A good article by hamid mir on Sheikh Mujib ur Rahman, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Written during the days of Nazi Germany, after the rise of fascism, but can relate to the world today as we are perhaps moving to a more deadly situation in our world and in Pakistan.
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Another 16 December is here and I don’t think much lessons are learned from a disaster which could have made any nation with some conscience to think over its strategies. Still our military establishment is involved in dirty politics, working for imperialist agenda and busy in securing their business agenda. Our establishment and politicians have not learned much lessons and are still busy in following unjust practices, suppression and killing of own people to please their masters and fulfil their greed.
“Indiscriminate killing and looting could only serve the cause of the enemies of Pakistan. In the harshness, we lost the support of the silent majority of the people of East Pakistan.” – Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission Report on 1971
Recommendations below are taken from the Supplementary report issued by Hamood ur Rehman Commission which was setup to investigate the events in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
There are parts which are missing as the report is never officially released and it was published by some indian media.
Full Supplementary Report can be downloaded from here :
In the concluding portion of our Main Report, submitted in 1972, we had made a number of
recommendations based on our study of the various aspects of the causes of the debacle of
1971. Some of these recommendations need to be modified, or amplified, in the light of the fresh
evidence, which we have now recorded: while the need for the others has only been further
emphasised, we believe that the object of setting up this Commission would be fully realised
only if appropriate and early action is taken by the Government on these recommendations.2.
consider that it would be appropriate if all our recommendations are now finally set out at one
place, for facility of reference and action. Detailed reasons and justification for these
recommendations will be found in the relevant Chapters of the Main Report as well as this
Supplementary Report. We are aware that some of these recommendations have already been
implemented, but this would not appear to be a reason for not including them in this final
Commanders who have brought disgrace and defeat to Pakistan by their subversion of the
Constitution, usurpation of political power by criminal conspiracy, their professional
incompetence, culpable negligence and wilful neglect in the performance of their duties and
physical and moral cowardice in abandoning the fight when they had the capability and
resources to resist the enemy. Firm and proper action would not only satisfy the nation’s
demand for punishment where it is deserved, but would also ensure against any future
recurrence of the kind of shameful conduct displayed during the 1971 war. We accordingly
recommend that the following trials be undertaken without delay.
(I) That General Yahya Khan, General Abdul Hamid Khan, Lt. Gen. S.G.M.M. Pirzada, Lt. Gen.
Gul Hasan, Maj. Gen. Umar and Maj Gen Mitha should be publicly tried for being party to a
criminal conspiracy to illegally usurp power from F.M. Mohammad Ayub Khan in power if
necessary by the use of force. In furtherance of their common purpose they did actually try to
influence political parties by threats, inducements and even bribes to support their designs both
for bringing about a particular kind of result during the elections of 1970, and later persuading
some of the political parties and the elected members of the National Assembly to refuse to
attend the session of the National Assembly scheduled to be held at Dacca on the 3rd of
March, 1971. They, furthermore, in agreement with each other brought about a situation in East
Pakistan which led to a civil disobedience movement, armed revolt by the Awami League and
subsequently to the surrender of our troops in East Pakistan and the dismemberment of
(ii) That the Officers mentioned in No. (I) above should also be tried for criminal neglect of duty in
the conduct of war both in East Pakistan and West Pakistan. The details of this neglect would
be found in the Chapters dealing with the military aspect of the war
(iii) That Lt. Gen. Irshad Ahmad Khan, former Commander 1 Corps, be tried for criminal and
wilful neglect of duty in conducting the operations of his Corps in such a manner that nearly 500
villages of the Shakargarh tehsil of Sialkot district in West Pakistan were surrendered to the
enemy without a light and as a consequence the Army offensive in the south was seriously
(iv) That Maj Gen Abid Zahid, former GOC 15 Div, be tried for wilful neglect of duty and shameful
surrender of a large area comprising nearly 98 villages in the phuklian salient in the Sialkot
district of West Pakistan, which surrender also posed a standing threat to the safety of Marala
Headworks by bringing the Indian forces within nearly 1500 yards thereof. He also kept the GHQ
in the dark about Indian occupation of the Phuklian salient until the loss was discovered after
(v) That Maj. Gen B.M. Mustafa, former GOC 18 Division, be tried for wilful neglect of duty in that
his offensive plan aimed at the capture of the Indian position of Ramgarh in the Rajasthan area
(Western Front) was militarily unsound and haphazardly planned, and its execution resulted in
severe loss of vehicles and equipment in the desert.
(vi) That Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, former Commander, Eastern Command, be court-martialled on
15 charges as set out in Chapter III of part V of the Supplementary Report regarding his wilful
neglect in the performance of his professional and military duties connected with the defence of
East Pakistan and the shameful surrender of his forces to the Indians at a juncture when he still
had the capability and resources to offer resistance.
(vii) That Maj Gen Mohammad Jamshed, former GOC 36 (ad-hoc) Division, Dacca, be tried by
court martial on five charges listed against him, in the aforementioned part of the Supplementary
Report, for wilful neglect of his duty in the preparation of plans for the defence of Dacca and
showing complete Jack of courage and will to fight, in acquiescing in the decision of the
Commander, Eastern Command, to surrender to the Indian forces when it was still possible to
put up resistance for a period of two weeks or so, and also for wilfully neglecting to inform the
authorities concerned, on repatriation to Pakistan, about the fact of distribution of Rs.50,000 by
him out of Pakistan currency notes and toher funds at his disposal or under his control in East
(viii) That Maj Gen M. Rahim Khan, former GOC 39 (ad-hoc) Division, Chandpur, in East
Pakistan, be tried by court martial on five charges listed against him in this Report for showing
undue regard for his personal safety in abandoning his Division, his Divisional troops and area of
responsibility and Vacating his Divisional Headquarters from Chandpur on the 8th of December,
1971; for his wilful insistence on moving by day owing to fear of Mukti Bahini and thus causing
the death of fourteen Naval ratings and four Officers of his own HQ, besides injuries to himself
and several others, due to strafing by Indian aircraft; for his abandoning valuable signal
equipment at Chandpur; for spreading despondency and alarm by certain conversation on the
12th of December, 1971, at Dacca; and for wilfully avoiding submitting a debriefing report to
GHQ on being specially evacuated to West Pakistan in early 1971 so as to conceal the
circumstances of his desertion from him Divisional Headquarters at Chandpur.
(ix) That Brig. G.M. Baquir Siddiqui, former GOS, Eastern Command, Dacca, be tried by court
martial on nine charges as formulated in this Report, for his wilful neglect of duty in advising the
Commander, Eastern Command, as regards the concept and formulation of defence plans,
appreciation of the Indian threat, execution of denial plans, abrupt changes in command,
friendliness with he Indian during captivity and attempts to influence formation Commanders by
threats and inducements to present a co-ordinated story before the GHQ and the Commission
of Inquiry in regard to the events leading to surrender in East Pakistan.
