Friday, December 16, 2011

Is This a 1971 Moment in Pakistan's History?

Pakistani-American Mansoor Ijaz's confidential memo to retired US Admiral Mike Mullen on behalf of former Ambassador Hussain Haqqani makes a reference to the 1971 war where it says "this is a 1971 moment in Pakistan’s history". What does it really mean? Does it mean there is another India-Pakistan war in the offing? Or an expansion of US Afghan war into Pakistan? Or further splintering of Pakistan?

Let me try and interpret it by explaining it in the context of civilian-military relations in Pakistan in 1971.

The key result of the 1971 India-Pakistan war was the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh after a humiliating defeat of Pakistani military and Gen Nizai's surrender on December 16, 1971. This military defeat discredited, demoralized and sidelined Pakistani generals and paved the way for the Pakistan Peoples' Party leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to become an all-powerful civilian dictator and Chief Martial Law Administrator of what remained of Pakistan.

It can be reasonably argued that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a key architect of the tragic events that unfolded in 1971. Many analysts agree with late Governor Salman Taseer of the PPP who said that "the lion's share of the blame" for 1971 goes to Mr. Bhutto. Here's what Mr. Taseer wrote in his book "Bhutto: A Political Biography":

"Blame can never be satisfactorily or finally apportioned to the major players in this grisly drama, but that Bhutto, Mujibur Rahman and Yahya Khan share responsibility there can be no doubt. Many, indeed, are inclined to the view that Bhutto, as the most sure-footed politician of the three and thus the best equipped to assess the consequences of his actions, must accept the lion's share of the blame. Argument on this point will remain one of the central themes of Pakistani politics, perhaps for decades."

A number of actions and pronouncements by Mr. Bhutto support Gov Taseer's conclusion. Some of these are:

1. While the rest of the political parties winning two-thirds of the National Assembly seats agreed to attend the 1971 post-election session in Dacca, Mr. Bhutto refused to do so.

2. Not only did Mr. Bhutto announce his PPP's boycott of the assembly, he also threatened to "break the legs" of any one from West Pakistan who agreed to attend.

3. Mr. Bhutto urged the military to act against Shaikh Mujib-ur-Rahman's Awami Leage which had absolute majority in the National Assembly elected in 1971.

4. After General Yahya Khan was persuaded by Bhutto to act against the Awami League, Mr. Bhutto welcomed the army operation in East Pakistan by saying "Thank God, Pakistan is saved" on the day the military started its action in East Pakistan....knowing full well that it would invite an Indian invasion as it did.

5. There was wide support for a Polish ceasefire resolution in the UN Security Council to end the 1971 India-Pakistan war before Dhaka fell. But Mr. Bhutto, as General Yahya Khan's special envoy, refused to go along and walked out of the UN meeting.

All of the above facts lead to only one conclusion: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto engineered the defeat of Pakistani military in East Pakistan in 1971 to discredit and marginalize the generals and consolidate his own power at the expense of the unity of Pakistan.

Is today's PPP inviting the US military to defeat, demoralize and destroy Pakistan's military in 2011? Are Abbottabad and Mohmand part of this strategy? Are US and Pakistan heading towards a dangerous military confrontation in the near future?

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Seeing Bin Laden's Death in Wider Perspective?

US Military Undermining Interests in "AfPak"?

Pakistan's Memogate

Is US-Pakistan Military Confrontation Inevitable?

Seeing Bin Laden's Death in Wider Perspective

Who Are the Haqqanis?

Military Mutiny in Pakistan?

Can US Aid Remake Pakistan?

Demolishing Indian War Myths


Sher said...

In this event you have the right idea. Although other people had a say in it, but Bhutto was the main culprit responsible for break up of Pakistan.

Personally, I do not know whether it would have been good or bad for Pakistan? What do you think?

Riaz Haq said...

Sher: "Personally, I do not know whether it would have been good or bad for Pakistan? What do you think?"

I think it was a very tragic and extremely traumatic split that caused tens of thousands of innocent lives in 1971.

We now know in hindsight that, if the purpose was to weaken military's power in Pakistani politics, it didn't happen. And Bhutto contributed to it by creating the ISI's political cell which cost him his own life after Gen Zia's coup.

A better model to pursue is the Turkish model which has evolved to the point where the elected civilian leaders have become more powerful than the military.

Anonymous said...

All of the above facts lead to only one conclusion: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto engineered the defeat of Pakistani military in East Pakistan in 1971 to discredit and marginalize the generals and consolidate his own power at the expense of the unity of Pakistan.

Its very easy to blame all defeats on one man/factor.The seeds of Bangladesh had been sown much earlier.

1.Making Urdu the sole national language while most Pakistanis spoke Bengali(E+W pakistanis)

2.Making disproportionate amount of investments in West PAkistan vis a vis East PAkistan.While the west surged ahead of India in quality of life indices the East PAkistanis actually were less developed than the poorest parts of India.

3.Ridiculous and self serving martial race theory which actively discriminated against Bangladeshis in the army on grounds of their being non martial.

4.In absolute stark contrast to Mrs. G's cold and calcuulated moves a tradition of bravado and irresponsible delusions of grandeur 'we are descendants of turks/arab/persian conquerors','one pakistani=10 indians' etc etc led to a politico=military strategy that was to match for what India had.

To quote Mr. Richard Nixon(a verry pro PAkistani,anti India politician)

"The Pakistanis are straightforward and sometimes extremely stupid. The Indians are more devious, sometimes so smart that we fall for their line "
Richard Nixon

All these are a telling indicment on the ENTIRE Pakistani establishment.Bhutto was just the convenient scape goat specially now that is dead.Blaming just him is another wway of avoiding any significant institutional reform in PAkistan.

Anonymous said...

the only significant takeaway is India choose the correct ally in the ussr.

An ally that used veto 2 time,sent arms and a certain black sea fleet to dissuade the US navy and mobilized troops on China's northern border...

US imposed sactions on pakistan in contrast!

Bhutto was just the figure head!

Haseeb said...


AOA. Very good analysis indeed. I think that was the plan of that memo. That is why Zardari is hiding in Dubai now. I am sure it will be hard to implement now that this plan has been exposed. General Aslam Baig wrote something similar a week ago even though he was not very clear and he beat around the bush as most Pakistani writers do. May Allah protect Pakistan from evil of all evil-doers. Aameen.

Riaz Haq said...


I do hope you are right when you say that "it (Zardari-Haqqani plan) will be hard to implement now that this plan has been exposed".

But I think Pakistan still faces significant risks as long as Zardari is around as President and Head of PPP and the US troops are still in Afghanistan. Gen Kayani, the Pak military and the rest of the politicians have to tread very carefully to avoid stepping on big landmines.

Anonymous said...

All these are a telling indicment on the ENTIRE Pakistani establishment.Bhutto was just the convenient scape goat specially now that is dead.Blaming just him is another wway of avoiding any significant institutional reform in PAkistan.

Exactly the Pakistanis must ask themselves why have they not been able to get quality civilian leaders comparable to others in the regions for example Rao,Indira,Nehru,Vajpayee etc??

I think it has to do with the feudal structure and the crowding out of the middle class from the higher echelons of power.The Indian power clique by contrast almost always come from middle class backgrounds...

Anonymous said...

Nehru(Aristocratic bacground)
Indira(Nehru's daughter)
Rajiv(Nehru's grandson)
VP Singh(middle class)
Narasimha Rao(Middle class)
Vajpayee(middle class)
Gujaral(middle class)
Gowda (middle class)
Manmohan Singh(middle class)

i.e it took something like 40 years for the transition from aristocratic/feudal/ex maharaja background to the middle class preponderence in power in India.

Just to put things in the proper context.

However the Indian feudal/aristocratic establishment was relatively very graceful in bowing out in favour of the middle class as it matured.In that sense they and their descendants can be proud of being good custodians of power.

satwa gunam said...

Fact of the matter was that thousand of bangl Muslim were killed by Pakistan army. Even today they are talking about trying the Pakistan army for war crime. Pakistan general gave the surrender letter when threatened by Indian army that they will hand over them to the newly formed bangla army. IN return the Indian army allowed safe exit of the army back to Pakistan.

Split of bangla was due to the rigidity of Bhutto in not recognizing the regional aspiration of Shaikh Mujib-ur-Rahman.

If Pakistan could have done the needful to recognize the federal structure, bangla would not have happened.

Ras said...

Unfortunately the situation was much worse:

Blaming Bhutto alone is a national pastime.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "While the west surged ahead of India in quality of life indices the East Pakistanis actually were less developed than the poorest parts of India."

Let's see what has happened in BD vs Pakistan since 1971:

1. In 1969-70, the ratio of per capita income between West and East Pakistan was 1.6, as published by Bangladesh's Daily Star.

In 2010, the ratio has increased to 1.7, according to IMF.

2. Bangladesh is still categorized by the Word Bank among the least developed countries of the world because it started with a lower base than West Pakistan, and the loss of its Hindu business elite in 1947 left it worse off. It also didn't have the benefit of the large number of Muslim businessmen who migrated to West Pakistan, particularly Karachi, after partition.

3. Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain explains it well when he says that "although East Pakistan benefited from Ayub’s economic reforms in 1960s, the fact that these benefits were perceived as a dispensation from a quasi-colonial military regime to its colony—East Pakistan—proved to be lethal."

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "While the west surged ahead of India in quality of life indices the East Pakistanis actually were less developed than the poorest parts of India."

