He is Masood Sharif Khan Khattak, better known as Major Masood Sharif, director-general of the Intelligence Bureau in PM Benazir Bhutto’s second term. He has asked a significant question: if a public servant adequately met a challenge to the state by terrorists, and, risking his life, overcame the gruesome horror, and was then punished for it by dismissal from service, who will want to take up any future challenge to the state? To worst patch of terrorism that Pakistan has ever faced, says Masood Sharif, was in Karachi during 1984-95. Peace and the writ of Pakistan were finally restored in that city in 1995-96 through essentially an IB-spearheaded operation under his command. For the people of Karachi there is no need to repeat what they went through all these years. On August 14, 1996, President Leghari conferred the Hilal-i-Shujaat on Masood Sharif and on Saeed Khan, IGP, Shoaib Suddle, DIG Police, and Major General Muhammad Akram, DG Rangers. But what happened after the fall of the PPP government in November 1996? Leghari, on the advice of PM Nawaz Sharif, in an act unprecedented as well as contemptible, withdrew the awards from the three civilian officers but did not have the guts to do the same to the military general. Masood Sharif was held in Karachi jail for three years. No charges could even be drawn up against him, and was finally released on bail by the Supreme Court. In the process he was humiliated, insulted and tortured, his family literally thrown out of government accommodation, and he was dismissed from service without a trial. All because he was considered close to Benazir Bhutto. Asks Masood Sharif: “Where was the state that I had defended against terrorism when I and my family were meted out a treatment that was disgraceful and utterly humiliating? While I defended the state when it was vulnerable, the state did not defend me when my family and I were vulnerable and needed to be defended against vicious and vindictive people.” This was a sample, though a very cruel and base sample, of what an officer can face from the successors of a political regime which he tried to serve to the best of his ability. As a retired public servant, all that I can say is, “May the Almighty protect the services from such victimization.” REFERENCE: Victimized for loyalty By Hafizur Rahman April 10, 2002 Wednesday Muharram 26, 1423 http://archives.dawn.com/2002/04/10/op.htm#2
Masood Sharif Khan Khattak in Jawab Deyh (12 Oct 2008)
ISLAMABAD: Masood Sharif Khattak on Wednesday in his rejoinder to Senator Faisal Raza Abidi’s article said that he had thought that common sense would prevail but Faisal Raza Abidi had chosen to play the pawn in the hands of Rehman Malik. I am proud of the fact that I served one of the greatest political personalities of the country Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and I have never written any article that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had ever objected to even to the slightest extent. All my articles are in public domain. I write in the English language. I do not know which of my articles have been read by Raza Abidi as anti-PPP and anti-PPP leadership. These are the kind of lies that have been fed to the present PPP leadership by people like Raza Abidi and other political and professional pygmies around the present PPP leadership. These pygmies cannot survive in an environment, which has professionals and upright people in the corridors of power. Raza Abidi should put forth just one article that I have written, which is critical of the PPP and its leadership. Let me say that it was only the consideration of my past affiliations with the PPP that somehow kept me from writing critical articles regarding governmental performances and this cost me dearly in my credibility as a writer. I feel sorry for my friend Asif Ali Zardari that for sycophants and durbaris like Abidi etc he has to lose friends like many more even better people and me.
(Ex DG-IB & EX. CEC Member of PPP) Mr. Masood Sharif Khan Khattak on Benazir Bhutto's
Whizzing past his 80th milestone, men like Naseerullah Babar are a vanishing breed: a compost of truth mixed with seasoned intelligence gathering that connects the dots. When General (retd) Naseerullah Babar leaves the world as we all mortals must, unrevealed intelligence will perish with him. As one whose loyalties are locked in with the Bhutto family, this old PPP guard has watched his revered leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto hanged and his two sons murdered spawning 30 years of chilling intrigue and international espionage. He knows who killed them and the motive behind, but his lips are sealed. Now he worries for the daughter. Trying to pre-empt a violent end for Benazir Bhutto, he’s seen giving broad hints to whosoever asks: go look for the telltale signs that lead to her would-be assassins, he says. Given to television appearances, he speaks loud and clear unlike most mumblers whose words sound like ciphers. “She is a very brave girl who has lost her father and two brothers.” Babar is trying to reach her but she is unavailable for him, or was until the last time I spoke with the retired major general who now lives in Peshawar. “I tried contacting the Mohtarma but couldn’t get her, so I’ve sent a message through Farhatullah Babar,” says the man who served BB during her two terms as a special adviser and later her interior minister. If I were BB, I’d listen to the grand old man. He seeks no baksheesh or a job to jockey for. Unlike her tribe of corrupt pelf-seekers mining a fortune during her two terms, Naseerullah Babar is solid as a rock and unbending as the army baton that he always carries tucked under his arm.