(x) That Brig Mohammad Hayat, former Commander 107 Brigade, 9 Division, East Pakistan, be
tried by court martial on four charges for displaying wilful neglect in not formulating a sound plan
for the defence of the fortress of Jesore; for failing to properly plan and command the brigade
counter-attack at Gharibpur, for shamefully abandoning the fortress of Jessor and delivering
intact to the enemy all supplies and ammunition dumps; and disobeying the orders of the GOC
9 Divison, to withdraw to Magura in the event of a forced withdrawal from Jessore;
(xi) That Brig Mohammad Aslam Niazi, former commander 53 Brigade, 39 (ad-hoc) Division,
East Pakistan, be tried by court martial on six charges for displaying culpable lack of initiative,
determination and planning ability in that he failed to occupy and prepare defences at
Mudafarganj as ordered by his GOC on the 4th of December, 1971; for failing to eject the enemy
from Mudafarganj as ordered on the 6th of December, 1971; for shamefully abandoning the
fortress of Laksham on or about the 9th of December, 1971; for wilful neglect in failing to
properly organise oxfiltration of his troops from the fortress of Laksham to Comilla on the 9th of
December, 1971, thus resulting in heavy casualties and capture of several elements of his
troops on the way; for showing callous disregard of military ethics in abandoning at Laksham
124 sick and wounded with two Medical Officers without informing them about the proposed
vacation of the fortress; and for abandoning intact at Laksham all heavy weapons, stocks of
ammunition and supplies for the use of the enemy;
II. Inquiry and Trials for Alleged AtrocitiesThat as recommended in Paragraph 7 of Chapter III of Part V of the Main Report and in
Paragraph 39 of Chapter II of Part V of this Supplementary Report, a high-powered Court or
Commission of Inquiry be set up to investigate into persistent allegations of atrocities said to
have been committed by the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan during its operations from March
to December, 1971, and to hold trials of those who indulged in these atrocities, brought a bad
name to the Pakistan Army and alienated the sympathies of the local population by their acts of
wanton cruelty and immorality against our own people. The composition of the Court of Inquiry,
if not its proceedings, should be publicly announced so as to satisfy national conscience and
international opinion. The Commission feels that sufficient evidence is now available in Pakistan
for a fruitful inquiry to be undertaken in this regard. As the Government of Bangladesh has since
been recognised by Pakistan, it may also be feasible to request the Dacca authorities to
forward to this Court of Inquiry whatever evidence may be available with them.
III. Other Inquiries(I) That allegations of personal immorality, drunkenness and indulgence in corrupt practices
against General Yahya Khan, General Abdul Hamid Khan and Maj. Gen Khuda Dad Khan be
properly investigated as there is prima facie evidence to show that their moral degeneration
resulted in indecision, cowardice and professional incompetence. In the light of the result of this
inquiry suitable charges may be added against these Officers, during the trials we have already
recommended earlier. The details of the allegations and the evidence relating thereto will be
found in Chapter I of Part V of the Main Report.
(ii) That similar allegations of personal immorality, acquiring a notorious reputation in this behalf
at Sialkot, Lahore and Dacca, and indulgence in the smuggling of Pan from East to West
Pakistan made against Lt. Gen Niazi should also be inquired into and, if necessary, made the
subject matter of additional charges at the trial earlier recommended in respect of the
performance of his professional duties in East Pakistan. The details of these allegations and
the evidence relating thereto will be found in Chapter I of Part V of the Main Report and in
Chapter I of part V of this supplementary Report.
(iii) That an inquiry is also indicated into the disposal of Rs.50, 000 said to have been distributed
by Maj. Gen. Mohammad Jamshed, former GOC 39 (ad-hoc) Division and Director General,
East Pakistan Civil Armed Forces immediately before the surrender on the 16th of December
1971. Details of this matter including the General’s explanation would be found in Paras 21 to
23 of Chapter I of Part V of the Supplementary Report. We have already recommended that this
Officer be tried by a court martial on several charges including his wilful failure to disclose any
facts at all about his sum Rs.50,000. That charge does not necessarily imply any dishonest
practice on his part. The inquiry now suggested can form a part of the charges already
(iv) That allegations of indulging in large-scale looting of property in East Pakistan including theft
of Rs.1, 35,00,000 from the National Bank Treasury at Siraj Ganj persistently made against
Brig. Jehanazeb Arbab, former Commander 57 Brigade, Lt Col (now Brig) Muzaffar Ali Zahid,
former CO 31 Field Regiment, Lt. Col Basharat Ahmad, former CO 18 Punjab, Lt. Col
Mohammad Taj, former CO 32 Punjab, Lt Col Mohammad Tufail, former CO 55 Field Regiment
and Major Madad Hussain Shah of 18 Punjab, as set out in Paras 24 and 25 of Chapter I of part
V of the Supplementary Report, should be thoroughly inquired into and suitable action taken in
the light of the proved facts.
(v) That an inquiry be held into the allegation, noticed by us in Para 36 of Chapter 1 of Part V of
the Main Report, that while serving in the Martial Law Administration at Multan, Maj. Gen.
Jahanzeb, presumably a Brigadier at that time, demanded a bribe of Rs. one lac from a PCS
Officer posted as Chairman of the Municipal Committee of Multan, on pain of proceeding against
him for corruption under martial Law, as a consequence of which demand the said PCS Officer
is said to have committed suicide leaving behind a letter saying that although he had made only
Rs.15,000 he was being required to pay Rs. one lac to the Martial Law officers. The allegation
was made before the Commission by Brig. Mohammad Abbas Beg (Witness No.9)
(vi) That in inquiry is also necessary into the allegation made against Brig. Hayatullah that he
entertained some wom en in his bunker in the Maqbulpur sector (West Pakistan) on the night of
the 11th or 12th of December, 1971, when Indian shells were falling on his troops. The
allegation was contained in an anonymous letter addressed to the Commission and supported
in evidence before us by the Brigadier Hayatullah’s brigade, Major, namely, Major Munawar
Khan (Witness No.42).
(vii) That it is necessary to investigate into the allegations, as set out in Paragraphs 9 to 14 of
Chapter 1 of Part V of the Main Report, to the effect that senior Army Commanders grossly
abused their official position and powers under the Martial Law to acquire large allotments of
land, and obtained substantial house buildings loans on extremely generous terms from certain
banking institutions with which they deposited large amounts from departmental funds entrusted
to their care. Those found guilty of corrupt practices should receive the punishment they
deserve under the military law or the ordinary criminal law of the land as the case may be.
(viii) That a thorough investigation be conducted into the suspicion created in the mind of the
Commission, during the recording of additional evidence of Officers repatriated form India, that
there may be some complicity or collusion between the Commander, Easter Command (Lt Gen
A.A.K. Niazi) and his Chief of Staff (Brig G.M. Baqir Saddiqui) on the one hand and the Indian
authorities on the other in the matter of the failure of the Pakistan Armed Forces to carry out
execution of denial plans immediately before the surrender inspite of instructions issued in this
behalf by GHQ on the 10th of December, 1971. We have already included relevant charges in
this behalf against these two Officers, but we consider that it would be in the public interest to
depute a specialized agency to probe into the matter further. On the material available to us we
cannot put the matter higher than suspicion, but we have not been able to find any reasonable,
or even plausible explanation for the orders issued by the Easter Command to stop the
execution of denial plans, particularly in Dacc and Chittagong, thus ensuring the delivery intact
to the Indians of large amounts of war materials and other equipment. Details of these deliveries
will be found in our Chapter VII of Part IV dealing with the aftermath of surrender.
(ix) That an inquiry be held into the circumstances under which Commander Gul Zareen of the
Pakistan Navy was carried from Khulna to Singapore on the 7th of December, 1971, by a
French ship called M.V. Fortescue, thus abandoning his duties at PNS Titumir Naval Base,
Khulna. The case of this Officer was dealt with by us in Paras 12 and 13 of Chapter III of Part V
of the Main Report.