There's much talk of disparity between East and West Pakistan before Bangladesh separated from Pakistan in 1947:

Let's see what has happened in BD vs Pakistan since 1971:

1. In 1969-70, the ratio of per capita income between West and East Pakistan was 1.6, as published by Bangladesh's Daily Star.

In 2010, the ratio has increased to 1.7, according to IMF.

2. Bangladesh is still categorized by the World Bank among the least developed countries of the world because it started with a lower base than West Pakistan, and the loss of its Hindu business elite in 1947 left it worse off. It also didn't have the benefit of the large number of Muslim businessmen who migrated to West Pakistan, particularly Karachi, after partition.

3. Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain explains it well when he says that "although East Pakistan benefited from Ayub’s economic reforms in 1960s, the fact that these benefits were perceived as a dispensation from a quasi-colonial military regime to its colony—East Pakistan—proved to be lethal."

Riaz Haq said...

Here are parts of a Daily Times Op Ed by Javed Jabbar on 40th anniversary of the Fall of Dhaka:

In the narrative adopted by Bangladesh and echoed by India and most of global discourse, about three million Bengalis were killed and about 300,000 women were allegedly raped by the Pakistan Army during the nine-month conflict resulting in the secession of Bangladesh. These numbers fail spectacularly on the anvil of factual scrutiny, documentation and rationality. In the 262 days between March 26 and December 16, 1971, Pakistan’s armed forces did not exceed 45,000 troops at optimal levels. The 90,000 prisoners-of-war held by India included over 50,000 non-combatant, unarmed West Pakistani civilians.

Spread out in small, embattled formations across East Pakistan, facing a newly unfriendly or uneasy population, an India-supported insurgency, preparing for an Indian invasion, constantly under-supplied and under-equipped, the Pakistani forces would have had to kill 11,450 Bengalis and rape 1,145 women every single day for 262 days to reach the levels claimed. Not a single credible document has been cited in 40 years to substantiate such absurd allegations of scale.

By unverified frequent repetition of the grotesque figures, the names of Pakistan and Pakistan’s armed forces have become synonymous with the charge of a ‘genocide’ in East Pakistan, which actually never took place. The unfounded charge amounts to the character assassination of a nation’s armed forces.

The Pakistani version is diametrically different. The official Commission of Inquiry headed by a former chief justice could only estimate 36,000 dead. Other estimates go between 100,000 to 200,000 killed. To contrast the two claims is not to demean the gravity of the catastrophe by cold statistics. Every human life is sacred. Every human being’s dignity is sacrosanct. Any violation of either is reprehensible.

Some atrocities by Pakistani troops did take place. Several eye-witness accounts state that the targets were almost always adult males, that women and children were spared. The killings were not one-sided. Many thousands of non-Bengalis and West Pakistanis, including women and children, were brutally slaughtered by Bengalis between 1st March and March 26, 1971, and subsequently as well, as also after December 16, 1971. About 4,000 Pakistani troops also perished in the conflict.

The need to revisit this facet of history to conclusively establish the truth is superbly highlighted by the meticulous research recorded by a scholar who is neither a Pakistani nor a Bangladeshi. In her unusually sensitive and remarkably balanced book, Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War, Sarmila Bose — an Indian Bengali Hindu by birth, a senior Research Fellow at Oxford University — powerfully and persuasively presents the case for a rigorous, evidence-based search for the truth.\12\17\story_17-12-2011_pg3_5

Riaz Haq said...

Bangladesh Financial Express reported that BD's per capita income increased to $818 from $751 a year earlier:

The Bangladesh's per capita income (gross national income) has swelled to US$818 in the outgoing fiscal 2010-2011, a $67 year-on-year rise compared to $751 in the last fiscal 2009-10, official data showed. According to Bangladesh Economic Survey 2011 report, the per capita GDP (gross domestic product) at the constant market price also rose by $68 to $755 in the outgoing fiscal from US$687 in the last FY2009. Based on total 147.90 million population in the country, the per head GNI (gross national income) has increased significantly to $818 in the outgoing fiscal as the remittance flow was buoyant, said the survey report, released Thursday at the budget session. On the constant market price, the per capita GNI (total income including the remittance sent by the non-resident Bangladeshis abroad) has stood at US$818, up by $67 from $755 in the last FY2009, the report said quoting the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) survey data. According to economic survey report, the growth in manufacturing and service sectors and the remittance flow have attributed the per head income though the global economic recession affected the global economy in the last few years. The GDP growth in the country has also performed satisfactorily in the outgoing fiscal as the BBS estimates 6.66 per cent economic growth. Bangladesh government has set the target to become a middle-income country by 2021. It is going to frame a "Perspective Plan 2021" to achieve double digit growth by FY 2018 and cut the extreme poverty line below 15 per cent by 2011.

Pakistan’s nominal per capita income rose 16.9 percent to $1,254 in 2010-11 from $1,073 in 2009-2010, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan.

Ratio of $1254 to $818 is 1.53

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan-American businessman, who occupies the centre of the memogate scandal, Mansoor Ijaz has said the memo was prepared by the country' three high-ranked officials, according to ANI:

Ijaz said he personally knew two out of those officials, and added that one of them had asked him to send the me to US Admiral Mike Mullen, The News reports.

Ijaz claimed to have informed about Haqqani in a telephonic conversation with former US National Security Advisor General James Jones, which lasted for 19 minutes and 26 seconds.

Ijaz said alongwith a memo, he had also sent a covering letter to General Jones, in which entioned about three officials, who served in the country's military and government.

Ijaz said he was also in touch with two US officials to deliver the memo to Mike Mullen personally.

Iajz has, however, blackened the names of those US officials in the document furnishing a reply to the Pakistan Supreme Court.

Ijaz said he asked Jones to deliver the memo to Mullen by May 10 to enable the latter to brief key Pakistani officials at White House on May 11.

DKT said...

Bhutto can be blamed for putting last nail in the coffin because the real crisis started with strangling of democratic values in starting Years. India got its constitution in just 3yrs and hold first general election in just 5 yrs. But in case of Pakistani politicians, they were more busy in internal fighting instead of giving constitution to Pakistan and finally Pakistan had their constitution after 9yrs and first general election after 24 years.

Bengalis formed 55% of the population but irony was majority never dominated in Pakistan's politics. In India the majority North Indians mainly from "Hindi heartland" made Sanskritized Hindi (rejecting Persianized Hindi) in Devanagari script as the Official language of the India and they dominated everywhere but what we see in case of Pakistan is minority is forcing Bengalis to give up Bengali in favor of Urdu and abandoning Bengali script in favor of Arabic Script. They seemed to be struggling for everything that made mockery of them being in majority.

In UK its English who dominates, in Singapore its Chinese who dominates, in Malaysia its Malaya who dominated but majority Bengalis never dominated in their home country. Mujib won absolute majority in election then who was Bhutto at distant Second to stop him from becoming Prime Minister.

But I talked to many Bangladeshi most of them said that many were even contented with Mujib not becoming Prime Minister but when the killing of Bengalis started by Yahya Khan, the same day they stop considering themselves as Pakistanis. Mujib was in Jail and it was Ziaur Rahman who declared independence of Bangladesh. Ziaur Rahman was a patriot and fought against India in 1965 war but killings made him to revolt along with all Bengali soldiers of Pakistan Army against Pakistan army.

And I was listening to a couple of programs from Pakistani news channel,"Have we learnt anything from 1971 debacle, certainly NO because we are repeating same mistakes in Balochistan."

Anonymous said...

'In India the majority North Indians mainly from "Hindi heartland" made Sanskritized Hindi (rejecting Persianized Hindi) in Devanagari script as the Official language of the India '

That move almost caused the breakup of India with Tamil Nadu almost declaring independence.That circular declaring Hindi the official language was never implemented.To this day Hindi is NOT used in offical communication in non Hindi states such as those in the south and the east.

India has 18 official languages with English being the defacto official language.

One of Nehru's most astute political compromises which survives to this day!

DKT said...

"That move almost caused the breakup of India with Tamil Nadu almost declaring independence.That circular declaring Hindi the official language was never implemented.To this day Hindi is NOT used in offical communication in non Hindi states such as those in the south and the east."

Well, You know only half story. In 1950 both Hindi and English were made the Official languages of Federal Government of India and by 1965 Hindi was going to be sole official language of Federal government discontinuing use of English. It was Shastri not Nehru who handled language issue. And Dravidian nationalist never raised issue of independence during 1965 protests.

Tamils were against the move of removal of English because they feared that they would not compete with North Indians when it comes to jobs if Hindi will remain sole official language. Like East Pakistanis feared of Urdu being sole official language of Pakistan will make them difficult to get jobs. The dispute started in 1965 and ended in 1965 when Shastri gave assurance that both Hindi and English will remain official languages of federal government.

But in the last,majority North Indians made Hindi as a official language and concerns of minority Tamil people were also respected. And the side effect of 1965 protests was that Indians becoming on of the largest English speaking community in the world and people are mostly bilingual-trilingual.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Huffington Post piece on US-Pak ties and US elections:

The crises of 2011 are ripping apart a working relationship with Pakistan. Controversy over CIA agent Raymond Davis, the raid on the bin Laden compound, accusations of ISI support for the Taliban, civilian casualties caused by drone attacks, and now NATO airstrikes on Pakistani soldiers have roiled emotions. One must view these events as a whole, not individually. They are tying the hands of Pakistan's military and civilian leaders in cooperating with the U.S. to fight our common enemies. Here, political attitudes and opinions on Capitol Hill and among voters have hardened, complicating our ability to forge policies that enable effective engagement with Pakistan.

