COUP OF 1951: Concluding Part

Naveed Tajammal


Part I can be read at :

Part II can be read at:

Part III can be read at

Part IV can be read at

Part V can be read at

Part VI can be read at

Part VII can be read at :

The chief prosecutor A. K. Brohi and Qurban Ali Khan I. G. Police Punjab had built their case around four important meetings,22-preliminary meetings and 25 different episodes, however the Chairman of the Tribunal identified 12 different episodes and asked the Chief Prosecutor A. K. Brohi to focus on them, these were in the chronological order as under ;

[1] The Piffer’s week celebration meetings at Abbottabad between 05 Oct-08 Oct-1949.

[2] Kohat and Peshawar visits of Col. Sidique Raja and Brig. Sidique khan on 27 Nov 1949.

[3] Attock rest house meeting on 04 Dec 1949.

[4] Fatah Jung meeting on 21 Dec.  1949.

[5] Kohat visit on 24/25 Dec 1949.

[6] Lunch at Sidique Raja’s House on 30 Dec 1949.

[7] Peshawar Visit of Sidique Raja on 26 Feb 1950.

[8] Sialkot visit of Sidique Raja and Sidique Khan on 16 Oct 1950.

[9] Visits of Sidique Raja to Gen. Akbar Khan at Rawalpindi on 26 Jan and 04 Feb 1951.

[10] Air-Commodore M. K. Janjua’s meetings with Akbar Khan and Sidique Raja in the CGS Office GHQ on 6th/7th Feb 1951.

[11] Events between 19 & 20 Feb 1951;

[a] Telephone call from Rawalpindi to Thal for Col. Arabab.[b] Telephone call by

Lt. Col Sultan Ali shah, Director- [weapons] GHQ to Askar Ali shah at Peshawar.

[Askar Ali Shah the CID inspector who was the first to divulge the conspiracy]

[c]Telegram sent by Akbar Khan to his brother Azam Khan [d] The 2 telephone

Calls and telegrams made and sent to Maj. Ishaq Muhammad at Kalat by Maj. Eusoph Sethi under Akbar Khan’s instructions.[e] Telephone call to Sidique Raja at Quetta by Akbar khan.[f] Telegram by Sidique Raja to Ishaq Mohammad at Kalat & his arrival at Quetta to meet him.[g] Events of 21 Feb 1951-[i] Sidique Raja could not reach, but Arabab & Khizer Hyat did[ii]An urgent call to Sidique Khan at Bannu from Rawalpindi

[12] The proceedings of the Conference held at the CGS House on 23 Feb 1951.

Those senior Army officers who were posted in Kashmir after the war had ended in 1948-had been provided with family accommodation in Murree Cantonment -so that, on their short leaves they could visit their families who were stationed there-In April 1949,Brig.Akbar,Brig Habibulah and Lt-Col Gul Mowaz had been allotted adjacent houses in the Murree cantonment.

Akbar Khan was commanding 101 Brigade at URI sector Habibullah was commanding 100 Brigade at Kotli sector and the Battalion of Gul  Mowaz was located at Bagh and it often happened that all three would be on leave together. In those days as per the testimonies given by the both the prosecution witnesses Habibullah & Gul Mowaz, that, Akbar Khan was very bitter about the way Liaqat Ali Khan had handled the Kashmir Affair and thousands had died needlessly, as Akbar Khan had been part of Government & the planning of this war since its inception and had quite a few meetings with Liaqat Ali Khan in his official capacity as have been highlighted in the other parts of the article according to the P.W’s [Prosecution witnesses] Mrs. Nasim Akbar khan used to be present in all these meetings and  agreed with her husband as she too had been part of the Kashmir Affair in her own personal capacity, as she belonged to a major political family of that Time.

The stance of Akbar khan was that corruption, nepotism and favoritism had set in, so soon after the inception of our Independence and the cause was this Democratic system, which was legacy of the British Raj, and even now the British officers infested all over in all arms beside the statecraft, and Why Should Not the Army take over and set the whole system on the right path, however what Akbar khan wanted most was to launch a War on India and wrestle back Kashmir from India as it rightfully belonged to Pakistan-historically and geographically.

