gandhara industries, an umbrella group, which worked mines, dug oil wells, founded car assembly plants and owned many other enterprises.
Ayub had the mentality of a small peasant. He hankered after acceptance among top feudal land owners. He had given Bhutto a seat in his cabinet. Bhutto had turned out to be not a bad choice when compared to the cruel, repressive and murderous feudal, the Nawab of Kalabagh Ayub had installed as Governor of West Pakistan. Habib Jalib used the literal meaning of his title- Kala Bagh means black Garden- and wrote a poem
“Jab Se Kale Baghon Ne Ghera Hai”,
“Since the country has been under the siege of Black Gardens”. Kala Bagh met an appropriately gruesome end. His own son murdered him for sexually molesting his friend
As governor of West Pakistan, Kalabagh was the chancellor of all universities in West Pakistan. He was invited to degree awarding ceremony of the University of Karachi.
There had been no convocations for several years. There were so many candidates that non-professional graduates (a simple BA, BSc-tens of hundreds) were not allowed to the stage. They hooted Kalabagh ferociously.
Soon after this event Ayub announced that he would shift the capital from Karachi [vii] to a purpose built town to be called Islamabad in the hills conveniently not too far from Rawalpindi, the town which housed the Army General Headquarters (GHQ).
Shifting the capital had a demoralizing effect on Bengalis who had gotten used to Karachi. The hot and humid climate and proximity to the sea was as near as they could hope to get to their home environment. They had had settled in large number in Karachi.
Sindhis were ambivalent. Karachi would, they hoped, be restored to the province. They were not certain though, that the federal government would not hold on to the city as a federal preserve. Baluchis and Pathans were indifferent; Islamabad would be as alien to them as Karachi was. Only Punjabis were happy, and in the corridors of power they mattered the most. They overwhelmingly dominated the army and bureaucracy and comprised the bulk of feudal land owners.
Turmoil, hitherto under the surface was erupting with unsettling frequency. Ayub had been noticeably weakened. Azam had kept a lid on the Eastern wing by virtue of his transparent honesty, palpable sincerity, gruff affability and easy accessibility. People gave him the benefit of the doubt. With his departure Bengal also started erupting.
Ayub decided to hold an election in 1964. He was confident that in spite of all the setbacks he would win easily as all the politicians had tarnished reputation and would not command public support.
But he had reckoned with out the wily Red Mullah, Maulana Bhashani. He went to Miss Jinnah and reportedly told her, “Tumhara Bhai Pakistan Banaya, Tumhara Marzi Hai Usko Bachao Ya Na Bachaao”- your brother made Pakistan, it is up to you to save it or not. Not a procrastinator, Miss Jinnah agreed to don the mantle of the savior instantly.
The news spread like the proverbial wild fire. Public came out on the streets in untold numbers. Opposition set aside all their differences. They found willing and ready volunteers and funds for the campaign poured in.
Ayub was visibly shaken. He was hamstrung. He dare not publicly go on the offensive and engage in slandering the revered mother of the nation. Privately though he was reported to froth at the mouth at the mention of her name.
In the ensuing campaign, initially for electing Basic Democrats, nearly all candidates all over the country, had to pledge allegiance to her.
Miss Jinnah addressed mammoth crowds in all the major cities of the country.
When she flew to Dhaka airport, East Pakistanis set aside all the resentment at being treated like a poor relation by the West. Her motorcade could not leave the airport. There was such a crush of bodies that she had to be flown on a helicopter to Paltan Maidan, the time haloed public meeting ground in Dhaka. The size of the crowd exceeded even the ones her brother used to address.
In an election based on universal franchise, Ayub would have lost his shirt. But Electoral College was restricted to 80,000 Basic Democrats. They were now vulnerable to all the repressive and coercive forces under the command of government functionaries. Some were not averse to favors, bribes and other blandishments. One enterprising candidate for national assembly had collected all the electors in his constituency in the compound of the college he had founded, and had locked them up for the night preceding the Election Day, with plenty of food, wine and women. They were let go after they had cast their votes for the official ticket with Ayub at the top of the list.
The establishment also resorted to large-scale rigging, and ballot stuffing. The election was widely regarded at home and abroad as tainted and the desired result obtained fraudulently.
In spite of all the chicanery, they could not keep Miss Jinnah winning in Karachi and Dhaka divisions.
Pakistanis had united on one platform for the last time and were robbed of victory. Bhashani’s words were destined to be prophetic. Ayub’s victory, brazenly dishonest as it was, would slowly but surely lead to dismemberment of Pakistan.
Ayub’s son Gohar, incensed at les majeste of Karachites, in not voting for his father, unleashed a reign of terror on the helpless populace. He personally led a group of armed marauders looting, pillaging, maiming and killing. Scores were killed, hundreds injured, presaging more gruesome bloodletting under a future dictator. Police looked on as uninterested on lookers as they would in later years too.
Ayub had lost what little legitimacy he had.
He hit upon a reckless plan. He will wrest control of Kashmir from Indian hands and will go down in history as Nadir Shah Abdali who had saved Dehli for Muslims from the infidel Marathas.
Egged on by fawning sycophants, he deluded himself into believing that the Indian Army would melt away against the might of Ghazis (holy victors, those who die are Shaheeds, martyrs). Had not they fled, with tail between their legs, before the Chinese [viii], who though possessed of stronger spines were nevertheless infidels, with no hope of eternal bliss? [ix] Kashmiris would rise in exemplary unison to welcome Pakistani liberators. Indian PM Shastri was new. He came from a poor family. He had had to swim a river to get to school every day. He will surely lose his nerve and sue for peace.
All these spurious arguments were presented to him most cogently by the latter day Machiavelli, Z.A.Bhutto and are in the domain of public knowledge. Much later the 1965 misadventure was called Bhutto’s war.
Ayub decided to test waters before taking a plunge. He ordered his army to challenge the Indians across Runn of Kutch, an impenetrable swamp was an area of little importance on Pakistani Sindh/Indian Rajhastan border. Pakistan controlled the high ground. Indians fell back.
Emboldened by the victory he let his “volunteers”- paramilitary personnel out of uniform- loose to infiltrate the Vale of Kashmir across the line of control [x].
With his back to the wall, Shastri gave an ultimatum. Cease and desist or we will attack across the international border. Ayub, kept in a state of delusion by Bhutto that Indians will respect the international border, had left Lahore border relatively undefended. Indians actually marched into outskirts of Lahore. Surprised at finding no resistance and fearing an ambush, Indian troops halted in their tracks.
The city did not fall though I saw BBC announce that it had. Indian soldiers had abducted a Pakistani bus and had shown it to a credulous BBC reporter as proof of Lahore’s capture [xi]. They had to retract the statement half an hour later.
Pitched battles followed with grievous loss of life and material on both sides. Both sides claimed victory.
But in the end, it all came to nothing. With in two weeks of start of hostilities both sides ran out of bullets. A cease-fire was mandated by the UNO Security Council and accepted by India and Pakistan.
East Pakistanis were never very worked up about Kashmir, which they correctly perceived as a lifeline for the out sized army. The obscene expenditure on defense establishment benefited only those west Pakistanis whose relatives were members of the armed forces, and the contractors and suppliers at best. They felt that if Kashmir were ever to come into possession of Pakistan, its population would suffer the same fate they themselves and other second class citizens of the country did.
One sorry fall out of the war was that Pakistan had provided Indians with a good excuse to whittle away at Kashmir’s autonomy and added to the misery of its people who had kept their counsel through the duration of the war.
Another side effect, which was to have far reaching consequences, was that East Pakistanis loudly voiced the opinion that they had been left undefended, at the mercy of Indians. The fact is well documented that the two wings had lost all communication with each other for the duration of active hostilities [xii]. They scorned the patently spurious thesis of Pak top brass that East Pakistan would be defended on the plains of West Pakistan.
What was perhaps worse was that the blunder gave a lease of life to the orthodoxy in the country.
UN Security Council assigned the role of mediator/arbitrator in the dispute to Kosygin; the Soviet PM. Pakistan should never have accepted him as a mediator as the country had always favored India. The fact that the USA had acquiesced to the proposal indicated that they did not care much for Pakistan either. Ayub had in fact demurred. Johnson, it is believed, told him to fall in line or else.
Kosygin coaxed, coerced and brow beat the two parties, Pakistan more often, to agree to and sign an agreement to return to pre-war borders.
There was nary a mention of a plebiscite to determine the preferences of Kashmiri for which purpose Pakistan had gone to war. Ayub returned empty handed. It was a clear victory for Indian diplomacy [xiii].
Scattered riots followed the agreement signed in January 1966. Two students died as a result of police firing in Lahore.
The war was to lead to disastrous consequences for Pakistan. It shot two demagogues to prominence, Bhutto on the western side and Mujib in the Eastern wing. . Bhutto was entirely a creation of Ayub. But that did not stop him from castigating his mentor. Mujib was handed a live and burning issue he could and did use to inflame public opinion in the Eastern Wing.
Bhutto resigned from office. Ayub dissuaded him. When he felt sure of his footing, he sacked his foreign minister. No body paid any attention to Bhutto. He assiduously courted audiences. Public, when it did deign to react to his strident statements that Ayub had betrayed the trust, reminded him that he was fully a party to the cease-fire agreement, it was his job as foreign minister to advise the President on diplomatic tangles and till lately he had fawned on Ayub calling him uncle etc.
He was still in his late thirties. His one imaginative move as foreign minister had been the opening to China. But Ayub, to Bhutto’s consternation, had claimed all the credit for the diplomatic coup.
Finding no support at home Bhutto went to, what appeared to be a well deserved oblivion in England. He was frequently seen drowning his sorrows in a bottle and exhorting any Pakistani who would listen to him to return with him to Pakistan to launch a revolution. Tariq Ali [xiv] describes a meeting with him in Paris. Ali very sensibly and as matter of principle, declined the invitation.
From the perspective of the integrity of the country, a somewhat different and worse situation obtained in East Pakistan. Mujib had been a bit more successful in exploiting the “abandonment” of Bengal.
Mujib had a track record as a student leader. He had been active in the language campaign. He had served as General Secretary of East Pakistan Awami League; but he had risen in the political arena as the field had been depleted due to depredations of the Ayub regime.
Ayub’s regime was tottering. The huge outlay of resources on the war had negated all the economic gains of the previous seven years. People wanted jobs, food and shelter, education, health care and clean water.The statement by an economist Mahbbob-ul-Haque, that twenty-two families owned all the wealth of the country was given wide currency.
Ayub resorted to desperate measures. His Government announced, with great fanfare, that they had un-earthed a conspiracy against Pakistan. It incriminated a few junior Bengali officers in the army and the civil service and Mujib who was most probably attracted more by free whisky than any idea of a coup.
The participants had divulged their grandiose plan while in their cups. It was named Agartala, after the town where the whole thing was supposed to start. The conspirators were tried in a Kangaroo court and duly sentenced to long terms of jail sentence. Mujib became an authentic hero.
During his exile Bhutto made frequent trips to Paris and had had detailed discussions with J.A.Rahim, at the time the ambassador of Pakistan to France. Rahim was a senior and exceptionally talented civil servant. He was Bhutto’s mentor, guide and philosopher and had helped Bhutto navigate through the minefield of bureaucratic establishment when Ayub had taken the latter into his cabinet and was to become the secretary general of the party Bhutto founded and wrote its constitution.
Fed up of the life of an exile in London, he returned to Pakistan and started a furious campaign to gather support and did manage to attract a few left wing intellectuals and lawyers. But they were political nonentities. He was getting nowhere fast.
Then he struck a gold mine. A student leader, whom the Intelligence agents running the communist party in Pakistan had managed to run out of Karachi, threw his support behind Bhutto. Leftist and progressive elements [xv] veterans of innumerable insurgencies against the Ayub dictator ship, though weakened by the internecine warfare of Soviet/China ideological divide, as a group they were still a force to reckon with. They had found a helmsman.
Bhutto was [xvi] still not able to catch the imagination of the people of Pakistan at large.
Ayub came to his rescue and put him in jail.
Putting Bhutto behind bars was quite unnecessary. He was widely despised for his perceived penchant for opportunism. Ayub managed to create a hero in the Western Wing too. Public mind accepted the fiction that Bhutto must have been telling the truth that Ayub did not listen to the latter’s advice and caved in under American-Soviet pressure.
Ayub’s minions now came up with an extremely outlandish idea [xvii]. They advised him to celebrate ten years of his rule, dubbing it “Decade of Development”.
The catalyst to the upheaval was a scuffle between the police and students in Lahore. The students had apprehended a purse-snatcher and the police wanted to let them go. That incident led to a conflagration. Demonstrations, processions and public protests broke out all over the country. In Karachi, Dacca and Lahore administration fell apart completely. East Pakistan had already been simmering. The unrest had reverberated to the Western wing. Led by students both exploded simultaneously. There was a spate of student/ industrial workers strikes and other disturbances.
I happened to be visiting Pakistan at the time. Ayub addressed the nation on national TV, a nascent medium in the country at the time. He looked like a dog which had been kicked by its master.” Ayub kutta Hai Hai” dog Ayub shame shame was actually a popular refrain.
Ayub had to withdraw all cases against Mujib, release him and invite him to an all parties’ conference with a view to forming a national government. He had to accord the same honors to Bhutto. Shrewder of the two Bhutto declined the invitation [xviii].
