Pakistan’s Treacherous Generals

Developing Just Leadership

Zia Sarhadi

Dhu al-Qa'dah 24, 1445 2024-06-01

News & Analysis

by Zia Sarhadi

Image Source - Pixabay Free Content.

Pakistani generals are cowards, incompetent and greedy. Add to that their treacherous nature and one can begin to understand their true role.

They not only overthrew the most popular leader in Pakistan’s history—Imran Khan—but by manipulating the judiciary, have locked him up in a filthy prison cell since August 5, 2023. He has been charged with nearly 180 charges, all bogus. If Imran Khan gets relief in one case, other cases keep him in prison.

It is important to know the conditions in which he is kept. He is locked up in a tiny cell measuring 5x9 feet. Considering that there is a three-foot open toilet also in there, one can begin to get a sense of the cramped filthy space in which the former prime minister is kept.

The toilet is Indian-style, one on which people squat to relieve themselves. Since it is connected directly to the sewer pipe, unlike the seat toilet which has a P-trap filled with water to block the smell, the Indian toilet emits a terrible smell all the time.

Summer temperatures in Pakistan are always high but this year has been especially hot. Temperatures have hit 48 to 50 degrees Celsius. Imagine a small cramped prison cell which has no window to the outside (it wouldn’t have helped much even if there were one). A small cooler is installed in the wall of the toilet at ground level that is supposed to provide cooling. The air from the cooler blows over the toilet spreading stink in the room.

This is deliberate. On the orders of the generals, Imran Khan is being tormented both physically and mentally because he dares to think of making Pakistan an independent country. The generals cannot imagine life without subservience to the US. Pakistan’s most popular leader Imran Khan who has the support of more than 80% of the population, has to be punished.

The masses support him because he established three world class cancer hospitals with funds he donated from his earnings as a cricket star, as well as raised funds using his celebrity status. He also established a world class university in the country.

Why are the generals hell-bent on punishing him? Imran Khan wants to serve the people. He talks about justice and holding everyone accountable. Such talk is heresy as far as the generals are concerned. They have got so used to plundering state resources and interfering in every facet of life that they cannot imagine any civilian getting in the way.

The generals have a long history of punishing people who have faithfully served Pakistan. It started with the founder of the country, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. On his deathbed suffering from tuberculosis, his ambulance broke down in a remote part of Baluchistan and no help was provided. The generals using the bureaucracy, had a hand in it.

Jinnah’s righthand man and successor, Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated with the connivance of the generals. The plane carrying the inquiry team with their report, flying from Rawalpindi to Karachi, “crashed”. The generals, in particular Ayub Khan who later declared martial law and grabbed power as a military dictator, was behind it as he was in the murder of Jinnah’s sister Fatima Jinnah.

She dared to run against Ayub Khan in the 1964 presidential elections. She was first vilified as a “traitor” and later murdered in bed. The generals simply do not tolerate any patriotic Pakistanis.

When Ayub Khan was forced to resign under huge public protests, the power was grabbed by another general, Yahya Khan. A drunkard and womanizer, he refused to hand over power to the popularly-elected leader, Shaikh Mujibur Rahman, because he was from East Pakistan.

Yahya unleashed the army on the people of East Pakistan butchering hundreds of thousands of civilians. Those in West Pakistan who protested against such butchery were branded as traitors. Under Yahya’s charge, the Pakistan army surrendered to the invading Indian army on December 16, 1971 leading to the breakup of Pakistan.

Mujibur Rahman was branded a “traitor” for demanding that the people’s mandate be respected but not a single general was charged with treason for breaking up Pakistan. Nor was any general charged with genocide against their own people.

The same horrible treatment was meted out to Dr Abdul Qadir Khan who is known as the “father of Pakistan’s nuclear program”. He sacrificed his lucrative career in Europe and worked on Pakistan’s nuclear program building the country’s nuclear infrastructure.

When Pakistan’s first nuclear explosion was conducted in May 1998 in response to India’s nuclear explosion the same month, the generals took possession of all the nuclear bombs as well as took charge of nuclear policy.

The military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf humiliated Dr Qadir Khan by forcing him to confess on television that the latter had sold nuclear secrets to Libya. It was the greedy generals that had done so but Qadir Khan was made to take the blame.

Musharraf did other terrible things. He and his intelligence agents grabbed and sold hundreds of innocent people—Pakistanis and non-Pakistanis—to the Americans for a fistful of dollars. Musharraf candidly admitted in his book, In the Line of Fire, that he and his fellow generals collected millions of dollars in bounty.

Among those sold to the Americans was Dr Aafia Siddiqui, still languishing in an American prison in Texas serving an 86-year prison sentence. The allegation against this frail 5ft 3 inches tall woman was that she had grabbed a gun from a 6-ft tall marine and shot him in the stomach! Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a neuroscientist with a PhD from Brandeis University.

Musharraf and his generals then joined America’s war on terror. They attacked their own people in Pakistan’s tribal belt as well as in the provinces of KPK and Baluchistan. Tens of thousands of innocent people were butchered to satiate America’s blood lust. The generals collected bakhsheesh from the Americans.

As an American attorney had said during the trial of Aimal Kansi in 1993, “The Pakistanis will sell their mothers for $20,000.” Kansi was accused of killing two Americans and was betrayed by the Pakistanis. He was executed by the Americans.

Contrast this with the case of Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor, who shot and killed two Pakistanis in broad daylight in Lahore in January 2011. The two young men were ISI agents trailing Davis.

When Davis was charged with murder, then Pakistani ISI chief, general Ahmed Shuja Pasha intervened. He pressured the families of the victims to accept blood money in return for forgiving Davis. If the families refused, the general threatened to make a horrible example of them!

Pakistani generals are always there to serve the Americans. This is what they are doing to Imran Khan, to appease the US. As prime minister, Imran Khan had said he would not provide military bases to the Americans to carry out attacks against neighbouring Afghanistan.

The Americans were furious. They demanded Imran Khan’s ouster from power. The generals willingly obliged, plunging Pakistan into its worst political and economic crisis.

Given the generals’ treacherous role since Pakistan’s creation, many Pakistanis have asked whether there is need for an army that cannot protect the country from external enemies but eagerly serves American interests to the detriment of Pakistan.

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