COUP OF 1951:PART IV

Naveed Tajammal

Part I can be read at: https://pakpotpourri2.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/the-coup-of-1951-part-1/

Part II can be read at: https://pakpotpourri2.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/coup-of-1951part-ii/

Part III can be read at https://pakpotpourri2.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/coup-of-1951part-iii/

Maj_Gen_Akbar_khan

Major General Akbar

In early December 1950-Akbar khan had been promoted to the rank of a Major-General and posted as the CGS at GHQ on assuming this important and sensitive post-the tempo of the conspiracy was accelerated-the post gave Akbar khan access to the levers of power and into the inner sanctum of the Army. All this reinforced the confidence of Akbar khan, in his planning to take over the government and so preparations & going over the minor details and planning counter moves if the coup d’état failed, were meticulously  worked out.

In a meeting in the third week of January 1951-at Major Sethi’s house, Brig.Ziauddin had introduced Colonel Hassan khan to General Akbar, who had explained the aims and objectives of the conspiracy to him. Colonel Hassan agreed with all the points raised and assured General Akbar of his all-out support in the proposed coup. After this meeting during the first three weeks of feb.1951 a hectic recruitment campaign was carried out-Brigadier Ziauddin played a pivotal role in these as he was the officiating brigadier and commander of around 25,000 men and officers who came under GHQ[Azad] mainly all Azad Kashmir regiment battalions. He was stationed at Rawalpindi- belonged to Kotli-and had been commissioned in 1942 and awarded a MBE during the second world war, in these three weeks. Zia Hassan and Sethi had series of meetings with Colonel Tassaduq Hussein who was commanding 2 AK battalion. In all these meetings the post-coup plan of launching a war on India also remained a vital subject. On 22 February, all four had met Captain Nur Hussein CO of 3 AK battalion at Kahuta and enlisted his full help in the planned coup.

Earlier on 04 February, Colonel Siddique Raja [approver number one] had called on General Akbar and also met Begum Nasim Akbar, Captain Poshni and Major Khadim Hussein at the CGS House.  In the evening General Akbar gave a broad outline plan of his proposed coup-according to which all divisional commanders were to be called to GHQ and relieved of their commands and put under arrest. This new plan also envisaged that should the coup fail-the contingency plan catered for an armed struggle from Hazzarah, Azad Kashmir and Frontier regions, these were the people who had fought the Kashmir war as volunteers. Major Ishaq Mohammad was to be recalled from Kalat and was to take over 4/16th Punjab battalion at Abbottabad while Lieutenant Colonel Akbar Khan.; its Co was to take over the Abbottabad Brigade from Brigadier Jeelani who was to be recalled at GHQ and put under arrest-while Major General  Majid and Brigadier Masood Khan who were considered reliable to the cause, as they had openly expressed the wish to bump of the Governor NWFP as he had mishandled the tribal areas by sending the army. The Abbottabad Brigade was the contingency formation which was to go in guerilla-fighting mode should the coup fail. After hearing these details Colonel Siddique Raja suggested minor changes in the plan, he suggested that Brigadier Sadique Khan who was commanding the Bannu Brigade should take over 9 division at Peshawar and Colonel Khurshid Ali khan GSO-1 of the division  would help him control Peshawar. This arrangement would ensure two strong bases should the coup fail i.e Abbottabad and Peshawar. Colonel Siddique Raja also suggested here that Brigadier .Bakhtiar Rana should be approached to take over Lahore Division-Akbar Khan accepted these suggestions however he was very doubtful about the integrity of Brigadier Sidique Khan as he had found him of late, a very doubtful case. However Colonel Siddique Raja was adamant in his support of Brigadier Siddique Khan so General Akbar reluctantly  agreed to these changes-however the date of the coup d’état had not be fixed as yet but it had been decided that it would be one of the days when Liaqat Ali Khan visited Rawalpindi in connection with the forthcoming Punjab assembly elections. In same meeting General Akbar had also mentioned the role of Air-Commodore M.K.Janjua who was to handle Karachi affairs and if need be Brigadier Latif who was the Quetta region Brigade commander would send him some additional troops and he himself being the Quetta Station Commander could easily handle affairs at his end.