The conference ended in expected failure, but Mujib had gained “face”. Bhutto could finally put behind him the record of public and private sycophancy to Ayub .His craven letter of flattery to Iskander Mirza [xix] was not in the realm of public knowledge. His minions were able to claim that Bhutto had genuinely believed in Ayub’s sincerity and integrity, but Tashkent had opened his eyes and he had promptly cut his links with the regime.
Bhutto got his first break in government and politics when Iskander Mirza, the then President of Pakistan named him the leader of the country’s delegation to a maritime conference in Geneva. He was picked up because he was the legal counsel to the shipping concern of Cowasjee family. Bhutto sent Mirza an absolutely slavish letter of thanks. Even in a country awash with toadies and sycophants, it will be difficult to emulate, much less exceed this exhibition of flattery.
Ayub Khan on taking over the country had to find persons to run the ministries. His eye fell on Bhutto.
Bhutto was not fully accepted by the feudal aristocracy of Sindh. His mother was reportedly a dancing girl, whom his father had kept as a mistress. The hereditary Sajjada Nashin of the most venerable saint of Sindh told me a malicious, but delectable story [xx].
As senior Bengali civil servant, J.A.Rahim took Bhutto in hand. On his own admission, Rahim had guided him through the intricacies of statecraft [xxi].
After the diplomatic and economic disaster that 1965 war turned out to be, Ayub blamed Bhutto for persuading him to launch the 1965 war with India.
Bhutto would have remained a footnote in the history of Pakistan if Ayub, beset by the 1968 protest against him, had not put him in jail and grant him a new lease of life. Bhutto caught the imagination of the Punjab [xxii].
Hailing from Sindh, Bhutto had only moderate support in the province.
In his weakened post 1965 war state, Ayub could never hope to with stand the combined onslaught of East and West Pakistan. The campaign against him was led in both wings by students and industrial workers.
Ayub’s days were numbered. He threw in the towel and handed over the Presidency to Yahya Khan who re-imposed martial law and assumed the combined offices of the President and Chief Martial Law administrator (CMLA).
Calm was restored pretty soon. Public meetings were once again scheduled and attended with a semblance of order. Politicians went about organizing their parties and gear them for an election campaign.
Mujib and Bhutto led large processions and addressed mammoth gatherings in the respective wings. It was carnival time once again. Bhutto, enthusiastically supported by leftist students, industrial workers, peasants and all the disenfranchised members of the society, gave a catchy slogan of Roti, Kapra aur Makan, roughly translated bread, clothes and home .He also pledged that industries would be handed over to workers to be run for their benefit and not for the profit of capitalists. Land will be taken away from feudals and ownership given to tillers. Homes will be built for the homeless.
The “left”, with heads in the clouds, heartily endorsed him, some hailing him as Pakistan’s equivalent of Mao. Perhaps taking the cue, he donned Mao style uniform.
Mujib contested the elections on his now famous-or infamous, depending upon one’s point of view-six points [xxiii].
Widely held belief was that Bhutto’s PPP will do well in the Punjab, moderately so in Sindh and might carry a few seats in Frontier and Baluchistan. Bhashani’s NAP would carry the majority in Frontier and Baluchistan, with remainder of the seats going to smaller fundamentalist and other fringe parties. In East Pakistan, Awami League might win majority of seats or even a large majority, but the redoubtable Maulana Bhashani, would certainly get at least a third of the seats for NAP.
In the scenario, Yahya acting as a referee would be able to get Mujib or some one else to indulge in the usual horse-trading and cobble a coalition..
But it was not to be. East Pakistan, now Bangla Desh, is a hurricane prone country.
Hurricanes [xxiv] have a vastly different impact on a region like Bengal than they do in an advanced country like the USA. They wreak havoc.
Maulana Bhashani demanded, and with good reason, that the emergency be dealt with first and election be postponed till after the human misery of enormous proportions had been tackled. His demand was not accepted; he boycotted elections.
Under the system of the front runner taking all, Awami league with out an effective competition from Bhashani’s NAP, won 160 seats out of 162 assigned to East Pakistan and commanded absolute majority in a house of 310 members.
Yahya and the Army high command were stunned. Bhutto was too.
Yahya postponed the parliamentary session for an indefinite period of time. Mujib permitted his minions to take over the administration.
When Yahya announced another date, Bhutto threatened to personally break the legs of any members of his party, who would go to Dhaka for the opening session of the parliament.
In East Pakistan, houses and businesses of Urdu speaking immigrants were looted with impunity. Scores were killed; women kidnapped and raped while the administration and law enforcement agencies now firmly under the control of the nationalists, looked on.
The massive air and sea transfer of troops to East Pakistan was a logistic challenge in itself. They were further hampered by the fact that India had banned over flight of its territory, on the pretext that two Pakistani agents had hijacked an Indian civilian plane to Lahore [xxv].
When Army high command felt that they had adequate forces to cow down the populace, they swooped down like birds of prey. The army was not averse to it but the Governor of East Pakistan and Chief of the Navy, Admiral Ahsan [xxvi], intervened. He had maintained correct relations with Mujib and managed to reach a compromise.
Army high command had taken care to post Bengali officers away from the capital. They spread out arresting and torturing people en route to cities nearby and did it at the slightest pretext, even with out one. Other units tried to emulate the performance of the central command. But being thin on the ground, and with a belligerent Bengali soldiery watching them vigilantly, they had to wait for reinforcements.
As soon he heard of the army action in Dhaka, Army Col Zia ur Rahman [xxvii], one of the few senior Bengali officers in Pakistan army, then stationed in Chittagong, declared independence of Bangla Desh (BD) from the local radio station.
Awami league High command, with blessings, diplomatic and material support of the Indian Government, set up the Government of Bangla Desh in exile in Dehli.
Nixon leaned towards Pakistan. He, along with Kissinger, was mindful of the faithful satellite status of the country. They were appreciative of the China opening Pakistan had facilitated. Human Rights were not a relevant concern for them.
The army, not familiar with lanes and byways of towns and villages, were frequently ambushed. Reprisals were brutal. The Pakistan army did not invent collective punishment, but their application of it would place them among the worst practitioners of the atrocity. With only a few minutes notice, shantytowns were run over by heavy armored vehicles. Escaping victims were cut down with machine gun fire. Women and little girls were abducted, some raped on the spot, in full view of the parents. Survivors of the massacre were driven like cattle to designated concentration camps. Even the ones seeking refuge in mosques did not escape the heavy hand of the army.
There was a veritable avalanche of refugees across the border. Pakistan claimed that the fleeing mass of humanity were Hindus who had never reconciled to partition.
Yahya, with full support of the brass replaced the comparatively mild, multilingual and academically inclined DCMLA Lt General Yakub Khan [xxviii], with a barbaric General in the mold of Helegu (who had sacked Baghdad many centuries ago). The man, Tikka Khan [xxix], on arrival at Dhaka Airport declared that he was interested in the land, not the people. Another of his infamous proclamations was that” we will change their race”. I watched both statements on British TV. It was first and hopefully the last time in annals of human history, that gang rape was openly espoused as an instrument of state policy.
The Butcher of Dhaka as he came to be known, gave the soldiers a free hand. The army continued their rampage with renewed and unbridled ferocity, killing, raping, bulldozing and burning. They specially targeted Dhaka university students. They surrounded the hostels, and announced on loud speakers, that those who left peaceably would not be harmed and fired on fleeing boys killing indiscriminately, kidnapping girls at gunpoint and subjecting them to unimaginable bestiality. The sizable Hindu minority, they made up about 15% of East Pakistan’s population were, also prime targets. All the urban areas were subjected to similar measures.
Urdu speaking immigrants and members of Islamist parties served as a willing fifth column for the army.
After” pacifying” the cities, army personnel spread through the countryside.
If the army had not been so ham-handed and brutal they might still have got away with their pacification campaign [xxx].
Several million refugees had sought shelter in Indian Bengal and had been accommodated in hastily created tent cities. It is a tribute to the maturity and sense of nationhood of the Indians, that widespread anti Muslim riots did not break out in the country.
The Indian Prime Minister Indra Gandhi was the daughter of the first Prime Minister of India. Pundit Nehru. The latter was an idealist and one of the founding fathers of Independent India. Undivided India was an article of faith for him and others leaders of independence movement.
Indra Gandhi skillfully presented India’s case, dwelling rather more on human misery of unprecedented scale than on the crushing economic burden of having to look after millions of refugees.
Pakistan, ruled by an unelected, brutal and dissolute General, sent a foreign office bureaucrat who had difficulty getting an appointment with mid-level officials.
On return from a highly successful tour, Indra renewed her ultimatum to Pakistan.
Admiral Ahsan, the Governor dealt with civilian administration. Ahsan renewed his offer to mediate. He could work out an arrangement under which Pakistan Army could get out intact, with out being humiliated. Pakistan would become a con-federation. It would keep the country in one piece. The international community supported the plan. India fell in line, though reluctantly. They would lose the opportunity to undo Pakistan.
The military cabal vetoed the proposal. Bhutto endorsed the veto.
Pakistani generals, in total denial of reality [xxxi], deluded themselves into thinking that by initiating a conflict on the western border they would get international intervention-cease fire etc. Bhutto had lavished compliments on them for coming up with this brilliant idea.
Indian Government gave a final ultimatum to Pakistan to withdraw her forces from East Bengal voluntarily and immediately. The ultimatum was rejected by Pakistan.
Indian army went into action on its border with East Pakistan. Pakistani army with drew, after a token resistance to “defensible” strong points. But they destroyed all infra structure, crops, boats, cars, buses, bridges, public buildings, industrial plants, schools and hospitals. It was a campaign of wanton and malicious vengeance. The butcher had already run away, leaving a hapless General Niazi to hold the crumbling fort (It is hardly credible but according Akbar S. Ahmad, a senior Pakistani civil servant at the time, when he visited the military HQ in Dacca, he was told of a Niazi plan. He did not agree with what it was and said so. Niazi frowned at him as one would to a very poorly informed person. He was told by an aide that the plan was to win a corridor from Dacca through India to Lahore).
At this point Yahya decided to open hostilities on the Western border. Pakistan air force planes bombed some Indian airports. They actually went as far as Agra right in the belly of India. The hoped and preyed for international intervention did not materialize.
Lahore was with in easy grasp of India. All their army had to do was to walk in. Nixon-Kissinger warned India off West Pakistan. Nixon announced that he had ordered the USA pacific fleet to move towards East Pakistan. It was a shot across Indra’s sails. It worked or as some would have it she had other ideas [xxxii].. Only the Chinese government, in an eerie replay of a similar claim during 1965 India Pakistan war, accused the Indian border forces of abducting a few cows and goats. They could not do any more. India, as on the previous occasion, hastily offered immediate restitution.
Pakistan army’s resistance crumbled in the East and the West. On the eastern side they would soon abandon even the pretence of putting up a fight. Many senior officers fled in helicopters pushing women and children off the planes*. (US forces were to emulate Pakistanis in their flight from Vietnam, except that American service men pushed Vietnamese and not their own country women and children off the steps of the plane). But the day before surrender, they rounded up and shot in cold blood, all the educated people they could lay their hands on in Dhaka [xxxiii].
Mukti Bahini guerillas would have torn all 90,000 Pakistani military and civilian personnel and family members to shreds. But the Indian army expeditiously threw a protective cordon around them and hastily moved them to POW camps in India.
Parvez Hoodbhoy-“Zia’s generation is everywhere today in Pakistan. A moderate Muslim majority country has become one where the majority of citizens want Islam to play a key role in politics. The effects of indoctrination are clearly visible. Even as the sharia-seeking Taliban were busy blowing up girls and boys schools (over 950, to date), a survey by World Public Opinion.Org in 2008 found that 54% of Pakistanis wanted strict application of sharia while 25% wanted it in some more dilute form. Totaling 79%, this was the largest percentage in the four countries surveyed (Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia)”.
Bhutto had taken over a country universally despised for the genocide in East Pakistan. He faced immense problems. India had captured large swathes of territory in the west too. 90,000 of his countrymen, soldiers, their kin and civil servants with their families were in India. The government of BD was demanding the surrender of the butcher of Bengal, now the army chief of Pakistan, plus scores of army men from among the POWs.. If push came to shove Pakistan would have had to give up the butcher.
All Bhutto had in hand was Mujib in a Pakistani jail. He was certainly not in a position to touch the President of BD. Had he done so, Indra’s hand would have been forced. She would have had to attack West Pakistan, free Mujib and try Bhutto as a war criminal. Why Indra did not let the BD government conduct war crimes trials is a mystery. Hitler’s entourage were hanged and awarded long jail terms for lesser crimes.
I visited Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi a few months after the Pakistan army had surrendered in Dhaka. A state of total gloom pervaded the atmosphere. Even the elite were on the edge. They were still in complete denial. Bhutto in their eyes was the savior.
I embarked on a twenty-four hour-long journey from Karachi to Lahore on a railway train. I have seen more cheerful funeral processions.
I was in Lahore on the day Bhutto addressed a public meeting as the president and chief martial law administrator [xxxiv] of Pakistan. He had carted the whole diplomatic corps from Islamabad for the occasion and had ridden a carriage pulled by eight white horses, relic of the raj, slowly through the streets of Lahore to the meeting ground. People did line the streets of the route. But they were not up to the effort to greet him with full-throated “Zindabad”, long live slogans.
Bhutto had one incontestable talent. He could put up a show. His detractors had called him a “Madari”; a juggler. He made a vehement speech interspersed with his antics. The only time the crowd responded lustily was when he swore an obscenity.