The interests of both countries mandate that Pakistan's military and elected government unite in fighting violent extremism. One needed step is strong Pakistani communication campaign to marginalize and de-legitimize the extremists. That could lay the political foundation for taking the military battle to militants. They've at time proven they can do that. But the controversies over U.S. actions have instead led Islamabad to adopt policies that obstruct fighting extremists. Success requires that we work together to overcome the widely shared perception that the U.S. deliberately seeks to abuse Pakistani sovereignty and that cooperation with us makes the military or civilians American pawns.

What can the presidential aspirants do? They can go beyond the current rhetoric to register points that resonate with Pakistanis and serve our mutual interests. Turning relations with Pakistan into partisan fodder is not useful. It would send a powerful message for the Pakistanis to hear from both parties the following:

· The U.S. supports the primacy of elected civilian government and democratic institutions even while it works with Pakistan's military leaders to address our interests, especially in Afghanistan.
· While we may have to condition our military aid to Pakistan's cooperation within its borders in fighting Afghan insurgents, we should stand strongly behind pro-democracy forces. That embraces targeted civilian aid that is carefully monitored to ensure proper use and branding so that we receive credit for our contributions.
· The U.S. is ready to expand trade by foregoing the protectionism so hurtful to Pakistan's struggling economy. This assistance as well as creation of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones will win us more friends than our current aid programs. This will show that in the national interest we are prepared to make difficult domestic political decisions.
· We recognize that Pakistan has legitimate security interests in Afghanistan and that with 35 million Pashtuns, no Pakistan government can support action that fails to address their concerns. But we won't tolerate its using the Pashtun card to meddle, and
won't allow it to obstruct a political settlement that would end the insurgency.
· Whatever suspicion Pakistan may harbor, as journalist Zahid Hussain has noted, only the U.S. offers Pakistanis hope for the future. No other nation does that.

These messages to Pakistan will put the political discourse between Pakistan and the U.S. on a sounder footing. It will vest Pakistani policy makers and military with more flexibility to fight violent extremism and help revitalize ties with the U.S. What the candidates for President say, and how they say it, can make a huge difference in advancing or blocking what is mutually beneficial. Meanwhile, it will require Pakistani leaders who are willing to stand up against the tide of opinion and take their own political risks.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times Op Ed by AR Siddiqui on Bhutto and the Army in 1971:

The field marshal’s soaring ambition had been to prove his status as a great military leader and Bhutto’s burgeoning desire to cut him to size had fuelled the engine of the 1965 war

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), an offshoot of Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s Convention Muslim League, emerged in 1967 as the single most formidable force against Ayub, under founding chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Quitting the government as its youngest and about the brightest foreign minister, Bhutto, once like a son to papa Ayub, emerged as the ultimate challenge to him at the zenith of his power between 1958-1968.

It hit its nadir towards the end of 1968 in the face of virtual political revolt in East Pakistan led by the fiery Maoist, Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and the doyen of the fledging PPP, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in West Pakistan.
The trilateral talks in Dhaka (March 21- 27) between Yahya, Bhutto and Mujib failed to pre-empt Operation Search Light planned for the night between the 25th and 26th of March. Yahya left Dhaka on March 26, after telling his local commander Lietenent General Tikka Khan to go ahead with the assault on Bengali civilians.

Bhutto saw the burning ghats (series of steps leading down to a water body) of Dhaka and heard the earth-shaking explosions from his hotel room. In the fierce display of the army’s firepower, Bhutto saw the vision of his political power rise like the proverbial sphinx from the ashes.

On his return to West Pakistan on March 27, Bhutto would be the first to bless the army action as he disembarked from his Boeing 707. “Thank God Pakistan has been saved,” he declared, to put his stamp of approval on Operation Search Light. The operation destroyed the last chance of an amicable political resolution of power transfer between the east (Awami League) and the west (PPP). It also tolled the bell for a untied Pakistan.
The ghost of military rule, which Bhutto believed to have exorcised, materialised once again. Bhutto’s six year rule, at the best of times, had been a twilight zone between democracy and dictatorship. He never allowed institutional democracy to take root in the country, and ended up as an unsuccessful democratic strongman.

General Zia’s martial law came on probation for a period of three months. The military’s time frame was, apparently, a reflection both of its characteristic exactitude as well as of its tendency to oversimplify matters. The soldiers initially saw no problem with setting the mess right by holding elections in three months and going back to the barracks. The enormity of the task simply shocked them, however, once they were faced with it. Elections were indefinitely postponed and the martial law regime embarked on a programme of national reconstruction, moral as well as material.

Bhutto’s PPP used the army to get Mujib out of the way only to be overthrown by the army and hanged after a dubious Supreme Court diktat.\11\28\story_28-11-2011_pg3_2

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report suggesting Nawaz Sharif also sought US help against military coup in Pakistan in 1999:

The U.S. State Department says the memo scandal is an "internal matter" for the Pakistani government. On Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman George Little, speaking generally about the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, said the United States was committed to pushing through difficult issues.

"It's not going to be easy but with a lot of work we think we can do it," he told reporters.


There are also doubts in Washington about how much turbulence Pakistan's fragile democracy can withstand and whether courts can conduct a fair trial in a charged climate.

"The fact that the Supreme Court has now been involved gives (the memo matter) extra importance and legitimacy," said Shujaa Nawaz, a Pakistan scholar with the Atlantic Council.

Pakistan's top court is now moving ahead with the petition, filed by Nawaz Sharif, Zardari's chief opponent, raising questions about the political motivations for the case.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA and White House official who chaired President Barack Obama's 2009 review of U.S. policy on the region, said Sharif himself initiated a similar petition over a decade ago.

He recalled a 1999 meeting with Sharif's brother Shahbaz, who he said traveled to Washington to warn of what civilian officials at the time feared was a brewing military coup.

"It was an entire day spent at the Willard Hotel listening to Shahbaz talk about their fears that a military coup was coming and asking for American help to prevent it," he said.

"That's pretty much the charge (that) is being leveled against Ambassador Haqqani."

Naeem said...

If you really DONT like Zardari then let him complete his remaining one year, let him be defeated by people in elections AND NOT BY ARMY COUP! Any unconstitutional attempt to oust zardari will give him a golden chance to become a political martyr.

Riaz Haq said...

Naeem: "If you really DONT like Zardari then let him complete his remaining one year, let him be defeated by people ..."

Memogate should be fully investigated to expose the culprits who invited US intervention in Pakistan, and the Supreme Court must not be stopped from it just because Gilani is crying foul.

Constitution is not meant to be a suicide pact. The constitutional restrictions on Pak military must be balanced against the need for survival of the state and its people, and the constitution must never be allowed to be used as a refuge for scoundrels like Zardari and his cronies like Haqqani and Ispahani, etc. etc.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting Op Ed from UAE's National newspaper on power struggle in Pakistan:

...Almost from its inception, and certainly since 1954 when Ayub Khan was concurrently defence minister and commander-in-chief, the Pakistan army has been a political force even when it was not at the helm of the state. This was always true except for a brief period during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's term as prime minister when, after its defeat in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the army was firmly under civilian control.

In the periods between military rule when elected governments were in power, the military has still been considered a political force. Even during the term of Gen Jehangir Keramat, perhaps the least politically threatening of the army chiefs, politicians would reach out to him to establish their "GHQ connections". Even though Gen Keramat was sacked by Nawaz Sharif in 1988, Mr Sharif never managed to tame the military and was eventually overthrown by another military dictator, Gen Pervez Musharraf.

In her first term as prime minister, Benazir Bhutto also attempted to exert her influence over the military, but was destined to be toppled by the then-president, Ishaq Khan, with the support of the military.

Every civilian government in Pakistan has learnt to live with the army's political role and adjusted to it in different ways.
Far from doing so, the elected government neither governed effectively nor tamed the military. Continuing on a path of corruption, it ceded political space to the military.

Had the elected government wanted to, the US incursion to assassinate Osama bin Laden on May 2 offered a priceless opportunity to sack the army chief and the director general of the ISI. Instead, it seems that President Asif Ali Zardari sought US assistance to keep the military at bay. The "memo-gate" scandal that broke last month involved the former ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, allegedly delivering a letter to the Pentagon asking for US assistance to stave off a military coup. One can only assume that in exchange Mr Zardari's administration was offering its subservience to Washington and control of Pakistan's nuclear assets.
On December 22, Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani thundered on the floor of parliament that he would not tolerate "a state within a state", an unambiguous reference to the army. The next day, Gen Kayani did his best to dispel rumours of a coup but the rumour mill keeps churning.

At the heart of this is the possibility of treason charges under Article 6 of the constitution; that trail could lead all the way to Mr Zardari and the presidential office. Having offered up Mr Haqqani as a sacrifice, the government would have liked to forget the scandal, but the Supreme Court has now sought responses from everyone concerned, including the chiefs of the army and the ISI.

Both the army and the ISI submitted affidavits stating that there was enough evidence to implicate Mr Haqqani. The government, in turn, has challenged the Court's jurisdiction in the affair. But the Supreme Court's continued inquiry could very well capsize this government.

The threat, then, posed to the elected government is not from the military but from the judiciary, which has implied that even the issue of presidential immunity is being considered. The most intriguing part of this affair is that, while the military seems fully conscious of the limits of its political power, the elected government's actions in the "memo-gate" affair has forced the military to become more involved. But it will be the decisions of the judiciary, not the military, that will see this government survive or fall.

satwa gunam said...

