Monthly Archives: June 2014

Imploding Iraq

Cross Post LINK:


ArticleYAAIs there a solution to avoid it?

 Nicholas Kristof writing for The New York Times opposes USA intervention in Iraq. I completely support him when he says, “Our 2003 invasion of Iraq should be a warning that military force sometimes transforms a genuine problem into something worse.” I cannot however but disagree when he says, “Iraq has formally requested American military intervention, and my fear is that we will be inadvertently sucked into a civil war — an echo of what happened to the United States in Lebanon from 1982 to ’84 or Somalia from 1992 to ’94. Look, failing to intervene is a bad option in this case. But intervening is a worse one… Many Sunnis in Iraq dislike ISIS, but they have learned to loathe and distrust Maliki even more. The way out of the mess in Iraq is for the government to share power with Sunnis and Kurds, accept decentralisation and empower moderate Sunni tribes.” (June 18, 2014)

I empathise with his fear for his country’s embroiling in another vortex. However, political deals for the devolution of central power, forced from outside, do not deliver, as history proves. In Afghanistan, increasing influence of Taliban and attacks on NATO and US forces make it strategically difficult for a complete withdrawal of the alien forces as proposed earlier. The Afghan scenario today is reminiscent of Iraq. The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 resulted in replacing the Sunnis with elite Shias. The cascading effect was a civil war. Ending 2011, US withdrew its forces without leaving any residual force to allow time for Iraq to stabilise with a lighter presence. The complete drawdown resulted owing to an impasse over the legal immunity of residual US troops in Iraq post 2011.

Iraq has become a battleground for war between Shia and Sunni Muslims as viewed in Afghanistan, Syria, and Pakistan, all of which are battlegrounds of proxy wars. The existing religio-geographic dynamics cannot be overlooked. Hezbollah and Iran combined with Alawites of Syria have been aiming at reviving the Greater Iran, keeping in view their own schismatic ideology, the effects of which reflect in the current proxy war in Pakistan. The geographic link formed is Hezbollah on one end, Syria and Iraq forming the centre with Iran at the other end, converging to solidify a unified religious school of thought.

Back to Iraq now: Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has failed to reconcile with the country’s Sunnis and Kurdish populations. In power since 2006, he has faced increasing insurgencies, in particular from a splinter group of Al-Qaeda named ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). The ISIS has pushed out Nouri al-Maliki from many cities of Iraq. It has come to a point where increasingly the ‘minus 1’ formula is being supported, not only by the US but also by the Arab world. In a piece published by CNN, “There’s hope that a government bringing the Sunnis and Kurds into the political process would curb sympathies for ISIS by those who find themselves on the outside.” (June 19, 2014)

According to a report by Reuters, “Saudi Arabia gave an apparent warning to arch enemy Iran on Wednesday by saying outside powers should not intervene in the conflict in neighbouring Iraq. Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also said Iraq was facing a full-scale civil war with grave consequences for the wider region. His remarks coincided with an Iranian warning that Tehran would not hesitate to defend Shi’ite Muslim holy sites in Iraq against “killers and terrorists”, following advances by Sunni militants there.” (Published June 18, 2014) Iran, of course, fears a unified anti-Iranian Iraq, a potential threat to Iran herself.

According to Kenneth M Pollack for a Brookings paper, “Senior Iraqi officials and political leaders from across the political spectrum grudgingly concede that no Iraqi can become prime minister without Tehran’s blessing. Indeed, Maliki’s re-election was engineered — much to his own chagrin — by the Iranians who forced him to partner with the Sadrists (and the Sadrists to partner with him), and then leaned on the Kurds to do the same, forcing Iraqiyya (and the Americans) to accept the current, dysfunctional government that serves no one’s interests in Iraq except Tehran’s.” (November 15, 2011)

What then are the options available for the US?

First, it can look away. It has withdrawn from Iraq, claiming victory. The invasion that was undertaken to destroy weapons of mass destruction unearthed none. The aim to destroy presence of Al-Qaeda revealed none, not at the time of invasion anyways. So US can just look away, shrugging away any moral responsibility.

Second, it can have American boots on ground. Here, I will agree with Kristof that the US may in all probability get sucked into a civil war it helped create as a result of ‘bad intelligence’. “That does not mean we have no further responsibility towards Iraq. The current mess is a consequence of the invasion; it is possible to argue that foreign forces should not have gone into the country in the way that they did, but also that they should not have left while the country remained so unstable. This is partly the fault of Maliki, who failed to negotiate terms under which the Americans would leave a small force in Iraq when they withdrew in 2011. Yet one of the striking things about ISIS is how small their numbers actually are, with some reports suggesting they took the city with a single battalion of between 500 and 800 fighters.”(Joan Smith June 15, 2014, in The Independent)

Iran may have offered to be an ally of the US in Iraq; however, the US understands that the desired outcome of the current Iraqi situation by both US and Iran may be diametrically different. Whereas Iran will desire continuation of a Shi’ite government, the US would want the present political dispensation to develop a broader base, including the Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis. The US would ideally like Iran to play a positive role in negotiating a settlement between Nouri al-Maliki’s government and its opponents. Iran, on the other hand, would like to see US beat down the ISIS.

However, should the Iraqi government make real efforts to woo the support of Kurds and the Sunnis, US can cooperate to bring better harmony by helping clobber an alliance between the existing governments with moderates in rebel ranks. The US can help coordinate the federal and KRG forces and, having occupied Iraq since 2003, US can offer invaluable logistical support.

Does this bring us back to Kristof’s option of putting together a political deal with the stakeholders? This then brings me to my next question: how long can this last even if achieved?

In the meanwhile, Obama has announced sending in around 300 troops back to Iraq. No, it’s not to help anyone but the “temporary relocation of some staff from the US Embassy in Baghdad to the US Consulates General in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman,” according to the accompanying letter from the Press Secretary’s office.

Tailpiece: Iraq may implode and the Middle East will go up in flames should it do so. The US, the only country that can help, can only do so in a limited capacity and that too is based on many ifs and buts. What is taking place on ground in Iraq, as I write, may well break Iraq up into three distinct states changing the face of Middle East.



Democracy endangered by democracy

Time to stand by the forces

ArticleYAA A facebook status commented on the attack on Karachi Airport on June 9th 2014, “Don’t take me wrong, but they all had to eventually die. A group of some 15 men could obviously not stand against army, rangers and police combined for long. Point is, they still accomplished what they came for. They didn’t come here to take the airport hostage for a lifetime. They came here to tell you, that you aren’t safe. They came here to tell you and the international community that Pakistan is nothing but a war zone. They came here to tell the people from other countries not to visit this country. They came here to tell the foreign investors not to invest here. They were here to tell today’s youth to fly out of this country. They came here to degrade your image. And they did it.”

“When the outer perimeter defense is breached the initial object has been successful,” says analyst Haris Khan of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank, in a report byUsman Ansari for Defense News (June 9, 2014)

But is there more to this sad narrative? The weapons in possession of terrorists were Indian made as was a medicine ‘Factor Eight’ found on them used by frontline Indian soldiers to inject themselves to stop bleeding and reduce pain. Nonetheless, these are also available in the international market. Their presence does however raise questions and a need to investigate the trail of the find.

I had tweeted on 9th May 2014, “No international cricket team came to Pakistan after attack on the Sri Lankan team. Will the attack on Karachi airport result in invoking an invisible no fly zone for international flight hitting Pak economy?”

On May 9th 2014 the op-ed editor of a local newspaper posted two tweets, put together it said, “Cargolux – one of the world’s biggest cargo carriers – cancels weekly flight service to Karachi. Cathay Pacific says it is cancelling all flights to Karachi – used to operate four flights a week between Karachi and Hong Kong.”

If warning off international cricket from home ground Pakistan was the objective it was brilliantly achieved in one stroke. The Guardian reported, “The future of international cricket was thrown into the air yesterday as the game’s world governing body warned that the sport had been changed irrevocably by the first targeted attacks on sports figures since the Munich Olympics 37 years ago.