I next visited Rawalpindi, the seat of army GHQ. This city was teeming with relatives and friends of POW’s held in India. Few received any news through Red Cross and other such agencies. They openly castigated the senior army officers who had run away leaving their juniors to face the bloodthirsty Bengali freedom fighters.
The news that I was visiting from the UK spread soon and my host was swamped by requests to see me. They gave me letters to mail from London and requested me to call the Red Cross, UNO and embassies in London. They were clutching at straws.
Army had appointed Bhutto as the foreign minister, and sent him to NY to defend Pakistan’s case in the UN Security council. His grandstanding did not do any good to any one except himself. He was playing to the domestic audience; he tore up the draft resolution demanding immediate cease-fire.
Before returning to Pakistan he quietly called on Nixon and his staff and the secretary of state and presumably obtained their clearance and blessings to supplant the army high command. Nothing would quite explain the arrogance with which he demanded and the ease with which the army high command complied with his demands. He was handed over total control of the Government. He styled himself Chief Martial Administer cum President of the country. He had driven into the President house in a plain car and driven out in a vehicle bedecked with national, presidential and CMLA flags.
Indra had apparently decided to solve the Pakistan “problem” once and for all. She had held her hand when told that China would defend West Pakistan if attacked and the USA would not rush to her assistance as it did in 1961 when Chinese troops had walked across the border.
Indra had neutralized the threat of all out Chinese intervention by the disinterred and freshly signed thirty years treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union. Soviets had wanted it and draft had been ready since 1969, but Indians had demurred. China could not take on Russia.
Nixon and Kissinger could not countenance complete annihilation of Pakistan. India would become too powerful. They needed a counter poise and exerted tremendous pressure on Indra to keep her from over running West Pakistan too. But why would she listen to them? She could have neutralized any overt threat from them by the simple expedient of offering Russians access to a warm water seaport.
Bhutto had taken over a country universally despised for the genocide in East Pakistan. Its people were groaning under the twin burdens of low esteem and terrible guilt complex. India had captured large swathes of territory in the west too. 90,000 of his countrymen, soldiers, their kin and civil servants with their families were in India. The government of BD was demanding the surrender of the butcher of Bengal, now the army chief of Pakistan, plus scores of army men from among the POWs.
Indra had not shown her hand. No body knew if she would have any qualms in sending the men to BD for the trials. If push came to shove Pakistan would have had to give up the butcher.
All Bhutto had in hand was Mujib in a Pakistani jail. He was certainly not in a position to touch the President of BD. Had he done so; Indra’s hand would have been forced. She would have had to attack West Pakistan, free Mujib and try Bhutto as a war criminal.
Why Indra did not let the BD government conduct war crimes trials is a mystery. Hitler’s entourage were hanged and awarded long jail terms for lesser crimes. Astute observers speculated that she did not want Pakistan army cleaned of bad blood. If she had deliberately planned to under mine the country she went about it in no uncertain manner.
On my return to England, I found Pakistanis in the depth of despair here too. Some religious, older East Pakistanis joined in grieving over a lost dream. Even the jingoist immigrants from the martial race were subdued.
Once he had all the levers of power securely in his hands, Bhutto negotiated skillfully for release of the POWs, and return of the Pakistan territory, India had captured.
Indra received him graciously, as befitted a magnanimous victor. The only concession he made was to agree that Kashmir dispute was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, and not an International issue as had been hitherto accepted by the world bodies. International intervention had failed to produce any solution any way.
Indra did not humiliate him to the extent that he would lose all credibility in residual Pakistan. He could be replaced by a bunch of raving fanatics. She wanted a stable though weak state at her border. India was obliged to feed 90,000 POWs and keeping them secure. It was not an inconsiderable consideration. But when all is said and done, Indra behaved like a statesman, stateswoman if you will.
Mujib was still in a prison in West Pakistan. Bhutto grandiloquently declared that if Mujeeb agreed to a reunified Pakistan, he would order the latter’s release from the jail and hand over reins of power to him as the Prime Minister of All Pakistan. Wali Khan, a veteran politician, scion of the famous Khan family of NWFP, offered to visit Mujeeb in jail and convince him to take over from Bhutto. I am paraphrasing an article by Wali Khan that I read in a Pakistani magazine that Bhutto thanked the Khan for the offer, but the next thing he heard was that Mujib was put on a special and secret PIA flight early one morning to London!! Wali Khan claimed that Bhutto was so scared that Mujib would accept the offer, and displace him that he lost no time in sending the man away.
But he had reckoned with out the good old, the Almighty Dollar. The opposition, hitherto rather laid back, was suddenly energized. So much US currency flooded the money exchange enterprises that the dollar lost a bit of its value in the local market. Elections were due in Pakistan. It was widely perceived that Bhutto and his PPP would win the elections hands down. There was no credible alternative to him.
People in urban areas were already disaffected. In Karachi Air Marshal Asghar Khan drew huge crowds. Fates were finally looking kindly on Bhutto’s detractors.
As polling results started trickling in, people looked at each other in dismay and disbelief. The final straw was the defeat of the Air Marshal in Karachi.
There were howls of outrage. People would have accepted a simple majority for the party. PPP had won even in the urban centers of Sindh dominated by Urdu speaking immigrants who hated Bhutto’s guts for discriminatory legislations.
The opposition took out mammoth processions in all the major cities of the country. The army called in to assist the Police was only too willing to use force in Sind and Baluchistan but they hesitated in suppressing the uprising when it came to the Punjab, and to a lesser extent in NWFP, the harvesting fields of the armed forces.
Bhutto offered to have polling held again in the disputed seats. The opposition wanted new elections held under the auspices of an all parties Government. Bhutto could not accept that.
Bhutto resorted to strident, shrill and undignified speeches. Gone was the statesman like posturing.
Bhutto was reported to have finally agreed to cancel the results of the elections and hold new ones under the auspices of an independent election commission, which would have opposition nominees too. The agreement was to be signed the “following morning”. Ghulam Ishaq Khan [xxxviii], a grizzled bureaucrat serving as secretary general to GOP, was privy to all the negotiations. He was reportedly in cahoots with the army and “foreign agencies”.
Army struck the same night. Zia declared martial law, suspended the constitution, dissolved National assembly and promised new elections in ninety days.
People took a sigh of relief. Opposition was satisfied at the turn of events.
The army went on a propaganda offensive. Pictures and statements of concentration camp detainees were given wide coverage in government-controlled media- Radio, TV and Newspapers. Other scandals were publicized. White papers were issued. Fatehyab Ali Khan filed a suit in the Supreme Court against the propaganda. It stopped.
Zia, unsure yet of his ground, called on Bhutto in his jail cell. Standing at attention before the prisoner, maintaining the façade of a humble man, he plaintively asked “Sir why did you have to do it ”[xxxix].
To test waters and to see how much popularity the man retained, he released Bhutto soon afterwards.
Jails in South Asia are wonderful places for political rejuvenation. People started recalling his “good” deeds again. He had managed to get ninety thousand prisoners of war released from India. He had given a measure of self-respect to the poor, the workers, the dispossessed and the wretched. He had convened a grand conference of all Islamic heads of state He was making atomic bombs. What if he drank a little alcohol and womanized a bit [xl].
In any event he was given a wild, ecstatic, tumultuous and overwhelming reception in Lahore.
Mass adulation went to his head. He denounced the political legitimacy and cast doubt on birth antecedents of Zia. He would try him for treason. He would smash the capitalists, make senior bureaucrats-Pharaohs- sweep the streets, and get the generals to do sanitation work -clean latrines. He would force Mullahs to make an honest living. Property of all feudals who had aided and abetted the army would be confiscated and distributed to their peasants/tenants.
For Zia the threat to try him on charges of high treason was a real risk. Bhutto was known to be vindictive.
Bhutto was arrested again.
Zia broke his pledge and brazenly declared that elections would be held only after a “positive” result could be assured. The opposition, spear headed by obscurantist groups and the retired Air Marshal, did not mind. [xli].
Zia piously proclaimed his intention to introduce laws according to Islamic Shariah-jurisprudence [xlii]. He co-opted religious and other dis-affected and dis-enchanted anti-Bhutto groups into the government. There was no shortage of turncoats from PPP either.
He issued ordinances legitimizing his deeds, past, present and future through the legal framework order (LFO). The LFO was drafted by the presiding genesis of such affairs, a prominent attorney, Sharifuddin Pirzada [xliii].
In the ensuing months and years Zia had political opponents publicly flogged, jailed and tortured- in the name of Islam. Under Hudood ordinance raped women, unless they had four adult male practicing Muslims as witnesses to prove that the sexual act was not consensual, were tried for adultery. The rapist, for want of such evidence, would on most occasions go Scot-free. The victim, if she conceived, could not deny that she had had a sexual act.
. Zia became an international pariah. Bhutto’s legally contrived assassination drove his personal standing even lower. Harsh economic sanctions were imposed on the country. Once again it was on the brink of economic collapse. The whole rice crop had to be mortgaged to the Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) [xlvi].
The Afghan Jihad-Taliban- Ethnic Strife-American Role in the Strife.
“Invited” by the Afghans, Soviet forces, took over the capital and handed it over to loyal cadres headed by Babrak Karmil who had fled the country in the wake of the massacre of the erstwhile PM and his faction. Karmil revoked all anti-religious orders. Things seemed to settle down, but Afghans remained suspicious.
The U.S.A. had not forgotten its humiliation in Vietnam. They were given a chance for sweet vengeance on a platter.
From a pariah the status he fully deserved after overthrowing a civilian government in 1977 and executing Bhutto in 1979, Zia metamorphosed into a saintly defender of all Godly faiths.
Zia offered Afghan rebels moral, political and material help. They needed it and gratefully accepted it. By waging a “holy” war on the infidel Soviets he could also rehabilitate himself in the Muslim world.
With money and material to spare, he was successful in making the whole country one vast detention camp.
Pakistan military’s arsenal was over flowing. Officers in their hundreds were sent to the USA for training in armed forces academies. British Commonwealth, a fossilized elephant [xlvii] invited Pakistan back as a member. . Zia was welcomed with open arms in the brotherhood of Muslim heads of state.
. Foreign observers including a former highly regarded U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark stated categorically that proper procedures of Pakistan penal code had not been followed in Bhutto trail. Judges had acted with impropriety, openly favored the prosecution, and accepted dubious evidence.
I was on a visit to Pakistan when Bhutto was hanged. There were a few riots; one man torched himself publicly to death.
It was a tragic though perhaps fitting end to a life of great promise. But his ambition and arrogance were overwhelming. He had no scruples either.
Zia , harking back to the Islamic traditions that the rightly guided Caliphs were chosen by consensus, hit upon the idea of referendum to choose a President [xlviii]. His was the only name on ballot and the question was something like “If you believe in the rule of Islamic Shariah, Zia ul Haq is the President”.
I made a tour of polling stations in Karachi. Few went to the polling booths. There were actually more armed policemen in the tents housing the ballot boxes than there were voters.
Elsewhere in the country police and other officials bussed and coerced people to vote.
. Included on the ballot papers were names of candidates for membership of a Majlis’ e Shoora. Candidates were barred from declaration of affiliation to a political party.
Zia also created a Senate. Shoora elected some members of the senate, others were chosen by the President from different professions. Professional bodies of journalists, doctors, lawyers were asked to offer their choice.
Only second-rate timeservers participated in the elections. After picking up a non-entity for PM, Zia even engineered deposition of the first speaker of his hand picked assembly, Fakhre Imam, head of a “Pir” house, who though an erstwhile disciple of Bhutto, yet was a man of integrity [xlix].
Soviet Union lavished Klashnikovs [l] an assault rifle, on Afghans.
Afghans, though second to none in loving combat, do not cherish fighting for others. With touching impartiality, they sold the arms, Russian and American, to any who could pay. They ended up in Iran, and some Arab countries. Drug dealers, warlords, racketeers and smugglers also bought the arms. International arms dealers made immense profit, beyond the dreams of avarice. Pakistan army, the handlers of the traffic, kept a large portion for themselves.
Afghanistan’s main cash crop is poppy out of which opium is extracted. They had, hitherto, sold the low-tech product. Opium addiction, innocuous compared to that of its sophisticated end products morphine and worse still heroin, was fairly common in South Asia and China. Zia, as a part of his ‘reforms’ cancelled the licenses of the native shops, which sold opium. That measure only sent them underground.
Bulk of heroin ended up in the West. Pakistan being the transit territory also spawned a large crop of drug dealers. From a minuscule number in nineteen sixties, the count of addicts rose to a million by the time Zia died in 1988. In 2007 they were estimated at three million.
Army generals supervised the traffic, provided safe logistic support and raked in millions of dollars. A feudal, Nawab Hoti, with land holding larger than the area of many small countries, reportedly offered to exchange all his property for a general’s income in a month.
Russians, meeting more organized opposition in Afghanistan, were surreptitiously looking for a way out. They offered a deal to the Americans. Americans knew that Zia was taking them for a ride. Their main clients were Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Umar of Taliban fame. Though not able to foresee the grief the men would cause them, they wanted to disassociate with the likes of these people too.
Benazir released from jail on health grounds went to England for treatment. She now had freedom to lobby foreign governments. Zia’s administration was riddled with scandals, financial and salacious. He had ditched Mullahs after using them in early years of his rule. They were getting restive too. A combined front, Movement for restoration of Democracy [li], was rigged.
