Also read Chapter 1: Jinnah & Bhutto: Secularism & the rule of law
Chapter III: Lost causes, murder, spooks & the storming of the courts (1990-2000)
Chapter IV: Karachi, a lovers quarrel and the more things change.
Cowasjees writings about the authoritarian tendencies probably stem from his own time in prison during the governments time. Unforgiving, he relentlessly wrote about the governments targetting of its then opponents in colloboration with a pliant judicary.
First he wrote about how Pakistan's constitution was passed by the new democratic government of
In 1972, soon after the worlds first civilian martial law administrator became our president he appointed a constitution commission headed by Law Minister Mahmud Ali Kasuri, that good lawyer and forthright man, to come up with the make or frame a constitution for this country. That same year, Kasuri resigned as he was unable to agree with Bhuttos idea of democracy and the form of the constitution he wished the people to have, with power centralised and personalised, and the federating provinces not being granted the autonomy fairly due to them. Our democratic leaders do not take kindly to resignations. Kasuri, still a member of the National Assembly, suffered reprisals at the hands of his master. He was framed in murder cases in Kasur, and to ensure his liberty, Barrister Ijaz Batalvi had to seek bail before arrest.
Sherpaos murder & Hyderabad
February 8, 1975. Whilst addressing the students, a good man Hayat Mohammed Khan Sherpao, senior minister of the NWFP and president of the provincial PPP, was blown up by a bomb and killed. Another Prime Minister Bhutto, Zulfikar that time, stopped doing what he was doing in New York that day, boarded the plane, flew back, and wept at Sherpaos grave. The very next day, on February 9, the leaders of the opposition NAP in various parts of the country were arrested. These included Wali Khan, Arbab Sikander, Qaswar Gardezi, Mehroz Akhtar, Arbab Saifur Rahman, Major General M.G. Jilani (Jil of Narowal), Amirzada Khan, Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Mohammed Adil, Rukhnuddin Kazmi, Hassan Hameedi, Rehmatullah Khan Rohaila, Abdul Khaliq Khan (Roedads brother, the best of the lot).
On February 10, the government of Pakistan dissolved the National Awami Party and forfeited all the properties and funds of the Party. The action, according to Gazette of Pakistan notifications, has been taken under Sub-section 1 of Section VI of the Political Parties Act of 1962. The notifications said that the government was satisfied that the NAP was operating in a manner prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan and it had, therefore, formally declared the NAP to be operating in such a manner. Following the government order, all the offices of the Party throughout the country have been sealed.(Dawn Feb. 11, 1975).
On February 14, the champion of liberty, Minister for Provincial Co- ordination Hafiz Pirzada declared that the administrative action taken by the government in dissolving the National Awami Party was not arbitrary or out of rancour and acrimony it was strictly in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.
The Military strikes back, a murderous trial & the rats abandon ship
The Pakistan of modern day is very much the Pakistan of General Zia-ul Haq and as always Cowasjee describes with brutal directness how Zia through a mixture of flattery and manipulation outsmarted far more competent colleagues to take the reign of the Army
When the time came, in 1975, for ZAB to replace Tikka who was due to retire in March 1976, the Lieutenant-Generals in order of seniority were, Muhammad Sharif, Muhammad Akbar Khan, Aftab Ahmed Khan, Azamat Baksh Awan, Agha Ali Ibrahim Akram, Malik Abdul Majeed, Ghulam Jilani Khan, and Muhammad Ziaul-Haq. Arif tells how the sycophants once more came into play. ZAB having already made up his mind that Zia was his man, discussed the appointment of the new COAS with such underlings as Akram Shaikh (Director, Intelligence Bureau), Said Ahmed Khan (his Chief Security Officer), Masood Mahmood, Director of the gestapolike FSF, a reputed sadist, who with a sneer was heard to say: “Most Pakistanis have wives and daughters, and if not, certainly mothers — ho, ho, ho (he was to later turn and testify against his former boss)
, Lt General Ghulam Jilani Khan (DG, ISI), Brigadier Muzaffar Khan
Malik (of the National Security Council), Major General Imtiaz (his Military Secretary), Maulana Kausar Niazi, and the smooth sycophant, "the Bhutto Boy" of the Intelligence Bureau, Lt Colonel Mukhtar Ahmed who had been specially inducted to keep a watch on the army. We can be sure that not one of these smart intelligence chiefs dared voice one word against ZAB's proposed appointment. Yesmen to the last, they must have praised him for his wise and brilliant choice. So much for our so-called intelligence agencies who continue to spend enormous amounts of the people's money without any accountability at all.