IV. Cases Requiring Departmental ActionWhile examining the course of events and the conduct of war in East Pakistan, we formed a
poor opinion about the performance and capabilities of Brig. S.A.Ansari, ex-Commander 23
Brigade, Brig. Manzoor Ahmad, ex -Commander 57 Brigade, 9 Division, and Brig Abdul Qadir
Khan, ex -Commander 94 brigade, 36 (ad hoc) Division. We consider that their further retention
in service is not in the public interest and they may accordingly be retired.
V. Performance and Conduct of Junior OfficersIn the very nature of things the Commission was not in a position to examine at any length
the conduct and performance of officers below the brigade level, although some case
necessarily came to our notice where the performance of these Officers had a direct bearing on
the fate of important battles or where their conduct transgressed the norms of discipline. Such
cases have been mentioned by us at their proper place, but by and large cases of junior Officers
must be dealt with by the respective service headquarters who have obtained detailed debriefing
reports from all of them and are also in possession of the assessment of their performance by
their immediate superiors.
VI. Measures for Moral Reform in the Armed ForcesWhile dealing at some length with the moral aspect of the 1971 debacle, in Chapter I of Part
V of the Main Report as well as in the corresponding Chapter of the present Supplementary
Report, we have expressed the opinion that there is indeed substance in the widespread
allegation, rather belief, that due to corruption arising out of the performance of Martial Law
duties, lust for wine and women, and greed for lands and houses a large number of senior Army
Officers, particularly those occupying the highest positions, had not only lost the will to fight but
also the professional competence necessary for taking the vital and critical decisions demanded
of them for the successful prosecution of the war. Accordingly, we recommend that: -
(I) The Government should call upon all Officers of the Armed Forces to submit declarations of
their assets, both moveable and immovable, and those acquired in the names of their relations
and dependents during the last ten years (they were exempted from submitting such
declarations during the last two periods of martial Law). If on examination of such declarations
any Officer is found to have acquired assets beyond this known means, then appropriate action
should be taken against him
(ii) The Armed Services should devise ways and means to ensure: -
(a) That moral values are not allowed to be compromised by infamous behaviour particularly at
(b) That moral rectitude is given due weight along with professional qualities in the matter of
promotion to higher ranks;
(c) That syllabi of academic studies at the military academics and other Service Institutions
should include courses designed to inculcate in the young minds respect for religious
democratic and political institutions
(d) That use of alcoholic drinks should be banned in military messes and functions
(e) That serious notice should be taken of notorious sexual behaviour and other corrupt
VII. Discipline and Terms and Conditions of Service9.
reasons given therein we make the following recommendations: -
(I) An inter-services study should be undertaken of the operative terms and conditions of service
and amenities available to Officers, JCOs and other ranks of the Services so as to remove
disparities existing in this behalf and causing discontentment among the junior officers and
other ranks of various Services
(ii) The GHQ should consider the advisability of adopting recommendations contained in the
report submitted by the Discipline Committee headed by the late Maj Gen Iftikhar Khan Janjua
(iii) Th e Navy and Air Force might also appoint their own Discipline Committees to consider the
peculiar problems of their Services, such measure to be in addition to the inter-services study
VIII. Improvement and Modernizations of the Pakistan Navy10.
VIII of Part IV of the Main Report, and supplemented by further details of its operations in East
Pakistan is set out in this Supplementary Report, it seems to us that the following steps are
urgently called for to improve our naval capability: -
(I) That immediate attention should be given to he basic requirements for the modernizations of
the Pakistan Navy in order to make it capable of protecting the only sea port of Pakistan and of
keeping the life-lines of the nation open. The Navy has been sadly neglected ever since the first
Martial Law regime, for in the concept of Army Commander the Navy was not expected to play
much of a role. The folly of this theory was fully demonstrated during this war. The Pakistan
Navy, we strongly recommend, should have its own air arm of suitable aircraft for the purpose of
reconnaissance and for defence against missile boats. This is the only way in which the threat
posed by the growing Indian Navy and her missible boats can be countered.
(ii) There is urgent need for developing a separate harbour for the Navy away from Karachi, from
where the Navy can protect the approaches to Karachi more effectively
(iii) In view of the serious handicaps which were posed by the late conveyance of the D-day and
the H-hour to the Pakistan Navy and its total exclusion from he planning for war, the need for
making the Navy a fully operative member in he joint Chiefs of Staff Organization is imperative.
IX. Improvement in the Role of P.A.F.11. In Section (C) of Chapter VIII of Part IV of the Main Report as well as in a separate Chapter
of the present supplement (viz Chapter X of Part III), we have discussed at length the role and
performance of the P.A.F. in the 1971 war. In the light of that discussion, we recommend as
(I) We are not convinced that a more forward-looking posture cannot be adopted by eh Air Force
having regard to the peculiar needs of the country. We recommend, therefore, that Pakistan
should have more forward air fields located at such places from where it might be in a position to
give more protection to our vital line of communication as well as to major centres of industry.
The adoption of such a fo rward strategy would also increase the striking capabilities of our
(ii) There is need also to improve the working of our early warning system. The time lag
between the observation of an enemy aircraft by the first line of Mobile Observer Units and the
final collation of that information in the Air Operation Centre takes unduly long because of the
draftory system of reporting adopted. Training exercises to coordinate the working of the various
agencies employed for the operation of the early warning system should be held periodically to
keep them at a high pitch of efficiency.
(iii) The Karachi Port should also be provided as soon as possible, with a low level seawardlooking
radar which it seriously lacks and due to the want of which it suffered many handicaps
during the last war.
(iv) That with the increased Indian capability of blockading Karachi with missile boats the air
defence of Karachi should be attached greater importance. Leaving the defence of Karachi to be
tackled only by one squadron of fighters and a half squadron of bombers was extremely unwise.
X. Re-organization of Air Defence of Pakistan12. The subject of air defence has been discussed by us at some length in section (13) of
Chapter VIII of Part IV of the Main Report. In the light of that discussion, we make the following
(a) Since it will not be possible for us to enlarge our Air Force to any appreciable extent in the
near future, we strongly recommend that we should strengthen our air defence programmes by
at least doubling our holdings of anti-craft guns by the end of 1972 and ultimately raising it under
a phased programme to 342 Batteries as suggested by the Air Force.
(b) Efforts should also be made to procure ground to air missiles for a more effective air defence
of the country.
(c) If ground-to-air missiles are not available, then efforts should also be made to get radar
controlled medium HAA guns from China.
XI. Recommendations with Regard to Civil Defence Measures13.
consider that the following measures are called for to improve the civil defence aspects in
(a) The civil defence arrangements should be placed under the Ministry of Defence, and not be
made the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior or other individual departments. The Central
Government should accept the responsibility for the overall control and organization of the civil
defence of the country, as Provincial Governments have not been able to shoulder this
responsibility effectively in the past.
(b) Steps should be taken to improve the fire-fighting facilities in the country, particularly in ports
and industrial areas.
(c) Industrialists keeping inflammable materials near lines of communications and other
vulnerable points should be induce, or in fact obliged under the law, to accept responsibility for
the protection of their materials, and make effective arrangements for fire-fighting in their
(d) Provision should be made for storing large quantitative of petrol and other fuels underground.
XII. Higher Direction of War14.
Chapter XI of Part IV of the Main Report, and in the light of that discussion, we proposed the
following measures: -
(a) The three Service Headquarters should be located at one place along with the Ministry of
(b) The posts of Commander-in-Chiefs should be replaced by Chiefs of Staff of the respective
services (This, we understand, has already been done by the Government)/
(c) The Defence Committee of the Cabinet should be re-activated and it should be ensured that
its meetings are held regularly. A positive direction should be added in its Charter to give the
Cabinet Division the right to initiate proceedings for the convening of its meetings should be held
even in the absence of the President or the Prime Minister under the Chairmanship of the senior
most minister present.