Past master at the game of divide and rule Zia created an ethnic immigrant (Mohajir Qaumi Movement) party and three second string native ethnic groupings, Punjabi-Pakhtoon front and Jeay Sind. The first two were in direct economic competition with Mohajirs, the third, in denial of the reality that Mohajirs comprised at least forty five percent of the population of Sindh province, and the majority in all but a few urban centers, disdained any dialogue with the former.
Gorbachev offered a deal to America to extricate his forces out of Afghanistan. Zia sent his PM Junejo to sit in on the parleys and look out for Pakistani’s interest. Going beyond his brief (? emboldened by the USA to do it) Junejo agreed to the Soviet-American agreement.
Zia dismissed the PM and refused to call off his hounds, and vowed to ambush the retreating soviets.
Zia was a high level agent, too big to be ignored, or sidelined with impunity. An incident had to be contrived to get rid of him. He was scheduled to observe a test run of a tank America wanted to sell to Pakistan in a place called Bahawalpur. He invited a very reluctant U.S. military attaché and the ambassador to accompany him. He also took along a dozen senior Pakistani generals on the ride [lii].
On the return trip, Zia invited the vice chief of the army who had flown in his own aircraft to join him on the plane to discuss the merits of the tank. The man politely declined the honor on some pretext. Zia’s plane, C 147, exploded a few minutes into the air taking him and fellow generals into their cherished paradise.
The vice chief [liii], turned his plan around, landed at the airport, made sure Zia was good and dead, and flew to military headquarters to a hastily convened meeting of Lt generals [liv] which decided to abide by the constitution and hand the presidency over to the chairman of the senate. The latter gentlemen appointed an interim PM and cabinet. They, in their turn, rubber-stamped the U.S.-Soviet agreement on Afghanistan.
An under current of messianic zeal is never far from the surface in Muslim societies. It goes back to the Prophets time. He would, however, temper his message with due consideration for human frailties and preferred persuasion to coercion. On the occasion of the signature ceremony on the peace treaty document (Suleh-e-Hudaibiah) between Muslims and the Quraish [lv] of Mecca, the latter objected to his title ‘Messenger of God’ under his signature. He scratched out the title when he signed the document, rather than forego the obvious advantages of the treaty.
He captured Mecca the following year with out firing a shot, or in his case with out launching an arrow. He did not seek revenge from the leaders of Mecca, forgiving even the woman Hinda of the Umayyad clan who had, after the defeat of Muslims in the second battle against the Quraish, chewed the raw liver of his favorite uncle Hamza.
The prophet was gradualist and tolerated affronts to his person with a smile.
About a hundred and fifty years after the prophet Abbasids took over the caliphate, which was by then full-fledged hereditary office. They got the clerics and jurists to meddle with the traditions of the prophet [lvi]. In the process all the saying which emphasized tolerance, compromise, free will in adoption of any creed, proscription of coercion in conversion, near equal status of women, fair treatment of minorities, pursuit of education etc were eradicated from the texts. A noted scholar Imam Bokhari found about six hundred fifty credible ones among the seventeen thousand then extant.
One “scholar” Ibn-e-Tamayya in early Abbasid period followed an intolerant version of Islam as propounded by one of early jurists of Islam, Imam Ibne Hanbal. Another disservice the scholars did to Islam was to proscribe Ijtehad-research, innovation and critical thought- thus closing the gates of rational analysis, leaving only blind belief in stead. The name of Imam Ghazali, an eminent jurist of his time springs to mind.
The intolerant version did not take root till the eighteenth century when a mediocre Arab cleric by the name of Abdul Wahab revived it. The founder of the house of Saud used it against the Ottomans..
Mainstream Sunnis in India shunned them before independence.
Wahabi sect was given a tremendous boost by the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia. Literally thousands of Madresahs- seminaries were established in Pakistan. The country suffers from grinding poverty and abysmally low literacy rate. If any one offered food, clothes and shelter, millions would swamp him. All the seminaries offered was memorizing the Quran and indoctrination in fantasy- of wine women and dance in the after world. The cadre of hypnotized youth when unleashed, went around targeting and attacking non-Muslims and even Muslims who did not agree with their handlers.
In historical terms, the recent set backs like establishment of Israel, the debacle of 1967 six day war, the 1971 Civil war in East Pakistan, the total reversal after early successes in 1973 [lvii] Yom Kippur war, Afghan Jihad and post Gulf II war demolition of Iraq, have driven Muslims further away from the path of development, sciences and enlightenment.
Taliban, got a new patron with messianic zeal, Osama Bin Laden, who was worth six hundred million Dollars. Of all the sections and ethnicities the Taliban were the best organized, financed and led. After soviet retreat they eliminated other factions in short order and committed atrocities especially on the minority Shias and women. They closed girl’s schools, sent all female workers, Doctors, teachers, and office workers home. Incessant warfare over two decades had left innumerable widows and orphans with no means of support. No longer allowed to work many resorted to begging and prostitution.
Taliban imposed “religious” courts where destitute women and other disenfranchised populace were summarily tried with out the benefit of defense, witnesses or even prosecuting attorneys. Deranged clerics handed down judgments after a few minutes deliberation. The punishment could be public beatings, amputation of a hand or foot or stoning to death. Thousands in Kabul’s main sports stadium watched the spectacle. On the streets religious police caned women not covered from head to foot, or wearing high heels. Men were subject to measurement of beards, which had to be regulation length, and the more zealous security guards would check the pubic area to see if it was properly shaved. Men had to wear ankle length lower body wear to play soccer- football. Members of one Pakistani soccer team had their heads shaved because they wore shorts.
The virus spread to Pakistan where a common slogan used to be “Who will save Pakistan, Taliban, Taliban”. Members of the “other” sect were murdered for the greater glory of Islam. In Karachi alone, scores of young Shia physicians were killed in cold blood. Mosques were torched, clerics butchered, and kidnapped. Christians and Hindus were not spared either.
Things have actually been getting worse. The political wing of the parties on the lunatic fringe actually won elections in two provinces in Pakistan. In spite of all that the US combat of the Taliban has been, at best, ham handed. The deadly virus of Taliban is not far from engulfing Pakistan in an epidemic of extremism.
Though Benazir (BB) and Nawaz Sharif (NS) took turns in occupying the PM’s office for eleven years between Zia and Musharraf, yet except for the two year interlude when NS managed to sack a head of the Navy and force the resignation of the army chief, (Naval chief was dismissed on corruption charges that he received a kick back and army chief for suggesting that a Turkish style national security council comprising the President, PM, joint and service chiefs be constituted) real power remained in the hands of the Evil Quad (army-feudal-bureaucratic-mullah combine). They controlled the band and made the politician dance to their tune.
After Zia’s death in 1988, the new President and both houses of the parliament got to together and amended the constitution to provide for party based elections. Elections were announced, prepared for and held at the end of 1988.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led by BB won the largest number of seats. They were just shy of overall majority. The party had done well in the Punjab.
Provincial elections followed a few days later. By making crass parochial appeals crass appeals to, a popular refrain was “Punjabi tere Turre Te Laga Daagh” [lviii]; it had been dishonored, protégés of Zia led by NS won in the Punjab. MQM won the urban seats in Sind.
Muslim minority provinces offered more than half of civil servants and an overwhelming number of business men, industrialists, bankers, trades men, teachers and professionals and almost the entire leadership of Muslim league that Pakistan inherited from the Raj. Muslims in the provinces, which came to constitute West Pakistan, could only offer Army officers and soldiers, decrepit feudal landowners. Sind and NWFP did not have a single ICS (Indian civil Service of colonial times, now CSP).
The Eastern wing was no better off. It offered jute, which was processed in Calcutta and one ICS officer.
Bitter turf-hegemonistic wars broke out between the “sons of the soil” (SOS), a term used for those born in the Punjab (bureaucrats born the Punjab) and non-sons of the soil-NSOS, (born in India). SOS had the weaker hand. In 1951 practically all the heads of Government departments were non-Punjabi immigrants.
NSOS also had more representation in the officer corp. than their percentage in the population would justify.
Ayub who broke the back of NSO bureaucracy by sacking all the NSOS senior officers, except for one who had married the only sister of three Punjabi senior civil servants. His successor Yahya did more of the same. Bhutto scraped the bottom of the barrel.
Bhutto promoted dissension between all sections of the society as a deliberate policy. Worst affected were Sindhi-Immigrant relations.
Bhutto won more seats in the Punjab and diehard Sindhi nationalists openly derided him as a tool of Punjabis. All he could do was to deflect Sindhi unrest to the immigrants. He introduced a rural–urban quota system; rural area residents, largely indigeneous Sindhis would be given preference to immigrants in all government jobs .
Zia had already effectively put an end to secular non-ethnic politics in Pakistan. Bhutto Paying lip service to religion, engineered dissension among all the groups, students included. He would later declare Qadianis as non-Muslims.
Altaf Husain, the founder of MQM, had founded an immigrant Students Organization.
During his time at the university, Altaf distinguished himself by not attending classes, or taking tests and by being disrespectful to his teachers. He managed to pass the Pharmacy final examination, or more likely was allowed to do so [lix].
Soon after graduation he left for the USA. He could not pass the US exam, so to support himself he drove a cab in Chicago. [lx].
During the mid eighties, he surfaced back in Pakistan, launched MQM and met moderate, success. But he had acquired a core of devout followers. An announcement that Altaf would address a public meeting was made late in 1983.
The day before the meeting I found the whole city was festooned with colorful MQM banners. I learnt later that a veritable swarm of well-led enthusiasts had worked in a very organized and disciplined manner and had draped all exposed surfaces of the city with Altaf’s proclamations. Many questions were raised and vocalized on the source of MQM financing. Detractors openly expressed the idea that it was underwritten by the Inter services Intelligence (ISI) [lxi] and American CIA.
A reported hundred thousand people attended it. It was actually a moderate number for Karachi, a city of many million souls. But what was striking was the discipline of the crowd. It rained buckets during Altaf’s speech. Not a person fled the downpour.
A few days later MQM announced a meeting in Hyderabad, a town about a hundred miles from Karachi. In an ostentatious display of solidarity MQM decided to bus thousands of supporters to the town. The route of the buses passed through a Pathan drug mafia dominated area [lxii]. Gangster mobs attacked the tail end and stragglers. Several hundred were killed.
The organized manner in which the dastardly deed was perpetrated led many to believe that it had been an officially abetted aggression. The Lt General Governor of the province was widely believed to have intimate connections with the under world. The tragedy proved to be a tremendous boost to MQM.
In 1984 a speeding bus had crushed a college girl named Bushra Zaidi. Thousands of students had witnessed the accident. The victim was of immigrant origin; the driver and conductor of the bus were Pathans.
Drivers worked long hours. Accidents were consequently common. They would seek shelter in the nearest police station.
But this was different. The victim was a young girl; she had died in the sight of hundreds of college students. The police had been complicit in keeping the culprits under wraps.
Ethnic riots broke out in an area called Aurangi, a huge shantytown, which provided shelter to Pathan migrants from the North who lived in uneasy proximity with a large number of refugees from the erstwhile East Pakistan. Pakistan army had used them to fight the Bengali militia and had trained them in the use of small arms and in concocting “Molotov” cocktails.
Riots soon spread to other parts of the city.
Altaf soon grew bigger than life. Public poured funds into the coffers of MQM..
In the municipal elections held after Zia died in a plane crash, MQM swept the polls for the city council in Karachi.
I attended a private fundraiser for MQM addressed by Altaf. The host was a former member of the “Brahmin” class of Pakistan, the coveted Senior Civil Services [lxiii]. Nearly all the “hereditary” and proletarian Mohajir leaders, the progeny of the founders of the country were in attendance. Hoping to get nominations to the assemblies, they eulogized Altaf in slavish fashion..
MQM was organized on fascist lines. Altaf’s cult of personality rivaled that of Hitler, with a dash of oriental superstition thrown in. His pictures were reported to have materialized in the tiles of the floors of Mosques and inside vegetables! Questions like “where was the Quaid-e-Tahreek, Leader of the movement born, or what was his mother’s name” etc figured prominently in the formal doctrinal examinations held for the rank and file.
Every one who was any one in Pakistani politics, Benazir (BB) and Nawaz among them, visited Altaf in his tiny townhouse. BB gave him a copy of the Quran. He gave her a Dupatta [lxiv].
MQM and PPP soon fell out. Altaf realized too late that PPP had given him oral assurances which they had no intention of honoring. The Mayor of Karachi was made impotent. Sindhi hatred of Mohajirs extended even to the sole Mohajir PPP minister Amir Haider Kazmi [lxv].
BB’s first term was marred by persistent riots between Mohajirs and Sindhis. Mohajir and Sindhi workers fought a gun battle in the steel mill. The army mediated the conflict. Police surrounded Purana Qila, Hyderabad, which housed about half a million Mohajirs and severed the Gas, water and electric connections to the area. The siege continued for several days till the COAS Aslam Beg, a Mohajir himself sent the army to break it.
BB indulged in unprecedented jobbery. All government offices, nationalized industries, businesses and banks had to find a berth for people presenting themselves with a “chit”, a note from BB or one her senior minions. Her ministers followed suit [lxvi].
Her spouse, Asif became known as Mr. 10% percent, after his reported facilitation fee. The couple bought a mansion in Surrey County in England. It boasted a heli-pad. He and BB were to be named in money laundering and other such cases in international court.