Gul. Mowaz was the main P.W who divulged the above, subversive statements given by Akbar khan on different occasion-however to build case and defend Habibullah, he stated that, it was he who had suggested to Habibullah to meet Akbar Khan as at that time he too was impressed by the logic of Akbar Khan, and that he was the first to have shared these ideas of Akbar khan with Habibullah, who subsequently met Akbar khan in a number of meetings between June-July 1949,and they all discussed these issues, both Gul  Mowaz and Habibullah also testified that they met Lt-Col M. A. Latif also in Murree who likewise along with them attended these Dinner type of meetings at Akbar Khan’s house-as Akbar khan was very lavish with his dinners and a excellent host, as was Mrs. Nasim Akbar a good hostess, as she was always present at these meetings.

In between Sept/Oct 1949 Akbar khan was posted to Kohat. Habibullah was posted to Peshawar and Gul Mowaz to D. I. Khan, whereas M. A. Latif was posted to Kohat under Akbar Khan.

It may be of interest that the Approver number one Lt-Col Sidique Raja, who was from the Murree hills, had joined the army as a y-cadet in 1933 and joined Military Academy Dehra Dun in Aug 1937 and passed out in Jan 1940.And joined 1/14 Punjab the same of Ayub Khan and served in Burma with him later, however he came in contact with Akbar khan  when for 21 days in June 1948,when commanding 4/13 FFR, his unit  was part of 101 Brigade under Akbar khan and it was deployed all over, it’s companies attached with other units/formations. Subsequently there was a large gathering of Piffer [Punjab Irregular Frontier Force Regiment] officers at Abbottabad to celebrate the Piffer Week [1st to 8th Oct 1949],it was later on 07th Oct that Akbar Khan had invited Sidique Raja at the Palace Hotel where Akbar khan and his wife were staying during this week long function.

On the morning of 08 Oct when Sidique Raja visited the Hotel on the invitation of Akbar Khan he found in the room of Akbar khan at the Hotel-Mrs Akbar Khan, Latif khan and his wife, later Maj. Gen Nazier Ahmad, Brigadiers Sher Khan, Gulzar Ahmad ,Lt-Col Bashir Ahmed & Maj. Eusoph Sethi too joined the Tea/Coffee party. Later in the evening again at the dinner at the Piffer Mess he had met Akbar Khan, and  he was asked by Akbar khan to see him at his hotel in the morning as well on 09 Oct. as he was departing back to Kohat and he was informed by Akbar Khan that morning that the best brains within the Army were working and preparing a detailed plan to overthrow this inefficient Government, and that later between Oct-Dec 1949 Akbar khan often visited Rawalpindi, and met him, as he was stationed there with his unit-4/13 FFR.

Maj.Eusoph Sethi was posted in the GHQ in the Military Operations Directorate, in 1949,and used to provide vital classified information to Akbar Khan as and when it was required by Akbar Khan from time to time, about the latest information about the officers posted at all Army Signal offices or under whom came the Telephone exchanges or the exact location of each main telephone exchange. Sethi,by nature was a weak man, and was according to himself in the testimony given before the court that he was highly impressed by Akbar Khan because of his rank and stature and the wealth of his wife, and had acted as their messenger, batman, ADC and the personal staff officer in his own personal capacity-he was regularly entrusted with all household related matters-arranging dinner parties or arranging the boarding and lodging, and travelling of all their guests who visited them from time to time. Maj Gen Hayuddin and Akbar Khan had never got along well throughout their post-1947 Army careers, and as he was to be arrested on the day of coup d’état, a fact which had surfaced during the interrogation of the Sidique Raja by Ayub Khan and Iskandar Mirza-and was also known to Habibullah much before the 09 March 1951-the Arrest date of Akbar Khan, and must have been told to Hayuddin who had therefore taken onto himself the duty of the Chief Liaison Officer between Police and the Army since the day of the signing of the Dismissal Order of Akbar khan by the Governor-General, and it was he who had gone to give the same order to Akbar Khan on 09 March 1951-and remained part of the investigation/prosecution team.Brig.Habibullah was DSD in GHQ and under Akbar Khan as he was the CGS,whereas Lt-Col Gul Mowaz was posted in Quetta and was in charge of the Joint-services Pre-Cadet Training School.

On 05 Jan 1953-The special Tribunal announced its judgment and all 15 accused were taken one by one, escorted by a CID inspector before the Court and each one was accordingly told the sentence. All were dismissed from the Army- service the same day.

[1] Akbar khan was given 12 Years R.I

[2] Sidique Khan -7 years R.I & a fine of Rs.500 in default to undergo a further one year sentence and dismissal from the Army.

