1 - 1965 War and Incompetence of General Ayub's Incompetence:
One of the reason of the defeat in 1965 War was the replacement of command a of 12 th Division from a Prefessional Quadiani Major General Akhter Hussain Malik to a Non-Professional and Incompetent Major General i.e. Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan by General Ayub Khan. Operation which General Malik was conducting known as Operation Grand Slam.
As per Shahabnama by Qudrat Ullah Shahab Minister of Information, Secretary to the President (Ayub Khan), and an Ambassador in Holland, said that:
"At a time when Major (General) Akhtar Hussain Malik was to take over Akhanoor to pave the way to take Srinager, the capital of Kashmir, he was wrongly removed from the command, and General Yahya Khan was put in his position. Perhaps the aim was to deprive Pakistan success in Akhnoor, Yahya Khan accomplished this task very well."Former Secretary of Information during General Ayub Regime, Late Altaf Gauhar had written about the Incompetence of ISI during 1965 War!Article by Altaf Gauhar: "How Intelligence Agencies Run Our Politics" Islamabad The Nation in English 17 Aug 97 p 4.
I had an opportunity to watch quite closely the working of our intelligence agencies during the 1965 war with India. At that time the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was headed by Brigadier Riaz Hussain, who later became the Governor of Balochistan, the Military Intelligence (MI) was under Brigadier Muhammad Irshad and A.B. Awan was the Director of the Intelligence Bureau (DIB). Each agency had its own sphere of duties but they had a common goal -- preserving the national security. Since there is hardly any significant political activity, domestic or foreign, national or international, which does not, directly or indirectly, impinge on national security, there was much overlapping in the work of the three agencies. Despite the all-embracing definition of nationalsecurity unnecessary conflict in day to day working was avoided as the lSl and the MI confined themselves to matters of direct military interest and the IB concentrated on domestic political activities. The DIB reported directly to the Prime Minister and the two military agencies to the Commander-in- Chief of the Army (C-in-C). It was left to the C-in-C to bring all matters of interest to the notice of the Prime Minister through the Ministry of Defence.
This arrangement continued fairly smoothly until the imposition of Martial Law in 1958. I was in the Prime Minister's Secretariat during the last days of parliamentary government in 1957-58 and Malik Feroz Khan Noon used to get reports of the contacts which military intelligence agencies were making with the political leaders of different parties. There was little that he could do about it since President Iskander Mirza was drawing up his own plan of action to put an end to parliamentary rule in collusion with the C-in-C, General Ayub Khan. Noon was resisting Mirza's pressure to grant a four-year extension of term to Ayub Khan. I remember Ayub Khan bursting into my office one afternoon in full, uniform.
I was relieved when he said: "Since the Principal Secretary has gone for lunch I thought I would ask you to request the Prime Minister to stay with me in Rawalpindi when he comes on a formal visit next week." He left the room before I could recover my breath. When I conveyed the message to the PM he said: "I know he wants me to give him an extension of term. His term does not end till 1959. Why is he in such a hurry?" Years later when I mentioned this incident to Ayub Khan he said: "The fellow was under the influence of his wife. He wanted to promote General Sher Ali. My boys were keeping tabs on him." Once the Martial Law was promulgated in 1958 all the intelligence agencies came under the direct control of the President and Chief Martial Law Administrator. The maintenance of nationalSecurity, which was the principal function of these agencies, came to mean the consolidation of the Ayub regime; any criticism of the regime was seen a threat to national security. The three intelligence agencies started competing with each other in demonstrating their loyalty to Ayub Khan and his system of government.
Since Ayub Khan was reluctant to increase the military budget, neither the ISI nor the MI could post their officers in the districts and because of that limitation their domestic activities remained quite restrained. But they continued to be assigned specific duties to keep a watch on 'undesirable' politicians and civil servants. When I came to theMinistry of Information and Broadcasting, I found a psychological warfare unit under operation in the office of the Secretary. It was, headed by Col Mujibur Rahman, who later became the Secretary of the Ministry in the Ziaul Haq regime. Was it an intelligence plant meant to keep an eye on the working of the civil government? Whatever its purpose, I found it a complete waste of time and I was able to persuade the President to have it recalled by the GHQ.
