General Zia-ul-Haq's death: A criminal conspiracy
A criminal conspiracy —Ijaz Ul Haq
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Ten months after the crash, an FBI team arrived, comprising only three members and without any assistance from an air-accident or forensic expert. The team only recorded verbal statements of a few concerned individuals without any worthwhile effort to conduct a detailed investigation 21 years ago, on August 17, a Pakistan Air Force C-130, an aircraft known for its established safety and reliability records, crashed near Bahawalpur. Through the process of elimination, it was established by the Board of Inquiry that the cause of the crash was, without doubt, sabotage.
In addition to 29 martyrs from the military, two US nationals were also killed: US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel and Brigadier-General Herbert Wassom. Pakistan’s top military hierarchy was eliminated.
The mystery was that the Vice Chief of the Army Staff General Aslam Beg, having himself hovered over the crash site, preferred to fly back to Rawalpindi. Major General Mehmud Durrani, the host of the entire episode, moved to Multan for a comfortable sleep.
Now claiming credit for democracy and decorated with a Democracy Medal, then General Beg did not feel obliged to care for his fallen comrades. Without inquiring about the survivors, and with the urge to take over, he rushed to Rawalpindi where in a high level meeting, he faced stiff resistance from powerful personalities.
The mortal remains were shifted to CMH Multan. Doctors performed a post-mortem on Brig-Gen Wassom, which revealed that he had died before the plane hit the ground. Doctors were stopped from conducting post-mortems on the rest of the victims. If done, it could have determined their cause of death. The Board of Inquiry had confirmed the presence of sulphur, antimony and other lethal chemical agents in the wreckage. It is also suspected that odourless poisonous gases were leaked inside the cockpit, rendering the crew unconscious or paralysed. This is why, it is deduced, no mayday signals were received at the control tower.
US law requires mandatory FBI investigation into the killing of any US national in any part of the world. In this case, when an FBI team was about to leave for Pakistan, mysteriously, it was stopped by the US secretary of state. It was also surprising that the team that had already arrived to assist in the investigation had done so without any formal request by the government of Pakistan.
Ten months after the crash, an FBI team arrived, comprising only three members and without any assistance from an air-accident or forensic expert. The team only recorded verbal statements of a few concerned individuals without any worthwhile effort to conduct a detailed investigation.
By then, the Pakistan People’s Party had come to power and it was futile to expect any cooperation from its government. Colonel Ghulam Sarwar Cheema (retd), minister of state for defence, in response to a question about the outcome, said that anyone interested in the outcome of the investigations should make a direct telephone call to Allah, who alone can reveal the outcome of the investigations. This was the callous attitude of the government functionaries responsible for conducting the investigations!
The FBI team that had arrived as mentioned above was found to be without any explicit mandate by either the government of the United States or Pakistan. It was handed over a list of 25 individuals who should have been questioned/interrogated for their possible involvement in the conspiracy. No one on that list was confronted. After a trip to Taxila and Murree, the team left at its leisure.
In 1979, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in one of his writings, had threatened that “if I am assassinated, my sons will take revenge”. Even before his execution, his sons and siblings had formed a terrorist group — Al Zulfikar — which carried out a series of terrorist attacks in the country. Die-hard political workers and estranged youth were recruited by Al Zulfikar and taken to India, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria for terrorist training. One such draft, on its way to Indian shores, was arrested by the Pakistan Navy.
Al Zulfikar gained strength and capabilities, and effectively joined hands with the enemies of Pakistan — RAW, Mossad, the KGB, Afghan intelligence, and any other outfit willing and working to weaken Pakistan.
