A retired General`s wisdom

04 Sep 2008

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APROPOS of the editorial, '” (Sept 2), Lt-General Quli Khan was bypassed for the COAS post and we received the gift in the garb of Musharraf who in due course became a facilitator for Uncle Sam. Some say Quli was more prone to grandiosity than Musharraf. Quli Khan's father Lt-General Habibullah Khattak was also ignored by General Ayub for the post of the army chief and we got an impuissant General Musa instead.

The 1965 War proved how incompetent Musa was for the job. Ayub married his son Gauhar to Habibullah's daughter and put the family up in business. Surfing through the Net, I saw a snapshot of Bilal Musharraf (when Pa was Prez) in the company of a prince of Saudi Arabia with Pakistan ambassador in tow. It is all in the family.

The editorial (with a few exceptions) is quite questionable. Since Quli is under the anvil, I quote his interview given to a private TV channel a few years ago. He maintained that in 1971, India had not given them a chance to fight, which is far from true. They stealthily reached Dhaka in a fortnight through an intricate network of kucha roads and narrow ravines while our generals kept guarding the main roads and bridges. What did Quli Khan want? A wrestling match with Manek Shaw?

This certainly doubts his knowledge about warfare. That reminds me, to avoid a war course in Staff and Command College in Quetta, then Brigadier Zia-ul-Haq got himself posted out to Amman where from his Brigade Commander, he earned the remarks “Unfit to be an officer in the Pakistan Army” which the wily Zia was able to get deleted from his records, courtesy Maj-General Gul Hassan (in GHQ) and President Yahya Khan.

I think these gentlemen should have restricted themselves to business and not politics. We have to go through the current phase without the benefit of such advisors.

ASLAM MINHAS Karachi