Part 1 can be read at: https://pakpotpourri2.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/the-coup-of-1951-part-1/
Major General Akbar Khan
During the period Brig.Akbar Khan commanded the Kashmir Operations in his sector, he remained unhappy with the way things developing, he was facing countless intrigues against himself in the GHQ, even though assigned on his task by the Prime Minister, he was deprived of three months command pay, on the grounds that he was absent from service, and too add insult to the injury he was also passed over in his promotion to the next rank by the GHQ during his absence in the Kashmir war.
In the middle of Feb 1948,he requested the Prime Minister to be relieved of his duties in Kashmir and be allowed to revert to his Army assignment as earlier to his delegation on the Kashmir Front Brig.Akbar Khan had been posted as the Director. Weapons in the Equipment Directorate at GHQ. Where he had come across from the records that 4000 [.303] rifles were lying in the stores for the Police, which he had sent to the Kashmir Freedom fighters based on his subsequent plan called, ‘Armed Revolt inside Kashmir”-The objective being to strengthen the Kashmiri freedom fighter within the than Dogra state against the Maharaja’s army of 9000; out of which 2000 were Muslims and were sympathetic to the cause of Liberation-The major portion of these rifles were allocated for this role, the other 1000 rifles were for the guerrilla bands who were to raise obstructions on the Jammu-Kathua road,and 200 rifles were for the small guerrilla bands to cover the Srinagar Airport. And that all co-ordinations be done through the former INA officers ,JCO & NCO’s,using the numerous de-mobbed ex-servicemen from First world war and second world wars,which numbered around 70,000 men, mainly, all from Poonch, Bagh and Mirpur; the frontier districts of the Dogra State.
Brig.Akbar Khan along with other minor details within this plan above mentioned, handed it over to Mian Iftikhar ud din,who was in Murree coordinating meetings with freedom fighter leaders of Kashmir- in the second week of September 1947.On 12 September 1947 Brig.Akbar Khan was asked to attend a meeting with the Prime minister on his invitation. However earlier in the morning he was invited for another meeting under the chair of Sardar.Shaukat Hyat who had been designated, as a minister for Kashmir war, on at the provincial level. Here Brig.Akbar Khan was surprised to see a new plan, as thought out by Shaukat Hyat himself, whom he found totally unaware of the ground realities, This plan focused on just two sectors-one across Jammu-Punjab border to be commanded by M.Z.Kiani a former INA officer who had joined the British Indian Army in the ranks 1927,and later, had topped the entry test of for Military Academy Dehra Dun and had joined it in 1933 and been commissioned from Dehra Dun in 1935,He was awarded the Sword of Honour and a Gold Medal for having stood First in all the Papers and had joined 1st/14th Punjab Regiment [later 5 Punjab]taken prisoner on the Burma front and had joined INA [Indian national army of Subhas Chandra Bose],was appointed the First INA Division GOC and fought General Gracey at Imphal and designated as the Head of Provisional Azad Hind in the absence of Bose. Later after 1945, seeing the evil designs of congress he left INA and reverted back to his village at Atial near Bara Kau, Rawalpindi, ,another sector being north of Rawalpindi was to be under the command of Maj. Khurshid Anwar a near relation of Ghulam Mohammad[central finance minister] and was currently the Commander of the Muslim League National Guards, he had been commissioned during the 2nd world war emergency recruitment in the ‘Supply corps’.
However Shaukat Hyat blames Maj.Khurshid Anwar for spoiling the surprise in the Kashmir war as he went soon after the meeting to raise Lashkars from NWFP and had contacted Brig.Iftikhar Khan [later Major-General] who was then posted in Nowshera and had asked him to provide him with Machine Guns for the fourth planned covert action in Kashmir-who the same hour had reported these plans to the British C in C Pakistan Army-who without loss of time reported the same to Field Marshal Auchinleck the Joint Commander of both forces-India & Pakistan who reported the matter to Lord Mountbatten the Governor General of India. So a breach of security was done by Brig.Iftikhar Khan.
Later at 6 PM on 12 Oct, the Prime minister held his meeting. However this again was based on the morning plan of action as envisaged by Shaukat Hyat. This meeting was attended by Ghulam Mohammad,Mian Iftikhar ud din,Akbar Khan; the sector commanders and Shaukat hHyat the overall Commander. However Akbar Khan was not pleased with the proceedings of this meeting, according to him, ”This conference was even more informal than the one in the morning no serious discussion took place on the operational details of the proposed plan” Not once were the views of Akbar Khan asked ,as he was the sole professional soldier present in the meeting.[Raiders in Kashmir-1992.Akbar Khan-p-21/3].