After the first Test series in cricket-mad Pakistan for 14 months was brought to a bloody and premature end, the International Cricket Council (ICC) immediately cast doubt on the likelihood of the 2011 world cup being held in the country.

Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan was hurriedly cancelled and a helicopter chartered to take their shaken players home, including the seven injured in the attack. Match officials were evacuated to Abu Dhabi.” (Published March 4, 2009)

A local newspaper, in a report published five years down that fatal day the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked, said, “Even five year after the attack on Sri Lankan team, and in spite of all governmental claims, the revival of international cricket in Pakistan is still a far cry…This attack not only wiped out international cricket from Pakistan but also caused irreparable damage to the image of the country and its cricketing revenues.” (March 3, 2014)


The attack on Karachi airport reminded me of that attack many years ago. One destroyed international cricket in Pakistan; will the attack on Karachi airport frighten off foreign carriers?


The attack on Karachi airport reminded me of that attack many years ago. One destroyed international cricket in Pakistan; will the attack on Karachi airport frighten off foreign carriers? “Rakisits says terrorists know that Karachi is Pakistan’s commercial hub and that attacks there would scare off foreign investors and bring the economy to its knees. He says Pakistan needs to brace itself for the worst.” (Usman Ansari for Defense News)

Security at sensitive places after talks with the Taliban having been effectively called off by the government should have been tightened up many notches. This unfortunately does not seem to have happened.

Another report by Declan Walsh states, “But Sunday’s attack closed, temporarily, a transport hub that for many is a gateway to meetings in Dubai, holidays in Thailand and summer homes in London. Some Karachi residents said they feared that western airlines might reduce their services, as some did after the Red Mosque siege in Islamabad in 2007.” (New York Times June 9, 2014) Quoting Adil Najam, a Pakistani analyst, the report states, “Now that the Taliban have splintered, we could see multiple groups fighting the government in different ways,” said Mr Najam, the academic. “And so the real test is whether the political will can hold.”

Mr Adil Najam has hit the nail on the head. The political will is the key. No matter what the people of Pakistan may want, the decisions lie with the political dispensation.PM Nawaz’s government had believed that talks with the Taliban will bring peace to the country. This has not worked for many reasons. First, Taliban are working on an agenda, and peace does not figure in their plans. Second. With splintering of ranks within Taliban, some factions may support peace talks while obviously others do not.

Eventually on the directions of the government, Pakistan army has launched an operation against foreign and local terrorists hiding in sanctuaries in North Waziristan Agency — the decision has come on heels of this attack.

In my op-ed dated May 26, 2014 I had written, “The question is; will the terrorists restrict themselves to North Waziristan or escape to other areas to regroup in face of the military offensive? The answer is no to the first part and yes to the second part. Even if the security forces reportedly took the caution of sealing off exit points from North Waziristan, which they did; leaks would have led to many exits before the offensive happened. The fact remains; not every Taliban is in North Waziristan, cross border ingress and support has happened before and will happen again. With the heat turned on, attacks in other parts of Pakistan and lethal attacks for that matter will be launched to divert and deflect attention. There are good chances of the fire spreading.”

Nonetheless, the decision to launch an attack against Taliban has come. The entire nation must stand with this decision of the government and the Pakistan army as one man.

That ‘bloody Sunday’ Pakistan suffered two attacks. One was on Karachi airport and the other in Taftan. 30 died as a result of the bombing, a suicide bomber entering the Al Murtaza Hotel and blew himself up in the midst of milling shi’a pilgrims. This tragic news was overshadowed by the Karachi airport incident with all the ingredients of a box office thriller that took over the TV screens.

Some sections of the media have been quick to fuel more uncertainty by commenting on a widening civil-military divide. This is just so sad. Instead of focusing on the political strength of the political parties who have finally agreed on a military solution; a tough decision by any standards, there seems to be a desire to wedge differences by airing such views that cannot be in the interest of Pakistan at this juncture.

Any democratic government coming to power through the will of the people just needs to do one thing; focus on delivering. Insecurity seeps in only when this basic objective is lost. The promotion of division lines by certain elements must be strongly ignored. The threat then to democracy comes; from democracy itself.

Cross Post:

Letting Farzana die


An issue of conscience, a problem of wrongly practised traditions


Farzana did not die on 27th May, 2014, as claimed, for marrying a man of her choice and allegedly being stoned to death outside the Lahore High Court by her family. She has died over and over again. Farzana survived an attempted attack on her when her father, brother and some family members shot her, stuffed her in a sack and threw her in a canal near Hafizabad. Only she was called Saba Maqsood then. An 18-year-old whose crime was that she wanted to marry a man she loved.

An Asian Human Rights Commission Report states, “In Pakistan, each year hundreds of women and girls are killed because of alleged relations with males, or for refusing to abide by their parents’ choice of husbands. In September 2003, a human rights organisation in Pakistan reported that at least 631 women and six girls died in ‘honour killing’ cases perpetrated by their own relatives during the first eight months of 2003. These figures were based only on newspaper reports, which fall far short of the total number of actual killings which are likely to be many times more. The male relatives who usually commit the murders are rarely sanctioned within their communities. It appears that any action by a female that is deemed to compromise the family reputation, whether real or merely suspected, is considered a valid reason to commit murder.”

Each time a Farzana dies, the mindset that associates violation of family honour with the right of a woman to take a legally conscious decision of choosing a life partner, allowed to her by Islam, becomes stronger, either by direct action of male members of the family or by a jirga. “In Sindh province the jirga system is particularly strong, so even where the families of victims lodge complaints with the police and motivate them to investigate cases, these cases do not usually end up in court due to high costs and long delays in getting justice. Therefore, victims’ families resort to the jirga, where the cases are mostly settled within a few days, usually by way of compensation and without any possibility of punishment for the perpetrators, under the Ordinance of Qisas (law of retribution) and Diyat (law of compensation). Under this Ordinance, if the guardian of the victim forgives the offender and the offender provides compensation, the offender can be released without any punishment. For this reason too, in many killings of women that are not actually ‘honour killings’, the perpetrators claim that the woman was an adulterer or otherwise, in order to avoid criminal proceedings and have a jirga decide the matter.

On 23 April, 2004, in a significant decision, Justice Rehmat Hussain Jaffery of the Sukkur Bench, High Court of Sindh, outlawed tribal jirgas as contrary to the Constitution. He also strictly banned efforts to organise or arrange any type of jirga, and bound law enforcement agencies to take several steps against them. In his judgement, Justice Jaffery stated that:

“…Private persons have no authority to execute the decision of jirgas nor do the jirgas have the authority to execute their own decisions through their own sources. If such decisions are carried out and executed by killing persons, then the offence of murder will be committed and they will be liable for action as per the law… the jirgas have also usurped the powers of the executing authorities which are not permissible under the Constitution or the law.” (Asian Human Rights Commission)

In an article updated by Max Fisher on June 2, 2014, “Take the case, from 2007, of a 13-year-old Pakistani girl who was gang-raped and then formally condemned by village elders for having sex outside of wedlock. Her family was pressured to murder her in an honour killing but refused, instead asking police to arrest her rapists. The police refused and the community members attacked the family for failing to take her life. Her family’s legal battle for justice for her rapists made her case a national symbol of the fight over honour killings.”

Marrying of choice and free will is the basic right of every Muslim woman and man. Yet women are targeted for ‘violating a family’s honour’. Pakistan however is not the only country in the world that has a high rate of honour killings. Other countries practicing this are India, Alabania and also Brazil. South Asia and Middle East are most ‘afflicted’ by the honour killings. Rothna Begum, Middle East and North Africa researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), says, “Honour crimes tend to happen in places where there are inflexible and discriminatory attitudes about women’s roles, especially around their sexuality, and these are often applicable to women but not exclusively so, because sometimes men are targeted for honour crimes as well.”