Why did he leave Benazir Bhutto? “It’s a personal issue,” pat comes the general’s response. But we all know that Benazir’s deal with Musharraf was the breaking point. Babar could not bear the thought of his leader sitting with men like Aftab Khan Sherpao and Farooq Leghari after the way they stabbed her in the back. Whizzing past his 80th milestone, men like Babar are a vanishing breed. A compost of truth mixed with seasoned intelligence gathering that connects the dots. He takes a principled stand where the lily livered would capitulate. Such men need to be lionised. Sadly, Benazir has opted for Rehman Malik, the former FIA chief who reported to General Babar when the latter was the interior minister. Malik rose to dizzying heights from a lowly grade 13 or 14 officer. Stories of Malik trying to worm his way through by bribing his seniors are still fresh in our minds. Come promotion time, he’d turn up at their homes with trays laden with designer suits. By golly, it worked! Today, he’s Benazir’s confidant-in-chief and sticks close to her. The first face we saw after Benazir descended the airplane sporting baby pink tie and kerchief and waving to the crowds with a cheesy smile was Rehman Malik. Nor is Naseerullah Babar anything like Mustafa Khar, the unctuous fast-talking opportunist. “On July 5, 1977, Khar changed camps and went over to General Chisti for his reprieve while Mr Bhutto was arrested and taken to Murree,” remembers Babar.
“At my age it’s not appropriate to compromise with the military and seek a PPP ticket for the 2008 elections. But my loyalty to the PPP will remain grounded. It’s my national duty,” he tells me when I ask him whether he would like to serve BB again. Benazir showed respect when addressing her interior minister. She and the ‘General Sahib’ liked to engage in intellectual dialogue. Unlike other cabinet ministers, I never saw Babar cringe before his young prime minister. He was in the centre of investigations when Benazir’s two brothers were killed. “I went to South of France when Shahnawaz died in July 1985. I know exactly what happened and who killed him.” Why, then, has he not revealed the identity of Shahnawaz’s killers? “Because I was advised not to go beyond the drawn line,” he says. “The substance that killed Shahnawaz was used by very few countries.” The FBI and the French authorities investigated independently but kept their findings secret because of certain international sensitivities.” Was dictator Zia behind the act? Perhaps he wanted the Bhuttos wiped out altogether?
How ironical that 22 years down the road, ZAB’s daughter Benazir should wag a finger at ‘Zia’s remnants’ who tried killing her in the early hours of October 19! When Ejazul Haq was asked whether he was a suspect in the eyes of Benazir, he merely grinned (just the way his dad used to) and dismissed the allegation as a farce. Street lights once again are at the heart of murder and darkness. Remember the street lights in front of 70 Clifton were switched off when Murtaza Bhutto was ruthlessly gunned down? Who was the prime minster then? None other than his sister. Irony of ironies that today she should be talking of the street lights being turned off as the sun set on Drigh Road, now called Shahra-e-Faisal. Naseerullah Babar was the interior minister. “I know the people who had him bumped off. They dismissed the sister two weeks later because they wanted to seize power and heap all the blame on her for his death.” Was it the civil and military clique -- the ‘Zia remnants’ that Benazir Bhutto keeps drumming up? The current provincial home secretary is a retired brigadier. “He’s a tradesman, not a terrorism expert,” says Gen (retd) Babar. The MQM backed security adviser Wasim Akhtar also does not get Babar’s vote of confidence. “Every time there’s an attack, the government stonewalls it as a suicide attack and presents the nation with the head of the bomber,” says Babar. “The head is like massaging the story to throw everyone off the scent.” His patience with gauche intellectual weightlessness and conspiracy theories of our rulers is wearing thin. When General Asif Nawaz died, Nawaz Sharif got blamed for poisoning him to death. General Babar, who was in the government then, sent the hair samples of the deceased army chief to France and Russia. The final verdict: it was not poison but a heart attack that killed the handsome general. “I had the moral courage to tell the nation and absolve Nawaz Sharif of the crime,” says Babar. Today the blatherskites muddy the picture. “Unless our people get wiser and braver God will continue to give them cowardly leaders like the present lot.” Babar’s harshest barbs are reserved for General Musharraf which he has freely shared on national television.