It fired a missile on the then president’s aircraft at Rawalpindi, which missed the target. Another aircraft, a PIA airliner, was hijacked and taken to Damascus via Kabul. From the flight manifest, Murtaza Bhutto singled out Major Tariq Rahim, had him killed and threw his body on the tarmac at Kabul airport. This ill-fated young officer was the son of a retired general and served as ADC to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Murtaza’s father. While travelling together in a car, Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi and Justice Molvi Mushtaq were ambushed in Lahore. Justice Mushtaq was the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court, had presided over the trial of Mr Bhutto and awarded him the death sentence. In the attack, Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi was killed, while Justice Mushtaq suffered serious injuries.
Soon after the destruction of Pak 1, Murtaza Bhutto claimed that his organisation was responsible for the crime, but retracted his claim when he came to know about the killing of US citizens. Similarly, an earlier caller to a local newspaper, hours before the crash, wanted to know if the president’s plane had crashed or not. A credible story is that the plane was hit with a missile, causing inward impact and damaging its cargo door.
The criminal act had been executed with completely sophistication and accuracy to ensure that the target was achieved through multi-layered employment and execution.
General Zia-ul Haq lived and died for Islam. Having defeated and disintegrated the Soviet Union, he was dreaming of an Islamic renaissance and of transforming the Muslim world into a united ummah. This could have caused alarm in those opposed to this idea. The plant at Kahuta, still in its infancy, needed to be fertilised with bloody; for his patriotism, commitment and aspirations, General Zia-ul Haq was a willing donor. Pakistan under him could not be deterred from pursuing the nuclear path. The Soviet Union, through its Friendship and Defence Treaty with India, had broken Pakistan in two. Zia-ul Haq paid the Soviets back in the same coin, and was determined to pay back the Indians.
The Soviets had resolved to punish Pakistan for the defeat it had suffered in Afghanistan. Pakistan under Mr Bhutto during his last days in office was about to be annexed into the Soviet bloc. There was a strong nexus with Syria, Libya and Palestinian leaders, who were trying to woo Pakistan towards the Soviet Union. This game plan was reversed under General Zia-ul Haq. That could not have pleased the Soviets, given their status as a global hegemonic power.
Rajiv Gandhi had threatened Pakistan that it should stop interfering in the Khalistan movement or else it will repent for generations. Israel also could not remain aloof and unconcerned from the emerging threat of Islamic revival.
The relevant quarters, interested and anguished, could not just sit back in this fast changing global scenario. John H Dean, a Jew and then US Ambassador to India, testified to Israel’s involvement in the crash. He was later declared insane and sent to Switzerland for recovery and recuperation. Israel’s involvement, by logic, means American consent and Indian connivance and collaboration.
An interesting yet mysterious fact about Mr Dean is that he suspects Israeli agents may have also been involved in the C-130 crash. That probably led to a decision in Washington to declare him mentally unfit, forcing his resignation from the Foreign Service after a 30-year career. Later he was rehabilitated by the State Department, given a distinguished service medal and the insanity charge was confirmed to be phoney by a former head of the department’s medical service.
Various commissions were formed by the government to investigate the disaster without pinpointing the criminals who had destabilised Pakistan via sabotage — under FK Bandiyal, Chaudhry Shujaat, and later Justice Shafiur Rehman. No discreet inquiry or criminal investigations were ordered by the then COAS, who instead was fast enough to cover up the tragedy and not preserve the evidence. Justice Shafiur Rehman himself mentioned to me that the debris of the ill-fated C-130 had been removed and disposed of, thus denying any examination.
General Zia-ul Haq was a human, and all humans have friends and foes; and some friends-turned-foes. Carrying and concealing his knife, through centuries, Brutus is always in attendance in the court of Caesar. What services, for example, rendered endeared Major General Mehmud Durrani to Benazir Bhutto to the extent that even after her death, he could not be left unrewarded and was made the National Security Advisor?
This is the first article in a two-part series. The concluding article will appear tomorrow. The writer is a former federal minister for religious affairs
Posted by Abdul Nishapuri at 09:27
Labels: General Zia-ul-Haq, Ijaz ul Haq, Martial Law, Mullah Military Alliance
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