An interesting details about 1971 war on the basis of declassified indian govt data

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Wall Street Journal on Bilawal Bhutto's first ever Op Ed published in Pakistan's Express Tribune:

Mr. Bhutto Zardari uses his op-ed, published in the English-language Express Tribune newspaper, to enumerate what he sees as his mother’s achievements, including pushing women’s rights. The PPP in the 1980s could have used its popular position to unseat the military-run government of the time, but did not do so, he writes. “The PPP has always been careful to distinguish between the army as an institution and the dictator who abuses his position,” he says.

It’s a challenge to the military to stay out of politics. And it seems that army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for now has no designs to take over the government.

Still, the PPP is a lot less popular in Pakistan than it was in Ms. Bhutto’s day and you sense her son feels that. In many places of the op-ed, it feels as if he is writing as the head of an opposition party, not co-chairman of the ruling PPP.

“We can only dream of what might have been had she lived,” he writes at one point of his mother.

He enumerates the challenges facing Pakistan –from education, to energy shortages to the investment-starved economy – but offers no solutions. It’s easy to forget reading it that the PPP is in power.

Here's an excerpt from Bilawal's Op Ed:

What we do know is that there are 86,000 more schools because of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. That, under her government foreign investment quadrupled; energy production doubled; exports boomed. Under her government, 100,000 female health workers fanned out across the country, bringing health care, nutrition, pre and postnatal care, to millions of our poorest citizens. It was under her government that women were admitted as judges to the nation’s courts, that women’s police departments were established to help women who suffered from domestic violence and a women’s bank was established to give micro loans to women to start small businesses. It was under Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s leadership that cell phones, fibre optics and international media were introduced, and the Pakistani software industry blossomed. And it was on her very first day as prime minister, that all political prisoners were freed, unions legalised and the press uncensored. It was an amazing record of accomplishment, made even more remarkable by the constraint of aborted tenures, by constant pressure from a hostile establishment and presidents with the power to sack elected governments.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting account in Dawn newspaper of Sashi Tharoor's visit to Pakistan and discussion at Jinnah Institute:

...It was only his third day in Pakistan, yet it was surprising for him and his wife to see “how much we have in common and how much we differ”. He is visiting on the invitation of Jinnah Institute (JI) to be the first in its Distinguished Speakers series, which is part of the Track-II engagement between the civil societies of the two countries.

Dr Tharoor started by saying that as a member of Lok Sabha he sees the foreign policy in the perspective of improving the life of the poor and the marginalised – for which peace is essential.

“Peace is indivisible and so is freedom and prosperity,” he said.

In the age of globalisation it has become more so and that was why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to resume the dialogue process that India had halted after the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai.

Since the technological tools that benign forces used to bring the world together are used by the malign forces to disrupt the process, nations need to cooperate to fight terrorism, he said, bluntly charging the ISI and Pakistan army with using terrorism as a strategy.

“Pakistan defines itself in opposition to India and the “previously benign forces of religion and culture have become causes of conflict”, he said and decried its `Kashmir solution first` policy.

While other states have army, Pakistan army is said to have a state to itself.

As a consequence the civilian governments live in awe of the army and the few steps they took to improve relations with India were torpedoed by the military, he surmised.

But he welcomed the present government`s decision to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India because it reflected how important it was for Pakistan to normalise relations with India after ignoring India`s grant of Most Favoured Nation to Pakistan for 16 years.

Dr Tharoor forcefully rejected “the notion that India is a threat to Pakistan and dismissed the Indian military action in support of Mukti Bahini in East Pakistan in 1971 that created Bangladesh as “a very special case”.

Otherwise, according to him, India had been magnanimous to Pakistan, like when it returned the strategic Hajipir Pass in Kashmir after 1965 war and had given up “first strike” in a nuclear conflict.

His discourse seem to hold Pakistan polity responsible for all the troubles and invited riposte from the panelists Nasim Zehra and Ejaz Haider and sharp questions from the audience comprising Pakistani diplomats, academia and some commoners.

“I am disappointed,” blurted out Nasim Zehra, a current affairs presenter on a private TV channel. “Whether it is fact or fiction depends on the narratives. The distinguished speaker has been selective.”

“I too believe India-Pakistan is a must. Here we have been pushing for a new vision. You have to change the narrative,” she said to applause from the audience.

Ejaz Haider, executive director of Jinnah Institute, was more subtle.

“I agree with your poetry but what about the prose,” he told Dr Shashi Tharoor, who is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books. How India has behaved and been doing in the last 60 years should be kept in mind also.

India`s military intervention in East Pakistan is a special case because stronger states use humanitarian and other international laws for their real politik, he said.

As for Hajipir Pass, he noted that post-1965 India had to chose between that pass and Kargil and “chose correctly”.

Dr Tharoor replied to the points raised and questions that followed on the same lines, more as a diplomat than a politician.

“Once trust is built, everything would be solved,” he said....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on Obama receiving Pak Ambassador Sherry Rehman:

US President Barack Obama wants the United States and Pakistan to continue to work together for achieving their common goals of defeating terrorism and building a stable and peaceful Pakistan, says the White House.

A brief statement, issued by the White House on Thursday, said Mr Obama conveyed this message to Pakistan’s new Ambassador Sherry Rehman who presented her credentials to the US president on Wednesday.

The White House statement pointed out that usually it did not provide readouts of such formal meetings but it was making an exception because of the media’s interest in Ambassador Rehman’s meeting with the president.

‘The president welcomed Ambassador Rehman to Washington and expressed his desire that our two governments continue to work closely together towards our shared objectives of defeating Al Qaeda, combating violent extremism, and supporting a stable and peaceful Pakistan, Afghanistan and wider region,’ the statement said.

The brief statement covers almost all significant points of a relationship which has continued to strain since the May 2 US raid on Osama bin Laden`s compound in Abbottabad and received another major jolt on Nov 26 when Nato aircraft bombed Pakistani military posts and killed 24 soldiers.

After the attack, Pakistan ordered a parliamentary review of its relations with the United States, but Ambassador Rehman has dismissed suggestions that the review would have a negative impact on bilateral relations.

“The review will present an opportunity for both countries to reset ties on more consistent, transparent and predictable lines,” she said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Newsweek's Ron Moreau on the current crises in Pakistan:

...Gilani’s argument (about president's immunity) is likely to be contested when the judges convene again, on Feb. 1. “On the next date, let’s hear you convince us the issue is of the president’s immunity,” one of the judges told the prime minister. “Let’s grab the bull by the horns.” In fact, however, there seems to be some doubt as to whether the prime minister will be required to appear in person for the hearing. Meanwhile the prime minister’s lawyer, Aitzan Ahsan, hastened to assure the court that his client intends to comply with the order—eventually. “The letter shall be written when Asif Ali Zardari is no longer president,” Ahsan told the judges.
Not that Zardari is in such good shape politically. His approval rating at best is just above 20 percent. Ordinary Pakistanis are struggling to hold themselves together, buffeted by inflation, energy shortages, and worry. Steel mills, railways, the national airline and other state-run enterprises are in pitiful shape as they drain the country’s already depleted treasury. Corruption and cronyism rage unchecked.

To make matters worse, Zardari still has not lived down his reputation for corruption. Back in the late 1980s, when his wife, Benazir Bhutto, was serving her first term as prime minister, Pakistanis contemptuously nicknamed him “Mr. 10 Percent,” and in 2003 a Swiss court convicted the couple in absentia of skimming and laundering tens of millions of dollars from a Swiss contract. In 2008, after Zardari was elected president in the wake of his wife’s assassination, the Swiss closed the case at his government’s request.
As if Zardari didn’t have enough problems, his generals hate him. “The military sees him as a man with no principles, who is prepared to be pro-American and pro-Indian without any ideology of his own,” says retired Lt. Gen. Talat Masood. “They consider him to be a parasite. They really look down on him.” The dislike has only worsened as the military’s relations with Washington have deteriorated. “The Army is unhappy with the Americans, and they are taking it out on Zardari,” says opposition parliamentarian and political columnist Ayaz Amir. “It’s the Army, the judiciary, it’s everyone who wants his scalp.”
“The military sees him as a man with no principles,” says retired Lt. Gen. Talat Masood. “They consider him to be a parasite. They really look down on him.”

At present, though, time appears to be on his side. His term of office (and those of the Parliament his party controls) won’t expire until 2013. His party and its allies are expected to prevail in the upcoming Senate elections this March, and Zardari could even call for early elections this year to ensure his hold on power. Despite the government’s incompetence, his Pakistan People’s Party remains strong and well-organized and the only party with roots in all four provinces...

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some figures from Economist magazine's EIU 2013:

Bangladesh GDP per head: $695 (PPP: $1,830)

Pakistan GDP per head: $1,410 (PPP: $2,960)

Pakistan-Bangladesh GDP per head Ratio: 2.03 ( PPP: 1.62)

Hopewins said...

Here is a December 06,2012 article that agrees with you that (a) PakArmy never committed genocide in Bangaldesh and that (b) the it was the Bangalees who committed atrocities against Pakistani civilians.

I have posted this on a few Bangladeshi forums so that the Bangalees can also understand the truth as you have put it.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: Here are some figures from Economist magazine's EIU 2013:

Bangladesh GDP Growth: 6.1%
Pakistan GDP Growth: 3.3%

Bangladesh Inflation: 7.9%
Pakistan Inflation: 9.1%

Hopewins said...

^^^RH:"Here are some figures from Economist magazine's EIU 2013:

Pakistan-Bangladesh GDP per head Ratio: 2.03 ( PPP: 1.62)"

Given that we are so far ahead of Bangladesh in terms of development and income, why is it that our credit rating is SO much lower than Bangladesh's?

