Ex-general for making an example of Musharraf
03 June, 2008
RAWALPINDI: Lt Gen (retd) Jamshaid Gulzar Kiyani on Monday stressed the need for making an example of President Pervez Musharraf to block the emergence of future dictators in the country.
Talking to Dr Shahid Masood in the Geo TV programme Meray Mutabiq, he said General Musharraf had committed basic mistakes such as the Kargil debacle, surrender to the US threat of pushing Pakistan into the stone age and the Lal Masjid destruction.
He said no power could stay in the face of the power of the people. He said he had seen the period of Ayub Khan, who could not face the wrath of the people. When asked whether the Army was with Musharraf, he said the armymen would never say anything about it and such things were never discussed in the Army.
He ruled out the imposition of martial law, saying that the president could not use Article 58-2(b). Gen Gulzar said Musharraf`s departure from power was close at hand. He said the president should not have given in to the US threat in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. He said the Pakistan Army was the best professional Army in the world. He said Musharraf had options at that time and he should have held a referendum to ascertain the will of the people.
Gen Gulzar said the referendum Musharraf held for himself was a fake exercise as Gen Zia did the same during his rule. He said Musharraf was clearly told about this mistake and afterwards he accepted his mistake.
He said today everybody believed that Gen Musharraf was fighting the American war on the soil of Pakistan and "we are paying for that today." departure from power was close at hand. He said the president should not have given in to US threat in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. He said the threat to push Pakistan into the stone age was delivered by the then secretary of state Colin Powel and not by the American president. He said the president arrested and handed over Pakistanis to the US. Where have these unknown people gone? he asked.
He asked what was the crime of Mullah Zaeef and as a diplomat did he deserve such insulting behaviour? He said the ISI was used to commit wrong acts. He said he was in the ISI and advised against such acts but his advice fell on deaf ears. As a result today Musharraf was the most unpopular president. If he had accepted the advice, he would have been the most successful president of Pakistan today.
He said suicide attacks that were beyond imagination before 9/11 are difficult to control now, he said. He said he was not a supporter of suicide attacks but these reflect an easy reaction that cannot be stopped by anyone.
He said there were suicide attacks one after the other in the wake of the Lal Masjid and the Jamia Hafsa operation. He said if there were foreign elements in Lal Masjid, where did they go? He said innocent students were targeted with phosphorus grenades, that he added come in the fold of chemical weapons. He said he had never seen such an act of tyranny. He said when a bullet crosses the body it is not a wrong use of power but that is a tyrannical act. It tantamounts to killing an ant with a hammer.
He said ex-servicemen should have come forward a long time ago but they have not been an organized body that could be activated on one call. About the economic situation, General Gulzar Kiyani termed the present period the worst when it was difficult for the poor to get even one meal.
When asked about his appointment and expulsion as Chairman Federal Public Service Commission, Gen Kiyani said the real differences started after the 9/11 episode. “After retiring from the Army on Oct 14, 2004, when I reminded General Saheb his commitment to doff his uniform during a meeting, he said that the nation needed him.”
He said it was a reaction to his policies that suicide attacks started in the country. He said force was used in South and North Waziristan and 80 students were killed in a Bajaur Madrassa in an American operation. What was the crime of these students, he asked.
He said he remained Chairman of the Public Service Commission for three years. At that time the prime minister was Jamali whose first demand was to give power of appointments in CBR and FIA to ministers. He said if this power was given to ministers they would have gotten their own way.
He said one of the two officers approved by former prime minister Shaukat Aziz faced a NAB corruption case while the other had no chance of promotion. “I requested them that this would cause great demoralisation among the bureaucracy. I humbly submitted to them that this was a wrong step but in a short period the chairman’s tenure was reduced from five to three years under the PCO to remove me.”
He expressed regret over the suicide attack outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad adding there was no conception of suicide bombings before 9/11. The policies of President Pervez Musharraf in the post-9/11 scenario led to suicide attacks in Pakistan.
Pulling the curtain off past events, Lt Gen (retd) Jamshed Gulzar Kiyani denied a hand in the removal of Nawaz’s government on October 12, 1999. “I was major general then and I was promoted on November 1, 1999. After that I took the responsibility of corps commander Rawalpindi and successfully held the post for two years.”
Commenting on the 9/11 events of 2001, he said undoubtedly a hell was unleashed on New York but he never reconciled with the practical course President Pervez Musharraf adopted after the incident.
To a question, he said no aspersion could be cast on the loyalty of the Army and so on the corps commander. A corps commander also remains loyal to the army chief. However, different views came up at the corps commanders meetings in the wake of 9/11. Big differences emerged then. When General (retd) Musharraf asked as to what were their views to the threats of pushing Pakistan into the stone age, a difference of opinion emerged in the views of the corps commanders. It was three to four days after 9/11. Some commanders openly told Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf that they had reservations. These pertained to an outright and open support to the US. They believed that the US should not be extended support blindly. The corps commander is a professional soldier and ignoring his advice leads to losses.
Regarding the 1971 war, he said he was on the eastern border but never became a prisoner of war. He said there is no doubt that excesses were committed against the people of Bengal. He held then General Yahya Khan responsible for the same. General Niazi totally failed in East Pakistan and his role was very embarrassing which is a matter of regret.
General (retd) Jamshed Gulzar Kiyani said according to his information Nawaz Sharif did not know anything about the Kargil episode. He was never thoroughly briefed on the same. He supported holding of a probe into the Kargil fiasco, adding factors behind the scene, about which people do not know, would also come into the limelight.
Asked what was his plan, General Kiyani said he had briefed Nawaz Sharif and told him that it was a very sensitive issue and he could not unveil all the details to him. He was only apprised of the ongoing situation. Nawaz time and again asked about the truth from senior officials including Sartaj Aziz who was the foreign minister. He also tried to persuade the chief of army staff. General Majid spoke in detail on the issue. General Mahmood was the corps commander then.
Kiyani said our Jawans (soldiers) bravely fought the Kargil War. I think they revived the memories of the 1965 war. Our officers fought more fiercely than in the 1965 War and repulsed enemy attacks time and again. Despite the fact that supplies were disrupted due to extreme cold, the Jawans continued the war. He repeated that arguments will come up when there will be a probe.
He termed Nawaz’s travel to the US a bid to save the prestige of the Pakistan Army. He said in the meeting of May 17 Nawaz gave a green signal to the operation. He assured conditional support to General Musharraf that the government would back the operation when he successfully moved forward. If unfortunately the same failed, he would not be in a position to support him (Musharraf). When the army was caught in an awkward situation, he again travelled to the US to save the symbol of the country, the Pakistan Army.
To a question about the use of nuclear weapons in the war, General Kiyani said the war could have not been kept limited to the Kargil sector or a particular front particularly when the two countries possessed nuclear weapons.
Referring to the book authored by General Musharraf, Jamshed Gulzar Kiyani said whatever has been written there is against logic. If you catch your enemy by the jugular vein he would react with full force. If you cut enemy supply lines, the only option for him will be to ensure supplies by air. That situation the Indian Army was unlikely to confront and it had to come up to the occasion. It is against wisdom that you dictate to the enemy to keep the war limited to a certain front. After that Nawaz went to the United States. But an attempt was made to create the impression in the print media that Nawaz Sharif was at fault to surrender there. He said this impression was created by General Pervez Musharraf which was totally wrong.