Tarek Fatah wrote:
When Tariq Ali and Qazi Hussain sing from the same hymn book, it should be distressful to any one who has any understanding of the Islamist agenda.
Aslam Azhar wrote:
TV channels in Pakistan are debating if this is America's war. Qazi Hussain and Ayaz Amir believe it is. Aslam Beg and Akram Zaki are saying this is in fact a freedom struggle of the Pukhtuns.
Let us not forget about the dirty role of this Demented Joker i.e. Mirza Aslam Beg of Ex-Servicemen Society of Pakistan.
Months before the darkest period in Pakistan's History [Martial Law of General Ziaul Haq 1977-1988] the so-called born again Democrat and Socio-Political Activist Air Marshall Retd. Asghar Khan wrote letter to the chiefs of staff and the officers of the defence forces, asking them to renounce their support for the "illegal (Z A Bhutto's) regime" and asked to "differentiate between a 'lawful' and an 'unlawful' command...and save Pakistan." This letter is considered by many democrats and political writers as instrumental in encouraging the advent of the Zia regime.
All the members of the ‘Ex Servicemen Society’ have served during the previous martial law periods and some members are believed to be instrumental in toppling the elected governments. Air Marsal Asghar Retd. Khan, was the author of a letter to the then chief of army staff, General Zia Ul Haq in 1977 demanding that he take over the government of the elected Prime Minister, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and hang him at the hills of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. His demand was fulfilled when Zia Ul Haq imposed martial law in 1977.
The born again Democart and Civil Socio Political Activist [Actually a Paper Tiger] Air Marshall Retd. Asgher Khan's son Late. Omer Asgher Khan joined the Musharraf Cabinet [1999 - till his tragic death]. The Ex Servicemen Society head honchos say that the Past Mistakes of Military Generals wouldn't be allowed to discuss. What about betraying the trust of the people he betrayed because he had filed a Public Interest Human Right Petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan [you don’t violate the trust when you yourself are a litigant in a Public Interest Litigation] against Former Chief of the Army Staff General Retd. Mirza Aslam Beg [with whom Asgher Khan is sitting with] for his alleged Role in Distributing Hard Earned [Halaal] Pakistani Money in connivance with Lt. General Rtd. Asad Durrani [Former Chief of ISI] to sabotage/subvert at least two National General Elections Results just to stop PPP from coming into power. Read... its not a State Secret it is a well published news...
Hypocrisy of Asgher Khan and Mirza Aslam Beg [sitting together in 2008 in Islamabad]
But the main thrust of his column was the human rights petition filed by him in the Supreme Court (HRC 19/96) against the retired COAS General Mirza Mohammad Aslam Beg, the former ISI chief retired Lt General Asad Durrani and Younis Habib of Habib and Mehran Banks, relating to the disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes, which is still pending hearing by the court. The case was initiated by the air marshal after Benazir Bhutto's interior minister, another retired general, Naseerullah Babar, had disclosed in the National Assembly in 1994 how the ISI had disbursed funds to purchase the loyalty of politicians and public figures so as to manipulate the 1990 elections, form the IJI, and bring about the defeat of the PPP.
We never learn from history By Ardeshir Cowasjee
Nothing new. On April 25, 1994, this newspaper carried an editorial entitled 'Our secret godfathers', which opened up: "Two basic points emerge from General Aslam Beg's admission that in 1990 he took Rs 14 crores from the banker Younus Habib and that part of this money
was spent by the ISI during the elections that year . . . . . ". And closed, saying ". . . it is time now for some sort of check on the rogue political activities of our intelligence agencies . . .". It was
not time, and apparently it is still not time.
In 1996, Air Marshal Asghar Khan filed a human rights petition in the Supreme Court against General Mirza Aslam Beg, former chief of army staff, Lt General Asad Durrani, former chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence, and Younus Habib of Habib Bank and then Mehran Bank, concerning the criminal distribution of the people's money for political purposes (HRC 19/96). In this case, Lt General Naseerullah Babar filed an affidavit in court supported by copies of various documents and a photocopy of a letter dated June 7, 1994, addressed by Durrani to the then prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, who, during her second term in office, appointed him as her ambassador to Germany, which reads:
The "host of other political figures who received funds" from an ISI account were revealed in the Supreme Court when Air Marshal Asghar Khan's petition was being heard. Inter alia, Nawaz Sharif received (in rupees) 3.5 million, Lt General Rafaqat [GIK's election cell] 5.6 million, Mir Afzal 10 million, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi 5 million, Jam Sadiq Ali 5 million, Mohammed Khan Junejo 2.5 million, Pir Pagaro 2 million, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada 3 million, Yusuf Haroon 5 million [he confirms having received this for Altaf Hussain of the MQM], Muzaffar Hussain Shah 0.3 million, Abida Hussain 1 million, Humayun Marri 5.4 million. During the hearing of the case, Aslam Beg, under oath, revealed the existence of a political cell within the ISI, whilst clarifying that though he was aware of the distribution of funds he was never personally involved.