Bangladesh, Ba3, Rank 80/113
Pakistan, Caa1, Rank 111/113

Bangladesh, BB-, Rank 84/113
Pakistan, B-, Rank 125/128


How do you explain this? Are we the Asian equivalent of Greece?

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts of a story in The Economist magazine raising questions about Bangladesh tribunal on war crimes in 1971:

ON 6th DECEMBER 2012 the presiding judge of Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal, Mohammed Nizamul Huq, passed an order requiring two members of The Economist to appear before the court, demanding that they explain how we have come by e-mails and conversations between himself and Ahmed Ziauddin, a lawyer of Bangladeshi origins based in Belgium. The tribunal was established in 2010 to consider accusations of war crimes committed in 1971, during Bangladesh’s war of independence from Pakistan.

The Economist has heard 17 hours of recorded telephone conversations and seen over 230 e-mails between the two men. This material is confidential and we are bound by law and the British press’s code of conduct not to reveal such information except in matters of the most serious public interest. We did not solicit the material, nor pay for it, nor commit ourselves to publish it.

These e-mails, if genuine, would indeed raise questions about the workings of the court and we are bound to investigate them as fully as we can. It was in the course of those investigations that we contacted the two men.

Our investigations are continuing. Once they are concluded and if we consider the allegations contained in them to have merit, we will publish them. Meanwhile, we are publishing a short account of our dealings with Mr Huq and Mr Ahmed. These, we believe, have a bearing both on the tribunal’s proceedings and on the order of December 6th.

Mr Huq is a Supreme Court judge and “chairman” of a trio of judges on the tribunal. There is no jury and the court can impose the death penalty. The verdict in its first case could come within days. Mr Ahmed is an expatriate Bangladeshi who is an academic specialising in international law who lives in Brussels. The two men have known each other for 25 years, as they were human-rights campaigners and Mr Ahmed’s late brother had been a student friend of the judge. Mr Ahmed is not just an international lawyer, he is also the director of the Bangladesh Centre for Genocide Studies in Belgium, which is dedicated to ending what he has called “the ingrained culture of impunity” surrounding the war crimes in Bangladesh.

The order includes a description of Mr Huq’s relationship with Mr Ahmed. It explains that the tribunal is based on “new law”, so the judges need to “take assistance of researchers from inside and outside the country”. It names Mr Ahmed as just such an expert. “During the proceedings of the trial and orders the Chairman also took assistance from him,” it says.

Speaking to The Economist in Brussels on December 4th, Mr Ahmed had said something similar, “It’s up to judges to decide where they are going to get research support or other support they need. They are quite entitled to do it. The more so when they really don’t have that research backup [in Bangladesh]. [They ask for help] if they feel if there are people more informed about the issue, especially where [international law] is so new in Bangladesh. I’m not really advising him, but if there is a question then I try to respond.”

Several questions are raised by all this. On what bases did the judge select the experts who would help him? Why was Mr Ahmed’s role not revealed to the court and to the public until the tribunal order on 6th December, after we had contacted him? The order refers to the presiding judge of the tribunal “receiving the support [of Mr Ahmed] on the developments on International Criminal law throughout the world” and taking assistance “during the proceedings of the trial and orders”. Why then did he tell us on December 5th that the two men had had no talks regarding the tribunal or regarding the proceedings? And why did he say that it would not be appropriate for a Supreme Court judge to talk to others about the proceedings?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from "The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence" by Anthony Read:

The affair of the printing press highlighted the biggest problem being faced by Pakistan. India, which had finally been recognized by the British government as the successor state on 17 June after further pressure from Mountbatten, would simply take over a going concern with everything in place. Pakistan, on the other hand, would be starting from scratch without any established administration, without armed forces, without records, without equipment or military stores.

As early as 9 May, during his stay in Simla with Nehru, Mountbatten had admitted the problem. "What are we doing?" he had asked then. "Administratively, it's the difference between putting up a permanent building, a nissen hut, or a tent. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we are putting up a tent".

umar farooq said...

I always love and respect for PAK army from my child hood, but when I read about General Yahyah Khan, General AK Niazi, it become disturbing for me....

Riaz Haq said...

In "A History of Pakistan and its origins", Christophe Jafferlot cites British-Pakistani Prof Samuel Martin Burke rejecting the notion that the Two-Nation Theory died in 1971 with Pakistan's split into Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Burke says that the two-nation theory was even more strongly asserted in that the Awami League rebels had struggled for their own country, Bangladesh, and not to join India. In so doing, they had put into practice the theory behind the original resolution to form Pakistan, which envisaged two Muslim states at the two extremities of the subcontinent.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of Washington Post book review of Hussain Haqqani's "Magnificent Delusions":

Read his book and you might think Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington from 2008 to 2011, is no friend of his homeland. Its leaders are liars, double-dealers and shakedown artists, he says. They have been this way for decades, and, as Haqqani ably documents, the United States often has served as Pakistan’s willing dupe. But for all its criticism of Pakistan, “Magnificent Delusions” is a necessary prescriptive: If there’s any hope of salvaging what seems like a doomed relationship, it helps to know how everything went so wrong. Haqqani is here to tell us.

These days Haqqani lives in virtual exile in Boston. A liberal academic and player in Pakistani politics since 1989, he has long been a critic of the country’s all-powerful military and intelligence apparatus. In 2011, in a curious episode dubbed “Memogate,” he was accused of seeking U.S. help to subdue the Pakistani military. He denied the allegations but lost his post. Later, a commission established by Pakistan’s Supreme Court tarred him as a traitor, making it dangerous for him to return to the country once he left.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting opinion of ZAB in Friday Times:

Bhutto apologists peddle every one of his striking list of hypocritical ‘follies’ as being the need of the hour; the only possible solution or the product of political ‘pressure’ that the man succumbed to with escalating frequency. This leeway is reserved for only two leaders in Pakistan’s history, Jinnah and Bhutto. Everyone else is answerable to our liberals, sometimes simply owing to the fact that they propagated an ideology that our liberals do not conform to.

Just because Bhutto signed the declaration of Ahmadis as non-Muslims reluctantly it should not purge him from allegations of bigotry
The Bhutto and Jinnah apologists are no different to the Taliban or Islamism apologists – they pick their favourite cherries. That Bhutto – or Jinnah – took leaves out of the aforementioned ideology to propagate themselves is paid no heed, since all one needs to do to become the proponent of secularism in Pakistan is not be a practicing Muslim, and everything else becomes justifiable thenceforth.

It was ‘secular’ Bhutto whose constitution made Pakistan an Islamic Republic – an A-grade oxymoron. It was ‘secular’ Bhutto who shut down bars and banned alcohol – which apparently is compatible with our liberals’ brand of Islam. It was ‘secular’ Bhutto who vied to personify Iqbal’s pan-Islamic ‘Mard-e-Momin’, by uniting the Islamic world and formulating the Islamic bomb to counter the threat of the imaginary Jewish, Christian and Hindu bombs. And of course it was ‘secular’ Bhutto under whose leadership Ahmadis were excommunicated in 1974, politicising the process of takfir and in turn creating a beast of bigotry that has its claws around the Shia community as things stand.

The justification provided for all of the above manifestations of ‘secularism’ is solely: reluctance. Just because Bhutto reluctantly signed the paper declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslims it should suffice in purging the man from allegations of bigotry, but Zia’s Ordinance XX that debarred Ahmadis from using any Islamic titles is a brazen depiction of bigotry, since it was in synchrony with his own ideology.

Yusuf said...

Hussain Haqqani is not a traitor, he wants a progressive Pakistan. He was a very ambitious individual, probably the 'real' heir to BB but he tried to run before he could walk. He was caught in the crossfire between Kayani, Pasha, the military establishment and the PPP government. What actually transpired was a 'sting' operation conducted by the ISI using a dubious character (Mansoor Ijaz) in order to remove HH from his post as Ambassador to US. I have read his books too and I like the guy a lot. I don't agree with everything he says but hey isn't it a god damn 'democracy' after all, we're not communists right??

Riaz Haq said...

Hussain Haqqani is the ultimate LOTA. He got his start as Gen Zia's lackey in 1970s. Since then, he has been in every party on Pakistan's political spectrum from right to left: Jamiat/JI, PML (N) and now PPP.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on Haqqani's book "Magnificent Delusions":

ISLAMABAD: Husain Haqqani, former Pakistan ambassador to US, has claimed in his latest book — Magnificent Delusions — that Benazir Bhutto during her visit to the United States in 1989 as the Prime Minister of Pakistan committed to Washington that Islamabad would not produce an atomic bomb.
Haqqani said the nuclear programme continued and the country was enriching uranium in violation of Pakistan’s commitment to the US, as the then tough opposition of Nawaz Sharif distracted Benazir Bhutto.