(d) There should also be a Defence Ministers Committee and the Ministry of Defence should
assume its rightful position as a policy-making body and incorporating policy, decisions into
defence programmes after consultations with the three services. This should ensure the
preparations of realistic plans for the national defence with in the agreed framework of …….
allocations. It should meet under the chairmanship of the Defence Minister and comprise the
Defence Secretary, the three service chiefs, the financial advi ser for defence, the Director
General of Civil Defence, the Director General of munitions production, the Director General of
Defence Procurement, the Director General of inter-services Intelligence Directorate, the
Defence Scientific Adviser and any other Central Secretary or Service officer who may be
required for a particular item on agenda. If the defence portfolio is held by the President or the
Prime Minister then its meeting may be presided over by a Deputy Minister for or by the
Minister in charge of Defence Production (illegible) Minister is available, the Defence Secretary
should preside, irrespective of any considerations of protocol or (illegible)
(e) The Secretaries Coordination Committee as at present constituted, should continue
(f) (illegible) The three services should share (illegible) joint responsibility for national defence
and that all plans and programmes for the development of the (illegible) forces should be based
on joint (illegible) objectives, it is necessary. Therefore, that the three services Chief should
(illegible) As Joint Chiefs of Staff and not merely as individual Heads of their respective Services.
This Joint Chiefs or Staff should constitute a corporate body with collective responsibility having
its own (illegible) staff for evolving joint plans and its own Headquarters located on one place.
The (illegible) of chairman of this Joint Chiefs of Staff must be held by rotation, irrespective of the
personal ranks enjoyed by the three service chiefs. The duration of the tenure should be one
year at a time and the chairmanship should commence with the (illegible) Service, mainly, the
Army. A detailed Chapter of duties for this Joint Chiefs of Staff has been suggested in Annexure
‘I’ of Chapter XI of Part IV of the Main report.
(g) Under the Joint Chiefs of Staff Organisation there will not only by a Secretariat but also a
joint planning staff drawn from all the three Services. It might be designed as the Joint
Secretariat and Planning Staff. It will be responsible not only for providing the necessary
secretarial assistance (illegible) Also for evolving the joint defence plans and (illegible) studies
of processing of all matters of inter-(illegible) The Joint Chief of Staff may also have other Joint
Common to assist them on such matters, as it may consider necessary.
(h) The weakness, in the (illegible) of the armed forces, which have been brought by light,
(illegible) feel that there is need for an institution like the America” (illegible) General’ which
should be a body changed was the duty of carrying out surprise inspection and calling area the
formations and (illegible) concerned to demonstrate that the (illegible)
(this para not readable)
(i) We have also felt the (illegible) for in Institute of Strategic Studies, preferably as a part of a
University Programme. The need for such an (illegible) has been highlighted by the weakness in
our joint strategic panning by the three Services. We are of the opinion that such an Institute will
go a long way in producing studies of value for examination by the other defence organizations.
XIII National Security CouncilHaving examined the working of the National Security Council in Chapter XI of Part IV of the
Main Report we are of the opinion that there is no need for super-(illegible) such an organization
on the Directorate of Intelligence Bureau and the Directorate of Inter-services Intelligence. The
Security Council should therefore be abolished.
XIV. The Farman Ali incidentIn view of the fresh evidence examined by us regarding the role of Maj Gen Farman Ali,
which we have discussed in the concluding portion of Chapter III of Part V of the Supplementary
Report, recommendation No. 7 made in the Main Report has now become (illegible); as we have
found that in delivering a message to Mr. Paul Mare Henry, Assistant Secretary General of the
United Nations. Maj Gen Farman Ali, acted under the instructions of the Governor of East
Pakistan, who in turn had been authorised by the then President of Pakistan to make certain
proposals for settlement in East Pakistan at the critical juncture.
Dr A Q Khan
The Lahore High Court recently acquitted 11 people accused of involvement in an attack on Gen Musharraf and ordered their release from Adiala Jail. Before they could even taste their freedom they were, according to jail authorities, whisked away by agents of the intelligence agencies. To give it all a bizarre twist, the advocate general, Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq, presented an affidavit from the intelligence agencies stating that these people were not in their custody. Then the bombshell came from the chief secretary of Punjab, who informed the Supreme Court that the men in question had indeed been taken away by ISI sleuths.
This is a very disturbing matter, as it more or less confirms the universal belief that our intelligence agencies are rogue agencies, and are above the law and the Constitution. Equally disturbing is the impression created that the army and the ISI still have Musharraf stooges who are willing to do anything for him, even if that means breaking the law. Only these organisations can tell us what the advantages of their actions are. It is an undeniable fact that such actions give a very bad name to our most august institution, the army.
Ever since Ayub Khan’s coup, our intelligence agencies have been used as servants for personal use and against political opponents. Their main task – gathering information for national security and safety – was superseded. It is said that our most expensive and extensive networks, like the ISI and the MI, are run by the army and take orders from the army chief, not from the civilian government. This has led to all the coups staged in this country.
When the Indians exploded their nuclear weapons on May 11, 1998, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called a meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) on the 13th to discuss options. The participants had varying views, but Foreign Minister Gauhar Ayub Khan, Mr Shamshad Ahmed Khan, the foreign secretary, and myself were quite vocal in favour of a response in kind. I voiced my criticism of the performance of our intelligence agencies. Despite their claims of having informants in almost every house in Pokhran, and their promises that they would inform us if India made any preparations for tests, we were caught unawares. If we had had as little as 10 days’ notice, we could have prepared a matching response and could have detonated our devices in as little as an hour.
If we look at the history of espionage and spies, we find that it is a very old business. The Indians and the Chinese were the original masters. Chanakya and Sun Tzu wrote treatises on the subject and the techniques recommended included murder, secret agents and paying foreigners for information. Similarly, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans, all established intelligence networks on a scientific basis. The Mongols and the Japanese also used all kinds of tactics to get information about their adversaries. Western and communist countries strove hard to perfect this technology and turned it into a lethal war instrument.
It is said that Abul Fazl Sakzi, the adviser (prime minister) of Sultan Alp Arsalan, once asked the Sultan why he had not established an intelligence network and employed spies for collecting information against adversaries. The sultan replied: “I believe that there is a need for an intelligence network and spies, and that this is the responsibility of the government. This responsibility must be given to highly competent, honest, experienced people so that the government remains safe from dangers. This work is highly complicated and needs people of wisdom, knowledge and foresight, as there is a great danger in this work of fraud, cheating and double games. Hence the people working in this field must be free of all temptation and blackmail, as the security of the country will depend on their performance. They should be free from financial and family worries, which will enable them to fully concentrate on their important work and provide the government with correct and reliable information. It must ensure punishment to traitors and unpatriotic elements and reward and respect patriotic people and well-wishers of the state. The conditions within the country should be such that people automatically and willingly become good, law-abiding and patriotic citizens while at the same time respecting and fearing state laws. They should not dare to indulge in any anti-state activities. The establishment of an intelligence network and the deployment of spies is a state responsibility and it is a demonstration of courage and foresight. It is thus an essential duty of the state.” (Tusi Siasat-nama.)
Sultan Alp Arsalan gave important and practical advice. He not only mentioned the inherent dangers and possible undesirable activities of these institutions and their workers, but also the necessity of such organisations.