“I have seen General Musharraf in ‘action’ during the 1965 and 1971 wars. I watched him from close quarters. To me he came across as a coward; corrupt; and a man of mediocre intelligence,” says Babar, the soldier who won the highest award in courage. During the 1965 war, Babar singlehandedly captured an entire Indian company of soldiers (over 70 POWs) and was awarded the Sitara-i-Jurat. In the 1971 war, he commanded an artillery brigade and fought like a tiger on the battlefield getting badly wounded. He was decorated with the Hilal-i-Jurat. The decorated war hero famously threw his awards at the military tribunal that sent ZAB to the gallows. Who can then blame Babar for voicing disappointment with Benazir kowtowing with Musharraf and his army today? “I’d rather go and play a game of golf, meet with my friends, attend family functions and go grocery shopping than walk in the corridors of power,” says the man who has not allowed age to interfere with his elan for life. His secret for a long healthy life? “I go to bed early and am an eternal optimist. We will come out of our current political crisis with flying colours!” Bravo! Encore! REFERENCE: Whodunnit? By Anjum Niaz October 28, 2007 http://archives.dawn.com/weekly/dmag/archive/071028/dmag16.htm
Masood Sharif Khan Khattak on Operation Midnight Jackal (Jirga – 10th Sep 2009)
DAWN NEWS SPECIAL PROGRAM ON MEHRAN BANK SCANDAL (2008)
Masood Sharif responds to Senator Faisal Raza Abidi’s rejoinder Thursday, April 22, 2010 (The News International)
Faisal Raza Abidi please ask my friend Asif Ali Zardari, the President of Pakistan, if he had, or had not, sent Farooq H Naek, the incumbent Chairman Senate, to Islamabad to see me on my request when the president was himself still in the Karachi prisons while I had recently returned home after three years of imprisonment in Karachi Central Prison along with Mr Asif Ali Zardari. On the directions of Asif Ali Zardari, the incumbent President, Farooq H Naek one afternoon arrived at my house in Islamabad and I took him around in my car driving endlessly till as long as it took to play all the recordings of the infamous Malik Qayyum cassettes. Raza Abidi should ask Farooq H Naek what I am saying is correct or not. I am sure Fraooq H Naek will tell him that it was in my car that these cassettes were first heard by him. Farooq H Naek immediately asked me to give him the infamous Malik Qayyum cassettes and I told him that he should not bother because while these are with me they are just as if the same are with him but that I have to honour a commitment with the honourable man who has surfaced with these cassettes as his and his family’s life would be at risk if these cassettes were prematurely made public. I asked him to arrange so that the man could leave the country with another set of the infamous cassettes that he possessed while I hold the set that was in my custody as leverage. I am not aware of what arrangements Farooq H Naek and the PPP made for Rana Abdul Rahim to leave the country but he did end up in UK with the cassettes and the subsequent happenings are history and well known. At one stage Rana Abdul Rahim also asked me for the return of the cassettes that I had in my possession because he was frustrated at the way he was being handled by the people arranging for his visa etc. I refused to oblige him but did promise him, as one honourable man to another, that my set of cassettes will not be released till he has left the country with yet another set of the infamous Malik Qayyum cassettes. Finally, he did get out of the country with the other set of cassettes. It was in my hospital room in Lahore after having returned to it from the CCU (Cardiac Care Unit) after an open heart by-pass surgery that Rana Abdul Rahim, an IB officer, came to me saying that his conscience was bothering him a lot. He knew me from the time I was his DG IB. He thought that I was the safest man for him to confide with on the issue of the infamous Malik Qayyum cassettes. He told me what the cassettes contained and that his conscience was bothering him a lot as he considered it most unjust for the then judge Malik Qayyum to be mixed up with government functionaries to convict someone like Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. I can vouch for this officer to be honourable apolitical man answering only to the call of his conscience. I encouraged him on such a tension-ridden project when the stitches on my chest after the open-heart by-pass surgery were still extremely painful. Yet, for my leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and my friend Asif Ali Zardari I involved myself in that project with Rana Abdul Rahim without caring for my personal health at that point of time. Are you listening Raza Abidi?