The President used to receive regular reports on the political situation in the country from the ISI and the MI. These reports in sealed envelopes marked 'Eyes Only' were usually handed over to the President by the C-in-C. On a few occasions the President gave me these reports and it seemed to me that the agencies were keeping the politicians, particularly the East Pakistanis, under close surveillance. I rarely found anything insightful in these reports. The DIB had direct access to the President and his weekly reports used to be fairly exhaustive.
It was during the presidential election in l964 that the ISI and the MI became extremely active.. While the DIB gave the President a detailed, assessment of his prospects in the election the ISI and the MI kept him informed of the trend of public opinion based largely on gossip.The election results showed that the three agencies had seriously underestimated the popularity of Mohtrama Miss Fatima Jinnah and given Ayub Khan too optimistic a picture of his prospects. The crisis of intelligence came during the 1965 war. Brigadier Riaz was good enough to show me his set-up, an impressive affair judging by the sophisticated equipment and the operators at work. He told me that he had contacts inside the Occupied Kashmir and in other major Indian cities. "I will flood you with news. Don't worry". When the war started there was a complete blackout of news from all the intellience agencies.
When I got nothing out of the ISI for two days I went to Brigadier Riaz only to learn that all his contacts had gone underground. The performance of the MI was even more frustrating. The mobile transmitter which the MI had acquired to broadcast the Voice of Kashmir conked out and Brigadier Irshad came to me to find him a spare transmitter. When I told him that it would take at least a month to import another transmitter he pleaded with me to take over the broadcast part of the operation. "How can I do that Iknow nothing about the operation?" I protested. "But that is the beauty of it." said Irshad, "even I know very little about it." It did not take the Indians long to extract the whole operational plan out of the 'infiltrators' whom they captured the moment they entered the Indian occupied territory in Kashmir. Four of them were put on All India Radio to make a public confession. I heard the details of the operation on the air in utter disbelief. I rushed to Muzaffarabad to acquaint Irshad with what I had heard. He fell back in his chair and moaned: "The bastards have spilt the beans."
After the cease-fire I brought these incidents to Ayub Khan's notice and urged him to review the working of these agencies. "They have no idea of intelligence work," I submitted "all they can do is investigative work like sub-inspectors of police, tapping telephone conversations and chasing the suspects." Much later Ayub Khan set up a committee to examine the working of the agencies under General the Yahya Khan. Both A.B. Awan and I were members of the committee. The GHQ tried to put all the blame on IB for their own incompetence. Yahya wanted the committee to recommend that officers of ISI and the Ml should be posted at district headquarters. Awan strongly opposed the idea and I backed him. We could not understand the purpose of getting the military agencies involved in domestic administration. As we left the meeting Awan said to me "They are planning to impose martial law." He proved right though it took the Army quite some time to get rid of Ayub Khan after unleashing a popular campaign against him.
The intelligence agencies got even more deeply involved in domestic politics under General Yahya Khan. The ISI jumped headlong into the Political crisis in East Pakistan. A National Security Council was created under the chairmanship of General Yahya Khan with Major General Ghulam Umar as second in command to control the intelligence operation which was meant to ensure that no political party should get an overall majority in the general election. An amount of Rs 29 lac was put at the disposal of General Umar for the purpose. Before the Army action General Akbar, who was the head of the ISI and with whom I had good relations when I was in service, requested me that I should introduce him to some Bengali academics and journalists.