According to a report by Radio Free Europe“Experts say that honour killings are linked to patriarchal societies and the earliest historical evidence of them dates back to Babylon. They arise from the notion that women are the vessels of a family’s honour and are closely tied to values placed on marriage with virgin brides. Under this concept of honour, a family’s inability to guarantee a daughter’s virginity prior to marriage is a cause for shame and for ostracism by neighbours.

But there are also economic factors at work.

Thibault says that in societies that practice arranged marriages, unions are as much about ensuring the common interests of the two families as those of the betrothed.

“These are marriages between families much more than between a man and a woman and marriages between families are to obtain a better economic situation, to get more farmland, to have a better social standing,” says Thibault. “If the marriage is threatened or broken off, the family no longer attains what it hoped for in terms of better social or economic status.” (Published June 07, 2014)

Since most crimes of this nature are confined within the four walls of the house, governments and human rights organisations have no correct estimates of the ‘honour killings’ committed. For every one reported, there are so many that go unreported. Nothing will change unless peoples’ attitude towards such issues changes. Women need to be accepted as equal to men. Equality in terms of making choices, equality in terms of rights, and equality in terms of living lives freely. Education plays a huge role in changing attitudes. Education leads to enlightenment.

International organisations like the United Nations too have not been successful in enforcing curbs on such human rights violations. They lack the mechanism, sources and infrastructure to place effective curbs upon such happenings. The UN can place sanctions against the violating countries but this in turn ends up hurting people of the very country UN ironically tries to protect.

Under Islamic law, punishment for crimes like murder and/or inflicting bodily injury takes two forms i.e., qisas, an equal punishment as inflicted, or diyat, which is basically paying to the legal heirs compensation for life lost or/and bodily injury inflicted. Generally speaking in a situation with two parties involved – one rich and well-connected and usually on the giving end, and the other neither rich nor well-connected and usually the one at the receiving end – it is easy to influence upon the weaker party to accept the offer by the stronger party. External factors that usually favour the stronger party generally prevail. Victims of a crime ‘forgive’ the accused under this law. This Ordinance is also misused to allow culprits of ‘honour killings’ go free by applying the same standards.

There are two approaches to address the misuse of the law. The first supports the idea that murder and/or bodily hurt must be treated as a state offence and not as a private offence for the heirs to forgive. The other approach is to correct the loopholes in the justice system, not the ordinance itself.

Till such time honour killings are effectively stopped from the land of the pure, every day Farzanas continue to die. No one knows their graves and no one cares.

Twitter ID @yasmeen_9

Cross post:

The Pakistan Coup detat of 1958: Part VII

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part 1 on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part 11 on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part III on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part IV on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part V on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part Vi on by clicking the link:


By Naveed Tajammal

Naveed PicOne can  comprehend the rationale of Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan in leasing out the Badaber CIA Spy Station for 10 years[1959-1969]-after all it was this concurrence to allow the Americans this Facility which made the Americans drop like a hot potato Major General Iskandar Mirza[As he was not willing to allow them this facility]-That factor aside, What no apologist of Ayub Khan can defend is the next the other major event which took place-after 28 Oct 1958-Which was the Signing of Indus Water Treaty 1960-The Americans after the Second world war were trying hard to emerge as the new global power i.e after the fall of the British Empire-and so were slowly getting involved in the geo-politics of the regions-The Kashmir Issue was a sore thumb since 1947-and a bitter war had been fought to reclaim it-Americans had put forward in 1951 David E. Lilienthal who was the head of TVA [Tennessee Valley Authority -which in its scope covered the water issues between various American states, within TVA] and in 1952 jumped in the World Bank-however by 1954 it was clear that neither Pakistan nor India were willing to budge or cave in-During the whole of 1955-Pakistan continued to press the point that, just the three upper Western rivers,’ ‘Without Storage Facilities’ would be unable to meet even replacement uses in the critical rabbi-maturing-khariff sowing seasons and the Khariff-maturing -rabi-sowing seasons, At Pakistan’s repeated requests, the World Bank finally agreed to ask TAMS [ this was the New York based firm of Tippets-Abbott-McCarthy-Stratton or TAMS which acted as consultants to the World Bank on all engineering and hydrological issues-and three members had been earmarked to handle the water issues related between Pakistan and India i.e Gerald T. McCarthy General James H. Stratton and John B. Drisko].

The TAMS team, led by John Drisko was asked to study and appraise the Bank about the seasonal adequacy of water supplies- The team did a thorough study and came to a conclusion that Pakistani engineers were indeed correct!

On 21 May 1956 the Bank issued an ‘Aide Memoire’ which in crux agreed that under the circumstances keeping in the Flow of the three upper rivers it was not sufficient to meet the seasonal needs of West Pakistan-unless storage was provided-Only after the this Aide Memoire was issued that the Civilian Government of Pakistan agreed in principle to study the proposal of division of the river waters between India and Pakistan-The Aide Memoire had proposed that India should bear the cost of storage facilities  and the cost of enlarging the link canals, including the cost of an ”Upper Indus Link” through Potohar Plateau the total cost of these were in the money value of 1956-a whopping $ 2.3 Billion ! this canal was to link Indus at Attock gorge through a canal going diagonally connecting with Jhelum river and onward linking to lower canal works which relied on the lower three rivers-During the study it was estimated of the three different sites of Tarbela that the one  at, Attock Gorge Dam was ideal as it could store up to 16 m.a.c of water-the flooding of lower regions of Peshawar or Mardan were negated by diverting the excess waters across the deep Potohar link canal-onward to River Jhelum and further into the Chinab and lower link canals.

The cost of all these developments  India was supposed to pay-Pakistan’s stance on the concept was very clear-that the replacement uses alone were insufficient to compensate her for surrendering her rights to all the lower three rivers-Ravi-Beas and Sutlej-because Pakistan would thereby loss all the flood waters too-which were required as they yearly rejuvenated the riverbank regions with fresh silt and recharged the underground water reservoirs-and so the tubewells. Pakistan all along had asserted that some development rather than just replacement funding ought to be included in an equitable agreement, because the Object here was to restore Pakistan to her 1947 position, whereas after 1947 due to a large influx of refugees the population increased thereby leading to more load on her canal irrigated colonies-and Pakistan was yearly losing fertile lands  due to mismanaged British Colonial irrigation system which had rendered ,At the time of our Independence in 1947,Thanks to canal colonies and related canal networks all over. We had 11 million acres under water logging, and 16 million were affected by Salinity [5 million acres severely salinized] -Colombo plan report’, extracts from ‘Landforms, soils and Land use of Indus plains-West Pakistan.Ottowa-1958.A Canadian venture hired to do the surveys,1951 onward.

Indians had refused to budge and give in the required sum-the stalemate continued till the Lord of the Duffers took over on 28 Oct 1958-

It was in November 1958-seeing removal of  the Civilian Government that the Indians gave their  new proposal to the World Bank which set the ball rolling in India’s favour, the Pakistani side was no longer fighting her rights but gradually retreating in the twilight, Ayub Khan was in chair he had to appease the Americans whatever it may cost to Pakistan all subsequent major decisions were between Ayub and Nehru-Ayub Khan fully knew that, Nehru had, hired the services of an outstanding German international Lawyer and an expert on river waters, a Professor F.J. Berber, and for years till the signing of the Indus Water Treaty, remained an employee of Govt. of India, though he did join the Munich University later, but remained a Consultant of GOI (govt. of India).

The works, of P.J. Berber translated in English i.e, Rivers in international Law’ to date remains an authority, the London Institute of World Affairs, had the book published.

The other reason why Nehru had the date of ratification of Indus treaty, back dated from September 1960 to 1st April, was because on 1st April 1948, they had shut down our waters, from the UBDC!!!

The callousness of Ayub Khan can never be forgiven for signing the Indus water Treaty 1960.whereas per Aide Mémoire earlier mentioned India was to pay in 1956 money terms value a sum of  $ 2.3 Billion ,and the question of flood waters of three lower rivers was also a prerequisite-Ayub Khan under pressure from Americans and Nehru agreed to a mere $ 174 million Indian contribution ,that too spread over the next one decade In nutshell .Ayub Khan sold out Pakistan’s rights over the lower three rivers and plus gave Indian’s the right of building storage facilities on our share of upper three rivers, for just $ 174 million-what a great leader Ayub Khan was !