Rana Abdul Rahim is an extremely honest man. He is as honourable as honour can be described. The PPP and its leadership owe an eternal gratitude to Rana Abdul Rahim an officer of the IB. Let me say it in as clear and unambiguous words as it can be said that had it not been for the heroic answer to the call of conscience on the part of Rana Abdul Rahim of the IB the political landscape of Pakistan would have been very different. Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari would most certainly have been convicted on the basis of a coordinated conspiracy on the part of the then executive and the then judge Malik Qayyum. Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari would have been disqualified from active politics as all recourses to justice would have been exhausted after a Supreme Court conviction which did not happen only and only due to the surfacing of the infamous Malik Qayyum cassettes which was a brave and honourable act on the part of Rana Abdul Rahim. The PPP would then have been in tatters and there would have been no need for any Musharraf-PPP negotiations. Above all the PPP would not have come back to power ever again after its top leadership had been convicted. The president owes his Presidency to Rana Abdul Rahim and the prime minister owes his prime ministership to Rana Abdul Rahim of the IB. The PPP owes everything it today has in the shape of political power over the destiny of the country and, in fact, the party itself being coherent and existent to this one great man called Rana Abdul Rahim. Instead, what actually happened with Rana Abdul Rahim, an IB officer, to whom the PPP and its leadership owes so much for having brought to surface the infamous Malik Qayyum cassettes is a very sad, pathetic and tragic commentary. Rana Abdul Rahim returned to Pakistan after long dreadful years of exile spent in an eastern European country. It was due to some influential person that he was forced to have an exile in eastern European country instead of UK so that this honorable man Rana Abdul Rahim is kept away from the leadership i.e. Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto while he could claim laurels for the great favour that Rana Abdul Rahim had done to the PPP leadership and the party itself by saving the leadership from a 100 per cent guaranteed conviction being brought about through a conspiracy between the then executive and one corrupt judge namely Malik Qayyum. On return to Pakistan after the PPP had taken power in 2008 Rana Abdul Rahim went pillar to post and could manage only one or two brief meetings with the president who was kind to him but his orders were never followed in letter and spirit by some close to the president who had been ordered by the president to help rehabilitate Rana Abdul Rahim. This man to whom the PPP and its leadership really owed was refused recognition by president’s aide who would behave with him as if he had never met him before. Many a time when Rana Abdul Rahim has had to face the frustrations of mistreatment at the hands of president’s aide he called me on phone or in person and I always tried my best to give him comfort and the will to bear the indignity that he was being forced to bear at the hands of president’s aide. REFERENCE: Masood Sharif responds to Senator Faisal Raza Abidi’s rejoinder Thursday, April 22, 2010 http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=235447&Cat=2&dt=4/23/2010
Masood Sharif Khan Khattak on Karachi Situation (Kal Tak - Express News)
Even as I write this Rana Abdul Rahim is posted somewhere in Lahore against an assignment, which does not even carry a decent office premises or even a decent staff car and no one from the PPP hierarchy cares for him. While Rana Abdul Rahim and people like me who stand dismissed since 1997, without a reason, are politically victimized by the PPP itself there are these aliens, special specie from outer space, like Sheikh Riaz Ahmed for whom about 700 other criminals are released from jail in order to provide him the opportunity of riding out of jail and the person who get their dismissals turned into retirement to get all benefits. I do hope my friend the president will personally look into the sufferings of Rana Abdul Rahim and his family and ensure that he is adequately readjusted in life. As for me, under influence of his aide, the president has chosen to not even reply to my officially sent appeals against my dismissal from service – something that happened when I was with him in jail when I received my dismissal orders. It’s a pity that the PPP treats those who have stood by it with such scorn and disgust while it honours creepy and shady characters. Faisal Raza Abidi, please do not refer to presidential associate, who let our leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benzair Bhutto bleed to death while he ran away in the car that should have been used to evacuate her to hospital at that critical point of time, as someone loyal to the PPP and its leadership. For Heaven’s sake don’t do this. In the end let me ask Faisal Raza Abidi to abdicate from being the shield for someone else. I am a descendant of the great warrior poet Khushal Khan Khattak. I will take on whatever you have to say myself and not through anyone else like you do. Come forward and I hope the next statement in this series will be directly from you and not through Faisal Raza Abidi who I hope will chose to take the back seat. REFERENCE: Masood Sharif responds to Senator Faisal Raza Abidi’s rejoinder Thursday, April 22, 2010 http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=235447&Cat=2&dt=4/23/2010
Return of the Jackal - Part One