The ISI was trying to infiltrate into the inner circles of the Awami League. Had I given him any names they too have been put on Rao Farman Ali's hit list of Bengali intellectuals. The operation proved a total disaster. Lawrence Ziring says: "New efforts at a political solution might have been attempted later, but army intelligence failed time and again to correctly assess the situation, and the demeanor of the generals was hardly conducive to rational decision-making. " (Lawrence Ziring, The Tragedy of East Pakistan, OUP, 1997). For General (retd) Aslam Beg to claim on solemn oath before the Supreme Court of Pakistan that the ISI got involved in the internal politics of the country only after a special cell was created by Prime Minister Bhutto in 1975 is a culpable attempt at concealing the truth and distorting the record of the operations of themilitary intelligence agencies since independence.
The present government has only to report to the Supreme Court that the ISI deals with matters relating to Pakistan's national security and that would be the end of Asghar Khan's writ petition against Aslam Beg. Who will provide a definition of national security to rule out the involvement of the ISI and the MI in domestic politics which is seen as the biggest threat to the security and solidarity of Pakistan?
2 - Dirty Role of General Yahya and the USA in Fall of East Pakistan as per US National Security Archive [Declassified US Government Files]
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 79
The U.S. Tilt Towards Pakistan: The Tilt: The U.S. and the South Asian Crisis of 1971 Edited by Sajit Gandhi December 16, 2002
Discussing the martial law situation in East Pakistan during March of 1971, President Richard Nixon, in his February 9, 1972 State of the World report to Congress indicated that the "United States did not support or condone this military action." Nevertheless, the U.S. did nothing to help curtail the genocide and never made any public statements in opposition to the West Pakistani repression.( 4)
Instead, by using what Nixon and Kissinger called quiet diplomacy, the Administration gave a green light of sorts to the Pakistanis. In one instance, Nixon declared to a Pakistani delegation that, "Yahya is a good friend." Rather than express concern over the ongoing brutal military repression, Nixon explained that he "understands the anguish of the decisions which [Yahya] had to make." As a result of Yahya's importance to the China initiative and his friendship with Nixon and Kissinger, Nixon declares that the U.S. "would not do anything to complicate the situation for President Yahya or to embarrass him. (Document 9)." Much like the present situation post 9/11, Washington was hesitant to criticize Pakistan publicly out of fear that such a tactic might weaken the dictator's support for American interests.
The minders in Rawalpindi often project that ‘the only free and fair elections’ in the history of Pakistan were held by a President-General, Yahya Khan. This is historically inaccurate. If the 1970 elections turned out to be fair, they were by default not by design.
According to a senior intelligence officer, Yahya Khan had delegated N.A. Rizvi (Director Intelligence Bureau) to weaken Mujib in the East by funding Bhashani. Maj-General Ghulam Umar (Chief of National Security Council) collected funds from big businessmen and industrialists in the West to ‘cut Bhutto to size’ by financing Qayum Khan.
Later, Bhutto as PM recovered some money from Rizvi and Gen. Umer was retired. (Rao Abdur Rasheed ‘Jo main ney dekha’ Atish Fishan Publications Lahore 1985 pp. 62-64).
Major General Abubakar Osman Mitha, the only Memon General of the Army reveals that in October/November 1970, in Karachi a leading businessman Mr Roshan Ali Bhimjee told him that DIB was asking for “political contributions” from the business community using foul and threatening language.
Gen. Mitha informed Gen. Abdul Hamid Khan (Chief of Staff) in Rawalpindi to respond to the charges, none other than Gen. Ghulam Umar turned up in COS’s office. (“Unlikely Beginnings” OUP 2003 pp.328-329)
After the elections, Yahya gave a tongue-lashing to the DIB, Rizvi who had all along been reporting that no single party would gain an absolute majority (in the East). (Hasan Zaheer “The separation of East Pakistan” OUP 2000 p 130).