Ayub Khan always copied ideas-His brain and mentor was Maj. Gen Iskandar Mirza whom he had booted out-in his greed for absolute power-as we see that after 28 Oct 1958 Ayub followed the guidelines given by Iskandar Mirza-reference report sent by British High Commissioner Karachi -dt-29 September 1958 -DO-35/8943 [British Papers].

”President Iskandar Mirza has told the High Commissioner that he is contemplating a Coup d’état with Army support-whereby he would dismiss the present Government. postpone the elections due in early 1959 and govern the country himself with help of 20-30 good men-who would reshape a new constitution’-later in yet another interview dated-08 Oct 1958-Iskandar Mirza had indicated that the new constitution would take 3-5 years and even the new constitution would Not provide for Adult or female franchise and that he favored a unitary form of government for Pakistan”.

Ayub went ditto-after abrogating the constitution jointly with Iskandar Mirza on 08 Oct 1958-the new constitution came in 1962-he took his 4 years-and there was no such thing as a adult franchise in it- as per the Census of 1961-the total population of Pakistan was 93.8 million-East Pakistan had 50.9 million and West had 42.9 million, with a further gender breakdown of 49.3 million males and 44.5 million females.

So Ayub to ensure that he ruled for forever-with the Aide of Manzur Qadir his guarding legal angle-devised the devious plan of Basic Democracies, the idea which had germinated on 1st May 1959 was approved on 12-13 June 1959 at Nathigali Govt. House. Ayub Khan who was under a phobia of politicians by a stroke of pen eliminated their threat he imposed in 1959 EBDO [elective bodies disqualifications order 1959 – all 98′ top ranking politicians were debarred from participating in political activities for the next 6 years and the Order was enforced on 07 Aug 1959-and after this came the Basic Democracies Order which was enforced on 27 Oct 1959.  By virtue of this Order, From the whole of Pakistan both wings 4000 units each were identified-so from these 8000 units 10 men each were selected by the local police stations mostly from the bundle A and bundle B cadre of criminals who were bound to the police stations by default –

The nomination or selection of these 80,000 BD members was completed in January 1960-Ayub khan in a hurry wanted to get a urgent vote of confidence from the newly elected BD’s who now formed the new electoral college-The ever wise Manzur Qadir came up with a answer-He insisted that voting will be confined within the units under supervision of the Police, all BD members will  be put forth just one question-”Have You Confidence In The President Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, Hilal-e-Pakistan Hilal i Jurat. ”

This question was put before the BD members on 15 Feb 1960-and 75,283 0r 95.6 % replied in a ‘Yes’ and on 17 Feb 1960 Ayub Khan was sworn in as the First elected President of Pakistan-the same day he announced the appointment of a commission to form the new constitution under Justice Shahabuddin with 5 members from each province.

Sultan Muhammad Khan our former Secretary Foreign Affairs writes in his book, ‘Memories and Reflections ‘1997.”In the month of  May 1960,President Ayub and his entourage were in London for commonwealth Prime Ministers meeting, ZAB was officiating as the acting Foreign Minister-During that time USSR made a dramatic announcement that they had shot down a U2 spy plane which had taken from a base [Badaber] in Pakistan…After consulting Brig. Riaz Hussain Shah the head of Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate [I.S.I.D] or the later I. S. I,and Air Marshal Asghar Khan Commander in Chief of the Pakistan Airforce, who both vehemently denied that any such flight had originated from Pakistan. Bhutto issued a statement exonerating Pakistan from any involvement-Apparently everybody was under the impression or were dead certain that Gary Power the pilot of U2 would have died when his plane was hit, he had also been provided with a poison capsule to avoid falling into the hands of the soviets-as luck would have it Gary power not only survived the shooting of his plane-he even ejected safely and landed on his feet-to live and tell the tale.

Sultan-states that the next day the Soviet Ambassador Dr. Kapitsa came to see him and he was confident that he would refute all charges the soviet Ambassador might make-however the Ambassador showed a written confession of Gary Powers stating that he had flown from Badaber [Peshawar Airbase] and the Soviet Ambassador pounded the table with his fists-as to what was Govt. of Pakistan up to, and should Khrushchev[Soviet Leader] wish he had the power ,that would in a single raid  obliterate both Badaber and the Peshawar Airbase -now we revert to the flip side of Ayub Khan.

Christine Keeler was a English model girl-she moved within the higher circles of British Society and since 1961 she had been involved with the British Secretary of state for War-and others in June 1963 came, ”The Confessions of Christine Keeler’ which are very well elucidated in the British Papers-Oxford Press-pages 146-onward.

The Article contained references to Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, President of Pakistan

”………It had been a romantic day. Love was in the hot air. President Ayub Khan of

Pakistan was one of the guests at a party at Cliveden. I liked the President he was

more English than the English. Like Ivanov, he was a real man, husky, suave and

incredibly virile for his age. He was a wonderful swimmer, and perhaps I not say

this, but I tried to keep as close to him in the water as I could during fun and   game        ……….”

A lot of denials by the Foreign office of Pakistan were issued on this subject-and the next almost 20 pages of the declassified British Papers i.e Page 146 onward deal with this shameful episode-

[To be continued …..]

The Coup of 1958: Part VI

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part 1 on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part 11 on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part III on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part IV on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part V on by clicking the link:


Naveed Tajammul


Naveed PicVarious versions have been narrated by different persons about the Sequence of events which led to the second Coup d’état of night 27/28 Oct 1958-According to Q. U. Shahab the Secretary to both the President’s i.e Iskandar Mirza and Ayub Khan, and Q. U. Shahab being a true bureaucrat is very selective whenever he wants to be,as can be seen in his 840 page ‘Shahab-Nama’, He says that, The President of Pakistan – Iskandar Mirza approached the Karachi Air force Base Commander-Air Commodore Maqbool Rabb to Arrest certain Army Generals-Q. U. Shahab as is seen is being his elusive self-Where he wants to go in details like in case of sari’s or jewelry or intimate personal traits of Begum Naheed Mirza he is all flowing & graphic, as well about the daily night moon parties at the President House and other like trivialities-as who drank most and who threw up-But on the subjects of the National Importance he is vague.

The version which Gohar Ayub Khan son of Ayub Khan gives in his book ‘Glimpses into the corridors of power’-2007, is a little more detailed-’the gist of his narration is that while his father was on his tour of East Pakistan-Iskandar Mirza, Contacted Air Commodore Maqbool Rabb and Brig Qayyum Sher asking them to arrest Gen. Ayub Khan when he returned from Dacca-The President’s telephones were being monitored by the intelligence agencies, and both officers confirmed that the President had contacted each individually-and that when Gen Ayub returned at Karachi Airport he found Lieutenant General Musa Khan, Major General Abdul Hamid and Major General Sher Bahadur waiting for him at the steps of his residence-And an urgent meeting was held attended by Brig. Malik Muhammad Hayat who was the DMI who briefed General Ayub about the Telephone calls and future plans of Iskandar Mirza-and further adds that those who pressed for the immediate ouster of Iskandar Mirza were Major General Yahya Khan CGS and Major General Abdul Hamid.

Gohar Ayub Khan further states that, ‘on the evening of 27 Oct 1958,there was a garden party at the President’s House all senior officers assigned with Martial Law duties were there to attend the party-That earlier in the day the letter of resignation for President to Sign had been typed by Major Majid Malik [who later in his career, became Lieutenant General and a Federal Minister], it had been also decided that Lieutenant General Azam and Lieutenant General W.A Burki [who was a medical doctor by profession, and not a infantry officer ] and Lieutenant General K. M. Shiekh would arrive at the President House at midnight and tell the President to resign-meanwhile a company of 9 Punjab would disarm the police guards at the President House.