He wrote: “The United States had also learned that Pakistan was enriching uranium in violation of Zia’s promise of capping enrichment at 5 percent, and Bhutto was unable to promise that enrichment would be capped. Bush agreed to certify one last time that Pakistan did not possess nuclear weapons in return for Bhutto’s commitment that Pakistan would not produce an atomic bomb, but while the tough opposition that Sharif put up at home distracted her, Pakistan violated that commitment without her full knowledge.”
He added that Benazir Bhutto asserted later that she was told about Pakistan’s nuclear enrichment programme but not informed of the exact level of enrichment.
Haqqani said during her state visit to Washington in June 1989 Bhutto received a warm welcome at the White House. She also became the only Pakistani prime minister to be invited to address a joint session of the Congress.
“The US media recognised Bhutto’s “claim on American backing” on the ground of her adherence to democracy and moderation in the Islamic world. But in private talks with US officials she realised that the Americans did not think she was fully in control, and they could not offer her any help in asserting authority.”
Later the CIA analysts had concluded that Pakistan had taken the final step toward “possession” of a nuclear weapon by machining uranium metal into bomb cores.
Washington was certain that “Pakistan had crossed the line.” But the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the then Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg told the visiting Robert Gates that Pakistan’s nuclear capability had not advanced.
“Unless Pakistan melted down the bomb cores that it had produced, Gates warned, ‘Bush would not be able to issue the Pressler Amendment certification needed to permit the continued flow of military and economic aid.’ When the Pakistanis denied that they had ‘crossed the line,’ Gates commented, ‘If it waddles like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, then maybe it is a duck.’”
Then Husain Haqqani in his book ruled: “The Pakistanis had lied to Gates on both issues he raised in Islamabad. Although Bhutto was the best disposed toward the United States among Pakistan’s major power players, she did not control the levers of power. The State Department and the CIA did not see any advantage in trying to secure the Pakistan military’s subordination to an elected civilian; instead, they effectively leaned in the military’s favour by directly discussing major issues with Beg and other generals, assuming that the military could deliver on key issues of US interest—Afghanistan, nuclear weapons, and security in South Asia.”

Riaz Haq said...

The experience of Nawaz Sharif’s earlier terms in office (1990-1993, 1997-1999) shows that Nawaz Sharif and his close associates overestimated their electoral clout in dealing with the military. In January 1993, differences developed between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the selection of the army chief after General Asif Nawaz Janjua died of a heart attack. Nawaz Sharif’s famous speech of not accepting anybody’s dictates in April ultimately brought him in conflict with the army top leadership when it worked towards seeking the resignations of Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Khan to break the political deadlock in July 1993. Another example of poor management of civil-military relations is Nawaz Sharif’s interaction with the army top brass in the post-Kargil period, especially in August-October 1999. Shahbaz Sharif went to Washington to obtain American support for democracy. This support could not secure civilian rule as Nawaz Sharif attempted to remove General Pervez Musharraf in a dramatic manner and appointed his protégé as the army chief.........In a country like Pakistan, where internal and external security pressures are intense, the military cannot be pushed to the sidelines. Civilian leaders will have to change Pakistan’s internal security profile and build peace on its borders in order to cut back on the role and status of the military.If Pakistan continues to suffer from violence and terrorism and its ultranationalists want to wage war against India, dominate Afghanistan and keep Iran under pressure, the military and its needs and requirements will override other considerations influencing policymaking and its execution..............At a time when the “performance legitimacy” of the PML-N government has slipped downwards, it has embarked on two extremely contentious policies: talks with the TTP and the trial of Pervez Musharraf for “high treason”. The talks with the Taliban in an apologetic manner cannot go on for an indefinite period. The civil government will have to produce positive results by the end of April in terms of the TTP giving up violence and agreeing to work within the framework of the Constitution. The army cannot afford to let the summer of 2014 pass by and let the Taliban consolidate their position in the tribal areas. This will increase the cost of defending Pakistan’s security for the military in 2015.....The civilian government needs to undertake a dispassionate review of its policies on both issues. Stepping back on these issues may subject the civilian government to criticism by a section of political leaders. However, the cost is likely to be higher for sleepwalking into the Taliban trap in the name of dialogue and settling old scores with Musharraf. ...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on Pakistan Air Force inducting old Jordanian F-16s:

Pakistan received on Sunday its first batch of F-16 fighter jets delivered from Jordan, DawnNews reported.

Sources said that the Pakistan had signed a contract with Jordan for the supply of 13 fighter jets out of which five were delivered at the Mushaf Mir Airbase in Sargodha and inducted in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fleet.

The inclusion of the 13 jets would take the strength of the PAF F-16s to 76.

Media reports indicated the PAF had agreed to purchase an entire squadron from Jordan, consisting of 12 A models and one B model. According to one news report, the jets "were in good condition since they had attained Mid-Life Update (MLU) and they would be providing service for another 20 years with almost 3,000 hours on average available to them for flying."

Riaz Haq said...

From BBC:

A court in Bangladesh has found a British journalist guilty of contempt of court for questioning the official version of the number of people who died in the country's war of independence in 1971.
The judges said a 2011 blog post by David Bergman had deliberately distorted history.
He was ordered him to pay a fine of $65 or go to prison for seven days.
According to the official account, three million people died in the war of independence from Pakistan, but Mr Bergman said there was no evidence to support that.

From Bergman's blog:

There have been a number of other estimates on the number of people who died in 1971.

(i) The Peace Research Institute in Norway along with Uppsala University in Sweden, have collected information on the numbers of 'battle deaths' in all wars since 1900. Apparently, on the basis of eye-witness and media reports as well as other data, they have estimated that about 58,000 people died in battle in 1971 in Bangladesh.

However, it has proven difficult to clarify the methodology upon which they came to this figure and relying on press reports (if this is what they have done) is clearly a far from accurate method of ascertaining the number of deaths. It should be noted that this figure does not seem to include the numbers of deaths of civilians.*

(ii) More recent research conducted by academics at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, at the University of Washington in Seattle, and published in 2008 in the British Medical Journal, analysed World Health Organisation population surveys, looking at sibling deaths, to estimate the number of 'direct violent deaths' in different wars in different countries. Their calculation suggest that the number of 'deaths from war injuries' in 1971 was closer to 269,000 – five times the number of the Scandinavian researchers which involved only 'battle deaths'. Their figures range from 125,000 to 505,000. It should be noted this does not include other war related deaths.

The reports also says that the 'estimates presented here should be viewed as conservative', pointing out that the surveys were unable to capture 'families with no survivors'. ****
(iii) Perhaps the most reliable estimate of number of deaths as a result of the war in 1971 is found in a little known study published in 1976 by the Cholera Hospital (now the ICDDRB) in a prestigious journal called 'Population Studies'. One of the article's three authors was Lincoln Chen who subsequently became a very noted public health specialist and is due, I understand, to be honored by the Bangladesh government for his contribution to independence in 1971.

The article looked at changes in population numbers in the rural area of Matlab Bazaar Thana. The Cholera hospital had collected detailed population data, including details of birth and deaths, on this area since 1963, and so was able to compare the population figures collected in 1972 with those collected during the war and prior to it to make an estimate of the number of 'excess' deaths.

Riaz Haq said...

I suggest the following material on the events of 1971 for my readers:

Dead Reckoning by Dr. Sarmila Bose (Research Scholar, Hindu Bengali grandniece of Subash Chandar Bose)

The Myth of 3 Million by Dr. Abdul Mumin Chaudhry (Bengali Nationalist who fought for Bangladesh independence)

Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal by David Bergman (British Blogger)

Mission R&AW by RK Yadav (Ex RAW officer involved in creating Mukti Bahini in 1971)

Riaz Haq said...

Former Indian Army Chief Late Field Marshal Maneckshaw speaks. "The Pakistan Army in East Pakistan fought very gallantly. But they had no chance. They were a thousand miles away from their base. And I had eight or nine months to make my preparations [while they were being worn out in a counter insurgency war against the secessionist forces of the Mukti Bahini]. I had a superiority of almost fifty-to-one." From the BBC archives.

Riaz Haq said...

it's worth reading about Bhutto because he represents a type - the unprincipled, populist, Middle Eastern leader seeking power as an end in itself. Bhutto resembles such Muslim leaders as Mujibur Rahman of Bangladesh, Mu'ammar al-Qadhdhafi of Libya, Saddam Husayn of Iraq, and the PLO's Yasir 'Arafat. But he most closely resembles Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, the man who dominated Middle East politics for the decade after 1956, and whose legacy remains alive among Arabs somewhat as Bhutto's does among Pakistanis. These two leaders shared a striking number of features.

Snatching victory from defeat: Nasser led the Arabs to defeat at Suez in 1956 yet emerged from the incident as the most popular leader in the Arabic-speaking countries. (He also recovered from an even more disastrous defeat in 1967 without much damage to his popularity.) Similarly, Bhutto masterminded Pakistan's defeats of 1965 and 1971 but profited from both.
Emotion-laden nationalist rhetoric: Both men made their mark through the force of their oratory, tapping deep responses among their countrymen. Bhutto's explanation of the 1965 loss reflected, accorded to Wolpert, "the suspicious, prejudices, and fears deep in countless Pakistani hearts and minds." His defiant words ("We will wage a war for a thousand years") had the intended effect, thrilling "every Pakistani who heard it, especially the men back home, who knew they had lost the war but whose dream of victory was being kept alive by [Bhutto's] words." In fact, "The more outrageous his rhetoric became . . . the more heroic Zulfi Bhutto appeared to Pakistani audiences." Nasser dazzled his audiences in like manner.
Political chameleons: Both politicians represented no ideas beyond their own power. They turned opportunism - the bobbing and weaving for short-term advantage - into an art. They adopted to the moment and to the audience. Ideologies and ideals mattered little to them. They saw arguments as but words, to be changed with circumstance. The politician serves as a vessel for others' interests. Bhutto and Nasser avoided taking a clear political position; why make enemies gratuitously? Accordingly, their followers came from many points on the political spectrum, from fundamentalist Muslims to pro-Soviet leftists.
Identifying self with country: Nasser and Bhutto mystically believed it their destiny to save their peoples. Wolpert notes that Bhutto fused "his own battered, defeated, and unappreciated feelings, dreams, ambitions, and desires with those of the people of Pakistan."
Seeing the world through conspiracy theories: When Egypt lost to Israel, the Western powers got blamed; and they (as well as the Soviet Union) got similarly accused when Pakistan lost to India.
Further, both Nasser and Bhutto applied socialist principles and created expectations they could not fulfill. Abroad, they espoused transnational ideologies (Pan-Arab nationalism, Third Worldism), meddled militarily (in Yemen, Bangladesh), and played Americans off against Russians.

