By Naveed Tajammal
In all fairness, as is seen no distinction is given between a conspiracy case and punishments awarded, to a few officers, for their Nationalist aspirations, and the conspiracy engineered by the Commander In Chiefs of our Army, as one should realize, that, The ‘Coup d’etat’ is merely the final execution phase of any conspiracy and its success does not convert it with, shall we say greater legitimacy, than a conspiracy that fails to mature into a Coup d’etat? If really seen now in hindsight, the conspiracies as were executed by the Commander in Chief’ [C-in-C] in 1958,1977 and 1999, are the worst examples because in all three instances each one of them had been dismissed by the same competent authority which had appointed them on the very same post, and all three, Generals in order to save their own skins, committed the very institution of our Army into a unconstitutional Act, whereas a conspiracy by a few officers in the lower rank’s, remains an Act of individuals. It should be kept in mind, that, ‘Conspiracy to overthrow by force the Government established by Law, as was seen in three instances, quoted above is a Capital Offence under the Pakistan Penal Code, However Conspiracy to subvert the constitution is High Treason, the penalty for which is vague, and not specific. The 1951 Conspiracy had its origins in the ineptness of the GOP[Govt. of Pakistan] then, in dealing with Kashmir War of 1947-48,when the War had been won, and the GOP choose to go for a cease-fire, secondly the presence of British Officers in the Armed Forces-who were running their own agenda. The Fact remains Pakistan had a golden chance of taking over Kashmir between 22 October-28 October-1947,However later, after the Indian Army Landed at the Srinagar Air port-in the Air Bridge created by the efforts of Lord Mountbatten, The war had been lost, the GOP, under Liaqat Ali khan’s influence never really wanted this war in the first place, As Liaqat khan in his myopic mind wanted, Hyderabad in lieu of Kashmir, whereas Indians had offered Kashmir, if Pakistan withdrew its stance/claim, over Hyderabad then.
Brigadier Habibullah [later promoted to the rank of Lieut-General] who had come as a prosecution witness against, Major- General Akbar Khan the Arch-Conspirator of 1951 Conspiracy, in his cross-examination by the defence had conceded, that, The British Officers in Pakistan army were pre-occupied with the protection of British interests in Iran and containment of Soviet Russia, rather than addressing the looming Indian threat on our Eastern Front-that, in October/November 1948, Major-General Loftus Tottenham had prepared an appreciation under the orders from GHQ, on deployment of a brigade of Pakistan Army in Iran to protect the British Anglo-Iranian oil fields.
Lieut-Colonel Gul Mowaz [later promoted to the rank of Brigadier],likewise under cross-examination also admitted, that Brigadier Latiff Khan [accused] Commander of 52 Brigade at Quetta, had told him that the primary task assigned to his brigade was to prepare defences against Russian’s along the Khojak Pass, and his secondary task were the Indians across the eastern border-[Hyderabad Sindh sector] -on further questioning , he agreed that, on the visit of C N C to Quetta in middle of Feb.1950,where he too was present, Brig. Latiff Khan, had pointedly asked Gen. Gracey as to why priority was being given to Khojak Pass. also during his cross-examination Lt. Col. Mowaz further agreed that British C N C of Pakistan Army had fixed Exercise-Stalin for November 1950-‘for studying problems against Russia”. The above brief narration, proves that the grudge of our Nationalist officers were well founded-The fact remains that, Gen. Akbar Khan keeping in view his convictions had started the work on his plan to overthrow this inept Government and its lackeys from the middle of 1949.
As one studies the proceedings of The Hyderabad Tribunal Given in, Hasan Zaheer’s book, ‘Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case 1951’ published by Oxford press in 1998, his own remark in the preface of the book is self defeating to the argument he gives by, saying it was sheer Bonapartism [and substantiates his argument by quoting the same term, also awarded to these officers by Ayub Khan in his book, ‘friends not masters’ p-37/38,and we all know that the real author who wrote that book, for his mentor and master] and Hasan Zaheer, attributes this term [Bonaparte] on those who undertook the task of conspiring in this conspiracy-
However, as one reads the proceedings one realizes that it was a fairly large scale affair-and that the distinction between the accused and the prosecution witnesses was rather arbitrary and based on extraneous considerations-The line between joining the conspiracy or merely having knowledge of it was rather thin-and one finds logic in the stance of the Defence during trial proceedings, that the prosecution witnesses corroborating the approvers [crown witnesses] were indeed accomplices in the same conspiracy and who had taken a U-Turn to save their own hides-And could in No way be termed as ‘Independent witnesses’ and each one of them could be charged under section 27 of the Indian Army Act of 1911-”For knowing or having reason to believe in the existence of an intention to mutiny, or a conspiracy against the State and Not giving without delay information thereof to his Commanding Officer or other superior Officer’.
The Hyderabad Tribunal as is seen in retrospective, paid no heed to the plea’s of Defence on behalf of the accused officers, but continued with its Kangaroo court proceedings.