In the post 14 Aug 1947 period up to the third week of October 1947,the GOP made no efforts in this war except for providing volunteer’s from the de-mobbed British Army or material in a limited way,
However the progress made by the purely internal revolt led by de-mobbed British Indian army men of WW 1 and WW 2 under INA officers and JCO’s made a slow but steady progress and was resulting in more and more areas going out of Dogra’ state control.
It was the sheer ineptness on the part of GOP under Liaqat Ali Khan which after accepting the standstill agreement, continued to focus on Hyderabad, which if seen now in hindsight cost us Kashmir. On 29 September Sh.Abdullah was released from the prison along with other National Conference leaders. However, Ghulam Abbas and the Muslim Conference leaders were not released. That should have been a signal enough for Liaqat Ali Khan but he in his befuddled mind continued to live in his fool’s paradise of getting Hyderabad. Ghulam Abbas was released only in March 1948[Saraf-Kashmiris fight for freedom,’p-1290 Vol 2,] by then the war had been lost. The pro-India Sh.Abdullah party further helped India and Nehru in their Quest to take over Kashmir-henceforth the role of Sh.Abdullah was that of a tutored parrot perched on Nehru’s shoulder.
Meanwhile Gen.Akbar returned back to GHQ as he had not been assigned any task in this approved plan [Shaukat Hyat version plan] however once back on duty he took in confidence the DMI- Brig.Sher Khan so kept him informed of the latest developments through the intelligence reports. However quite a few army officers in their own ways possible without the British senior officers coming aware of were helping the freedom fighters by secretly supplying ammunition condemned by the supporting Ordnance officers, handling the Army Ammunition depots[p-94 Rawalpindi conspiracy case].From the Air force side-Air Commodore. Mohammad Khan Janjua had provided, winter clothing ,ammunition, and some weapons from the Air force stores to the freedom fighters.
The population of Kashmir as per the 1941- census was 4 million out of which, only 8 lakh were non-Muslims of different faiths as Ladakh was still Buddhist. Rest of 3.2 million were Muslims. even Jammu, the smallest of the three, Kashmir state provinces had 60 % Muslim population in 1941.however the Hindu retained 80 % of the state jobs as per the arms act of this state , a, Hindu need not apply for a weapon license.
All lands had been parcelled out to Hindu land owners. the condition of the Muslim peasantry was worse than the Russian, “serf”. Of the Czar days in the last 100 years or so till 1947 the Muslim had, lived the life in squalor, penury and terror. Forced labour, extortionist methods of tax collection were a norm. Police state it was, the judiciary was too, of Hindu. a Muslim could appeal to none.
During, 1946 and early, 1947, Top ranking. Congress leaders, including khan Ghaffar khan, Dr. Sinha, Chaman Lal, Asif Ali, Acharya Kirpalani, and Ghandi had vested Kashmir on their own agenda’s. None paid any attention to the condition of the Muslim. The RSSS had been allowed by the maharaja, to recruit volunteers, in Kashmir since 1942. Besides Srinagar, it had branches in Mirpur, Kotli, Sambha, Udhampur and Kathua.
The chief of the RSSS, in Kashmir was ”Swami Sant Dev” the spiritual Guru of the maharaja had been termed by people as the ”Rasputin” of the Kashmir court.
As Hazara, had already been ear marked part of new Pakistan, by the RSSS, by early, 1946,already a considerable, number of Hindu’s and Sikhs, had sold out and shifted to Kashmir. Out of the first batch, 2000 youth of this lot had become members of the RSSS. The Sikh evacuee’s, of Hazara, had organized themselves, as ”Singh Naujawan Sabhas.” and were located at Muzzafarabad and Srinagar.
From March 1947 onwards, a further influx of RSSS, workers, members of Punjab. United provinces and other parts of British India had been called in Kashmir. In July 1947, Basant Rao Agrekor, one of the provincial organizers, had visited Kashmir to inspect and advice his force. The Sikhs too, had sent in gangs from, the Sikh states of, Nabha, Faridkot and Patiala.
The pathetic condition of the Muslim of Poonch, can be visualized, by reading the report, of Richard Symonds, who wrote for the”statesman” new Dehli. On 4th February 1948, he wrote”60,000 Poonchi’s, had served in the British Indian army in 2nd world war. When the war ended they returned home (bulk being Muslims) to find that the old Raja of Poonch, had been disposed of his state, by a law suit. and the direct rule of the Maharaja had been imposed on the Poonchi’s.