In Feb.1951,Gen Akbar as the CGS had visited Thal’ to distribute gallantry awards of the Kashmir war-later at the dinner in the 2nd/1st Punjab mess-which was also attended by Begum.Nasim Akbar,Ms.Mehr khan [sister of the communist worker-latif afghani who played a very conspicuous role in the march on srinagar and later in failed  attack on srinagar airfield along with Major-Khurshid anwer.Ms mehr khan had been a Crypto-Stenographer in british intelligence-during the war] & brig.sidique khan the brigade commander bannu,the Co of 2nd/1st punjab and other officers of the same brigade.At the dinner Gen.Akbar had commented on the latest wrong action taken by the Govt.and through its Governor NWFP of sending Army in the tribal areas,he had said’The Govt.does not know anything about Frontier,and I wish somebody should bump off them off’ the prosecution during the trial made much ado about these remarks-which were further twisted by the testimony of a Major.Salim Ahmed Yazadani-a company commander in 2nd/1st Punjab,who stated,that the CGS while addressing the gathered troops of the brigade for the gallantry award distribution had said during his address,’The people in Karachi [meaning the Govt.] could never understand the problems of the troops nor cater for their comfort-that,the sole solution to Kashmir problem,was, in fighting it out with the Hindu-and not running after the UNO.He had shouted and asked the troops whether they were prepared to fight for Kashmir-and they had shouted back in one voice,that,they were ever ready !

It should be kept in mind that when ever conspiracies leading to coup d’etat have been detected and men caught-the governments in power have always downplayed the level of support behind each attempt,as here to the same is seen in this case,if you study the trial proceedings.

On 07 feb.1951 Gen.Akbar had arranged a meeting between Air.Commodore M.K.Janjua and col.siddique raja,at 9 am at his office premises.As per the testimony of the approver-col.siddique raja-M.K.Janjua was very bitter about the British personnel who still dominated the Pakistan Airforce,and had blocked the promotions of Pakistani officers-however he had wanted time to coordinate all the tasks assigned to him at his end in the Karachi region.The same evening Siddique Raja met Gen.Akbar at the CGS House and requested that he maybe posted out of Infantry School Quetta to a good post in rawalpindi.

On 09 Feb. 1951 Siddique Raja returned back to Quetta and briefed Brig. Latif about the future plans and his meeting with M.K. Janjua on 12 Feb 1951 Siddique Raja got his new posting order to Rawalpindi. However, he was not happy about his new appointment and wanted the posting order to be cancelled which it never was-and had to come to Rawalpindi. Meanwhile Gen. Akbar told him to reach Rawalpindi latest by 21 Feb. as a major meeting was to be held on 23rd February.  Maj.Gul Khan, Maj.Majid and Maj.Ishaq Mohammad were also to attend and they all are contacted and informed accordingly. Siddique Raja as one can make out remained the Trojan horse in this conspiracy-as were a few others who will be discussed later. Siddique Raja had already worked on Brig. Latif by planting idea in his mind that the time as yet was not ready for the coup and had he worked on others. He had likewise conveyed the message to Maj. Gul and Maj Majid but told them not to leave for Rawalpindi till he told them to do so-even if Gen.Akbar called them directly. However Major Ishaq who was the in charge of Kalat State forces could not come as he had just returned after a long leave and the budget of the state forces was being made-which only he could do so-however the profile of Major Ishaq was excellent and he was a devoted follower of Gen. Akbar having remained his brigade major during the Kashmir war and later served also in the Kotli sector, he had won a Military Cross during the second world war. Likewise PA-105 Brig. Abdul Latif had been commissioned in 1936 and had been awarded a Military Cross for Conspicuous Bravery at the Burma Front. He had commanded 5/12 FFR [Guides] during the Kashmir war and in the brigade of the then Brig. Akbar and the Brigade Major had been Maj. Ishaq earlier mentioned. Brig Latif was also very bitter on the way the government had handled the Kashmir war affair when Sardar Patel had time and again offered Liaqat Ali Khan to take Kashmir in lieu of Hyderabad. During this period in the middle of Feb. 1951 the New C in C Ayub Khan had visited Quetta and had met Latif in the evening at the house of Gen Adam Khan where he was staying. Brig.Latif had questioned Ayub Khan on certain orders passed on to him through the GHQ. One was the sore point, that why was the GHQ  so soft on the British Officers serving in the Pakistan Army and why were they infesting the Staff College and why only those officers were being graded in above average class-who sided and supported the current pro-Anglo-American stance, whereas they had shown their true colors in the recent Kashmir War. Brig. Latif had also pointed in the same meeting about the massive corruption prevalent in the Army engineers’ corps and extravagant facilities being provided to British officer, serving along with Pakistani Officers who had much better war track records. Ayub Khan in this meeting was found to be at loss with words.