BB’s annointed goon, Naseerullah Babar, reportedly indoctrinated in counter insurgency techniques by the best CIA could offer, was the acknowledged godfather of Taliban. Armed personnel would suddenly surround localities. House to house search would follow after “security” services had surrounded the section of the town. Young men and some young girls who took the fancy of the marauders would be picked up and taken away to police stations. They would be mercilessly beaten in full sight of parents who would beg for reprieve. If they could pay adequate amount of bribe the victim would be released. Scores of hundreds of young men became victims of extra-judicial killing.
General Aslam Beg threw a party for his daughter’s wedding, which in opulence would shame the ones thrown by Caliphs of Baghdad. BB, the President and all power brokers attended.
After he retired, Aslam Beg told the Chief justice (CJ) boldly, nay sneeringly, that yes he had collected and diverted a fabulous amount of money to prop up favorite groups and under cut the opposition. The CJ spluttered incoherently but subsided when Beg glared at him.
BB’s government was never stable.
The President dismissed her and the assembly on the tried and tested, though time worn grounds charges of incompetence, corruption etc and ordered new elections. She had served only twenty months of her five-year term.
Elections followed. This time NS’s party won and he became the PM. MQM were again in the Government, this time with more clout.
Altaf had accompanied the opposition leaders on a tour of Pakistan. He had mesmerized the crowds in the heartland of the Punjab. That gave him ideas. He could rule over the hearts and minds of the Punjab as well. He changed the name of his party from Mohajir Qaumi movement to Muttahda Qaumi Movement
That sealed his fate in Pakistan. Army created a dissident wing in MQM and supplied it with arms.
Under BB, a retired general Naseerullah Babar, a pocket edition of the butcher of Dhaka sent in the army, and tried to destroy MQM infrastructure. Altaf was spirited out of the country. Armed forces unleashed a reign of terror with the same ferocity they had in East Pakistan. [lxvii]
Nawaz’s father was a friend of the general who governed Punjab for the army and had appointed him finance minister in the province [lxviii]. Opponents made fun of him that he consumed a whole tray of yogurt in addition to kebabs, Parathas, Pulao, chargha and desserts at breakfast [lxix].
His first tenure was marked by enhanced corruption; this time presided over by his younger brother Shahbaz. They bought four luxury apartments in the poshest of all London localities, the Park Lane in the west end. Each apartment was, reportedly, worth 2.5 million pounds [lxx].
. One of his more outlandish schemes was customs duty free government financed import of Taxis to develop new jobs. Most were used for private transport. The loss of precious and scarce foreign exchange was enormous.
N.S had tried denationalization but the industries (nationalised by Bhutto) and businesses had taken so much loan, their staff had been so bloated and the balance sheets so much in the red that there were no takers.
Conversion of foreign currency deposits to local currency had made expatriate capital shy of the country. [lxxi] Banks were on the verge of bankruptcy.
The only enterprises, which had mushroomed after denationalization, were private schools and Hospitals. People converted small houses into a school by the simple device of putting on a huge sign with an attractive title like Advanced Cambridge Academy. Licenses/registrations for private schools were available from education department for a modest bribe and a monthly retainer. The schools would be run by a nominal charitable trust [lxxii].
Hospitals also became a boom industry..
As in the case of schools, small, medium and large houses in congested areas in already crowded neighborhood were converted into hospitals. One such hospital, in a bunch of ramshackle buildings evolved into a medical college and a while later into a medical university [lxxiii]. The owner became the Chancellor of the university.
Surprisingly enough, starting a hospital did not require any kind of license, registration or permission from any state agency. One had as great liberty to allow performance of major surgery as one did to sell groceries.
Another glaring misuse of the system was that patients would wheedle, force or threaten -union officials would employ the latter method- doctors to write prescriptions for expensive medicines and exchange them for cosmetics at drug stores.
The teaching staff employed by medical schools would spend an hour or two in the school and the attached hospitals.The number of unnecessary surgery was mind-boggling.
High education suffered the same fate as medical care did.
In 1962 there were six medical colleges in the West, three in the East and corresponding number of other colleges/universities. For some curious reason, till the eighties, there was only one dental school in the western wing. In 1991 there were half a dozen universities and innumerable “professional” colleges in Karachi alone.
One day a Doctor who had been two years junior to me in medical school called me that he wanted to open a medical college in his 400 Square yard [lxxiv] hospital and wanted me to co-sign a letter asking for university approval.
Examination halls were sold to entrepreneurs. The controller of examinations in my presence offered a leading Eye doctor of the town to get any position for his daughter in twelfth grade.
Nawaz was growing too big for his britches and wanted to amend the constitution to take away the power of the President to dismiss the PM and the assembly. That required a two third support for the measure in the assembly. BB could provide that. She declined [lxxv].
The president dismissed NS. NS challenged the dismissal. The PM and the president issued contradictory orders. The army chief of the staff General Kakar intervened and forced both to resign and ordained an interim administration under an expatriate from the U.S.A.
BB won the new elections and this time secured an over all majority. She had her erstwhile foreign minister Farooq Leghari [lxxvi] elected as the President. The man, another scion of a feudal family had served as a junior minister under her father. She treated the man as a family retainer [lxxvii].
Corruption, jobbery and arbitrary governance reached ever greater heights. The President warned her in a friendly fashion. She told him to mind his own business.
The worm turned. The former retainer sacked her and ordered a new election.
In the ensuing elections in 1997 Nawaz won big. He and his minions went about crowing that they had an overwhelming mandate.
The CJ had the temerity to hear cases against the government. NS sent gangsters to manhandle the CJ while he was presiding over a trial. A minister in the Punjab provincial government and several members of the assembly were actually caught on the camera leading the mob.
NS had a vote of no confidence passed against the President and filled the slot with his attorney. He had requisite number of votes in the houses of the assembly and was able to remove the offending clause from the constitution, which authorized the President to dismiss the PM and the assembly.
He undeservedly and presumptuously took credit for the successful atomic bomb explosion in 1998.
He overreached himself and sacked a navy chief accused of pocketing a huge kick back in purchase of ships-submarines. The army chief proposed a security council [lxxviii], Nawaz demanded and got the army chief’s resignation. He appointed Parvez Musharraf to succeed in the office, under the mistaken belief that being a Mohajir he will not have roots in the army and would do his bidding with out question.
But the armed forces of Pakistan are a malevolent hydra-headed organism. You cut of one head; another grows in its place and is obeyed implicitly by senior officers [lxxix].
With out so much as ‘by your leave’ to the PM, the army attacked Indian positions in Kargil [lxxx] and manufactured a crisis. Standing on high ground, and taking the Indian troops by complete surprise they were able to kill several hundreds of Indian forces and force them to retreat.
NS chose to take credit for the misadventure. [lxxxi]
When the Indian PM threatened an all out war, NS had to run, with tail between legs, to Washington and beg for US intervention. Clinton made him sit by while he placated Indian PM Bajpai on phone, and arranged a cease-fire. Nawaz was made to give a pledge to keep his army on a tight leash.
As planned the army cried foul. What our Jawans had won with their blood and Shaheeds had given their life for, was lost by a pusillanimous PM who had given away what our Jawans had given their blood for.
N S wanted to move quickly to replace Musharraf. Musharraf got wind of the impending axe. He consulted with his confidants, and confronted N S. N S is timid. He totally denied any scheme of replacing Musharraf. To placate him further, he gave the army chief additional charge of the head of joint chiefs of service committee [lxxxii].
Musharraf was scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on a good will mission. N S thought that would be a good time to replace him. He had found a general Ziauddin with impeccable antecedents. Like his own family the man was of Kashmiri descent [lxxxiii].
But Musharraf had taken precautionary measures. He had retired two Lt generals, and transferred another two suspected of being in league with the PM, to impotent desk jobs. He had also moved loyal officers to key slots, one as deputy chief of army staff and three others as corp. commanders of Karachi, Lahore and the capital area.
While Musharraf was on his way back, actually in the air en route to Karachi, N S announced his replacement by the new man on the radio and TV.
In the meanwhile the deputy chief sent troops to surround the PM house and take over all the tactically important places. N S and the new chief were unceremoniously taken in custody and for good measure were manhandled a bit too. TV station was captured, and all programs suspended.
It was given out that Musharraf’s civilian plane was not allowed permission to land in Karachi and was directed to an Indian airport not too far across the border. Musharraf said over his dead body. The plane was running low on fuel. Musharraf was worried over the lives of the dozens of innocent civilian fellow passengers. GOP ordered the pilot to proceed to an airport further inland. Not enough fuel.
The local corp. commander Lt general Usmani was waiting at the Karachi airport to receive his boss. He saw the runway blocked by trucks and got worried. He some how managed to get in touch with Musharraf’s plane, asked for latter’s instructions and ordered the pilot to keep on circling. In order to get the runway cleared and over power the air traffic handlers he needed his soldiers in a hurry. His cantonment was less than a mile away. He could not get hold of a phone, and had to drive to his base and bring his troops back with him. With the help of soldiers he threw out the personnel of control center. His soldiers cleared the runway of the trucks. Musharraf landed with only minutes to spare.
This plot has more holes than the proverbial sieve.
First, Air Force has two large runways in Karachi. Both are capable of handling planes of all sizes. In fact before the runway on the civilian airport was enlarged, big commercial airplanes had to use the facility at the Mauripur air base just out side the city. Musharraf was chairman of the joint chiefs of the staff committee, and could legally land his plane there.
Second, no Pakistani in his right mind would deny a Lt General the use of a phone. Usmani was a ferocious bearded giant and would inevitably be accompanied by an honor guard to receive the chief and could easily commandeer airport facilities with out having to go to his base.
Third, Usmani must have known of the appointment of a new chief. He was not a blithering idiot and must have come prepared. The dash to his base was obviously a subterfuge to deflect attention from a patently premeditated move.
In any event Musharraf landed safely and a few hours later he made a formula speech on the TV and the radio that safety of the country was at stake. It was his duty as an officer and a patriot to protect the nation etc.
Musharraf’s coup was in one way distinct from the previous usurpations of authority. Ayub took over when there was a real fear that the country might slide into anarchy. Ayub handed over the government to Yahya illegally and unconstitutionally but law and order situation was again fast deteriorating. Zia took over when the law and order had been subverted by the opposition and foreign agencies. It was left to Musharraf to invent a patently spurious excuse.
Musharraf appeared to be what the country had been looking for a long time. Sophisticated, well spoken and urbane he seemed to combine compassion with firmness. The enlightened progressive and educated element was happy that he was secular and invoked the name of Kamal Ata Turk the founder of modern Turkey and went around with a lap dog in his arms
Cases of nepotism, corruption, bribery, fraud and loot of national assets were filed in courts in Pakistan and abroad against the deposed Premier Nawaz Shareef and former PM Benazir. Nawaz had been arrested at the time of the coup. BB was out of the country but her much more unpopular husband was duly locked up [lxxxiv].
But Mustafa Kamal had a united people behind him. Musharraf had inherited a people disillusioned and at odds with each other. They had seen a highly venal civilian rule. They had lived under military rulers who had widened the rich-poor divide (Ayub), lost half the country (Yahya) and Zia who had empowered clerics and promoted ethnic and sectarian conflicts and left a legacy of arms and drugs. They had been let down by that false Messiah Bhutto who had only reinforced the rule of his feudal class.
Musharraf was an international pariah from the day he took over. His fortunes rose with 9/11. US were pitted against the Taliban. They needed Musharraf to keep ISI the creator of Taliban on a tight leash. Musharraf, however, in a devilishly cunning manner kept the Mullahs up his sleeve to be taken out at proper times to reinforce the view that his mentors had no other choice.
Musharraf and his minions brandished the oxy-moronic slogan of enlightened moderation [lxxxv] He was all for women’s rights and even ordered the local security agencies to register a case against the perpetrators of Punchayat-local village government- ordained gang rape of the now celebrated Mukhtaran Mai [lxxxvi]
The culprits were apprehended, jailed and let off by the provincial high court for lack of evidence. An international uproar forced the government to arrest the accused again and the case was pending in front of the Supreme Court. Mukhtaran was invited by a Human rights advocacy group in the U.S.A Asian American Network Against Abuse (ANAA) to visit the USA.
On his subsequent visit to the UN General Assembly session in N.Y. he addressed an invitations only gathering of Pakistani expatriate women in NY City. One member of the audience asked why he had tried to prevent Mukhtaran from leaving the country. That was lese majeste. Musharraf lost it completely. He had to be publicly restrained by his erstwhile boss, the then Pakistani ambassador to the U.S.
He finally took a misstep, reportedly at the advice of the PM and asked the Supreme Court CJ to resign. The CJ had blocked the sale of the steel mill at fire sale price [lxxxvii] and had asked that “disappeared’ be found and presented to the court. The man declined the suggestion that he resign. He had most likely sensed the regime’s weakness.
The CJ was kept incommunicado for several hours, and finally sent home, allegedly man handled in the process, under heavy escort to a virtual house arrest. Cases of his “corruption, nepotism and unfair use of prerogatives of office” were referred to the Supreme judicial council [lxxxviii] and he was “dysfunctionalized” whatever that meant.
Uncharacteristically the attorneys went up in arms. They had in the past acquiesced in the shabby treatment meted out by BB to the CJ of the time and the assault of Nawaz Shareef hooligans on the same person. Nawaz had managed to replace the CJ with a family retainer with ease.
The public and students disgusted and disillusioned as they were with the antics of power brokers wished pox on all houses.