The telephone lines of the President House & its Staff had been cut off ,At around midnight -after the garden  party was over- the three General’s went up to the first floor of the President House where the drawing room was, and asked the Staff to call in the President-The President came to the Drawing Room and enquired the reason of the meeting-General Azam produced the letter of resignation-which Iskandar Mirza read, and signed it-He was told that he would be leaving shortly for Quetta for a few days and later for London. That it was Brig. Bahadur Sher who escorted Iskandar Mirza and Begum Nahid Mirza to Quetta-

Altaf Gauhar who became the information Secretary to President Ayub khan and was also called the Goebbels of Ayub Era-Writes of the same incident in his book-’Ayub Khan -Pakistan’s First Military Ruler’-1993-The Crux of his version states that, Ayub khan returned from Dacca on 23 Oct 1958-he was informed that President Iskandar had telephoned Air Commodore Rabb of Pakistan Air force incharge of Mauripur Airport, and gave him instructions to arrest Generals-Yahya, Sher Bahadaur and Hamid and that when informed Ayub got in touch with Iskandar and warned him not to play with fire-Iskandar denied passing such orders, and assured Ayub that he had been grossly misinformed. On 24th Oct. Ayub Khan went to offer condolences to Mumtaz Husssan Secretary Finance whose young daughter had died-There he told the MS to the President Colonel Nawazish that he was willing to work with anybody but in his own way-Next day Ayub Was given a invitation to attend a Duck Shoot. Ayub khan declined the invitation on a plea that he had sprained his ankle-the Duck shoot was cancelled-

On the evening of 27th Oct there was a TV interview with Foreign Correspondents on the lawns of President House. [the Garden party as referred by Gohar Ayub above] Ayub Khan arrived at 4.30 pm and walked around with Colonel Nawazish the MS to the President. Later Iskandar and Ayub Khan both answered the questions put forth by news correspondent’s for the next 45 minutes-At the end of the interview Iskandar remarked to Ayub that he was a good actor-Colonel Nawazish left the President’s house at 9.30 pm and went home-He was woken by the ADC at 10.30 pm and told to come to the office. That Nawazish took a Taxi and reached the President House, and found Army Officer stationed at the Gate. Brig. Bahadaur Sher was occupying his old Office and had taken over as the MS-He informed Nawazish that Iskandar Mirza had resigned and would be leaving for Quetta shortly-

Nawazish walked up to President’s room and found Iskandar in a red dressing gown, walking up and down and smoking-Begum Nahid Mirza was packing her things and walked up to Nawazish and asked him ‘Is this what we deserve?” they jammed their stuff in six boxes and left the keys for rest of their belongings with Nawazish-that Brig Bahadaur Sher was in total charge of the President House and was seen moving up and down with a pistol in his hands. Iskandar Mirza changed in a bush shirt and before departure left some money for a servant whose wedding had been arranged earlier and also gave Nawzish a Gold pen-which was a gift for Q. U. Sahahab his secretary.[The purpose of this gift was, it was said, that Q. U. Shahab  being a writer and mentor of all state paid journalist should draw a true pen picture of the sequence of events which had led to the exit of Iskandar Mirza and the true role of Ayub Khan. Sadly this Q.U. Shahab never did]

According to MB Khalid-who had continued since 1952 as a PA to the Governor General Ghulam Mohammad  & onward-and had seen the rise and fall of many a stalwarts-in his 16 years of service-It was after Ayub Khan had stage managed the event of 19 Oct 1958  at the President House, as has been discussed in the previous part of this article-in which the Advocate General of Pakistan Army had categorically  stated, Before the Chief Justice of Pakistan, that as Martial Law had been imposed since night 07/08 Oct-and the Constitution abrogated, Assemblies Dismissed and Cabinet dissolved-The President no longer had any writ left-all power now vested with the Chief Martial Law Administrator- That when this news reached the ears of Begum Nahid Mirza she was livid-and She had advised Iskandar Mirza to himself become the Chief Martial Law Administrator and make Ayub Khan the deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator-As this mistake could not be rectified at this stage-according to MB Khalid ,Daily shrill shouting  matches between Iskandar and Nahid on this issue became a routine-and could be heard loud and clear-the residency of the President house had right underneath it the offices of the Principle staff, and the rest of late night discussions were told through the regular night staff servants in the President House.

MB Khalid narrates in his autobiography that when on the morning of 28th Oct 1958 as he had started his morning walk he saw Inspector Maula Bux of Police who was in charge of the security of the President House standing at a side of the lawn-on him seeing MB Khalid, he waved towards him in a beckoning way-Khalid says, he walked up to him & Maula Bux whispered that, ‘They took them away’-Khalid being clueless, inquired ‘took away whom ? Maula Bux whispered back urgently ‘They took away Iskandar Mirza’ and Khalid still puzzled further asked ‘Where?’ Maula Bux- replied-I don’t know where’-and with that Maula Bux who could not restrain himself further, spluttered out the details-’Last night at 10 pm I was called on the phone to report to my office-when I reached my office a Army Major was sitting on my office chair- The whole police guard detailed at the President House was lined up and was being dis-armed. And the troops were disembarking from two army trucks and taking over the Police posts-I was ordered to hand over my Revolver-which I did to the Army Major-soon after all my subordinate police officers were rounded up and made to sit in one room-the rest of the police guard likewise was herded in other rooms-Late in the night a convoy of vehicles left the President House-Iskandar Mirza and Begum Nahid Mirza must have been taken away in that convoy- I have just been released from my confinement so here I am.

MB Khalid says he reached his office as per schedule [The Principle staff had accommodation within the old Governor General House]-He states it was very quiet in the offices-and here he heard the story which was circulating from the lips of night waiters/cooks/bearers/sentry guards-that around 11 pm Gen. Burki, Azam and K. M. Shiekh came in uniform-Iskandar Mirza and Begum Nahid had by then gone to their suite-That, Iskandar did whatever they asked him to do-but Begum Nahid started yelling and shouting there was a sharp sound of slap and afterwards it was all quite. That around One o’clock all left.

MB Khalid mentions in his book of a interview given by Gen KM Sheikh who was the minister of interior in the new cabinet of 08 Oct 1958- in the mid-1980′s in a leading Urdu Newspaper. The narration or sequence as given by KM Sheikh is-”That I and Gen Ayub had gone on a tour of East Pakistan on return back at the Mauripur Airport-we were received by Brig Malik Mohammad Hayat who was the Director of Military Intelligence-who approached me and  informed me that he had to discuss a very urgent matter with Gen Ayub Khan-and it would be better if we sit in the staff car and discuss the issue-Brig Hayat now gave the details-that soon after Gen Ayub had left for Dacca . Iskandar Mirza had told Air Commodore Maqabool Rabb who was the Commander of Air force base and its troops to encircle all Army installations and put under arrest all senior Army officers in Karachi-That after his meeting with the President Maqbool Rabb forthwith called Brig Hayat and told him of the instructions given to him by the President, that it was after this disclosure that plans were made to dispose of Iskandar Mirza. That it was KM Sheikh who had asked Iskandar Mirza to sign his abdication-that Iskandar Mirza read the paper-smiled and signed the paper.

Reverting back to the British Papers-mentioned in other parts of this article Brigadier Kingzett with the British High Commission Karachi had this to say-in his DO dt-16th December 1958-The crux of his report states ;

‘I think Americans are confused about the coup planners…to my mind,the planning had been carried to advanced stage a long time back-The possibility of action being necessary existed and was discussed a long time back. Later it became a probability[07/08 Oct],later again [27/28 Oct] the plan was finalized-

The coup had been planned at GHQ by Maj. Gen Yahya Khan, Abdul Hamid and Brig. Peerzada-plus Maj-Gen Sher Bahadaur and Brig. Attiqur Rehman-…I would add that Yahya, Abdul Hamid and Peerzada having made the final plans came to Karachi as ‘Special Coup HQ’, and went back to GHQ after the Coup had been accomplished. In conclusion-Ayub is not especially clever but he has a loyal supporter in Musa Khan who has the Command of the Army-and that includes the brighter generals and the brains at GHQ’.