In these many ways, Bhutto represents the unhappy politics of his region. To know him as Stanley Wolpert makes possible, is to live vicariously the pains of Pakistan and the countries to its west.

Riaz Haq said...

On Hussain Haqqani by Haider Mehdi.
My considered view is that HH was turned by the Indians in the early 80's, when he was in Hong Kong as a rabid Islamist, writing for the now defunct, Far Eastern Economic Review.
And this is where his journey started, to embed himself as an Indian mole, in Pakistan's governance structures.
And because of his radical Islamist views, he also caught Gen. Zia's fancy, the then Pakistani military dictator, who himself was a dyed in the wool, radical fundamentalist.
I don't have any evidence to substantiate my hypothesis, except Haqqani's subsequent actions, behaviors and career moves.
Incredibly, he's changed more political ideologies than a kid's diapers, to suit his masters, both Indian and Pakistani, and the needs of the times.
From a rabid Islamist Taliban like activist, to a right wing democrat, to a supporter of military intervention, to left wing secularist, he's been to pretty much every base!
Working for the enemy is not uncommon. Personal and political biases, political philosophy, ego, greed, power, privilege, position, money, anger, bitterness, all contribute in creating a Kim Philby, the British MI6 mole embedded by the Russians, or a Gunter Guillaume, the East German spy, working as West German Chancellor Willy Brandt's assistant, or our very own Hussain Haqqani.
Here's why I think HH is or was an Indian mole.
1. He has known anti Pakistan views which he has held for a long time. Believes that partition was a very bad idea, and also holds very uncharitable views about the Quaid.
2. He managed to wrangle himself into both the PMLN and PPP governments. And willing to work in any role which gave him access and proximity, to power centers.
He was Ambassador to Sri Lanka under Nawaz. Secretary Information under BB. Then, Chairman, House Building Finance Corporation (imagine HBFC) again under her.
He desperately tried to join Gen. Musharraf's government. Offered his unconditional services to do "anything". Wanted to become Musharraf's media advisor. I know this from several horses.
And remember, this offer to Gen. Musharraf, from a man, who now presents himself to the world as the great upholder of democracy in Pakistan and virulently against military intervention.
Finally, he becomes the Pakistani Ambassador to the USA, under Asif Zardari, where he probably caused the most damage.
If his Memogate ploy had been successful, he was well on his way to National Security advisor with the ISI under him. God knows what the Army would have done to him. But that's another story. And then it was a short walk to either Interior or Defence Minister, and finally the ultimate prize. PM of Pakistan.
An Indian mole as a Pakistani PM!
He is unbelievably brilliant and masterfully cunning. Smooth as a snake and vicious as a viper. Can mesmerize anyone with his Lukhnawi charm, destroy you with his devastating intellect and make Lucifer look like Gabriel, especially in his writings.
Now that he stands exposed, at least to most Pakistanis, he now presents himself to the West, as their poster boy of democracy and anti militarism.
He has perhaps been one of the biggest factors in arming the anti Pakistan and pro Indian lobbies in the US, with information and evidence acquired through the very sensitive positions he occupied in the "service" of Pakistan.
He now works for the Hudson Institute, in Washington D.C. a known pro Israeli and pro Indian think tank, and makes himself relevant by espousing anti Pakistan narratives, cunningly presented as liberal and anti militarism views.
They liberally fund his research and his books and writings. In addition, he is actively supported and indirectly funded by staunchly anti-Pakistani and pro-Indian lobbies in the USA. And he gets himself invited or is invited to major anti Pakistan forums such as the one pictured below.

Riaz Haq said...

US State Dept Archive 1969-1972:

"Nixon: But these Indians are cowards. Right?

Kissinger: Right. But with Russian backing. You see, the Russians have sent notes to Iran, Turkey, to a lot of countries threatening them. The Russians have played a miserable game."


"Nixon: And what do we do? Here they are raping and murdering, and they talk about West Pakistan, these Indians are pretty vicious in there, aren’t they?
Kissinger: Absolutely.

Nixon: Aren’t they killing a lot of these people?

Kissinger: Well, we don’t know the facts yet. But I’m sure [unclear] that they’re not as stupid as the West Pakistanis—they don’t let the press in. The idiot Paks have the press all over their place.

Nixon: Well, the Indians did, oh yes. They brought them in, had pictures of spare tanks and all the rest. Brilliant. Brilliant public relations.

Kissinger: Yeah, but they don’t let them in where the civilians are.

Nixon: Oh, I know. But they let them in to take the good shots. The poor, damn Paks don’t let them in at all.

Kissinger: Or into the wrong places.

Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: The Paks just don’t have the subtlety of the Indians.

Nixon: Well, they don’t lie. The Indians lie. Incidentally, did Irwin carry out my order to call in the Indian Ambassador?

Kissinger: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex #Pakistan Envoy Husain Haqqani: "I had facilitated the presence of large numbers of #CIA operatives" in #Pakistan

"Among the security establishment’s grievances against me was the charge that I had facilitated the presence of large numbers of CIA operatives who helped track down bin Laden without the knowledge of Pakistan’s army — even though I had acted under the authorization of Pakistan’s elected civilian leaders."

In Husain Haqqani's Op Ed titled "Yes, the Russian Ambassador met Trump's team. So? That's what we diplomats do", it seems that Husain Haqqani has tried to achieve the following objectives:

1. Be on President Trump's good side by defending contacts between Trump campaign and Russian officials.

2. Show how he helped the United States by facilitating the entry of large numbers of CIA agents in Pakistan when he was Pakistan's envoy.

3. Cover his own back by saying he had the support of the ruling PPP at the time.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Khurshid Shah has denied the PPP government approved Haqqani's actions and declared Haqqani a traitor.

An ambassador of a country sending foreign intelligence agents into his own..that's what's wrong with the big picture.

The OBL hunt was just an excuse to let in "large numbers of CIA operatives "who most likely have a far wider wider agenda, including tracking Pakistan's nuclear assets and spying that could risk Pak security. As undercover foreign agents unknown to Pakistan's intelligence agencies, there was no way to track what these CIA operatives were doing in Pakistan.

An ambassador of any other country would have been tried for treason in similar circumstances.

Riaz Haq said...

Perhaps, the most precise assessment of ZAB has been summed up by Sir Morrice James, Britain’s High Commissioner in Islamabad during 1960’s, in his Pakistan Chronicle:

*“Bhutto certainly had the right qualities for reaching the heights – drive, charm, imagination, a quick and penetrating mind, zest for life, eloquence, energy, a strong constitution, a sense of humour and a thick skin.*

Such a blend is rare anywhere, and Bhutto deserved his swift rise to power. From the end of 1962 onwards, I worked closely with him and it was a pleasure to deal with someone so quick-witted and articulate. We got on remarkably well… *“But there was — how shall I put it? — the rank odour of hellfire about him. It was a case of corruptio optimi pessima. He was a Lucifer, a fallen angel. I believe that at heart he lacked a sense of the dignity and value of other people; his own self was what counted. I sensed in him a ruthlessness and a capacity for ill-doing which went far beyond what is natural. Except at university abroad, he was mostly surrounded by mediocrities, and all his life, for want of competition, his triumphs came to him too easily for his own good. Lacking humility, he thus came to believe himself infallible, even when yawning gaps in his own experience (e.g. of military matters) laid him — as over the 1965 war — wide open to disastrous error.*

“Despite his gifts, I judged that one day Bhutto would destroy himself — when and how I could not tell. In 1965, I so reported in one my last dispatches from Pakistan as British high commissioner.

*"I wrote by way of clinching that point that Bhutto was born to be hanged. I did not intend this comment as a precise prophecy of what was going to happen to him, but 14 years later that was what it turned out to be.”*

Riaz Haq said...

Resignation of Ambassador General Gul Hasan sent to Premier Bhutto.

Most Immediate
14 April 1977
Prime Minister House

From Ambassador for Prime Minister

The sooner you realise that you have miserably failed people of Pakistan the better. You have precipitated calamitous conditions in country resulting in wanton killings, destruction of property and violation of human rights only to perpetuate yourself in office. Agitation against you is growing rather than subsiding as you had probably envisaged because of forces of terror you have let loose in country in which you allegedly claim to have ushered in democracy on assuming office on 20th December 71. Indeed you have exploited nation to build up your own image and for self-aggrandisement. Soon after assuming office in 71 it transpired that you were chief architect in dismemberment of country and I pray to God that your intentions which seem similar to those you harboured in 71 do not materialise as it would leave 70 million of our people with no homeland - which was achieved after endless sacrifices whilst you were still in Bombay still desperately trying to secure Indian citizenship.

Opposition leaders and people have demanded your resignation and holding of fresh elections under Army's supervision which is only way to rid country of the crisis for which you are solely responsible. Whereas you desire a dialogue with opposition leaders, let me tell you in no uncertain terms that fact is that you have no credibility left in what you say and do. So unless you meet the opposition demands loss of life and property will continue. You appear to be under erroneous impression that Army will come to your rescue. Recent events in country should convince you that our Armed Forces did not support the regimes of Ayub Khan and later Yahya Khan both of whom belonged to its ranks. As far as your relations with Army are concerned they are superficial because you have missed no opportunity to make every effort covert and overt to malign Army ever since you took reigns of power in December 71 and because of which I had to resign as Commander in Chief of Army. Armed Forces have always acted in best interests of country and not to prop up an unpopular and unwanted authoritarian dictator like of which has never been inflicted on our nation.