Some more colourful examples of how Zia ingratied himself to his boss are also given in his reviews of General Arifs and General Chishtis book.
He made frequent visits to the houses of Sahibzada Faruq, Hamid Raza Gilani, Sadiq Hussain Qureshi and others who were high in the party hierarchy. "He literally used to beg for invitations", Chishti recounts. Whilst in Multan, Zia apparently wrote a letter to General Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, then our ambassador in Washington, asking him to help install ZAB as Colonel in-Chief of the Armoured Corps. It was unheard of for a politician to be granted such an honour. But this disgraceful anomaly was finally achieved
Bhuttos was rewarded by the Army and the Army Chief he had done so much for following its humiliation
in 1970, with Operation Fairplay. Where following a disputed election the Army overthrew his government and ultimately hanged their former leader. Cowasjee, while critical of Zia-ul Haq he does not reflect on how his desire for perfect democracy only, contributed in no small way to democracy's failure.
Here Cowasjee writes unflatteringly of ZA Bhuttos former comrades who swiftly abandoned him once the military took over.
To begin with, I must apologize to Rafi Raza. I once wrote that he was the first rodent to leave the sinking ship. That impression has been corrected. On page 347 of his book, he writes: "On 16 April 1977 ... we stopped at Mubashir's house to say good-bye, but he had already gone abroad."
So began the reign of Zia-ul Haq, the tortured history of which has been erased from
our books or as Cowasjee describes:
HISTORY is not being taught in our schools today, neither as a compulsory nor an optional subject. Those schools that follow the syllabus of the Government Board of Secondary Education have to teach in the 9th and 10th (the last two classes) what is termed 'Pakistan studies'.
The 'Sharif Protege'
An abiding worry of Zia-ul Haqs was the quest to create an anti Bhutto constituency
in Pakistan's various provinces. The one place where his men would succeed the most
effectively was in the place ZA Bhutto was the most popular..the Punjab.
Here his friend and colleague in coup General Jilani picked a little known
businessman, member of Asghar Khans tehrik-e-istiqlal. Here is how Cowasjee described
this chosen man
Eighteen years ago Nawaz Sharif was picked up from his foundry by my friend Lt General Ghulam Jilani and converted into a politician. Jilani, who died last week, did us a good turn when, as Bhutto's favourite chief of the ISI, he kept his COAS, General Zia-ul-Haq informed of the destruction planned by Bhutto and gave him enough warning for him to act as he did on July 5 1977.
It was during Jilani's time at the ISI that Bhutto, by an executive order, created a political cell to execute political dirty-tricks. This cell, in 1990, disbursed some Rs.900 million of the people's money (with whose permission and under what authority?) to Nawaz Sharif and his cronies to help them gain power. We are still waiting for the Supreme Court to establish who is responsible for this act.
As governor of Punjab, General Jilani did much good for his province, and for this he deserves to be remembered with gratitude. Whilst discussing Nawaz Sharif's follies I often used to ask, 'What sort of a man have you landed us with, General?' He would say, 'Someone had to be found to neutralize Benazir Bhutto and the PPP, and we thought a businessman, uncorrupted by politics, might do better, might help enrich the country and the people. That he enriched himself and his family is unforgivable.
Ah yes, the age old disappointment of puppet masters in the world..they forget that
puppets are people and people are not machines.
(to be continued)
2.Cowasjee, Ardeshir (September 02,2007)We Never learn from history
3. Cowasjee, Ardeshir (29 June 1995 ) General's Generals
4. Cowasjee, Ardeshir ( 25 April 1996 )Old hat!
5. Cowasjee, Ardeshir (19 June 1999) Wars