We never learn from history - 2 By Ardeshir Cowasjee
Yaad-e-mazi Aazab Hai Yarab, Cheen Lay Mujh Se Hafza Mera
After all these years the hollow and shallow Ex Servicemen Society and gentlemen mentioned below have damaged Pakistan beyond repair these damages cannot be undone only through apology. They should be tried for treason under Artcile 6 of 1973 Constitution and that is the only remedy. Have you noticed the height of arrogance and emptiness in our Praetorian Guards? Even after so much damage they are arrogant to the core.
Read about the filthy character of Air [R] Marshal Asghar Khan who is now sitting with EX COAS General Mirza Aslam beg. Height of hypocrisy.
Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan
6. (1) Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.
(2) Any person aiding or abetting the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.
(3) [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) ] shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.
Editorial: What the generals must apologise for Friday, February 01, 2008
The group of retired Pakistani generals and military officers who have asked General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf to resign as president of Pakistan have now reportedly decided to “apologise” to the nation “for imposing martial laws in the past, abrogating the Constitution several times, and not letting democracy flourish in the last 60 years”. The first “apology” session was to have taken place Thursday to which the retired brass had invited President Musharraf himself.
There is a newspaper report that the “letter” to President Musharraf by the retired generals was mishandled because the group, led by General (Retd) Faiz Ali Chishti, could not organise its composition properly and had allowed names to be named without first getting permission from those named. However, the first speaker is said to be General (Retd) Abdul Majid Malik, “who was a major in 1956 when he drafted a resignation which General Ayub Khan forced President Iskandar Mirza to sign”. He will presumably also apologise for siding with General Musharraf when he took over the government of the country in 1999 and split his party, the PML.
He will be followed by General (Retd) Mirza Aslam Beg, a former army chief, “whose political ambitions had forced the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan to nominate Gen Asif Nawaz as the new Army chief three months prior to Gen Beg’s retirement”. The newspaper report says: “His role in the famous Mehran Bank scandal and misuse of ISI funds for electoral/political manipulation is still fresh in public memory”. The report adds: “His then DG ISI, General (Retd) Asad Durrani, who had distributed Rs 140 million to win over the “for-sale” politicians never felt ashamed of his role or offered an apology”.
One has to add that the retired generals have more to answer for than what has been designated in the announcement. Most of them will get a free ride condemning what they have not done directly and will succeed in targeting President Musharraf as a political gimmick unless they also do some more navel-gazing and confess to professional and moral crimes which they committed when they were in service, including acquisition of properties and mismanagement of military operations.
General (Retd) Aslam Beg will have to also apologise for bringing the Supreme Court in contempt when he admitted that he had influenced the chief justice. When confronted with challenging a general, the Supreme Court under Justice Zullah forgivably got cold feet and let Gen Beg go scot free. (We saw what happened to the Supreme Court in November 2007 when it tried to stand up to a general.) General Beg must also apologise for warning the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto off a large area of internal and external policy in 1988. He has also got to apologise to the
then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for violating an agreed foreign policy decision to send Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, and for trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran without consulting Mr Sharif.
We must insist that General (Retd) Musharraf apologise for the Kargil Operation which was more an example of professional incompetence than defiance of the Nawaz Sharif government whom he accuses of having agreed to the operation. He must apologise for undermining the visit of the Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when Mr Sharif was prime minister. But at the same time we must insist that General (Retd) Hameed Gul should apologise for planning the disastrous Jalalabad operation in 1989 as a prelude to the ISI setting up a government of the mujahideen. He has been boasting of having organised the IJI against the PPP. He must apologise first to the PPP for having done the sordid deed; after that, he must apologise for lack of wits because the IJI could not maintain its two-thirds majority for long.
General (Retd) Faiz Ali Chishti, who heads the Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society, which last week issued a blunt open letter signed by more than 100 senior officers, calling on President Musharraf to quit, has to apologise, not only for being a willing and core partner in the military coup of General Zia-ul Haq in 1977 but of the thoughtless things he has since been saying on TV. By the same token, many senior officers have to confess to having less brains than needed for commanding an army. It is only after confessing to all the personality and intellectual defects of the generals that the Ex-Servicemen Society will be seen as justified in trying to get President Musharraf to step down. General (Retd) Chishti not long ago came on TV to explain why the army did not educate the nation. His answer was: if the roof is leaking why put good furniture in the room?
The biggest crime to which many retired generals must confess, and then apologise for, is the policy of seeking “strategic depth” in Afghanistan because the consequences of this policy are now threatening to actually spell the end of Pakistan itself. In fact, some of these retired generals are too tainted for mouthing principles that the civil society of Pakistan has decided to uphold. They should keep zip up unless they are ready to give up what they have enjoyed over the years and are still enjoying at the cost of the nation. *
Retired generals refuse to apologise,but want Musharraf to go By Umar Cheema
Friday, February 01, 2008, Muharam 22, 1429 A.H.
