RAWALPINDI, Jan 20: Maj-Gen (retd) Rao Farman Ali, former federal minister and a key player in the East Pakistan crisis, died here on Tuesday morning after a brief illness. He was 82.
His mortal remains were laid to rest at the Army Graveyard. Among those who attended funeral prayers, were his relatives, friends and former colleagues, including Vice-Chief of the General Staff Gen Yousuf Khan, Rawalpindi Corps Commander Lt-Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, PML-N chairman Raja Zafarul Haq and former NWFP governor Amir Gulistan Janjua.
Gen Farman Ali was the military adviser to the governor of East Pakistan in 1971 and was considered to have had complete knowledge of the events leading to the fall of Dhaka.
The late General was the person who first declared that the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report, published in an Indian magazine a few years ago, was genuine as it contained everything he had stated before the Commission.
According to reports, the Commission had exonerated Gen Farman along with Lt-Gen Tikka Khan and Lt-Gen Sahabzada Yaqoob Khan while it had called for public trial of some other generals.
It is said that Gen Farman was the architect of the plan to arrest Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in March, 1971. Moreover, it is said that he was the man who was addressed by the Indian army chief, Gen Manekshaw, to surrender to the Indian army in December 1971.
Gen Farman took commission in the Regiment of Artillery in 1942 and later commanded 26th Field Regiment. He was the commander, artillery, in East Pakistan from where he was promoted to the rank of major-general in 1970. During his military career, he remained as director-general Military Training and the director-general of the Military Operations Directorate in the General Headquarters.
He remained the managing director of the Fauji Foundation from 1974 to 1984 where he created Fauji Fertiliser in 1978 and remained its chairman and managing director till 1985.
He remained federal minister for petroleum and natural resources during the regime of Gen Ziaul Haq and also served him as his political adviser. He wrote a book 'Sar Gazisht', based on the East Pakistan crises. He is survived by a wife, four daughters and a son.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali hasexpressed his deep sense of grief and sorrow over the demise of Rao Farman Ali. Acting president Muhammadmian Soomro, acting Senate chairman Khalilur Rehman and Leader of the House in the Senate Wasim Sajjad have also expressed their grief and sorrow over his death. His Qul will be held on Wednesday after Asr prayers at his residence in Westridge, Rawalpindi.