It is time to reform the Army and the intelligence services
The UN report has some highly disturbing and incriminating pieces. Most importantly, they make it abundantly clear that it wasn’t just one individual or a few individuals who were part of what now appears to be a grand cover-up. The report incriminates not just Musharraf but the top guns of the ISI, MI, and the IB as well as the police and the interior ministry. For those who have always maintained that Army is a well disciplined and organised institution, it has become increasingly difficult to make the self-contradictory assertion that the series of acts, commissions and omissions, were just the acts of few individual officers.
It is time to come clean and undertake a purge. Maybe, General Kayani was on the sidelines watching as Musharraf presided over a disastrous and murderous presidency but there is no justification whatsoever for condoning criminal acts in the name of protecting an institution. If Pakistan is to move forward, its kleptocrats need to realise that it has become a mafia enterprise with little respect in the international community and no amount of assistance from the United States can save it from failure as a state. That has been and remains its biggest challenge.
Zia also received a lot of money from the Americans but that did no good for Pakistan. In the final and ultimate analysis, it was the systematic destruction of Pakistan’s institutions, brutalisation and criminalisation of the society, and the rise of extremism and religious bigotry that the history and the people of Pakistan would never forgive him for. In exchange for some aid and arms, Pakistan compromised its most fundamental interests in the 1980s and is doing so again. In the 1980s Russia was the “evil empire” that we had to fight and since 2001, it has been al Qaeda and the Talibans, both classical US bogies that have followed the Truman doctrine.
The present breed of Generals must eat humble pie and face the reality. If Pakistan does not get it right now and continues its descent into a rudderless and ungovernable state towards Balkanization, they would bear the most and ultimate responsibility because let us be serious and acknowledge that it is the Generals who have ruled the country since 1977 and continue to do so in one form or the other.
Let’s quote a few paras:
Paras 117 to 120 on pages 29 and 20:
117. On three different occasions, Professor Mussadiq asked CPO Saud Aziz for permission to conduct an autopsy on Ms Bhutto, and the CPO refused each request. On the second request, CPO Saud Aziz is reported to have sarcastically asked the Professor whether an FIR had been filed,a matter that the CPO should know, not the Professor. DCO Elahi, who was also present outside the operating room, supported CPO Saud Aziz’s position. The authorities however deny that the CPO deliberately refused to allow an autopsy. They insist that they wanted to get permission from Ms Bhutto’s family. As will be discussed below, the police’s legal duty to request an autopsy does not require permission from a family member.
118. Because he could not obtain police consent to carry out an autopsy, Professor Mussadiq called in X-ray technician Ghafoor Jadd, who took two X-rays of Ms Bhutto’s skull with a portable X-ray machine. He did this without notifying or seeking the consent of CPO Saud Aziz. Though not present at the time, a radiologist examined the X-rays the next day.
119. Ms Bhutto’s death certificate was completed and signed by the senior registrar, Dr Aurangzeb, who recorded the cause of death as “To be determined on autopsy”.
120. An ISI officer, Rawalpindi Detachment Commander Colonel Jehangir Akhtar, was present at the hospital through much of the evening. At one point, the ISI Deputy Director General, Major General Nusrat Naeem, contacted Professor Mussadiq through Colonel Jehangir’s cell phone. When asked about this by the Commission, Major General Nusrat Naeem initially denied making any calls to the hospital, but then acknowledged that he had indeed called the hospital, when pressed further. He asserted that he had made the call, before reporting to his superiors, to hear, directly from Professor Mussadiq that Ms Bhutto had died.
Question: Since Col. Jehangir Akhtar was present at the hospital, how much did he tell Maj. General Nusrat Naeem? Did Nusrat Naeem brief Gen. Kayani who was the COAS? Did Kayani speak or meet with Nusrat Naeem that evening?
Now some more crucialquotes from the report before we comment further:
Para 133 on page 33.Sources informed the Commission that CPO Saud Aziz did not act independently in deciding to hose down the crime scene. One source, speaking on the basis of anonymity, stated that CPO Saud Aziz had confided in him that he hadreceived a call from Army Headquarters instructing him to order the hosing down of the crime scene. Another source, also speaking on the basis of anonymity, said that the CPO was ordered to hose down the scene by Major General Nadeem Ijaz Ahmad, then Director General of MI. Others, including three police officials, told the Commission that CPO Saud Aziz did not act independently and that “everyone knows” who ordered the hosing down. However, they were not willing to state on the record what it is that “everyone knows”. This is one of the many occasions during the Commission’s inquiry when individuals, including government officials, expressed fear or hesitation to speak openly.
Question: Did Gen. Kayani speak or meet with MI Chief Maj. Gen Nadeem Ijaz Ahmad that evening or later?
Para 156-157at page 38:
At about 1700 hours on the day following the assassination the government held a televised press conference, conducted by Brigadier Cheema, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior at which he announced that:
a. Ms Bhutto died from a head injury sustained when from the force of the blast she hit her head on the lever of the escape hatch; and,
b. Mr Baitullah Mehsud linked with Al-Qaida was responsible, presenting an intercepted telephone conversation between Mr Mehsud and one Mr Maulvi Sahib in which Mr Mehsud was heard congratulating Mr Maulvi on a job well-done.
157. The decision to hold the press conference was made by General Musharraf, during a meeting on the morning of 28 December at a facility in General Headquarters known as Camp House. That meeting, at which General Musharraf was briefed on the intercept and on medical evidence, was attended by the Directors General of the ISI, MI and the IB. Brigadier Cheema was summoned to a subsequent meeting at ISI Headquarters and directed by the Director General of the ISI to hold the press conference. In attendance at this second meeting, in addition to Brigadier Cheema, were Interior Secretary Kamal Shah, Director General of the ISI, Director General of the IB, Deputy Director General of the ISI and another ISI brigadier.
Question: Did Gen. Kayani attend the above meeting? If not, did the DGs ofISI, MI, and IB brief Gen. Kayani about the above meeting? What did Gen. Kayani know about Benazir’s assassination at that time? Did he seek brief from the DG MI? If not, wasn’t that unsual?
The bottom line is how much Gen. Kayani knew, when and what and did the Generals named in the report kept him informed or acted on their own?