A brief background of the each accused officer in this conspiracy is but required;
1] PA-25 Maj-Gen. Akbar Khan [1912-1994] was from the old Peshawar district from village Utmanzi in Tehsil Charsada.he had been commissioned from Sandhurst UK, in 1933 in the Hampshire Regiment and, later joined 6/13th FFR[First FF] located in Kohat then, and took active part in the Waziristan operations in 1936/37 later did his Staff College from Quetta and in the WW ll ,distinguished himself on the Burma Front in 1944/45 and was awarded a DSO-He was the main driving force behind the Kashmir liberation Forces due to which we have the present AJK [Azad Jammu and Kashmir] in 1947/48 in the rank of a Brigadier. in Jan,1950 he did his Joint services Staff College from UK and was appointed as the CGS [Chief of General Staff] in December 1950.
2] Air Commodore. Mohammad Khan Janjua, was from village Malot- Chakwal District, he was the senior-most Muslim Officer in Pakistan Air Force till March 1951 [when arrested].
3] PA-14 Maj-Gen Nazier Ahmed, belonged to Durnal in Chakwal District and, had been commissioned from Sandhurst UK, he had been awarded a MBE in the Second world war,and was the first Indian Muslim to command 4/13 FFR[First FF],in 1947 he was commanding 114 Brigade at Lahore and as GOC 9 Div. commanded the Uri sector forces against the Indian Army in Kashmir war 1947/48.
4]Brigadier Sadiq Khan was from Kotli Sattian Rawalpindi District-he had been commissioned from Dehra Dun in 1936,he had commanded a battalion in the Kashmir war on the Poonch Sector, and was commanding 102 Brigade at Bannu in February 1951. He was from later 9 FF.
5] Brigadier. Muhammad Abdul Latiff Khan was from Bhopal and commissioned from Dehra Dun in 1936-and had joined Baloch Regiment, was also on the Burma Front during the Second world War, was awarded a Military-Cross [MC],later joined 5/12 FF[ 2 Guides FF ] and had fought the Kashmir War under the Brigade of Gen. Akbar, in Feb.1950 was posted as GSO-1 of 9 Division, and was promoted Brigadier in December 1950,and took over 52 Brigade at Quetta and was also Station Commander Quetta, when arrested in march 1951.
6] Lieut-Colonel. Ziauddin was commissioned in 1942,belonged to Mirpur AJK, and had been awarded MBE during the second world War, He remained the senior staff officer Sector 2 in the Kashmir War, in early 1951 was the Officiating Brigadier ,heading the AK-Forces Co-ordination Committee.
7] Lieut-Colonel. Niaz Muhammad Arbab, Was Commissioned from Dehra Dun, & was commanding 2/1 Punjab at Thal,and was part of the 102 Brigade under Brig. Sadiq Khan.
8] Major. Hassan Khan, belonged to Gilgit, and had joined Kashmir Forces in 1937-In August 1938 he joined Military Academy Dehra Dun,and fought on the Burma Front and was awarded Military Cross [MC] on revision was posted at Gilgit, he played the main role in the revolt of Gilgit Scouts, It were his efforts due to which by November 1947 the entire areas of Gilgit, Hunza, Bunji, Astor had declared themselves free from the Dogra state Rule and had joined Pakistan, after routing the Dogra Garrison and putting the Dogra Governor under arrest. in 1948 he was absorbed in the Pakistan Army, and sent back to Gilgit, in march 1950 was posted in the AK-Co-Ordination Committee, in Early 1951 he was Commanding the Poonch sector.
9] Major-Ishaq Muhammad belonged to Jullandhar and had won a Military Cross, in the Second world war-and was the Brigade-Major under Gen. Akbar and was covering the Baramula sector [march 1948-march 1949] from march-1949 onward was at the Kotli-Sector.
10] Captain. Khizer Hayat belonged to Jhelum, he was GSO-lll under Gen. Akbar, and later joined 2/1 Punjab, under Colonel Arbab which was part of the brigade under Brigadier Sadiq Khan.
11] Captain. Zaffarulah Poshni- Belonged to Amritsar, he was from the Signals and was posted in his unit in Rawalpindi-in March 1951.
12]Mrs. Nasim Akbar Khan was the wife of Gen. Akbar Khan and the daughter of Begum Shahnawaz a member of Muslim League. She had a leading role along with her husband in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case.
13] Faiz Ahmad Faiz, he belonged to Sialkot, and had joined ‘Moral Welfare Directorate ‘ of the British Indian Army in 1942, with a rank of a Captain and later was promoted Major and posted in Burma in the same Brigade as was Gen. Akbar in, and later became a lieut-colonel, in ISPR [inter services public relations] and resigned in 1947, to join Pakistan Times, and was the Editor Pakistan Times when arrested in March 1951.
14] Sajjad Zaheer belonged to Lucknow, he was member of Central Committee of the Communist Party of India, and was heading the Communist Party of Pakistan, and was arrested later in April 1951.
15] Muhammad Hussain Atta, belonged to Hazara [Abbottabad] he was the Secretary of the Provincial Communist Party of NWFP ,He evaded arrest and absconded till he was apprehended at the last in July 1951,from the Chittagong port, trying to escape from police.
[To be continued…..]
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