Now there was a tax, on every hearth, every window for the sunlight, each buffalo, goat or a cow, cat or a dog, not even the wife was exempted. He, who had more than one, was most grieved to top it the zaildari tax was levied” To pay for the charges incurred in the collection of tax’s”. The first revolt started on 27 august 1947 at Nila Butt. When Abdul Quyyum, a young zamindar and his friends started it. soon after, the bulk of the ex-service men too, joined in, the Dogra state troops now re-sought to burning down complete villages, and rendering the people homeless, earlier as per the plan, in June the state had ensured that no weapon, not even long knives, where left with the Muslims, and the house searches had ensured this. Two small boys, who seen their mothers being molested by the RSSS and troops, had tried to hit them with their fists, in the village, ”Ali Sojar”, on 15th august 1947,both, Mohammad Saidu and Lal Hussain, where shot dead, in front of the raped women, and hung on the nearest tree.
Just to name a few villages where this routine continued, and men and boys hung, who reacted, Nar, Bagh, Khas BAGH, Sar Saddhan, Beerut, Jheri, Sangola and Rawli. All these reports, could, even to a bystander conjure a picture of a gunpowder trail, blazed across the country side, village after village went up in flames, the Dogra and RSSS, with their ”BREN GUNS”, killed and raped whom they pleased, it was a sport time for this lot.
In Jammu province of the state, a similar tragic chain of events unfolded, all attempts were to push out as many excess Muslims out, to upcoming Pakistan territory, as they possibly could. They had been directed to proceed to Sialkot unofficially, and a slow line of miserable, old and young, wounded and injured people came. The young girls never made it. they had been abducted much earlier in the other regions the state had created ”camps; which became the death traps.12000.muslim refugees, had assembled at the Jammu, aerodrome (airport).in the first week of November, they were machine gunned, by Dogra and RSSS men, 4000 died. Later at night 2000 died on account of the grenades, thrown in the crowds of compact men, women and children. Before this incident, on 17 October, the Muslim population of ”Ranbir Singhpura Tehsil”, had sought shelter at the state ”electric power house, at ”Miran Sahib.” numbering 25,000.and soon after ”Mehr Chand Majhan” the Dewan of the Maharajah, arrived in a convoy, accompanied by ‘Bharat Bhusan”, the local ‘tehsildar’, and an active member of RSSS.
The women and children were asked to move towards the trucks, as they may be transported out. After their departure’ hell broke loose” as all were butchered. the convoy stopped ahead, presentable girls and women were segregated, rest too met the fate of a bullet and were thrown in the ravines. On 19 October, a convoy of 30,000 travelling on foot, where halted at ”Jammu-Tawi”, station, all were blocked in, and machine gunned by the RSSS and the state troops at night times, (as people now had started this time) all places where a movement of Muslim was reported, jeeps, mounted with machine guns, where launched, who surrounded them girls where first removed for the nights fun, rest butchered. A slight resistance or reluctance to obey the orders was met by a bullet or a bayonet.
Reverting back to the events unfolding-At the end of September 1947,a meeting was called by Hameed ullah khan-at Murree [fair view hotel] which was attended by Sardar. Ibrahim, Mrs.Nasim Akbar [accused in 1951 coup] & sardar Shariff. Major.Khurshid anwar briefed them about the tribal Lashkar plans.
What most remain unaware off is that the bulk of area which is now AJK had already been acquired through the efforts of the freedom fighters-Liaqat Ali Khan or Shaukat Hyat were either by design or sheer incompetence unaware of these facts, as all sectors and their HQ were fully functional by 13 September 1947,mainly through the efforts of Gen. M.Z.Kiani, Col.R.M.Arshad, Col.M.A.Khan ,Col. Taj Mohammad Khanzada, Col. Tajammal Hussain and Capt. Saif-ullah.
The Wanton part played by Liaqat Ali Khan’s lackeys was seen, when the promised 4000, .303 bolt action rifles were handed over by GHQ for the Freedom fighters through the civil administration. Mr. Qurban Ali Khan the Inspector General of Police who was responsible for this transfer, with-held the British made rifles and replaced them with Dara-made rifles.[p-885,Kashmiris Fight for Freedom,VOL.2, by.Chief Justice [r] AJK High Court. M.Y. Saraf.
[To be continued….]