Unfortunately, in our country the performance of the intelligence agencies is anything but commendable and is not something to be proud of. They have been the extended arm of dictators and been widely branded as rogue organisations. They operate outside the law, are least bothered about the judiciary and totally ignore court orders. During Gen Musharraf’s time, a general, an ISI colonel and eight subordinates forcibly sent us to Bannigala and kept us there for 10 hours. During that time our house was totally ransacked, bedrooms, clothes, books, files, etc., searched and many things taken away – all this without any official warrant or court order to do so. To-date many of the things taken away have not been returned. During the process our house was also bugged with cameras and – how low can you get – listening devices placed behind our bed and in the bedroom of our granddaughter, as well as in the drawing room, dining room and other places. They totally ignored that fact that, with my background, I was not ignorant of such affairs. I immediately realised the mischief they had done, traced their devices but left them in place (until years later) to let them remain under the illusion that we were unaware. The courts did not take any action against this blatant violation of our fundamental rights and privacy. In any civilised society such despicable acts are totally unacceptable and are dealt with severely by the courts.
We saw how President Nixon was removed from office in disgrace over the bugging of Watergate by his staff. Our courts have wide powers and could, if they so desired, deal with such mischief effectively and immediately in one way or another. Unfortunately, such action is always lacking and the rogue agents of the rogue agencies are left to follow the law of the jungle. As long as they are allowed a free hand, we will be branded as a lawless, corrupt country.
It is my personal opinion that these activities are mostly carried out by retired and re-employed army personnel, who then try to be more loyal than the king and indulge in all kinds of mischief to justify their continuity in service. In doing so, they give a bad name to their agencies and to the government. The heads of the intelligence agencies would be better off not carrying such excess baggage and to utilise the services of young, educated, honest and capable people.
Pakistan’s political dynamics has seen its different colors over the last six decades. The country saw some of the most oppressive military regimes and also some of the most corrupt periods of elected plutocracy. Our history saw struggles between left and right and also became an active player in the cold war period.
Though our politics has been influenced strongly by the foreign masters of our ruling elites. But in that our establishment has always played a vital role either as a proxy rule for foreign powers or as a king maker in local politics, many times the role has been a mixture of both. The honest reality of our history is that this role of our establishment has seriously dented our political culture, damaged rule of law and also harmed our rights as free citizens of this country.
A country which was founded on the principles of justice and equality didn’t live up to the expectations due to the dismal performance of our establishment and their cultivated corrupt political culture based on feudal-corporatist mindsets. Right from the days of Ghulam Muhammad, Pakistani establishment strengthened its hold on the affairs of the state and its politics. Pakistan was thrown into an unwanted cold war and thus it gave up its freedom which it got few years ago into the hands of imperialist forces lead by USA, which at that time took place of United Kingdom as world super power along with its rival USSR.
Initially establishment rule was evenly balanced between civil and military establishments but later on especially after Ayub Khan martial law, military acted as the main force of establishment. Now by establishment we can easily refer to GHQ as main source of political power. Even Fatimah Jinnah, one of the strong political figure of our country and sister of founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah was not able to defeat this system. But her role in politics did make our establishment to get involved more in party politics or politics of masses. Now if I see things as an ordinary student of politics, foundation of PPP was meant to fill the political vacuum in the country so that those forces including Awami League, Jamat e Islami and others, who opposed Ayub martial law openly could not strengthen their grounds as alternate political reality other than establishment.
This approach worked in West Pakistan due to strong feudal system but failed in East Pakistan so establishment with the backing of feudal political class decided to use force on our own people. And we all know the consequences of 1971 riots and later Indo-Pak war. There was a chance for the nation to learn lessons from the mistakes and change the future course of actions.
But it didn’t happen except for few adjustments, including a real major one of developing 1973 constitution, our political outlook remained same. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was a product of establishment, who tried to become larger than he should be in the eyes of establishment and also started a nuclear program against the wishes of our imperialist masters, became a liability to the system and so he was removed from the scene through Zia martial law and later hanged till death in a murder case of controversial nature.
Removal of Bhutto, instead of giving some relief to martial law forces became counter productive especially in the province of Sind so a new political reality of MQM was given space and support by military establishment. In Zia’s time not only constitution was treated badly but his use of religion to give cover to his oppressive and hypocrite regime proved to be another major blunder in the history of our country.
Later after the death of General(R) Zia ul Haq, PPP with sympathy votes and deals with local and international establishment came into power. Instead of learning from past mistakes and doing accountability of constitutional violations and corruptions by Zia regime, PPP started a new era of corruption and nepotism in Pakistani politics. They were also joined by their rivals, PML(N) which was a product of Zia remains, in this political culture. This culture saw its ups and downs and political maneuvering by establishment through the formation of IJI and sacking of governments.
In this time Nawaz Sharif of PML(N), also emerged as a big political force through a huge mandate in 1997 elections by bagging 137 seats. Nawaz tried to undermine the unwanted reality of our political history i.e. military establishment and did not follow the line of imperialist master while conducting nuclear tests in 1998,was sacked in a military coup by General (R) Musharraf. In Nawaz’s sacking his controversial 15th amendment and attacks on judiciary also played a key role as these actions weakened the rule of law and supremacy of constitution in the country and thus giving more room for unconstitutional measures by opportunist forces of martial law.
Musharraf rule proved to be one of the most disastrous periods of Pakistani history. In this tenure Pakistan get involved into a foreign war and this war was later dragged into our cities through some of the most evil policies. This war and Musharraf’s rule converted the diversity of our society into a clash between sects, ethnicity and social classes.
Actions like attack on Supreme Judiciary, abrogation of constitution, illegal abductions, extra judicial killings, military operations including heavy bombings on civilian areas, 12 May 2007 and 9 March 2007 and others really broke the back of Pakistani economy and society. The society after Musharraf is more fragmented and country is facing some of the worst consequences of his actions.
Then another foreign sponsored deal, between forces of martial law and feudal-corporatist political elite, resulted in current NRO government. In return of Musharraf’s safety and continuation of his imperialist slave policies, current ruling alliance was not only given power but all criminal cases were removed in the name of reconciliation. In the mean time, removal of Benazir Bhutto from the scene also helped her cronies and beneficiaries of NRO deal to capture more sympathy votes. Despite a report by UN, Benazir murder case is still not seeing much progress except for cover ups.
Our history saw politics of so called Left and so called Right, so called Red and so called Green and also the so called struggle between forces of dictatorships and so called forces of democracy. The reality is most of these setups were fake and were meant to serve the goals of ruling elite and their foreign masters.
Old games are now again being played by our ruling elite with assistance from foreign masters. Former dictator Musharraf is planning to come back into politics. Pir Pagara has also started his alliance of failed politicians in the name of uniting Muslim League.
PPP and allied parties are still playing their dirty games to strengthen their rule through fear and control politics as a result a commercial hub like Karachi is seeing one of the worst periods of target killings.Institutional corruption, high inflation and a huge government-created energy crisis to pave way for their corruption in Rental Power Projects are putting us into further economic disaster.
Natural resources and assets are on sale for nothing and again our nation is being fooled just for the monetary gains of few.So called opposition comprising of PML-Q and PML-N are busy in playing their hypocritical role. People are still not able to come out of their prejudices and short term greed and so giving strength to this system through “Zindabad” mentality.
Even floods have not changed the situation much. Supreme Court, which has provided some hope after restoration is being sidelined by government and institutions. Lawyers and media which emerged as a new force in national politics are now being divided through money and threats. Government involvement in SCBA elections and threats to media are examples of this approach. Situation in Afghanistan will come with its own dynamics and impacts on Pakistani politics.