There is an Enclosure’ to a DO dt-18th December 1958-in which Sir Alexander Symons the British H.C at Karachi gives his  first conversation with the CGS Maj. Gen Yahya Khan when he was introduced to him by a Colonel Rashid Khan who had retired from Pakistan Army a year back and was now a manufacturer of Turpentine and Resin derivatives-Currently Rashid was a intimate friend of Yahya khan-Symons, states that I got a distinct impression that Rashid was eager to build his friend[Yahya] as the ‘real power’ behind Ayub…He [Rashid] further told Symons that things which had led to eviction of Iskandar, after Ayub Khan had returned from Dacca were because Iskandar had rung up Musa who was the Chief of Staff at GHQ and told him to come to Karachi at once-when Musa arrived Iskandar told him to forthwith have Ayub Khan Arrested ‘For plotting against him’-that it was Musa who had informed Ayub khan  about the orders given to him by the President-

Later at the meeting Yahya khan was accompanied by two Lieutenant Colonels in their early forties a Major. Musfi of engineers aged between 37 to 40 and his southern Irish wife, who appeared to be Yahya’s mistress or girlfriend and whose intimacies with the General during the evening embarrassed everyone apparently except the General and the husband.

Yahya is 42, tweedy,very English in manner and dress, good English and a pleasant, rather reserved manner. He has wit,humour,brains and ,I think, strong ambition. Our meeting lasted from about eight in the evening to one thirty the next per Yahya the rationale of the whole Coup was to restore the authority and moral confidence of the civil service. The Coup had given the power of ‘Choice’ back to the people, by sweeping away the politicians who had turned their back on the people.’ Yahya further built the justification  of the Coup, ‘We have one or two things to do-Land reforms, cleaning up corruption in the civil administration, education and the constitutional reforms our Foreign minister [Manzur Qadir] is now working on-then we will back out and return to the barracks, which is the proper place for an army”. Later in the evening when we were on our fifth or sixth glass of whisky, I said, ‘It was easy to take over power, but hard to give it up’ on this Yahya Khan exploded in anger which was a followed by a long diatribe, “how narrow you are, common people the masses of illiterate peasants who do not speak English and whom you will never meet, it is these people who are behind us’. The politicians trampled upon them and betrayed them for the last 10 years-…we are expressing 100 % democracy-not just your electioneering formalities and dirty little bits of balloting papers. Democracy for our people means a roof over their head and three square meals a day-and by God, we’ are going to see that people get these things before we back out for the sake of democracy”.

 [To be continued….]

Article 370: repeal and implications

Yasmeen Aftab Ali

ArticleYAAOne of the first steps BJP is doing after Modi’s swearing in ceremony (if you ignore telling off given to PM Nawaz that India expected steps by the latter taken against “terrorist groups.”) is to move to repealing of Article 370 of the Constitution of India that grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. Coming on heels of two unsavory incidents; not a very auspicious beginning. First. reported a day before Modi’s swearing in was the news of a protest by Rashtriya Hindu Andolan; a Hindutva group to ban Fajr Azaan Sanatan Sanstha activist Vijayalakshmi made a great hue and cry that India grants equal religious freedom to all however, this must not mean into followers of one religion disturbing the peace of the followers of other religions. Sleep is important. Duh!

In yet another incident, Hindus and Muslims clashed a day ahead of Modi’s swearing in at Ahmedabad; known as the heartland of Gujrat; Modi’s home town. A car accident of members between Muslim and Hindu communities led to an argument. More community members joined in. Altercation led to destruction. Ensuing fire destroyed three shops, one mini-bus and a couple of two-wheelers were burnt.

In a rewind; news report by Times of India, the headline screams, ‘Top cop says Gujarat CM Narendra Modi involved in Godhra case.’ The stunning report states and I share excerpts, “Senior IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, who was posted in the Intelligence Department, has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court accusing Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the 2002 Godhra case. Bhatt in his affidavit states that he was that he attended a meeting held at the chief minister’s residence on February 27, 2002.  Stating that the senior police officials had blindly followed Modis instructions in 2002, the officer in his affidavit further stated that this was responsible for the deterioration in the law and order situation in the state….. Bhatt has also made a request to the apex court to provide protection to him and his family. …Following the Godhra train burning incident, widespread communal riots broke out in various parts of Gujarat in which over 1,000 people, mostly from the minority community, were killed.” (Published Apr 22, 2011)

The purpose of giving the brief run down here is obvious. Modi carries a heavy Hindutva baggage. Commenting upon the huge electoral win in my op-ed published on MAY 19, 2014, I quoted Varghese K George, “The BJP had put its hardcore Hindutva agenda on the backburner when it began alliance building in 1996, but with absolute numbers on its side, the demand from within to bring these up may rise”. (The Hindu) Though Modi had assured the Indians against such an event happening let us not forget that was before the elections.”

I was not prepared though for being proved right so early in the day!

It is important to grasp what Article 370 is and its implications. Maharaja Hari Singh when acceded to India on 26 October 1947 “did not commit himself to accept any future Constitution of India. However, he reserved the right to enter into agreements with the Government of India under any future Constitution of India. The Instrument of Accession did not affect the continuance of the sovereignty of the Ruler in and over the State or the validity of any law in force in the State, save as provided by or under the Instrument of Accession.” (KASHMIR ARTICLE 370 by Mohan Krishen Teng) The said piece of legislation can only be revoked by the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir so recommends.

The reason for maintaining the sub-nationality for Jammu and Kashmir was self-evident; the fear of being ruled by Hindu majority India whereas Jammu and Kashmir was and is pre-dominantly Muslim.

The constitutional provisions envisaged by Article 370 of the Constitution of India and the subsequent Constitution (application to Jammu and Kashmir) Orders, promulgated by the President of India, provide for a partial application of the Constitution of India to the Jammu and Kashmir State. In their application to Jammu and Kashmir, the provisions of the Constitution of India fall into three categories:

· Provisions, which are not applicable to the Jammu and Kashmir State;

· Provisions, which are applicable to the Jammu and Kashmir State; and

· Provisions, which are applicable to the State with exceptions and reservations.

(KASHMIR ARTICLE 370 by Mohan Krishen Teng)

Those who support Modi’s move to repeal Article 370 ask questions like if it’s not really intact does it really make a difference if it’s legally changed? Yes Sirs it does make a difference. Changing the basic structure of the State changes the legal standing of its subjects. Make no mistake about it. According to Amitabh Mattoo, “…at the opposition conclave in Srinagar in 1982, leaders of virtually all national parties, including past and present allies of the BJP, declared that the “special constitutional status of J&K under Article 370 should be preserved and protected in letter and spirit.” (Published ‘The Hindu’ December 6, 2013)

Quoting from Sameer Yasir’s piece, ‘Kashmir’s special status is a political tinderbox’, “So it’s not surprising that Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah reacted swiftly, warning the newly elected government that any attempt to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir (read Article 370), could break the relationship between the state and the Union of India. “Mark my words and save this tweet-long after Modi Government is a distant memory either J&K won’t be part of India or Article 370 will still exist,” Omar tweeted in his response to Singh’s statement. Omar said Article 370 was the “only constitutional link” between Jammu and Kashmir and rest of India, a stand many senior Kashmir scholars and historians concur with.” (Published May 28, 2014)

The emerging posture of the above stated steps/events are a far cry from what Modi’s government SHOULD be focusing on: strengthening of India’s economy. A little too early in the day to pass a judgment, nonetheless, the direction in which waters seem to be flowing mark the path of a familiar religious based policy- which is a huge tragedy and a loss for India, using of  bullying tactics rather than to genuinely emerge as a leader in the region. A golden opportunity being thrown away.  India is at the right time, at the place in history. Such an approach however will ensure India loses the advantage!

The message being conveyed to the Indian Muslims, Indian Hindus and other religious groups residing in India by trying the over flexing of muscles is clear: Hindutva reigns supreme. This in turn will create extreme discomfort amongst other countries of the religion. No one wants a pushing, power hungry, religious driven neighbor. Or does anyone?

