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Dictators versus democrats

August 13, 2017

REFERENCE ‘Dictators vs democrats’ (Aug 9). The writer has travelled through Pakistan’s history: starting with the episode when Gen (Sir) Douglas David Gracey, C-in-C of the army (1948 to 1951), refused to send troops into Kashmir. He has, however, failed to explore reasons why orders of the Governor-General (GG) were disobeyed, especially when the GG was Qauid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, a man of great resolve and fortitude.

To keep the record straight, I quote from Estranged Neighbours — India-Pakistan 1947-2010, a book authored by Gen (r) K.M. Arif. The author has produced, at pages 143-156, a longhand written letter by Gen Gracey.

According to the general, “On the night of the day that the Maharaja acceded to India I was rung up from Lahore by Sir Francis Mudie’s Military Secretary that Mr Jinnah wanted me to march my army into Kashmir. I told him that he was drunk and he must get Mr Jinnah’s written instructions and better get Mr Jinnah on phone himself”.

The next day, Gen Gracey, together with Field Marshall Claude Auchinleck, who came especially from Delhi, met the Qauid at Governor House, Lahore. The Quaid was briefed “…while Waziristan was still garrisoned, the Punjab frontier force was still in being and the Air Force almost entirely officered by British officers and all the functionaries are British or Indians.

“… We had only part of 7th Division in Pindi of which signals were Sikh, and the Pakistan battalion available was dispersed to deal with refugees. The two Indian battalions, the 2/3 Gurkha and Madras battalion were to go to India. Lahore was garrisoned almost entirely by Gurkha and Garhwali battalions and many units of the Pak Army were commanded by Indians and British Cos. There were many Indian officers in key positions in offices, ordnance and RASC depots.

“... There was not a Muslim single unit in the old Indian Army. Many Pak companies/detachments were still scattered as widely as Burma, Malaya, and Benghazi, etc.”

According to the general, after his briefing the Quaid fully realised the situation and agreed to cancel his instructions.

Manzoor H. Kureshi

Karachi

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2017