ISLAMABAD: Several hundred retired armed forces men on Thursday urged their colleague, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, to hand over power to the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and join their ranks but most of their leaders refused to apologise for their past roles against democracy.
Led by some high-profile generals, air marshals and admirals, these ex-servicemen also demanded that retired Justice Bhagwandas be appointed as the Chief Election Commissioner and the detained nuclear scientist, Dr AQ Khan, be either released or tried in a court.
Except for retired Lt-Gen Hamid Gul, none of the leaders showed moral courage by making an admission of guilt or apologising to the nation for their past. They did not even feel any embarrassment on their roles when asked by newsmen at a press conference. The former DG of ISI, Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Gul, not only admitted the wrongdoings he had committed as a spy chief, he also submitted an apology to the nation and said he was ready for any punishment, even to be hanged.
“I am ready for a trial or even hanging,” Gul told the gathering of ex-servicemen in open door proceedings. His words, however, failed to move the other architects and supporters of martial law who were sitting on the stage. They included retired Lt-Gen Faiz Ali Chishti, Gen Mirza Aslam Beg, Air Marshal Asghar Khan, Lt-Gen Majid Malik and Lt-Gen Asad Durrani. They showed no remorse for their past conduct.
Air Marshal Asghar Khan, who awas presiding over the meeting, was annoyed when he was asked about his past role and whether he was ready to apologise. “These were individual acts of different individuals,” he responded.
He did not respond when a journalist questioned their moral authority to preach others when they did not feel embarrassed on the wrongdoings of their past. The convener of Thursday’s meeting, Brig (retd) Mehmood, who had said only a day earlier that he would offer an apology on behalf of all the ex-servicemen, remained seated on the stage with his head down, as if trying to avoid the media and had no courage to act on his words. Although, the retired servicemen expressed solidarity with lawyers and journalists community, vowing to participate in their rallies, they gave no timeframe for launching a movement against Musharraf on their own. They instead said nothing had been decided as yet. They even conceded that they might not do anything concrete in future. Asghar Khan said many of them had their near and dear ones in the government, a major hurdle in their way to call the spade a spade. Asghar Khan’s own brother, Farooq Rehmatullah, is the DG Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). A demand raised by a retired navy commodore, Shahid Nawaz, also went unheeded. He had asked for en masse resignations of all ex-servicemen presently working in government departments. “If this strategy is not feasible, then out-of-job ex-servicemen should surrender all medals, awards and pension books to protest against Musharraf’s stay in power,” he demanded, but this demand also went unheard by the retired generals.
The Thursday’s meeting virtually turned into a comedy programme as it was marred by indiscipline largely by ex-servicemen, who would pick up quarrel with journalists when questions regarding their own accountability were put to the Chair Asghar Khan.
However, they did at least one job by hooting down a proposal that Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Majeed Malik should be included in the committee that was to make a list of demands of Thursday’s meeting during the lunch break.
Air Marshal Asghar Khan, who was chairing the meeting, told a press briefing that ex-servicemen demanded stepping down of President Musharraf and that power should be handed over to the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to hold elections under a neutral caretaker set-up. Khan also demanded the re-constitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan with Justice Bhagwandas as its chief. Khan said the ex-servicemen would extend full support to the protest rallies staged by journalists and lawyers. The meeting demanded that disgraced hero, Dr AQ Khan, should be either released or tried in a court of law, instead of being kept under illegal detention.
Khan, however, remained uncomfortable while facing critical journalists with his colleagues sitting in the hall, yelling ‘planted question’ whenever a query about their accountability was put to him.
In most cases, he said: “We have not decided yet”. He refused to take questions on self-accountability and was pressed time and again that he himself was among the strong supporters of General Zia’s martial law and the person sitting next to him, Lt-Gen (retd) Faiz Ali Chishti, was Commander 10 Corps when Zia had taken over and later collaborated with him in all his acts.
Questioners also mentioned Gen (retd) Beg under whose stint as Army chief the Mehran Bank scandal took place and the then president had nominated his successor three months before Beg’s retirement as a pre-emptive measure keeping in view his political ambitions. But neither Asghar Khan showed the grace to admit any wrongdoing nor did Chishti and Beg. Speaking on his own behalf and the two others, Khan said: “Whatever happened in the past has happened. There were individuals involved, not all ex-servicemen.” Lt-Gen. (retd) Abdul Majid Malik, who spoke earlier, said many blunders were committed in the past but regretted that only the blunders committed by the Army had been exploited. Malik left the venue before the press conference when the majority of those present said ‘no’ to the proposal of nominating him as a committee member for furnishing the list of demands.