Having known Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto since 1987 I am proud of the fact that this exceptionally outstanding leader had chosen me to be the Director General, Intelligence Bureau (DG IB) in her government. I thus worked under her direct command. The unbearably tragic assassination of a leader as brilliant, brave and incomparable as her brought an untimely end to a very vibrant and purposeful life devoted to an unending effort to bring about true democracy in Pakistan. One could write unendingly on Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s personal courage, political acumen and her love for the people of Pakistan. She knew she was being hunted by ruthless assassins. Yet, this great courageous leader held rallies all over the country. The assassins finally caught up with her in Rawalpindi. Her biggest tribute is that she lived with the masses, commanded their love and respect and died amongst them, bravely, with a smile on her face and hand waving at the cheering crowds. Seventeen days before Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s coldblooded assassination I had expressed some differences on political matters openly. Little did I then know that I will never see her again. It is this aspect that weighs heavy on me and makes me regret what I had done. The grim situation arising out of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s assassination which saw Pakistan paralysed was handled by Asif Ali Zardari with dexterity and courage. The PPP was saved from likely fractures and was led through that turbulent period and the elections in such a manner that it emerged as the major party in the National and Sindh Assemblies. Zardari’s handling of the post-election scenario brought about a grand coalition with the PML-N and others at the centre and he even managed to bring the MQM back into mainstream politics. These were no ordinary achievements. Why the coalition broke after Musharraf’s resignation is too well known. Heartburning could have been buried after Asif Zardari apologised to Nawaz Sharif on TV and requested him to return to the coalition. Knowing each other from the sixties, I and Asif Ali Zardari were also imprisoned together in Karachi Central Jail for three long years. Prison days leave an indelible imprint. As director-general of the IB, I was arrested on the night between Nov. 5 and 6, 1996, in Lahore. Asif Ali Zardari was then at the Governor’s House in Lahore. He had my secret telephone number which had not been disconnected. He called me but got through to my wife who told him that I had been arrested an hour ago. After a short sojourn at Kot Lakhpat Jail I was shifted to Karachi Central Jail where I and Asif Ali Zardari then spent the next three years together. In late 1996, Asif and I were also locked up in the cold cells of a police station. We were subjected to days of brutal torture and interrogation. Who would have then known that this man lying on the cold floor of the police station would one day become president of Pakistan? Bravo Asif.
Open letter to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto explaining resignation from the PPP December 10th, 2007 by Masood Sharif Khan Khattak http://www.sharifpost.com/2007/12/10/open-letter-to-mohtarma-benazir-bhutto-explaining-resignation-from-the-ppp/
Return of the Jackal - Part Two
Experiences like jail bring forth the real man in anyone. I admired the man I saw in Asif while in jail with him. He was a man full of courage and fight, and was never cowed by the many cases that were being instituted against him. With each new case he would be taken away for investigation (actually torture). He was stronger than the state that was bullying him, not knowing that he would one day head it as president. He was subjected to months of solitary confinement after which, on a court order, I was allowed to visit him in his cell and, thereafter, we used to spend the day together. After sunset I would return to be locked up in my own dreadful cell. I can never forget Asif’s concern for me all the time we were in jail. Asif helped many prisoners get a lawyer and helped numerous others in different ways. He was always a common man with the common prisoners and this ability to empathise with the downtrodden and to relate to them should now stand him in good stead. It is during these days that I gauged the extraordinary political acumen, courage, insight, understanding and fortitude that this much vilified man possessed. Today, Asif Ali Zardari will be taking oath as Pakistan’s indisputable constitutional president. I plead to all his detractors to bury the bogey of all the negative propaganda of the past two decades and judge him from now.
Return of the Jackal - Part Three
The democratically-elected structure is now in position and should gear up to solve the country’s massive problems. These are challenging times. Only internal political stability and non-partisan national unity on issues affecting Pakistan’s security and integrity will be able to deliver solutions. It is now incumbent upon all political parties to strengthen the hands of the new president and I am confident that Pakistanis may well be in for a pleasant surprise. As a patriotic Pakistani and someone who has remained in the corridors of power, in a responsible position, I shall make a humble request to all political forces, in particular to Mian Nawaz Sharif and his PML-N, to rise above and give Asif Zardari a huge helping hand. To Mr Sharif, my humble request will also be that, notwithstanding the genuine grievances he may have, he give the coalition one more chance. The writer is a former DG of the Intelligence Bureau and served on the PPP’s Central Executive Committee. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org REFERENCE: Judge Asif from today by By Masood Sharif Khan Khattak DATED Tuesday, September 09, 2008 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=134623&Cat=9&dt=9/9/2008