On 15 Feb.1951 Gen. Akbar took Maj. Sethi who too later became a approver, along with him on a visit the Sihala Camp facilities which were to house the arrested Generals and other senior officers after the Coup d’état. However seeing the dilapidated condition of buildings and poor security arrangements he ordered Maj. Sethi to look for alternative location, who consulted Brig Ziauddin on this subject. The latter mentioned that the Generals could be accommodated in the C in C house and it was secure. The other officers could be put up in the Rawalpindi Circuit House; on this Gen. Akbar agreed.

To counter the Pro Anglo -American tilt of the Army and the government, keeping in view their callousness in the recent Kashmir war and the way corruption was rampart in the country. Gen. Akbar and Begum Nasim had approached the Communist party to create a bridge for them with the Soviets and as well the Chinese. Begum Nasim remained throughout the main coordinator in this operation, as she had been very active in the Kashmir operations earlier. On 31 Jan 1951 she took Major Sethi to Lahore who drove the car to see Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Later all three drove back to Rawalpindi to meet Gen. Akbar on 02 Feb. During the trial the prosecution had highlighted that beside this meeting, Faiz Ahmad had also gone to Karachi from 14 to 18 Feb and stayed with Col. Majid Malik who was the Principle Information Officer and later met Air-Commodore M.K. Janjua at the house of Major-Shams Arif. The statements of these two prosecution witnesses were also twisted and played by the state lawyers. In the same period of mid-Feb. Gen. Akbar visited Lahore on an official tour and met Maj. Haq Nawaz Malik at Wazirabad and Brig. Bakhtiar Rana at Lahore.

On 20th Feb. Begum Nasim Akbar drove to the house of Maj Sethi at around 11 pm along with three guests who were to stay at his house. Sethi recognized Faiz Ahmad but was at loss about the other two-who were introduced as Mahmud and Shaukat. Later it transpired after the arrests and trial proceedings that Mahmud was Sajjad Zaheer and Shaukat  was Sibte Hassan. While these guests were at Sethi’s house Gen. Akbar would visit them in the evening while the whole day they spent writing papers. Later when they had left, Gen Akbar showed some of these drafted papers to Sethi which he found were proclamations regarding the new military order. The reforms which covered all facets to put an end to corruption and changes within the Armed forces hierarchy, all very elaborately worked out.

On the night before 23 Feb 1951 Gen Akbar had directed Sethi to bring along the guests to his house by 10 am latest as the meeting was to start. On reaching back he found ta fourth guest, who later turned out to be Muhammad Hussain Atta [accused number 15] and Secretary General of Communist Party NWFP. But in the morning Sethi found that Sibte Hassan had left without meeting him. He was arrested later on 19 April 1951-along with other communist party members-by 11 May 13 main members had been locked up by the police under the Punjab Public Safety Act but none of them were charged or tried for a substantive offence-the detention orders which were for six months continued to be extended every six months till the Hyderabad Tribunal lasted or continued.

[To be continued……..]

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Comments

  • naveed tajammal  On March 16, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Thank you yet again Yasmeen Aftab Ali-for posting the part-four.

  • Jawad  On March 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    An absolute Thriller….It seems we r reading something from Iran Fleming.Don know how on dis God’s earth can someone work sooooooo much to present dis master thriller…..Bravo!!!!!

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