Professor Chetan Bhatt from the London School of Economics writing for ‘Outlook’ says, “Narendra Modi has managed to convert a few modest achievements in Gujarat into a shiny spectacle. A recent, gruesome history is erased by a fanatical cult of personality; in speaking about himself in the third person, Modi appears to be his most loyal fan. Chillingly, some Gujaratis in the UK and India are consciously indifferent to the deaths, rapes and brutalities in 2002. For them, they are a necessary outcome of the Hindutva revenge against history that Amit Shah, Pravin Togadia, Giriraj Singh and others have invoked recently— and the fact that they have, shows a characteristic division of labour with Modi speaking about something he calls ‘development’ while the hate speech is left to others.


Many liberals have concerns about Modi’s political discourse and style, since he knows no other world than that of the RSS and its parivar (indeed, one wonders what he might say in a discussion about the US debt ceiling, the Syria conflict or the Ukraine crisis.)”

Professor Bhatt I hear you loud and clear!

Whither Secular India?

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: and tweets at @yasmeen_9


Cross post from PAKISTAN TOPDAY published 3rd June 2014.




You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part I on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part II on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part IV by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part V by clicking the link:

Naveed Tajammal

Naveed PicLike the other two later dictators, who survived due to the Americans, interests in our region, the luck of Ayub Khan too changed as the need by the Americans arose to put him on the saddle, on 4th of Oct 1957,the Soviet union had launched its first satellite, ‘Sputnik’, and followed it with yet another on 3rd November-1957.A new frontier was born and the soviets were regarded world over as the first to have entered it-The reaction in USA was sheer panic, after the first American satellite, exploded on the launch pad-U.S prestige hit the rock bottom. It was the ‘Sputnik Crisis’ which led to the creation of NASA by USA and it was the start point of the ‘Space Race’ A term coined by the US president, Eisenhower .This phobia reached the climax starting 1958-When ‘Khrushchev, declared that U.S.S.R was about launch, ‘Intercontinental ballistic missiles'[ICBM]and produce them like ‘Sausages’, the result of this Soviet bravado was that amongst the American’s -a strong perception grew ,that, if U.S.S.R won the race in ICBM they would gain a decisive military edge over USA-which led to a urgent need to step up the surveillance of Soviet missile sites-Suddenly Pakistan’s importance  as the next door neighbor with ideal location for Airbases-

The Government under Feroze khan noon was not willing to give these concessions to the Americans-Ayub Khan seeing it as a opportunity, took a trip to USA in April 1958 and sought an appointment with Director of CIA Allen Dules & General Twining [Air force Vice Chief of Staff] without the knowledge of Iskandar Mirza-To the Americans, Ayub khan showed his desire to take over and meet the American demands of setting up the CIA base for keeping an eye on the affairs in U.S.S.R. According to the book-”From Plessey to Pakistan’- by Humayun Mirza the son of Iskandar Mirza-”Ayub Khan after he took over on 28th Oct 1958-signed a 10 years lease agreement with the Americans for a base station at Badaber-Peshawar-so that U2 could fly from Lahore & Peshawar to spy on the Soviet Union.

This is further corroborated by Sultan Muhammad Khan[He was a former Army Officer of the British Indian Army & Commissioned during the war  in 4th Indian Grenadiers, saw action in Malaysia and Indonesia, joined Indian Political service in 1946 and opted for Pakistan Foreign Service in 1947-he was the Foreign Secretary between July 1971 to March 1972],He writes in his book’, ‘Memories & Reflections’1997.It was in May 1959 that he returned back to the F.O.and relates that, ‘A few days after I had rejoined the Foreign Office, I was given the final Draft of the Agreement by  USA and Pakistan on the Acquisition of Badaber by the USA for the establishment of a secret base [CIA station] for monitoring Soviet activities in the development of Atomic weapons. Sultan M. Khan observes that, ‘given the total dependence of Ayub Khan’s Government on the USA by then’ ‘the conclusion of such an agreement was not a surprise, but what was surprising was the ”Extra-Territorial Rights which Pakistan was Conceding to USA, at Badaber. Pakistanis were totally excluded from the operations there and could not enter the base without U.S approval”. Sultan, reading the text and terms, writes in his book, that he approached Manzoor Qadir who was the Foreign Minister, and requested for re-drafting of better terms for Pakistan-Manzoor Qadir said he was aware of the flaws but here the President and the Ministry of Defence had given full approval to all these terms, so I had better finalize it !

Ayub Khan really knew how to sell his country to extend his rule!! But he was not the only one, Air Marshal Asghar Khan remained the Favorite blue eyed from 1957 to 1965 and a American die-heart to the boot-Read his book ,”We’ve Learnt Nothing From History’ Oxford press-2005.He blames everybody under the sun,-But Not a word will you find on  Badaber in his book, my question is? was-it not related to the Air force Matters and the Peshawar Airbase was the transit point- no? Where was the Nationalist within him then?? He should have resigned, and exposed the designs of Ayub Khan-however, like all the rest of the minions’ he served his master[Ayub khan] and his mentor’s[Americans] to the best of his ability- Eight years of service as C IN C Air force, had its share of extensions- No ? and he beats Ayub in his[Ayub would have completed his 8 years on 17 Jan 1959]-I am sure Pakistan Air force had many officers to fill his shoes-had he put in his papers and said, yes I have done my Tenure let XYZ take on ? but then  would the new Air chief been a willing tool to coordinate with the Americans in the U2 project, since its inception and its related  teething problems ??

The main reason why Americans were dying to have a Spy station in Peshawar was that-the largest Soviet space launching facility was at Baikonur on the Syr Darya [river] south of Kazakhstan the distance between Islamabad and Astana the capital of Kazakhstan remains 1217 miles and Astana is to the north whereas Baikonur touches the southern border with Uzbekistan, and the range of a U2 was 6405 miles with a top speed of 500 MPH, flying at 70,000 plus feet.

Humayun Mirza referring to other declassified documents in his book-quotes American Ambassador at Karachi-M. Langley-with reference to Ayub Khan’s April 1958 Visit and request to see the CIA director-‘This is a story of the dreams of the Empire of two of the stronger men in Pakistan, President Mirza and General Ayub Khan, and something of their friendship and rivalry and their estimates of each other, It is a story developed in search of an answer why Ayub, who is being sent by his government to the U.S to plead the case of Pakistan for a gift of bombers, should seek an appointment with Allen Dulles[Director CIA] without the knowledge of Mirza”.

Alexander Symons the British High Commissioner in his DO/35/8943 dt-27th September 1958 to Sir Gilbert Laithwaite [ref :The British Papers’1958-1969′-states-”I would add by the way of comment that as far as the President’s ability to pull of a coup is concerned, there have been, as I mentioned in my letter of 23rd August, indications that his standing with the Army is not quite as high as it was. But he is obviously very confident and told me that both General Ayub,and General Umrao Khan the G.O.C East Pakistan, had been urging that Army intervention was essential. There is no real evidence that his claim that the Army would back him is unjustified. Now that he has started talking so frankly about his intentions (though he assured me that, besides myself, only the Army C in C  Ayub Khan and the Chief of Staff -Gen Musa knew what he had in mind)….”As events unfolded it was Iskandar Mirza who was being duped in a situation whereby he was being cajoled to take a course of action, what the three Ayub,Musa and Yahya wanted, and had planned to the last detail step by step, of course with the American guidance.

Iskandar Mirza had been so convinced by Ayub Khan and his group, as one gleans from these reports, in the ”ANNEX- A’ of the same letter [DO] quoted above, Symon states, ‘The President now believes that disaffection has spread to the middle ranks of the Army and unless effective action is taken soon they may take law into their own hands. He is satisfied that the Army would support him in a change such as he has in mind. He believes that to delay action will be fatal to the integrity of Pakistan. He is, therefore now considering how to bring about the conditions described above. He has not given any indication as regards timing.”