Luckily few good things happened in recent times including the revival of civil society, emergence of free and resilient media, and an independent Supreme Court. These are real challenging times for those who love freedom and justice. These include all those who are struggling for rule of law, justice, accountability, freedom and respect for nation, and above all a better Pakistan. Lot is needed to be done and it seems to be an almost impossible task but lets hope for the best as we are responsible for our actions and decisions not the given conditions and out of control realities.
This one is for Mushis apologists and narrow-minded people who are mentally retarded enough to still praying and hoping for Musharraf’s return. 2007 was the worst year for Pakistan which damaged the federation and economy . Still its impacts are going on with growing severity day by day. People see the growing tree but don’t see where the roots are.Musharraf played sectarian, ethnic and social class cards to his favor which still serve for him to get some support. This approach has destroyed our social fabric.
1- 31st March 2007 attempt to remove the CJP in a ridiculous manner:
A real insulting attack on Judiciary, weakened the already weakened institution.
2- 12th May 2007 Karachi violence:
An attempt to kill CJP and an attempt to create a civil war type situation between ethnic groups. Purpose was divide people and extend his rule.
3- 3rd July 2007 Lal Masjid Operation:
It was done to dilute the impact of First Lawyers Movement and to give sectarian and social class color to this war against terror so that it can be owned by a wide section of our society. The consequences are still being felt as now after this operation this war has become more brutal and intensity has increased to highest level. It was part of Mushi’s expand the war and extend the rule policy. The logics, like Masjid e Zarrar or Takfeeri or Sufi/Wahabi division, which were floated in the masses to justify the operation later proved to be really damaging for our society as many who opposed the operation used the same logics to justify their brutal actions. This started a new row of suicide bombings and terrorism and a new sectarian war started with it.
4- 3rd November 2007 Martial Law:
It was another brutal attack on constitution, judiciary, media, lawyers, civil society and everyone who was against the illegal regime of Musharraf, his unconstitutional actions and violations of human rights.This action brought Pakistan’s economy to its knees. The economic structure of Mushi and Shortcut Aziz was fake and based on fictitious economy so economy started to collapse further (collapse already started in early 2007).
5- 27 December 2007 Benazir Murder:
Mushi and his partners decided to remove Benazir from the scene. It brought Zardari as new Chairman of PPP through an allegedly fake will. Benazir and Mushi had a deal arranged by USA,UK and Pakistan Army which broke when Mushi imposed 3rd November Martial Law and also Mushi never wanted Benazir to share his rule with Benazir and also he was afraid that Benazir might not be able to do things for him which he wanted like a clean and safe exit. Zardari was given PPP and NRO in return for Mushi’s security and later this helped the smiling wicked person to become Pakistan’s President. But Zardari gave Mushi a safe exit and now due to his incompetency or probably planning Mushi is trying to come back in Pakistani politics.
Happy Pakistan Day!
We need to revive the goals of justice, equality and freedom which resulted in the creation of our homeland.
We need to revive the spirit of Pakistan resolution and give sense of ownership to the different constituents of our federation through decentralization of power.
We need to analyze our mistakes as a nation and see where we went wrong to rectify it.
Something I wrote a year ago for the same occasion:
Howard Zinn wrote it in 2001 after 9/11 and USA invasion of Afghanistan.
The article is important for those who find it liberal to support the current war and consider anti-war voices as Taliban. I hope Zinn will not be named as “Taliban Zinn”.
Just A Cause, Not A War
It Seems to Me by Howard Zinn
December 2001 Issue
A Just Cause, Not a Just War
I believe two moral judgments can be made about the present “war”: The September 11 attack constitutes a crime against humanity and cannot be justified, and the bombing of Afghanistan is also a crime, which cannot be justified.
And yet, voices across the political spectrum, including many on the left, have described this as a “just war.” One longtime advocate of peace, Richard Falk, wrote in The Nation that this is “the first truly just war since World War II.” Robert Kuttner, another consistent supporter of social justice, declared in The American Prospect that only people on the extreme left could believe this is not a just war.
I have puzzled over this. How can a war be truly just when it involves the daily killing of civilians, when it causes hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children to leave their homes to escape the bombs, when it may not find those who planned the September 11 attacks, and when it will multiply the ranks of people who are angry enough at this country to become terrorists themselves?
This war amounts to a gross violation of human rights, and it will produce the exact opposite of what is wanted: It will not end terrorism; it will proliferate terrorism.
I believe that the progressive supporters of the war have confused a “just cause” with a “just war.” There are unjust causes, such as the attempt of the United States to establish its power in Vietnam, or to dominate Panama or Grenada, or to subvert the government of Nicaragua. And a cause may be just–getting North Korea to withdraw from South Korea, getting Saddam Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait, or ending terrorism–but it does not follow that going to war on behalf of that cause, with the inevitable mayhem that follows, is just.
The stories of the effects of our bombing are beginning to come through, in bits and pieces. Just eighteen days into the bombing, The New York Times reported: “American forces have mistakenly hit a residential area in Kabul.” Twice, U.S. planes bombed Red Cross warehouses, and a Red Cross spokesman said: “Now we’ve got 55,000 people without that food or blankets, with nothing at all.”
An Afghan elementary school-teacher told a Washington Post reporter at the Pakistan border: “When the bombs fell near my house and my babies started crying, I had no choice but to run away.”
A New York Times report: “The Pentagon acknowledged that a Navy F/A-18 dropped a 1,000-pound bomb on Sunday near what officials called a center for the elderly. . . . The United Nations said the building was a military hospital. . . . Several hours later, a Navy F-14 dropped two 500-pound bombs on a residential area northwest of Kabul.” A U.N. official told a New York Times reporter that an American bombing raid on the city of Herat had used cluster bombs, which spread deadly “bomblets” over an area of twenty football fields. This, the Times reporter wrote,”was the latest of a growing number of accounts of American bombs going astray and causing civilian casualties.”
An A.P. reporter was brought to Karam, a small mountain village hit by American bombs, and saw houses reduced to rubble. “In the hospital in Jalalabad, twenty-five miles to the east, doctors treated what they said were twenty-three victims of bombing at Karam, one a child barely two months old, swathed in bloody bandages,” according to the account. “Another child, neighbors said, was in the hospital because the bombing raid had killed her entire family. At least eighteen fresh graves were scattered around the village.”
The city of Kandahar, attacked for seventeen straight days, was reported to be a ghost town, with more than half of its 500,000 people fleeing the bombs. The city’s electrical grid had been knocked out. The city was deprived of water, since the electrical pumps could not operate. A sixty-year-old farmer told the A.P. reporter, “We left in fear of our lives. Every day and every night, we hear the roaring and roaring of planes, we see the smoke, the fire. . . . I curse them both–the Taliban and America.”
A New York Times report from Pakistan two weeks into the bombing campaign told of wounded civilians coming across the border. “Every half-hour or so throughout the day, someone was brought across on a stretcher. . . . Most were bomb victims, missing limbs or punctured by shrapnel. . . . A young boy, his head and one leg wrapped in bloodied bandages, clung to his father’s back as the old man trudged back to Afghanistan.”
That was only a few weeks into the bombing, and the result had already been to frighten hundreds of thousands of Afghans into abandoning their homes and taking to the dangerous, mine-strewn roads. The “war against terrorism” has become a war against innocent men, women, and children, who are in no way responsible for the terrorist attack on New York.
And yet there are those who say this is a “just war.”
Terrorism and war have something in common. They both involve the killing of innocent people to achieve what the killers believe is a good end. I can see an immediate objection to this equation: They (the terrorists) deliberately kill innocent people; we (the war makers) aim at “military targets,” and civilians are killed by accident, as “collateral damage.”