A Mullah “persuaded” a Video shopkeeper to light a huge bonfire of his stock, announced the formation of a Shariah court and threatened the very “Islamic’ suicide bombings if the government dared to thwart his wishes. The prelude to all this resurgence was that women from a seminary in the capital city had “captured” a library, abducted the keeper of an alleged house of pleasure, overpowered and made hostage of the security agents sent to rescue the woman-all under Musharraf’s enlightened nose in Islamabad.
Under the same nose, a bunch of particularly virulent Mullahs had gathered a veritable arsenal in the Red Mosque in Islamabad. They scorned government overtures to a peaceful settlement. Musharraf had to send troops.
Public reaction to the measure, except in the morbid religious circles was favorable.
The lawyers called for a Long March. There was little public support for it but the media, ironically liberated by him.
Musharraf had been shaken by the demonstrations. He would have had to emulate Yahya Khan and hand over to a latter day Bhutto, but Aitzaz Ahsan came to his rescue. At the point when the government security agencies did not know which way to go, he forbid the protestors from a ‘Dharna’ around the parliament buildings and other government offices.
The tragedy of the Left in Pakistan has been, and in the country’s context Aitzaz is authentic Left, that it has been led by reformists, not revolutionaries.
Musharraf took advantage of the lull by striking a U.S. brokered deal with BB.
BB had a reception in Karachi of historic proportions.
Musharraf ordered elections.
BB was campaigning in Rawalpindi when she was killed in a bomb blast.
Her espouse produced a will under which he inherited the party.
Elections, held after a suitable delay produced the usual result, with PPP taking a slight lead and was able to cobble a coalition government. Ministers took oath administered by Musharraf.
The army forced the government to give Musharraf an easy way out. He was duly given a farewell with full military honors.
Zardari took over at the head of a ‘Halwa establishment. (I have related the story elsewhere of how a Faqir was chosen as successor to a Raja who had died with out leaving an heir. Every day he ordered that Halwa be prepared. The public and the army became fat and lazy. A neighboring Raja attacked. Orders to cook Halwa continued.
When the enemy army reached the palace gates, the Raja donned the Fakir garments he had carefully saved and told the Vazeir that he had had enough Halwa, now it was up to the Vazeir to make the next decision).
Parvez Hoodbhoy, “Zia’s generation is everywhere today in Pakistan. A moderate Muslim majority country has become one where the majority of citizens want Islam to play a key role in politics. The effects of indoctrination are clearly visible. Even as the Sharia-seeking Taliban were busy blowing up girls and boys schools (over 950, to date), a survey by World Public Opinion.Org in 2008 found that 54% of Pakistanis wanted strict application of sharia while 25% wanted it in some more dilute form. Totaling 79%, this was the largest percentage in the four countries surveyed (Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia)”.
Of course, all blame for the political manipulation of women`s issues does not lie with the right alone — the Left is equally guilty. Consider the PPP, which uses the Benazir symbol to legitimise a corrupt and crumbling government. This is the same government that allowed Senator Israrullah Zehri to become a federal minister after he defended the alleged burying alive of five women in Balochistan as `Tribal tradition.` It is also the same government that imposed the Sharia law in agreement with the Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Mohammadi in Swat, despite knowing the implications for women`s rights.
Role of Students:
Bengal had been in the forefront of resistance to foreign rule. Students and public had a higher level of political and social consciousness.
Educationists were mostly from the Western wing and wanted to impose a system based on Urdu as the sole medium of instruction.
East Pakistanis reacted with vigorous hostility to the stipulation and vociferously demonstrated and agitated against it. They demanded parity for Bengali with Urdu as a state language.
Dhaka University Central Students Federation and East Pakistan Students Union led the campaign. The movement had the support of the middle class and activists hailed from middle and lower economic classes.
On February 22 1952, police opened fire on a group of Dhaka Medical college. Twenty-five students were killed and injured. Such a storm of protest, indignation and condemnation followed that the government surrendered and accepted the legitimate demand of Bengali as a state language.
It was the first time that a struggle against a repressive regime was spearheaded by a joint front of students and the public. It was the first episode of popular war against the establishment.
We moved to Quetta in 1951. At the time there was only one indigenous teacher in the whole province of Baluchistan. He was promoted to the ranks of Head Master, Inspector of Schools, Principal of the only college in the province and Director of Education with in a few years. All my teachers were immigrants.
At the time of partition the number of educational institution in West Pakistan (now all of Pakistan) was limited to Punjab University (1882), Government College, Hailey College, Dayal Singh and Sanatan Dharam College (current MAO college), DAV college (current Islamia College, civil lines) and Islamia college Railway road, all in Lahore, and Murray college in Sialkot, DJ Science college (1887, SM Arts college (1943), SM Science college (1945) Dow Medical college (1945) and Sind University (now Karachi University-1945) all in Karachi.
Before partition Hindu and Sikh students dominated the educational institutions in the Punjab. Immigrant students to the province found berths in schools and colleges easily.
Sindh on the other hand did not experience whole scale exodus of non-Muslims. Refugees inundated Karachi; its population quickly swelled from about two hundred thousand to twelve hundred thousand. Educational institutions could not hope to cope with the influx. Private institutions lacking physical structure, libraries, laboratories, or playgrounds mushroomed. They simply attempted to enable students to take examinations and obtain a degree. The system faced all kinds of problems.
At the end of 1948, responding to this atmosphere of gloom, a few progressive students founded a small group in Lahore called Democratic Students Federation (DSF) D.S.F did not have a written or formal platform or agenda. It only aimed at amelioration of the educational and academic problems of students.
D.S.F participated in Union elections in different colleges and obtained a measure of success. For the next two to three years its activities remained confined to Lahore and Rawalpindi. Prominent among its leaders were Abid Manto in Rawalpindi and Zuhair Naqvi (A nephew of A.T.Naqvi, the chief commissioner of Karachi) in Lahore.
In Karachi DSF was formed first in Dow Medical College in 1950.
Post establishment of Pakistan feudal lords obtained control of the government, which became total after Liaquat; Jinnah’s designated heir apparent was assassinated in October 1951. In fact Jinnah himself and Liaquat had discouraged students participation in political life. They felt that student would better spend time in acquiring education and become good citizens. Their feudal successors had another agenda. They wanted students to behave like good children and train themselves as good servants of the ruling class. Whenever students agitated for their rights and demanded amenities, they were exhorted to refrain from politics. Pakistan had come into existence; there was no more reason to participate in public life. Those who did not toe the line were subjected to discrimination and torture at the hands of state security apparatus. A few sold themselves for a piece of gold.
On the western side, student activism sustained a grievous setback at the time of partition. An overwhelming majority of students were non-Muslim. Dow Medical College, Karachi was started in 1945. Only two out of the class of fifty were Muslims. A Muslim Students Federation was formed at the N.E.D Engineering College Karachi in 1947. Ahmad Khan Barakzai was the first President. I interviewed an activist of the time, Mr. Nooruddin Sarki, now a leading attorney of Karachi. After a brief mention of the federation he went on to enumerate the names of Karachi medical students of the time-M. Haroon, M Sarwar, Rahman Hashmi and Asif Hamidi-all immigrants, as the pioneers of the student’s movement.
Roughly the same proportion of Hindu-Muslim students obtained in the educational institutions in all provinces of West Pakistan. Students in the region, like elsewhere in India, had participated in Independence movement and constituted the youth wing of I.N.C (Indian National Congress). They left for India in 1947, leaving a vacuum among student activist ranks identical to that in all other socio-political fields.
One day Mairaj took me aside and told me in strict confidence that in organizing Jabalpur meeting Sher Afzal had flouted party directives [lxxxix] and we will discuss it further when we get out.
[i] In line with their policy to reduce the influence of the majority community, the British promoted Muslims in minority provinces. With 9% of the population Muslims in U.P occupied 24 % of the subordinate jobs and 74% in security forces.
[ii] The fact that Sajjad Zaheer, secretary General of the party had earlier on ordered the chief of Railway union to desist from taking on the government as the workers were not mature enough to withstand the heat, lends credibility to the denial. He had called it an adventurist move. The union boss had defied the dictum. The government had effortlessly smashed the strike, setting back the movement by years. But fanatics had continued to question his militant credentials.
[iii] General Paralysis Of the Insane, the terminal stage of syphilis, which is a venereal disease. Prior to the invention of Penicillin, the affliction inevitably ended up as G.P.I. Its effects are manifold, too technical to discuss, but they include loss of coherent speech, though mentation is not much affected. I am again indebted to Qudrat ullah Shahab for the following story but I have a suspicion this one might be anecdotal. On an independence day Ghulam Muhammad decided that he was going to address the nation live on the Radio. He could not enunciate a word clearly. They had hitherto got away with some one reading the speech on the man’s behalf. Bokhari, the Radio Pakistan supremo, hit upon a plan. He would record the man’s speech and play it to him. That would finally convince him that none other than his keepers understood him. When the recording was played back to him, the man lost it completely, threw a shoe at Bokhari and screamed. The keepers told Bokhari that the big man wanted the latter to be sacked instantly. If he could not even record the speech of he Head of the state, what good was he?
[iv] I.20 % of the landlords owned 30.40 % of all cultivable land, 6.40 % owned 51.40 of the land. In the 1959 land reforms out of 48.60 million acres, two million were redistributed out of which one million was barren land. Less than 3% of peasants got any benefit at all. (Source- Roots of Dictatorship in Pakistan; Hasan Gardezi and Jamil Rashid)
[v] Bengalis are an emotional people. They freely admit it themselves. They also love processions and protest marches. West Bengal Government in India is on record for going on a token strike once, against its own policies! I myself read a report in a Pakistan news paper that a trainee officer in the superior services academy was spotted by the ubiquitous secret service participating in an anti government rally. He was hauled before the Principal of the academy. The man, a crusty old civil servant of the Pucca type (the word means ripe or mature). Senior British civil servants prided themselves on their impartiality and intrepidity. Impartiality was restricted to decisions in conflicts between natives. White people were always given preferential treatment. Brown inductees in the civil service aped the masters and tried to be more “white” than the British. I recall a story told by an Indian Civil service officer how a new inductee, during a visit to his father’s modest village home dressed for dinner under his ancestral “chappar”-bamboo-straw roof) school, asked the trainee in what he thought was a biting tone, what the devil did the young man think he was up to and sarcastically added if he knew what the rally was about. The officer responded “No Sir” Then what in heaven’s name did you want to join it for, the intrigued old man asked. “Well Sir, it is like this. I am a Bengali. When I see a protest march, I join it instinctively”!
[vi] Sajjad Zaheer and a few other leftist writers founded P.W.A in 1936. Zaheer, scion of a well known and highly accomplished Shia family of UP, his father was a judge of U.P. high court and his bother was a minister and Indian ambassador, served as the first secretary general of Pakistan Communist party. He was, like his successor Hasan Nasir, recruited into the party while a student at Cambridge England.
[vii] Ayub when told of the humiliation of the governor literally frothed at his mouth and literally threatened to have the Mohajirs thrown into the sea.
[viii] The Chinese leadership cognizant of the disparity in the resources of India and Pakistan had advised Ayub to conduct a people’s war in Kashmir, as they had against Chiang Kai Shek. Ayub did not have the training, intelligence or vision to accept the advice.
[ix] I have always been intrigued by the sway the paradise with nubile Houris, streams of fresh cool water and wine, all kinds of fruit and food and eternal leisure holds over the Muslim mind. I can understand that medieval Arabs would be enchanted with the offer of water, wine and fruits, but why would Indian Muslims succumb to it? And why would otherwise intelligent and educated women fall for it? A young friend volunteered that Muslim women had little choice. But the second and third generation in the West is further regressing into fundamentalism. Perhaps it is socialization.
[x] Line of control was the no man’s land where Indian and Pakistani armies were at the time of cease-fire in 1948. It was not as sacrosanct as an actual international boundary.
.[xi] I was, at the time, working in a hospital in Guildford, England. An East Pakistani Doctor, who was, unusually for people hailing from the region, well built, threatened a rather frail South Indian Doctor that if the news of fall of Lahore was correct, he, the East Pakistani, would beat the h… out of the Indian. The Indian doctor a pacifist, more I guess due to his physique, than from temperament or belief, protested that he was from the South, not from the Northern “Cow Belt” (South Indians not so sold out on the sanctity of Gau Mata-Cow the mother- gave the derogatory title to North Indians). To no avail, my East Pakistani compatriot rolled up his sleeves fully prepared for mayhem. In, the event, the hapless Indian was saved by the BBC apology for misreporting.
[xii] The two wings lost all channels of communication with in an hour of the start of hostilities. Bhutto added injury to insult by saying that China had undertaken to defend East Pakistan.
[xiii] India sent seasoned Foreign Service officials, accomplished politicians, intellectuals and academics to its embassies. It usually chose Muslims for Arab countries, luminaries of the left for socialist regimes and conservatives for capitalist societies. Pakistan’s feudal-military-bureaucratic dispensation did not even look into its puny stock of men and women of high caliber. It off loaded retired Generals, political hacks, and nonentities. There were, of course, exceptions on both sides.
[xiv] Tariq Ali- Street fighting years.
[xv]. They were in a position to give Bhutto a measure of legitimacy and respectability in Karachi, the place to earn political kudos in.