[3] Latif khan-5 years R.I & fine of Rs 500,in case of default to serve one more year.

[4] Zia ud din-5 years R.I & fine of RS.500 in default in fine to serve another 6 months.

[5] Niaz Mohammad Arbab-5 years R.I ,a fine of RS 250,in case of default in fine to serve 6 months more.

[6] Khizer Hyat- 4 years R.I.a fine of RS 250 ,in case of default in fine to serve another 6 months.

[7] Hassan Khan-4 years R.I a fine of RS 250 in case of default in fine to serve another 6 months.

[8] Ishaq Mohammad- 4 years R.I ,a fine of RS 250 in case of default in fine to serve another 6 months.

[9] Zafarullah Poshni- 4 years R.I ,a fine of Rs.250 in case of default in fine to serve another 6 months.

[10] M.K.Janjua -7 years R.I a fine of RS 250 in case of default to serve another 6 months.

[11] Nazier Ahmad-Had provided all information after his arrest, he was therefore

Punished for Not informing the higher authorities on time, his under trial imprisonment was taken as punishment served and so was dismissed from service.

[12]Faiz Ahmad Faiz-4 years R.I. and a fine of RS 250, in case of default in fine to serve another 6 months.

[13] Sajjad Zaheer-4 years R. I and a fine of RS.250, in case of default of fine to serve 6 month more.

[14] Muhammad Hussain Atta -4 years R.I ,a fine of RS 250,in case of default of fine, to serve 6 months more.

[15] Mrs. Nasim Akbar was the only accused who was acquitted, and her imprisonment, while under-trial also taken in cognizance.

Faiz Ahmad Faiz, got himself shifted to Karachi Central jail on medical grounds. However the ministry of interior decided to shift all other convicts to different jails, Akbar, Zaffarullah, and Atta were retained in Central Jail Hyderabad. Sajjad  Zaheer and Sidique Khan were dispatched to Mach jail Balluchistan. Ishaq Mohammad & Khizer Hayat were sent to Central Montgomery [Sahiwal],Arbab & M.K.Janjua to Central jail Lahore, Latif, Hassan & Ziauddin to Central jail Multan.

In June 1954 Gen. Akbar khan was transferred to Central Jail Lahore through the efforts of his mother in law Begum Jahan Ara Shahnawaz.

As their luck would have it, the Constituent Assembly was dissolved by the Governor-General Ghulam Mohammad on 24 Oct 1954-the president of the Assembly Moulvi Tamizuddin khan filed a writ against this order -in the Federal court-the case continued and finally the Federal Court upheld the order of the Governor-General.

Gen. Akbar through his wife on the behalf of all convicts filed a Writ petition of ‘Habeas corpus’ in the Lahore High court challenging the validity of their sentences, as now the Special Tribunal Act was invalid, and the sentences awarded & the detention under this Act was unlawful-The High Court allowed them Bail-though they were later detained after their Bails under the Security ACT of Pakistan, yet another Writ was now filed by Gen Akbar and his associates, in the Lahore High Court-on which the High Court gave its Order on 15 June 1955,that,’They all be allowed Bail till the Constituent Assembly again met’.

Later the Government granted pardon to all convicts for the remaining period of their sentences.

After his release Akbar Khan joined Awami League of Suhrawardy in 1955-in 1963 he obtained a degree in law and started practice in Karachi, in 1968 joined PPP and he was appointed Chief of National Security by Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1971  .He had divorced his wife Nasim Akbar in 1959.

Nasim Akbar likewise joined PPP and was elected in the National Assembly 1971- on seats reserved for women. Ishaq Mohammad joined Awami League and later NAP and fell out with him in 1970 and formed his own ‘Mazdoor Kisan Party’.

Sajjad Zaheer went back to India-Faiz Ahmad and Zafarullah Poshni suffered over their leftist views-but Poshni ran a thriving advertising business in Karachi-Niaz Mohammad Arbab became a Federal Minister under Zia Ul Haq- Government. Nazir Ahmad was made the Administrator -Lahore Municipal Corporation. Latif Khan was made member of the Punjab Public Service Commission-and Zia ud din, was given a job in Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation.

All accused later, after their full pardons by the Government- in vain tried to put up their representations against the dismissal orders by the Tribunal but the GHQ rejected them.


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