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Zia: a counter-view

August 25, 2016

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THIS refers to G.B. Shah Bokhari’s letter (Aug 24).

Zia ruined the country no end, disenfranchised the people, getting the ‘right kind of people into Shura.’ The specimens he chose were the scum of the earth.

Three times (from a major to a brigadier) his file was defiled with remarks on his professional capabilities. and thrice he was able to get those adverse notes erased from his record, the last one by the then CGS Lt- Gen Gul Hassan. So low was Zia’s IQ that instead of attending the course at the Staff and Command College, Quetta, he accepted being posted to Jordan.

Gul told Yahya: ‘In order to avoid the course, he is ready to go to hell.’ Even in Jordan his Brigade Commander wrote on his file and I remember the words: “Not fit to be an officer in the Pakistan Army.”

Zia had reduced himself to a narco dealer in the end. Gen Faiz Ali Chishti mentions in his book, Betrayals of Another Kind, that Zia was once held up at the Paris airport as drugs were recovered from his plane. The ISI had a great time in suppressing the news.

Surely Mr Bokhari is not serious when he tells us that Benazir was allowed to win in spite of the opposition against her in the army. Well, he should know better: Mirza Aslam Beg and Gen Hameed Gul cobbled up the IJI just to steal the vote bank of the PPP. Benazir ended up with a weak government.

I will agree that Zia had great foresight: when a politician from Sindh told Zia in June 1988 that she wanted to become the prime minister. Zia said: “Over my dead body.” Within two months he was dead and Benazir Bhutto did become the prime minister.

The half-glass analogy won’t hold here. The glass was just shattered. Even today we are trying to sweep the shards off the floor.

Aslam Minhas

Karachi

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2016