In view of this I find it incompatible with my conscience to serve a government headed by you any longer. Do not misread this as an opportunistic political venture on my part as I have only taken this step in hope that this gesture of mine will add some weight to those of millions of our nationals who have just about had enough of your government which can be rightly termed as of Bhutto, by Bhutto and for Bhutto and which in your terminology is "Democracy."

Gul Hassan

Riaz Haq said...

Husain Haqqani Defends #India, Asks #Trump to Get Tough With #Pakistan to Win in #Afghanistan

Islamabad’s response was to argue that Pakistan does, indeed, support insurgents in Afghanistan, but it does so because of security concerns about India, which is seen by generals and many civilian leaders as an existential threat to Pakistan.

But that excuse is based on exaggerations and falsehoods. India has no offensive military presence in Afghanistan and there has never been any evidence that the Afghans are willing to be part of India’s alleged plan for a two-front war with Pakistan.

Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, recently asked India to train Afghan military officers and repair military aircraft after frustration with Pakistan, which failed to fulfill promises of restraining the Taliban and forcing them to the negotiating table.

Pakistan’s leaders question Afghanistan’s acceptance of economic assistance from India even though Pakistan does not have the capacity to provide such aid itself.

It seems that Pakistan wants to keep alive imaginary fears, possibly to maintain military ascendancy in a country that has been ruled by generals for almost half of its existence. For years Pakistani officials falsely asserted that India had set up 24 consulates in Afghanistan, some close to the Pakistani border. In fact, India has only four consulates, the same number Pakistan has, in Afghanistan.

Lying about easily verifiable facts is usually the tactic of governments fabricating a threat rather than ones genuinely facing one. As ambassador, I attended trilateral meetings where my colleagues rejected serious suggestions from Afghans and Americans to mitigate apprehensions about Indian influence in Afghanistan.

While evidence of an Indian threat to Pakistan through Afghanistan remains scant, proof of the presence of Afghan Taliban leaders in Pakistan continues to mount. Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s leader, reportedly died in a Pakistani hospital in 2013 and his successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was killed in an American drone strike in Baluchistan Province in Pakistan last year.

The United States should not let Pakistan link its longstanding support for hard-line Pashtun Islamists in Afghanistan to its disputes with India.

Both India and Pakistan have a lot of blood on their hands in Kashmir and seem in no hurry to resolve their disagreement, which is rooted in the psychosis resulting from the subcontinent’s bitter partition. The two countries have gone through 45 rounds of summit-level talks since 1947 and have failed to reach a permanent settlement.

Linking the outcome in Afghanistan to resolution of India-Pakistan issues would keep the United States embroiled there for a very long time. The recent rise in Islamophobia in India and a more aggressive stance against Pakistan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not detract from recognizing the paranoiac nature of Pakistan’s fears.

Chris C. said...

I agree. Bhutto twice helped get Pakistan into losing wars and then somehow managed to blame the Army for both bad outcomes.

Riaz Haq said...

Chris: "I agree. Bhutto twice helped get Pakistan into losing wars and then somehow managed to blame the Army for both bad outcomes"

BBC's Owen Bennet Jones has detailed #Bhutto's role in getting #Pakistan in 1965 & 1971 wars to blame & weaken #PakistanArmy for his own political ambitions. ZAB was "so convinced of his own greatness and indispensability that he did not believe the generals would dare hang him"

"On 12 May 1965, Zulfikar wrote to Ayub about the ‘relative superiority of the military forces of Pakistan in terms of quality and equipment’ and warned that India’s capacity was increasing with every passing day.64 The military balance, in other words, was bound to tilt ever further in Delhi’s favour. Zulfikar also insisted that after its defeat by China in 1962 the Indian military was demoralised and in no position to open a general war against Pakistan – any military action would be restricted to Kashmir.65 It was now or never. In July 1965, Ayub decided to act. Bhutto had advocated it, but Ayub decided to do it. The infiltration of Kashmir outlined in Operation GIBRALTAR began, and, on 10 August, a body that no Kashmiri had previously heard of, the Revolutionary Council, called on the people people to rise up against their Indian occupiers. However, when the militants contacted supposedly sympathetic clerics, they found that most were reluctant to help.66 From Pakistan’s point of view, the initial results of Operation GIBRALTAR were disappointing. But they were about to get a lot worse: the Indian prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, launched an offensive crossing the 1947 ceasefire line in Kashmir, preventing further infiltration and cutting off the militants’ supply lines. Zulfikar urged Ayub to carry on fighting, arguing that failure to do so ‘would amount to a debacle which could threaten the existence of Pakistan’.67 His anti-Indian rhetoric reached new heights"

Bennett-Jones, Owen. The Bhutto Dynasty (pp. 64-65). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

Chris: "I agree. Bhutto twice helped get Pakistan into losing wars and then somehow managed to blame the Army for both bad outcomes"

BBC's Owen Bennet Jones has detailed #Bhutto's role in getting #Pakistan in 1965 & 1971 wars to blame & weaken #PakistanArmy for his own political ambitions. ZAB was "so convinced of his own greatness and indispensability that he did not believe the generals would dare hang him"

"On 12 May 1965, Zulfikar wrote to Ayub about the ‘relative superiority of the military forces of Pakistan in terms of quality and equipment’ and warned that India’s capacity was increasing with every passing day.64 The military balance, in other words, was bound to tilt ever further in Delhi’s favour. Zulfikar also insisted that after its defeat by China in 1962 the Indian military was demoralised and in no position to open a general war against Pakistan – any military action would be restricted to Kashmir.65 It was now or never. In July 1965, Ayub decided to act. Bhutto had advocated it, but Ayub decided to do it. The infiltration of Kashmir outlined in Operation GIBRALTAR began, and, on 10 August, a body that no Kashmiri had previously heard of, the Revolutionary Council, called on the people people to rise up against their Indian occupiers. However, when the militants contacted supposedly sympathetic clerics, they found that most were reluctant to help.66 From Pakistan’s point of view, the initial results of Operation GIBRALTAR were disappointing. But they were about to get a lot worse: the Indian prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, launched an offensive crossing the 1947 ceasefire line in Kashmir, preventing further infiltration and cutting off the militants’ supply lines. Zulfikar urged Ayub to carry on fighting, arguing that failure to do so ‘would amount to a debacle which could threaten the existence of Pakistan’.67 His anti-Indian rhetoric reached new heights"

GIBRALTAR was followed inexorably by GRANDSLAM. Initially the Pakistani Army offensive went well, but the military leadership in Rawalpindi was relying on its extraordinarily complacent assumption that India would not extend the fighting beyond Kashmir. But that is exactly what India did, opening up a 50-mile-wide front near Lahore, launching an offensive in Sindh and making a drive for the Pakistani city of Sialkot. Ludicrously, Pakistan’s planners were taken by surprise. In a matter of hours all thoughts of offence were abandoned as the priority became saving Lahore.

Bennett-Jones, Owen. The Bhutto Dynasty (pp. 65-66). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

Bennett-Jones, Owen. The Bhutto Dynasty (p. 78). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

It was at this stage that Zulfikar played a significant role in the unfolding events. At a duck shoot in Larkana, Zulfikar complained to Yahya that he had named Mujib as prime minister without first consulting him. Yahya not unreasonably replied that Mujib would be prime minister......

If Mujib stuck to the Six Points, the military would be left with only one democratically elected leader whom they could that their legs would be broken.108 Increasingly, it seemed that Zulfikar wanted to create a situation in which he was supreme in West Pakistan and Mujib was supreme in East Pakistan. He hardly helped dispel that perception by reportedly saying at one rally, ‘udhar tum, idhar hum’, literally, ‘you there, we here’. Many took that to mean he envisaged two countries, although Zulfikar and his supporters insist to this day that he was only making the less controversial point that Mujib had a majority in the east and he had one in the west. Others claim he never said it at all,109 although that has been contradicted by one eyewitness, who insisted that he did say it but that the remark was taken out of context.110 As attitudes hardened, Zulfikar could now see that his route to power once again was through the military. If Mujib stuck to the Six Points, the military would be left with only one democratically elected leader whom they could consider acceptable: Zulfikar himself. In other words, he could rely on the military to propel him to power. Unwilling to have a National Assembly with the PPP absent, Yahya decided to postpone the session. Many of his advisers thought it was a mistake and predicted a ferocious backlash in East Pakistan – which did indeed come to pass. On 2 March the US Consulate General in Dhaka reported on the popular reaction in East Pakistan: ‘It would be impossible to over-estimate sense of anger, shock and frustration which has gripped people of east wing. They cannot but interpret postponement as act of collusion between Yahya and Bhutto to deny fruit of electoral victory to Bengali majority.’111 Yahya, however, believed that a whiff of grapeshot would bring the East Pakistanis back into line,112 a view which showed how little he understood of the state of public opinion there.

Had he (ZAB) won an overall majority, Zulfikar would not have hesitated to form a government. But he considered Mujibur Rahman’s insistence that he be allowed to do just that ‘intolerably rigid’. As Yahya failed to find a way to reconcile the two politicians, military action became ever more likely. Zulfikar could not be sure what the military would do and feared that the army might try to put together an alliance of religious and right-wing parties and tempt some PPP National Assembly members to join them.

Bennett-Jones, Owen. The Bhutto Dynasty (pp. 78-79). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.