Is it really an accident when civilians die under our bombs? Even if you grant that the intention is not to kill civilians, if they nevertheless become victims, again and again and again, can that be called an accident? If the deaths of civilians are inevitable in bombing, it may not be deliberate, but it is not an accident, and the bombers cannot be considered innocent. They are committing murder as surely as are the terrorists.
The absurdity of claiming innocence in such cases becomes apparent when the death tolls from “collateral damage” reach figures far greater than the lists of the dead from even the most awful act of terrorism. Thus, the “collateral damage” in the Gulf War caused more people to die–hundreds of thousands, if you include the victims of our sanctions policy–than the very deliberate terrorist attack of September 11. The total of those who have died in Israel from Palestinian terrorist bombs is somewhere under 1,000. The number of dead from “collateral damage” in the bombing of Beirut during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was roughly 6,000.
We must not match the death lists–it is an ugly exercise–as if one atrocity is worse than another. No killing of innocents, whether deliberate or “accidental,” can be justified. My argument is that when children die at the hands of terrorists, or–whether intended or not–as a result of bombs dropped from airplanes, terrorism and war become equally unpardonable.
Let’s talk about “military targets.” The phrase is so loose that President Truman, after the nuclear bomb obliterated the population of Hiroshima, could say: “The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.”
What we are hearing now from our political leaders is, “We are targeting military objectives. We are trying to avoid killing civilians. But that will happen, and we regret it.” Shall the American people take moral comfort from the thought that we are bombing only “military targets”?
The reality is that the term “military” covers all sorts of targets that include civilian populations. When our bombers deliberately destroy, as they did in the war against Iraq, the electrical infrastructure, thus making water purification and sewage treatment plants inoperable and leading to epidemic waterborne diseases, the deaths of children and other civilians cannot be called accidental.
Recall that in the midst of the Gulf War, the U.S. military bombed an air raid shelter, killing 400 to 500 men, women, and children who were huddled to escape bombs. The claim was that it was a military target, housing a communications center, but reporters going through the ruins immediately afterward said there was no sign of anything like that.
I suggest that the history of bombing–and no one has bombed more than this nation–is a history of endless atrocities, all calmly explained by deceptive and deadly language like “accident,” “military targets,” and “collateral damage.”
Indeed, in both World War II and in Vietnam, the historical record shows that there was a deliberate decision to target civilians in order to destroy the morale of the enemy–hence the firebombing of Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, the B-52s over Hanoi, the jet bombers over peaceful villages in the Vietnam countryside. When some argue that we can engage in “limited military action” without “an excessive use of force,” they are ignoring the history of bombing. The momentum of war rides roughshod over limits.
The moral equation in Afghanistan is clear. Civilian casualties are certain. The outcome is uncertain. No one knows what this bombing will accomplish–whether it will lead to the capture of Osama Bin Laden (perhaps), or the end of the Taliban (possibly), or a democratic Afghanistan (very unlikely), or an end to terrorism (almost certainly not).
And meanwhile, we are terrorizing the population (not the terrorists, they are not easily terrorized). Hundreds of thousands are packing their belongings and their children onto carts and leaving their homes to make dangerous journeys to places they think might be more safe.
Not one human life should be expended in this reckless violence called a “war against terrorism.”
We might examine the idea of pacifism in the light of what is going on right now. I have never used the word “pacifist” to describe myself, because it suggests something absolute, and I am suspicious of absolutes. I want to leave openings for unpredictable possibilities. There might be situations (and even such strong pacifists as Gandhi and Martin Luther King believed this) when a small, focused act of violence against a monstrous, immediate evil would be justified.
In war, however, the proportion of means to ends is very, very different. War, by its nature, is unfocused, indiscriminate, and especially in our time when the technology is so murderous, inevitably involves the deaths of large numbers of people and the suffering of even more. Even in the “small wars” (Iran vs. Iraq, the Nigerian war, the Afghan war), a million people die. Even in a “tiny” war like the one we waged in Panama, a thousand or more die.
Scott Simon of NPR wrote a commentary in The Wall Street Journal on October 11 entitled, “Even Pacifists Must Support This War.” He tried to use the pacifist acceptance of self-defense, which approves a focused resistance to an immediate attacker, to justify this war, which he claims is “self-defense.” But the term “self-defense” does not apply when you drop bombs all over a country and kill lots of people other than your attacker. And it doesn’t apply when there is no likelihood that it will achieve its desired end.
Pacifism, which I define as a rejection of war, rests on a very powerful logic. In war, the means–indiscriminate killing–are immediate and certain; the ends, however desirable, are distant and uncertain.
Pacifism does not mean “appeasement.” That word is often hurled at those who condemn the present war on Afghanistan, and it is accompanied by references to Churchill, Chamberlain, Munich. World War II analogies are conveniently summoned forth when there is a need to justify a war, however irrelevant to a particular situation. At the suggestion that we withdraw from Vietnam, or not make war on Iraq, the word “appeasement” was bandied about. The glow of the “good war” has repeatedly been used to obscure the nature of all the bad wars we have fought since 1945.
Let’s examine that analogy. Czechoslovakia was handed to the voracious Hitler to “appease” him. Germany was an aggressive nation expanding its power, and to help it in its expansion was not wise. But today we do not face an expansionist power that demands to be appeased. We ourselves are the expansionist power–troops in Saudi Arabia, bombings of Iraq, military bases all over the world, naval vessels on every sea–and that, along with Israel’s expansion into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, has aroused anger.
It was wrong to give up Czechoslovakia to appease Hitler. It is not wrong to withdraw our military from the Middle East, or for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, because there is no right to be there. That is not appeasement. That is justice.
Opposing the bombing of Afghanistan does not constitute “giving in to terrorism” or “appeasement.” It asks that other means be found than war to solve the problems that confront us. King and Gandhi both believed in action–nonviolent direct action, which is more powerful and certainly more morally defensible than war.
To reject war is not to “turn the other cheek,” as pacifism has been caricatured. It is, in the present instance, to act in ways that do not imitate the terrorists.
The United States could have treated the September 11 attack as a horrific criminal act that calls for apprehending the culprits, using every device of intelligence and investigation possible. It could have gone to the United Nations to enlist the aid of other countries in the pursuit and apprehension of the terrorists.
There was also the avenue of negotiations. (And let’s not hear: “What? Negotiate with those monsters?” The United States negotiated with–indeed, brought into power and kept in power–some of the most monstrous governments in the world.) Before Bush ordered in the bombers, the Taliban offered to put bin Laden on trial. This was ignored. After ten days of air attacks, when the Taliban called for a halt to the bombing and said they would be willing to talk about handing bin Laden to a third country for trial, the headline the next day in The New York Times read: “President Rejects Offer by Taliban for Negotiations,” and Bush was quoted as saying: “When I said no negotiations, I meant no negotiations.”
That is the behavior of someone hellbent on war. There were similar rejections of negotiating possibilities at the start of the Korean War, the war in Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the bombing of Yugoslavia. The result was an immense loss of life and incalculable human suffering.
International police work and negotiations were–still are–alternatives to war. But let’s not deceive ourselves; even if we succeeded in apprehending bin Laden or, as is unlikely, destroying the entire Al Qaeda network, that would not end the threat of terrorism, which has potential recruits far beyond Al Qaeda.
To get at the roots of terrorism is complicated. Dropping bombs is simple. It is an old response to what everyone acknowledges is a very new situation. At the core of unspeakable and unjustifiable acts of terrorism are justified grievances felt by millions of people who would not themselves engage in terrorism but from whose ranks terrorists spring.