Mr. Yusuf Haroon, then Chairman Pakistan Services Limited and brother of Agriculture Minister Mr. Mahmood Haroon, told the Political Officer, American Consulate General, at Peshawar on June 5, 1970 that generals Gul Hasan and (Ghulam) Umar told him that the military wanted to insure a divided vote and a fragmented Constituent Assembly to render the constitution- making impossible.
(Dispatch A-109 Airgram Department of State June 9, 1970 from Karachi “The American Papers” compiled by Roedad Khan OUP 2000 pp.372-375) [DeclassifiedAmerican Papers]
On February 22, 1971 the generals in West Pakistan took a decision to crush the Awami League and its supporters. It was recognized from the first that a campaign of genocide would be necessary to eradicate the threat: "Kill three million of them," said President Yahya Khan at the February conference, "and the rest will eat out of our hands." (Robert Payne, Massacre , p. 50.) On March 25 the genocide was launched. The university in Dacca was attacked and students exterminated in their hundreds. Death squads roamed the streets of Dacca, killing some 7,000 people in a single night. It was only the beginning. "Within a week, half the population of Dacca had fled, and at least 30,000 people had been killed. Chittagong, too, had lost half its population. All over East Pakistan people were taking flight, and it was estimated that in April some thirty million people [!] were wandering helplessly across East Pakistan to escape the grasp of the military." (Payne, Massacre, p. 48.) Ten million refugees fled to India, overwhelming that country's resources and spurring the eventual Indian military intervention. (The population of Bangladesh/East Pakistan at the outbreak of the genocide was about 75million.)
When America looked the other way declassified documents on the US role in India-Pakistan' s 1971 war by Anjum Niaz
(Sealed off as 'Top Secret' by the State Department and CIA, now after three decades, 46 declassified documents - some 'sanitized' - and a audio clip of Nixon-Kissinger offer a compelling peek at President Nixon and his security advisor Henry Kissinger giving a sly wink to the Pakistan army to kill, rape and terrorize innocent East Pakistanis during the 1971 India-Pakistan crisis)
Inside the Oval Office, August 2, 1971, an exasperated President Nixon and his national security advisor Henry Kissinger curse India for wanting to pick up a fight with Pakistan. Actually, the timing is skewed for Nixon who has clandestinely taken a shine to Chou En-Lai facilitated by Pakistan President Gen.Yahya Khan. But the "god-damn Indians" - as Nixon and Kissinger call them - are giving the Americans a run for their money by refusing to sit and watch silently the two siblings - East and West Pakistan - slug it out with each other.
"We have already given 100 million dollars to India for the refugees (pouring in from E. Pakistan)," Kissinger informs Nixon who is convinced the US is "making a terrible mistake" by heaping dollars on New Delhi. "India is economically in good shape, but no one knows how the god-damn Indians are using this money. They are not letting any foreigners enter the refugee areas. Any foreigners, and their record is outrageous!" keens Kissinger.
The White House conversation comes the day after the Beatle George Harrison and his soul mate Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitar player hold a "Concert for Bangladesh"( months before its birth) to raise money for the refugees escaping the reign of terror unleashed by Pakistan army after Mujibur Rehman's Awami League has swept the polls in East Pakistan during the 1970-71 general elections but is now being outlawed."So who is the Beatle giving the money to - is it the god-damn Indians?" asks a frustrated Nixon. "Yes," says Kissinger flatly, adding that Pakistan has also been given $150,000 food aid but the major problem "is the god-damn distribution. " Nixon jumps in, "we have to keep India away". Kissinger couldn't agree more: "we must defuse the refugee and famine problem in East Pakistan in order to deprive India (read Indira Gandhi) of an excuse to start the war with Pakistan." "We have to avoid screwing Pakistan that outrageously. It could blow up everything," concurs Kissinger. And the solution according to him is: "we should start our god-damn lecturing on political structures, as much as we can and while there will eventually be a separate East Bengal in two years (he says it so very casually) but it must not happen in the next six months."
Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report.The Moral Aspect The Report PDF version