[xvi] I have it on reliable sources that he once sent for a uniquely honest student leader Rashid Hasan Khan, then a medical student, who had had a “ lovers tiff” with him. This person, Dr Rashid was to turn out to be a substantial student leader. I hasten to add that I am using the phrase “ lover’s tiff” in strictly non-sexual terms. Rashid told the emissary to tell Bhutto that he was busy. The emissary a family retainer, begged him that the “Sain” would punish the poor messenger for failure in the mission entrusted to him. Rashid relented.
In a public meeting Bhutto was to declare another student leader Mairaj Muhammad Khan, one of his successors, if any thing untoward like an assassination were to remove him from the field. The other successor was the infamous Mustafa Khar!
I would like to tarry a bit with Mustafa Khar. A wealthy semi-literate dissolute land owner, he had latched on to Bhutto when the former was courting the feudals in Punjab. Bhutto was to appoint him governor of the Punjab in which capacity he became the Chancellor of Punjab University, the only high school (tenth grade in Pakistan) to do so. Another hilarious story told about Khar goes like this. Once he joined a tenth of Moharram procession while it was passing through the Red Light Area of Lahore. Denizens of the pleasure houses lost control at the site of the Governor and screamed” Ab toosi ethe aande nain ho, Saadi ankhian thwano vehkan to taras gain hain”, you do not deign to visit us now, we are desolate with out you.
[xvii] According to economists GNP in Pakistan grew an astonishing 160% during Ayub’s time, but distributive aspects were ignored. A few became very rich. The vast majority only saw prices rising and wages going down.
The 1968 campaign against Ayub coincided with the student led upheaval in Europe and Japan documented by Tariq Ali in his Street Fighting Years, but they were not linked.[xviii] Bhashani had sensed that Ayub was a spent force and also declined the invitation.
[xix] I have mentioned it elsewhere on Bhutto as well that following his appointment by Mirza to lead Pakistan delegation in a maritime conference; Bhutto compared the former to Jinnah-favorably.
[xx] Sajjada Nashin is a sort of deputy saint, the honor usually but not necessarily restricted to the saint’s family) that when Bhutto was about twelve years of age, the Sajjada Nashin’s father told Bhutto’s father “ Sain (a customary Sindhi salutation to an equal or a superior) he looks just like you. Why don’t you marry his mother? “.
[xxi] He had also drafted the constitution and helped organize the party. That however did not keep Bhutto from putting the old man in his place. Soon after assumption of nearly absolute power Bhutto was irked by the man’s les majeste. He had pleaded diabetic problems and old age, and had left an official function before the great man arrived. Rahim had also been over heard muttering some disparaging remarks about Bhutto’s arrogance and lineage. Some minion had dutifully passed on the remarks to the boss, who dispatched a few gangsters to beat the man up in his official ministerial residence.
The assault of a minister must have set some kind of record in countries outside of Stalinist Soviet Union, and Mao’s China of the cultural revolutions period. The man disappeared. After Zia over threw Bhutto, he was found in a house where he had been held incommunicado for several years. This was actually a favor. Less exalted dissidents had been held in a concentration camp in Azad Kashmir.
[xxii] The other provinces, Baluchistan, Sindh and even East Pakistan were treated as virtual colonies. In the early years of Pakistan, Bengal with its world monopoly of jute production had been the major source of foreign exchange earnings of the country. Greater portion of the income so earned was invested in West Pakistan. Bengalis were given a few ministries and jobs as a consolation prize, in much the same way as the British Viceroy used to appoint a few prominent toadies to his council. Their subordinate civil servants routinely overruled these hapless individuals, much as their British mentors used to treat Indian ministers. At the risk of alienating my Mohajir and Punjabi friends I would hypothesize that the two communities have played a role in Pakistan identical to the one played by the U.S. and British governments in the world at large. The latter wrecked peace and order in the world. The former functioning from a lesser height messed up Pakistan.
[xxiii] Six points introduced as agenda first in 1966 were as follows:
-Federation based on 1940 Lahore resolution which called for establishment of sovereign states, not a unitary Pakistan.
-Federal government to deal with only two subjects-defense and foreign affairs and possibly currency. This was based on Cabinet Mission plan of 1946 referred to under the article on pre and early post-partition.
-Common currency with a lot of limitations making it unworkable or two freely convertible currencies.
-Foreign policy to have no say in external economic affairs
-Federating units to set up trade missions.
No Government should allow a political party to contest an election on a thinly veiled separatist platform. It would amount to an attempt at secession through the ballot box. The issue could only be presented to, and decided in a referendum. Mujib dare not overtly support a move at virtual secession. East Pakistanis would not stand for it. They only wanted a fair deal. But Pakistan’s military, poor at defense, turned out to be poorer at political insight. Supposedly astute politicians, Bhutto among them, kept on deluding themselves that six points were all hot air, and Mujib was bound to come into senses after the elections. He would have to compromise, wheel and deal, if he wanted to be a minister in the government or the prime minister if his party were to win plurality in the parliament. No one advised Yahya that he should not allow Mujib to run on the platform. The least they should have done was to offer a referendum on the six points, along with elections. In Quebec Canada, though the secessionist party won elections and formed a government, yet they failed to carry the province on the question of separation from Canada.
[xxiv] I had drafted this before the hurricane Katrina of 2005. I am now not so sanguine about the capacity of advanced countries to deal with disasters of the scale.
It is not an insurmountable problem. At one time plans were developed to build a sea wall, twenty feet high and hundreds of miles long, to keep the sea out and to control flow of water into it. Rivers were to be dredged so they could hold water. The excavated soil would be tremendously rich and fertile, and reclaim vast areas from the rivers, a veritable boon to the land hungry region. Trees would be planted to hold excess water on the hills. It would seep gradually, slaking the thirst of parched land in dry season.
It was a gigantic project and a task that would tax the capacity of a Government, which cared for the welfare of people, spent a decent proportion of national budget on health, welfare and education and had the will to undertake stupendous projects. But donors were willing to help with funds and technical expertise. Holland offered free services of experts in the field. A large part of that country is under sea level. They literally hold it at bay and know more about the hazards of living under the constant menace of submersion under water than any other people do. It was, however, not a greater undertaking than the Aswan Dam project, which involved removal of mountainous structures of Pharaoh’s times to higher elevation. Egypt was by no means more endowed with technological knowledge nor did it have more developed economy or industry than Pakistan did. Egypt, however, had Nasser and the political will. Pakistan lacked both.
[xxv] It was to turn out later that the hijackers were Indian agents, and the incident was a diabolical measure to cook an excuse to harass Pakistan. A much longer and circuitous route had to be used. Pakistani naval ships also had to steer clear of Indian territorial waters. Both in the air and on the sea, they had to detour to Sri Lanka, which leaned to Pakistan as they had their own problems with the hegemonistic ambitions of India and with their Tamil minority. Tamils were vestiges of Indian colonizers and wanted to secede from the Sinhalese majority in the south. The former were Hindus, the latter Buddhists. The sizable Muslim population, naturally, supported the Sinhalese.
[xxvi] Ahsan was a man of impeccable credentials and high integrity. He hailed from a highly respected Urdu speaking family of Hyderabad Deccan, had been an aide to Jinnah himself and was a man of unusual political acumen. He told the marauders that the people were still citizens of Pakistan. Eighty five percent were brothers in faith, and under his protection. He would not countenance pulverization of whole localities. Army was in no mood to listen to reason. He called Yahya and luckily finding him not totally inebriated, prevailed upon him to let him find a less traumatic way out.
I met his nephew, a medical doctor, in Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada in 1973. He told me stories of how the venerable admiral was derided and harassed by the Neanderthals in the army high command.
[xxvii] Not to be confused with Zia ul haq of Pakistan. He was to be of one the most effective leaders of armed resistance to Pakistan forces, and a future chief of B.D Army. Emulating his erstwhile comrades in Pakistan army, he was also to become President of the country through a military coup. He was in his turn himself assassinated in another coup. After the dust had settled, his wife entered the political arena, and exploiting the sympathy vote and corralling opponents of Mujib, was to serve as PM of BD. She alternated with the surviving daughter of Mujib, Hasina Wajid, who reverted to her maiden name of Hasina Sheikh.
[xxviii] Yakub later served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the USA and the country’s foreign minister under Zia. During his tenure in DC a group of Muslim Afro-Americans took several white persons hostage in a government building. Yakub talked to them, quoted holy books of Islam and persuaded them to let the hostage go unharmed. He also served as Chancellor of Agha Khan University In Pakistan.
[xxix] Tikka Khan came to be known as the Butcher of Bengal. He was on top of the lists of war criminals government of Bangla Desh wanted to put on trail for crimes against humanity. Unfortunately Indra did not insist on the trials. Tikka may have been in cahoots with Bhutto and was appointed Army chief after the latter sacked several generals senior to him.
[xxx] Reports differ and estimates vary but the figure of four to five million refugees of refugees, half a million dead and a million women raped are generally accepted.
[xxxi] A retired general who had consulted me as a patient in 1985 told me this. He had actually run the army as Yahya was drunk most of the time.
Akbar S Ahmad claims that Niazi had “planned” to cut through India, capture Dehli and connect Dhaka with Lahore. Even for a Pakistan general this sounds too far fetched.
Pakistani officials had kept up the pretence that all was well till the end. Only a few days before the event the Pakistani high Commissioner, I still remember his name, Lt General Yusuf Khan had been summoned to the foreign and commonwealth office in London. Accosted by the press at his exit from what must have been a humiliating encounter, he brazenly and blithely announced that the situation in East Pakistan was under complete control. The minister of information under Sadaam was to do the same a day or so before US troops entered Baghdad. There must be special school for sycophants.
[xxxii] Indra was believed to have rued the day she gave in to US demands to cease and desist from making short work of West Pakistan. After all Israel had ignored all the calls for immediate cease fire in 1967, till it had captured all of Sinai, Gaza strip, the West Bank of river Jordan and the Golan heights. In 1992 another equally plausible view was related to me. A retired Indian foreign service officer told me that Indra held her hand not because she was averse to defying Kissinger-Nixon, but because she was advised a) the Muslims already in India were problem enough. If she did away with West Pakistan too, the call to incorporate all of Pakistan into the Indian union would be irresistible. They would definitely hold the balance of power if another hundred million were added to their number b) long-term occupation was not sustainable militarily or financially, c) once occupied even Muslim Bengalis would turn against them, d) East and West Bengal would have to be reunited. Indian west Bengal already had a Marxist government. Together they would become totally unmanageable. e) Sikhs in Indian East Punjab were already restive. They had split up from the Hindu Punjabis on linguistic grounds. They were much closer to Muslim Punjabis in language, culture and even in belief system than they were to Hindu Punjabis. Sikhs occupied officer ranks in the Indian army out of all proportions to their percentage in the general populations; Muslim Punjabis comprised eighty percent of Pakistan army. Sikh and Muslim Punjabi mixture would be too combustible and potent as well, f) The unkindest cut of all, that Indra wanted the remnant of Pakistanis to stew in their own juices etc. Bantunization practiced on the Palestinians by the Israelis had not been a viable option then. This is admittedly, all speculative in nature, but makes a kind of sense.
[xxxiii] In 1975, during a party in Brooklyn NY, a Bangla Deshi academic broke down and cried piteously when some one referred to the brutality of the Pakistani army. His daughter, a fresh medical graduate, was put against the wall of her hospital and summarily executed. The day is still commemorated as a black day in B.D.
[xxxiv] To carry on the fiction of continuity, Bhutto has insisted that he take over both offices.
[xxxv] Described in an earlier article on Ayub regime.
1 A courtesan-singer of Lahore declined an invitation to entertain people in a celebration in his hometown Larkana. She was hauled up in a police station and threatened with gang rape. She quietly complied. Habib Jalib of blessed memory wrote two poems:
“Larkane chalo verna thane chalo” and “ Quaid e awam hoon, nutfai haram hoon”. The first refers to the singer-go to Larkana or come to the police station. The second alludes to his reported biological illegitimacy-I am the leader of people, I was born of illicit liaison”.
[xxxvi] Israel is the sole exception. But it is not fair to equate any other nation with the country in US eyes. Besides the disproportionate influence the pro Israel lobby wields on U.S.A governments, the country is its most trust worthy strategic partner in the lands awash with oil.
[xxxvii] This was widely reported in international press at the time. Bhutto bore himself with dignity and told Kissinger that he was perhaps over worked and needed rest. That infuriated the latter even more.
[xxxviii] That he went on to serve as the Chairman of the senate and succeeded Zia as President would lend credibility to the conjectures.
[xxxix] Rig elections-Newsweek published a photo with Bhutto sitting in a chair and Zia standing at attention in front of him.
[xl] Alcohol is absolutely prohibited in Islam. He had brandished a glass in a public meeting proclaiming that yes he drank wine, not the blood of the poor. Womanizing is frowned upon though it does not carry the stigma of alcohol. Islam has actually made extra-marital relations redundant. A man can have four wives simultaneously and keep on replacing them as long as he did not exceed the prescribed number. Conjugal relations with slave girls enjoy direct Quranic sanction. Such women are rather poetically referred to as those “under your right hand”.
[xli] Bhutto used to ridicule the Air Marshal that he had spent too much time in low oxygen high altitudes, and that had affected the latter’s brain
[xlii] He was not the first one to do it; nor I suspect he would be the last. Charlatans of all faiths, from times unknown have used religion for furtherance of their personal and political agenda.