Those grievances are of two kinds: the existence of profound misery– hunger, illness–in much of the world, contrasted to the wealth and luxury of the West, especially the United States; and the presence of American military power everywhere in the world, propping up oppressive regimes and repeatedly intervening with force to maintain U.S. hegemony.
This suggests actions that not only deal with the long-term problem of terrorism but are in themselves just.
Instead of using two planes a day to drop food on Afghanistan and 100 planes to drop bombs (which have been making it difficult for the trucks of the international agencies to bring in food), use 102 planes to bring food.
Take the money allocated for our huge military machine and use it to combat starvation and disease around the world. One-third of our military budget would annually provide clean water and sanitation facilities for the billion people in the world who have none.
Withdraw troops from Saudi Arabia, because their presence near the holy shrines of Mecca and Medina angers not just bin Laden (we need not care about angering him) but huge numbers of Arabs who are not terrorists.
Stop the cruel sanctions on Iraq, which are killing more than a thousand children every week without doing anything to weaken Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical hold over the country.
Insist that Israel withdraw from the occupied territories, something that many Israelis also think is right, and which will make Israel more secure than it is now.
In short, let us pull back from being a military superpower, and become a humanitarian superpower.
Let us be a more modest nation. We will then be more secure. The modest nations of the world don’t face the threat of terrorism.
Such a fundamental change in foreign policy is hardly to be expected. It would threaten too many interests: the power of political leaders, the ambitions of the military, the corporations that profit from the nation’s enormous military commitments.
Change will come, as at other times in our history, only when American citizens– becoming better informed, having second thoughts after the first instinctive support for official policy–demand it. That change in citizen opinion, especially if it coincides with a pragmatic decision by the government that its violence isn’t working, could bring about a retreat from the military solution.
It might also be a first step in the rethinking of our nation’s role in the world. Such a rethinking contains the promise, for Americans, of genuine security, and for people elsewhere, the beginning of hope.
The article was published in Dawn in 2005.
Nur Khan reminisces ’65 war
ISLAMABAD, Sept 5:
Air Marshal (retired) Nur Khan, the man who led the airforce achieve complete superiority over the three times bigger Indian airforce on the very first day of the 1965 war, had all but resigned the post the very day that he took command of Pakistan Air Force on July 23, 1965.
“Rumours about an impending operation were rife but the army had not shared the plans with other forces,” Air Marshal Nur Khan said.
Sharing his memoirs with Dawn on the 40th anniversary of 1965 war, Air Marshal Khan said that he was the most disturbed man on the day, instead of feeling proud. Air Marshal (retired) Asghar Khan while handing over the command to Nur Khan had not briefed him about any impending war because he was not aware of it himself.
So, in order to double check, Nur Khan called on the then Commander-in-Chief, General Musa Khan. Under his searching questions Gen Musa wilted and with a sheepish smile admitted that something was afoot. Nur Khan’s immediate reaction was that this would mean war. But, Gen Musa said you need not to worry as according to him Indians would not retaliate. Then he directed a still highly skeptical Nur Khan to Lt-Gen Akhtar Hasan Malik, GOC Kashmir, the man in-charge of “Operation Gibraltar” for further details.
The long and short of his discussion with Gen Malik was, “don’t worry, because the plan to send in some 800,000 infiltrators inside the occupied territory to throw out the Indian troops with the help of the local population”, was so designed that the Indians would not be able retaliate and therefore the airforce need not get into war-time mode. A still incredulous Nur Khan was shocked when on further inquiry he found that except for a small coterie of top generals, very few in the armed forces knew about “Operation Gibraltar”.
He asked himself how good, intelligent and professional people like Musa and Malik could be so naive, so irresponsible. For the air marshal, it was unbelievable. Even the then Lahore garrison commander had not been taken into confidence. And Governor of West Pakistan, Malik Amir Mohammad Khan of Kalabagh did not know what was afoot and had gone to Murree for vacations. It was at this point that he felt like resigning and going home. But then he thought such a rash move would further undermine the country’s interests and, therefore, kept his cool and went about counting his chickens — the entire airforce was too young and too inexperienced to be called anything else then — and gearing up his service for the D-day.
The miracle that the PAF achieved on September 6, to a large extent, is attributed to Nur Khan’s leadership. He led his force from up front and set personal example by going on some highly risky sorties himself. But then no commander, no matter how daring and how professional, can win a battle if his troops are not fully geared to face such challenges and that too within 43 days of change in command.
The full credit for turning the PAF into a highly professional and dedicated fighting machine goes to Air Marshal Asghar Khan who was given charge of the service in 1957.
Thank God, unlike the other service no darbari or sifarishi was given the job. And by the time he left on July 23, 1965, Asghar Khan had turned the PAF into a well-oiled, highly professional and dedicated fighting machine and had trained them on the then best US made fighters, bombers and transport planes. Those who flew those machines and those who maintained them on ground worked like a team, and each one of the PAF member performed beyond the call of duty to make a miracle. The PAF performance had crucially allowed the Army to operate without interference from the Indian airforce.
“The performance of the Army did not match that of the PAF mainly because the leadership was not as professional. They had planned the ‘Operation Gibraltar’ for self-glory rather than in the national interest. It was a wrong war. And they misled the nation with a big lie that India rather than Pakistan had provoked the war and that we were the victims of Indian aggression”, Air Marshal Khan said. When on the second day of war President Gen Ayub wanted to know how we were faring, Musa informed him that the Army had run out of even ammunition.
That was the extent of preparation in the Army. And the information had shocked Gen Ayub so much that it could have triggered his heart ailment, which overtook him a couple of years later. This in short is Nur Khan’s version of 1965 war, which he calls an unnecessary war and says that President Ayub for whom he has the greatest regard should have held his senior generals accountable for the debacle and himself resigned.
This would have held the hands of the adventurers who followed Gen Ayub. Since the 1965 war was based on a big lie and was presented to the nation a great victory, the Army came to believe its own fiction and has used since, Ayub as its role model and therefore has continued to fight unwanted wars — the 1971 war and the Kargil fiasco in 1999, he said. In each of the subsequent wars we have committed the same mistakes that we committed in 1965.
Air Marshal Khan demanded that a truth commission formed to find out why we failed in all our military adventures. It is not punishment of the failed leadership that should be the aim of the commission but sifting of facts from fiction and laying bare the follies and foibles of the irresponsible leaders in matters with grave implications for the nation. It should also point out the irregularities committed in training and promotions in the defence forces in the past so that it is not repeated in future. Mr Khan believes that our soldiers when called upon have fought with their lives but because of bad leadership their supreme sacrifices went waste. And after every war that we began we ended up taking dictation from the enemy — at Tashkant, at Simla and lastly at Washington.
He said at present Pakistan is engaged in another war, this time in Waziristan. This war can also end up in a fiasco and politically disastrous for the federation if it is fought with the same nonchalance and unprofessionally as we did the last three wars. He, therefore, called for an immediate change of command at the GHQ insisting that President Gen Pervez Musharraf should appoint a full-time Chief of Army Staff and restore full democracy in the country.
He suggested appointment of an independent chief election commissioner in consultation with all the political parties. “Look at India.There a religious party comes in power and nobody cries foul and it goes out of power and nobody alleges rigging.
We can also do this,” he added. And we must make unified efforts to restore the country in the vision of the Quaid-i-Azam. Turn it into a non-theocratic and truly democratic state. And all the three forces should model themselves on the lines set by Asghar Khan when he was commanding the PAF, he suggested.