Now to link up all-in my first part I had given extracts from M. B. Khalid’s book- ‘ Khalid, further states that it was in early afternoon of 07 Oct 1958 that the personal servant [Abdul Sattar]of Iskander Mirza came with a urgent message for him and Nusrat- ud-din, as they both shared the same office that Sahibjee says that both of you be back in office by 5 pm as some urgent matters are in offing and need to be typed. Khalid adds that on reaching at 5 pm they both had tea and discussed normal issues and at around 6.30 pm walked in Major Gen. Sher Bhadaur with a brief case which he opened and started giving out drafts of the letters to be typed by both him and Nusrat[who was the Principle secretary of Iskander Mirza]and Gen. Sher Bhadaur sat on a chair not allowing any one to enter or receive any phone calls. To the extent that even carbon papers were supplied from his brief case. Meanwhile outside in the long corridor Iskander Mirza paced to and fro and chain-smoked and it was by 9.30 pm that typing ceased. The first paper was a proclamation’ in which the constitution stood abrogated National and Provincial Assemblies stood dissolved and the Cabinet dismissed. The second paper was the appointment of General Ayub Khan as the Chief Martial Law Administrator. The third paper dealt with personal messages to the vital Head of States. The Fourth was urgent Letters to Ambassadors of vital countries to visit on receipt of these letters immediately the President House [old Gov. Gen House].

About these letters being typed the drafts had been made-by DMO Brig S.G.M. Peerzada & VCGS Brig. Attique ur Rahman much earlier and vetted by CGS Maj Gen Yahya Khan and Chief of Staff Gen.Musa Khan, what General M.Attiqur Rahman has to say on this [ref; Back to Pavilion’-1989/] That in 1958-[keeping in view Ayub Khan was only given his third extension in June 1958,By Malik Feroze Khan Noon, and this time for just Two years]A future plan of action by the stake holders or a contingency plan for the Army to act upon, if a legal authority called upon it do so-was made-and Attiqur Rahman as the VCGS, Brig. S.G.M Peerzada DMO including Yahya Khan the CGS were involved in the making-Under the guide lines of General Ayub Khan-the plan was worked out on a ‘D’ Day basis-the key plan was a chronological order of actions that had to be taken-issue of instructions, movement of troops, organizations of HQ’s at Karachi, announcements that had to be made, speeches for the radio, security of key installations-A security plan had also been made for the movement of key personnel to Karachi and elsewhere under cover of normal conferences.

Unknown to Iskandar Mirza he was being cornered in this game of being guilty of abrogating the constitution and in the same stroke appointing Ayub khan as the chief martial law administrator thereby cutting off his own source of power-

As stated in the previous above Para-”The Fourth was urgent Letters to Ambassadors of vital countries to visit on receipt of these letters immediately the President House’ on this the British High Commissioner, states in his ‘Inward Telegram to the Commonwealth officer’ no 1680-Karachi 02.23 hours 08 Oct 1958-”when I went to see the President tonight I found my American, Iranian, Turkish, and Afghan colleagues were also present-the crux of this lengthy telegram was-[a]’ On the Administrative side-The president informed the audience that, the present system of justice and administration would continue, except when, Gen.Ayub in his capacity of as chief martial law administrator ordered to the contrary-Aziz Ahmad would be appointed as the Secretary- General of the central administration, and Ayub would operate through Chief commissioner in Karachi and Governor East Pakistan. The Tribal areas would continue to be under West Pakistan Administration.[b] on the subject of a New Constitution-Iskandar mirza had this to say -”  that the Armed forces would remain the ultimate sanction of the new administration and would continue till a new constitution was drawn up-From what Ayub had said, he and president expect this period will be fairly long one i.e 3 to 5 years. The President said that the new constitution would be based on democratic principles, but would not, provide adult franchise or female franchise. He favored a unitary form of government for Pakistan. He believed in one unit but that this would have to be considered when the new constitution was drawn.[c] General Ayub has issued a statement that he has taken over as Chief Martial Law Administrator.

In the next Telegram no.1688 dt.17.20 hours 9th Oct 1958,on the subject of post-coup situation.[Political Changes]a].The Army is firmly in saddle. Martial law regulations have been issued country wide, and for purpose of Administration of Martial Law, Pakistan has been divided into three divisions-Karachi under General.Sher Bahadur, West Pakistan under Gen. Azam and East Pakistan under Gen.. Umrao.[b] Ayub khan will act as the ‘de facto’ Prime Minister and under him will be Aziz Ahmed.[c] a de facto Cabinet of Federal Secretaries of all vital ministries will form the council, including three army generals.[d] The president and Ayub, relationship between two is an aspect to be watched very closely, at present President is the leader and Ayub frankly admits his inexperience and leans heavily on the president. But in reality Ayub as the supreme commander is in effective control of the armed forces which are regimes only sanction. Presently Ayub is finding his feet but when he does so and understands rather more clearly the power at his command and the opportunities before him, the strain on his loyalty to the President might be put to test, especially if two differed sharply on matters of importance.

Now we must watch the role of our Media in those days-according to the same British papers-being quoted above, vide DO 35/8943 dt-10th Oct 1958-in which the High Commissioner suggests to the common wealth officer to destroy all records which indicate prior knowledge of president Mirza’a Coup plan-”Wheeler who is a Daily Mail man, has been sent by BBC,he along with two American correspondents met President and Ayub at my initiative over tea yesterday. The local press is steadily climbing aboard the Bandwagon. Both ‘Dawn’ and the ‘Morning News’ today carry leading articles expressing strong support of the new regime. ‘Dawn’ goes so far as to say that there is ”No Need To Hurry’ the restoration of democratic forms of government…’.

But like it is said, ‘There are No permanent friends. Only permanent interests”. When the Time for exit of Iskandar Mirza came there was nobody to save him-as his own protégé [Ayub[ had turned hostile, in all the years from 1951 to 1958 Ayub had survived because of Iskandar, as all the extensions given to Ayub came with the concurrence of Iskandar- Had Ayub  not been given these three Extensions our History might have been different-and the Army much better led in 1965 and 1971 wars or maybe the wars would not have come-And Yahya Khan, later in 1969 did to Ayub what Ayub had done to Iskandar in 1958.

With all adoration given by sycophants to Ayub, seeing him the man in uniform and the Chief Martial Law Administrator and Ayub inwardly hard pressed to give the Americans the bases required for the Surveillance U2’s over U.S.S.R ,he was pressed for time, and as we see from days following 08 Oct 1958 he started showing his own mind-his ‘Innuendo’s countering Statements given by Iskandar were fast driving Iskandar up against the wall-Though Iskandar had played safe with appointing Aziz Ahmed as the Deputy Martial Law Administrator however Aziz Ahmed had no mettle within to stand against the Hawks at the back of Ayub Khan who had engineered and plotted the whole Coup to the last Details-covering all contingency plans-

On 19th October 1958- Ayub khan had invited Iskandar Mirza to a joint meeting which was also attended by the Chief Justice. M. Munir, under discussion was the subject of defining the respective powers of President and the Chief Martial Law Administrator. As Chief Justice Munir tried to build the argument  to establish a fact that the writ of Iskandar as the President over the CMLA,was still supreme. The Judge Advocate-General. Colonel Kazi-sitting next to Ayub intervened and gave the Military point of the view as they saw it-which was ‘Since the Abrogation of the Constitution on the night- 07/08 Oct 1958-the President had lost all the powers he enjoyed under the constitution, wherein  he had also willfully passed the baton to Ayub Khan, and as of now the CMLA was the sole lawful authority in the country-on this, the meeting came to an sudden end-a jubilant Ayub and a ashen Iskandar left the room.

On the 20th Oct 1958 Ayub left for a tour of East Pakistan-he was well received by the public and large crowds came to the hear him speak on the public forums, the Speeches of Ayub were projecting him alone as the Master and not a word about his Mentor was mentioned-Iskandar, hearing of these speeches, was seeing the writing on the wall and so he made desperate moves.

[To be continued…..]