[xliii] Cowasji calls him Jadoogar-wizard-of Jeddah for having served as a secretary general of the Organization of Islamic States. He had invented the Law of Necessity to legitimize Ayub’s military regime. Selected judges were invited to sign and take oath under the L.F.O, which served as the legal subterfuge to achieve legitimacy for the military coup. If they were not so invited or refused to sign, they automatically lost their job.
[xliv] The British government, unwilling to alienate powerful interests, accepted the custom. They had, nevertheless, imposed stringent conditions. The act had to be witnessed and witnesses willing to testify. The aggrieved party must be an actual relation of the girl by blood or marriage. The act was made a crime against the state, and not just against a person or a family. Long, harsh and rigorous imprisonment during which prisoners are made to do hard physical labor was awarded.
[xlv] In practice, the cover of honor killing is used to keep the girl’s share of land and property from going with the girl to her husband’s family. Another subterfuge is to marry women to Quran. There is no provision for such an act in Islam, but the Qur’an does not ask for the girl’s share. Benazir’s deputy, a hereditary Pir (progeny of a saint) has so disposed off two of his sisters.
[xlvi] The enterprise was the brainchild of a financial wizard Agha Hasan Abdi, who used Arab money to launch a major House of Finance. With its head quarters in Geneva, and adroit handling of investments by the founder, it grew phenomenally. It had bid for several U.S. banks and was emerging as a robust rival to western banking interests. It lured such luminaries as former cabinet secretaries and ministers in the US and Europe, Princes, Amirs and dictators from all over, on its board of directors. Agha Abdi co- chaired a charity with Jimmy Carter. The stress had to take its toll. He had a severe heart attack, and eventually had to have a heart transplant. He was nursed in a germ free plastic tent in his palace in Karachi. President and PM of the country used to call on him frequently. Powerful interests had been getting uneasy.
With out Abdi at the helm, the bank got into severe trouble. It was accused of money laundering, financing arm and drug deals, and giving billions in unsecured loans. Its advisors and employees were indicted. The number included several prominent corporate attorneys of the U.S.A, and Europe, and that eminence grise, advisor to several USA Presidents, former cabinet secretary, Clark Clifford. The bank collapsed.
Pakistan refused to extradite Abidi whose connections ran very deep and very high. The likes of Carter would have to testify. Western countries did not twist Pakistan’s arms to get him).
[xlvii] But still valuable; according to a saying in India a dead elephant is also worth 125,000 Rupees. The saying goes back to a time when you could buy a house for Rs 500.[xlviii] Expanding on the myth of Islamic state, Zia renamed the national assembly as Majlis e Shoora-consultative assembly. He, as a latter day Caliph, would not be bound by a legislative assembly.
[xlix] He had resigned from the office of a minister under Ayub, as he had lost a local body election.
[l] Klashnikov is a particularly deadly Russian assault rifle. Together with Heroin it shaped the social norms in the country. It came to be known as “Gun-Drug Culture.
[li] MRD Opposition parties in Pakistan concocted a coalition, which fell apart, with amazing speed, after the government has been toppled.
Zia hit upon a not very novel, but as it turned out, a highly pernicious scheme of creating linguistic/ethnic parties. He found ready agents.
[lii] After falling out with Americans Zia started taking extraordinary precautions. He required any one who had any thing to do with the plane he was to fly in, service techs, cleaners, and other staff, to come aboard too. To no avail on this occasion.
[liii] Zia wore two hats. He had himself ‘elected’ President of the country and kept his job as army chief of the staff. He elevated his vice-Chief to full Generals rank, which only the chief used to have.
[liv] These gentlemen are the real power brokers in Pakistan and even their own chief would cross them at his peril.
[lv] Quraish were the leading tribe and primary opponents of the prophet. The prophet himself belonged to the tribe, but to a subsidiary branch.
[lvi] As mentioned else where, the prophet had expressly forbidden any documentation of his sayings lest they compete with the Word of God. They had been recorded two hundred years after him from memory passed on from his companions to their progeny over several generations.
[lvii] King Husain of Jordan had flown in a helicopter to Jerusalem to warn Israeli PM Golda Meir of the impending attack. Her defense chief, Moshe Dyan had arrogantly discounted the possibility.
Besides the establishment of a new Muslim state Pakistan in 1947, the only other positive event in recent Muslim history was the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1957. Muslims all the world over specially in the USA, Europe, Pakistan, India and the Far East were were euphoric. Shia-Sunni divide was, for the time, set aside. Arabs were ambivalent.
But the gain was lost in the eight year war with Iraq. Rulers of Arab countries were apprehensive that people in their own countries will be encouraged by the successful revolution in Iran and rise against them and along with the U.S.A which was smarting under the insult of hostage crisis, gave the go ahead to Saddam for the aggression.
Establishment of a theocratic Shia regime also antagonized Sunni Muslims
[lviii]Turra is the traditional headgear of upper-middle class Punjabis. Taking the Turra off in front on another man and placing it at his feet denotes submission and appeal for help.
[lix] Academic institutions would do any thing to get troublemakers out of their hair.
[lx] It is an honest living but at the time there was an acute shortage of pharmacists. Altaf was obviously not able to pass the requisite examinations.
[lxi] People of the subcontinent are in love with conspiracy theories and generalizations. Leftists used to blame every thing on CIA. Anti-government elements point their fingers at I.S.I, government moans a foreign hand- a synonym for Indian agents for all their failures.
[lxii] Zia had ushered in an era of drugs and arms in Pakistan. The technology of refining opium into Heroin was courtesy of the Soviet Union. Arms were the generosity of the U.S.A. Pakistan Army was the conduit of arms to Afghan resistance fighters. Officers, the middlemen for supply of the drugs, kept a generous proportion of the arms and drug bounty for themselves. The loot was so stupendous a hereditary Nawab of the NWFP, offered to swap all his holdings and huge estates for the one-month take of the Lt General in charge of the province.
[lxiii] Zia had dismissed the man as he had attended an official meeting worse for drink.
[lxiv] Gauze head cover. This ceremony is equivalent of Hindu Rakhi ceremony of adopting a girl as a sister.
[lxv] Kazmi once accompanied B.B. on a visit to Liaquat Medical College in Hyderabad. Sindhi students objected to his sitting on the dais so vehemently that B.B. was forced to ask him to take a seat among the audience. Another Mohajir PPP stalwart a young man named Najeeb had gone to B.B’s hometown, Larkana. In a public function, the local party workers tried to get him off the dais. He was, however, made of sterner stuff and picked one up with the scruff of the neck and threw him off the stage. He was assassinated soon afterwards. I do not know if the two events were related.
[lxvi] I was frequently offered senior jobs by her Health Minister who had been my colleague in the 1961 in the movement against Ayub.
[lxvii] The repression continued well into Nawaz’s next term, which was aborted by a coup under the leadership of General Musharraf.
[lxviii] I always marveled at the phenomenon of Nawaz becoming a minister, chief minister and eventually PM, till the 2000 U.S. presidential election. Nawaz couldn’t articulate a single sentence without intensive coaching. Left to him self, he made inane remarks ala Reagan and Bush junior. He was ushered into cabinets because he was the eldest son of the Shareef clan.
He was not accepted by hereditary feudals of Pakistan. When being considered for the job of Chief Minister of the Punjab, the lady who had vetoed BB’s marriage to a member of her clan was incensed that members of her clan would have to sit under that “Lohar ka bacha”-son of a black smith.
[lxix] Paratha is fried, layered and very heavy bread. Pulao is a highly spiced rice dish. Chargha is a highly spiced chicken preparation.
[lxx] 5 million US dollars at the exchange rate of the time was an astronomical sum for Pakistan. He also indulged in financial shenanigans in the Persian Gulf states. The family developed a huge estate in the Punjab. It had a lake, parks and a full size zoo, with lions, cheetahs, and other exotic animals. They also built a large hospital for family and friends.
[lxxi] Post 1998 atomic explosion NS had converted 1.2 billion dollar deposits into rupees. It was believed that his cronies had transferred 50 to a 100 millions of dollars prior to the currency “nationalization” before the announcement.
[lxxii] One of my cousins inveigled me to become a trustee of the one he had started. When I discovered the subterfuge I threatened to expose him he laughed in my face. He had already bribed the regulatory agencies. I could resign for all he cared.
[lxxiii] A well-known practitioner of oriental medicine Hakim Said originally from Delhi became Sindh governor in Zia time. He gave university charter to many institutes including his own Hamdard University and to his friend Dr Baqai’s medical school.
[lxxiv] It is less than a twelfth of an acre.
[lxxv] B.B. told a journalist that she had done so on Margaret Thatcher’s advice that she should let the president and PM emasculate each other.
[lxxvi] Leghari came to Rochester N.Y. for his son’s graduation in a national airline jumbo Jet with about 200 family members, cronies and retainers. The plane stayed at the airport for several days.
[lxxvii] The hapless man told the press that once B.B. had asked him to leave his office, as she wanted a private word with her husband. She treated the Chief Justice-CJ- of the Supreme Court the same way. When the man protested she brusquely told him that she had appointed him to the post. He cried piteously that Madam had made him the CJ, not a peon.
[lxxviii] This was on the pattern of the Turkish set up. The armed forces in that country keep the civilian administration on a tight leash. A few decades ago they had executed the PM and had sacked an Islamist PM for visiting the Kaaba too frequently they had called him a pimp. Things have changed since under Ergodan.
[lxxix] No civilian head of the government after the first PM Liaquat had had the courage and audacity to fire senior officers. Liaquat had appointed Ayub as the first Pakistani chief of the army in 1951 to succeed general Gracey, the British commander. . He had sacked senior generals, and air force officers involved in the Pindi conspiracy case.
[lxxx] It is a desolate area embedded in deep snow all the year round. Like maniacs both Pakistan and India governments fight over it.
[lxxxi] Muslims have a very parochial tradition of calling their dead Shaheed-martyrs. Generally any Muslim dying in an accident, car or air crash, drowning, fire, earthquake, riot or war is awarded the halo. It is believed that they would be welcomed in paradise with out any prior accounting for the deeds in the world, by seventy-two nubile houris. Houris remain eternally virgins, regardless. In a sexually repressed society that is a great inducement. For a western believer in the faith, it would not be bad bargain either.
Curiously enough if two Muslims fight with each other and die, both are martyrs. In the battle between two factions, one led by the fourth caliph and the other by the favorite wife of the prophet of Islam, the dead on both sides were put on a pedestal. An average Muslim would be highly incensed and react violently if questioned on the rationale of venerating victims on either side.
[lxxxii] Bhutto had changed the nomenclature of the top job in the armed forces from Commander in chief to Chief of the staff. He had introduced the joint chiefs committee in imitation of the system in U.S.A armed forces. If he had hoped for better control over the monster, he grievously failed.
[lxxxiii] This is an important consideration in the clan ridden Pakistani society.
[lxxxiv] BB’s husband Asif Zardari was known as Mr. 10% for the cut he allegedly got for awarding government contracts. Nawaz Shareef’s brother Shahbaz was “credited” with receiving a larger share and was dubbed Mr. 25%
[lxxxv] Reportedly invented by Kissinger’s consulting firm on payment of $ 50,000.00
[lxxxvi] The rape was a hair raising public event. The hut where the woman was being violated was surrounded by all the notables of the village and the audience able to hear the screams of the victim. At the end of the barbaric act the poor woman was made to walk to her home across the village streets with out a stitch on her body.
[lxxxvii] Blockage of the sale of the steel mill most likely chagrined the Global Capital implant PM most. His job was after all to hand over the national assets to M.N.Cs at a fraction of the real cost.
[lxxxviii] A constitution ordained body, which at the referral of the head of the state sits in judgment on senior judiciary. The man next in line was a Hindu by faith. He was at the time praying at the feet of a Devi-goddess in Lucknow, India. The third man in line was hastily flown from Karachi and sworn in as acting CJ. The pious Hindu, he actually utters the name of Allah frequently, was finally discovered and invited back to take over the Supreme Court and the Supreme judicial body. A few Neanderthals did try to discredit him that a non-Muslim could not preside over cases, which might involve “Shariah”, the Islamic code of Jurisprudence and norms of life. Fortunately they did not get anywhere.
[lxxxix] I was aware of his political links with Karachi party higher ups through his brother. I was also aware of the doubts provincial and national level leaders entertained about his links with the Karachi party boss who was also the leader of P.I.A union. Sher Afzal had warned me that others besides Mairaj had infiltrated our ranks. I had decided to sever my links with the political process, as my personal circumstances could not tolerate the burden. I, therefore, didn’t share my private conversation with Mairaj or with any one. Mairaj was rather temperamental, pledging allegiance to Sher Afzal one day and badmouthing him the next.
I was born in Dewa Sharif, UP, India in 1939.
I went to school from the fourth to eighth class in Gonda, UP and the 9th grade in Jhansi, UP, India.
We moved to Quetta, Pakistan and went to school for the 10th grade and intermediate college in the same town.
I was in Karachi University 1954-57, then Dow Medical College 1957-62. I Was in the National Students Federation from 1954 to 1962, trained in surgery in the Civil Hospital Karachi 1962-65, proceeded to England 1965 and trained in General surgery and orthopedic surgery till 73, when I left for Canada 1973-74, USA 1974-83, back to Karachi 1983 and built a hospital and went back to the USA in 1991, been in the USA since.
I retired from surgery in 2005.
I have worked in various HR and Socialist groups in the USA.
I have Published two books ,:”A Medical Doctor Examines Life on Three Continents,” and ,”God, Government and Globalization”, and am working on the third one, “An Analysis of the Sources and Derivation of Religions”.