Nations that refuse to learn from past mistakes and find scapegoats for sins committed by few, end up in further turmoil. The last straw in growing discontent of Bengalis was imposition of One Unit, reducing their majority and stage was set for separation, when military action was ordered by Yahya, instead of respecting democratic verdict. The buck stopped with CMLA Gen Yahya Khan who having promised election, refused to bow before will of people on one pretext or another. The rest is history.

MAJ had promised a modern democratic welfare state with self-rule, which was denied and replaced by authoritarian military dictatorship. For Pakistan to survive and flourish, democracy is vital life line with freedom of expression, rule of law and supremacy of constitution and right to dissent. It were intrigues of British Indian Army Officer IM (Iskandar Mirza), a direct descendent of Mir Jaffar, who joined in 1920 and was posted in Indian Political Service, rising to rank of Mag General in 1950 and appointed Secretary Defense, simultaneously serving as Colonel Commandant Military Police. IM continued his liaison with British Indian Army until 1954. Against expressed wishes of Quaid, IM after MAJ’s death was instrumental after unfortunate fatal air crash of Gen Iftikhar in lobbying to bypass senior most Maj Gen Akbar Khan, Ishfakul Majid, Raza etc and choosing junior most Ayub Khan.

Pakistan continued to be dominion of HM government, because the constitution was delayed till 1956. It was no coincidence that while British General TW Resse found Ayub Khan not suitable to hold command 1st Assam Regiment during WW2 in Burma, yet he managed to become General.

In May 1954 GG Ghulam Mohd appointed IM as Governor E Pakistan, and by June sacked CM A K Fazalul Haq and imposed governor rule. By mid-June over 1051 politicians were arrested, including 33 members of parliament, professors od Dacca University, sowing seeds of hatred for Pakistan Government. After intense criticism IM was replaced by M Shahabuddin in June 1955, while he was posted as Interior Minister by PM Bogra, who was recalled as Ambassador in USA. In 1956 IM became VP of Republican Party which had actively opposed Muslim League. When GG Ghulam suffered a paralysis attack and proceeded to London for treatment IM took over as Acting GG only to sack Ghulam Mohd and take over.

When First Constitution was adopted in 1956, IM insisted upon becoming President and on 8 October 1958 he suspended constitution and imposed martial law, assuming role of CMLA with Gen Ayub as PM on 24 October 1956. On midnight of 26-27 October, Ayub deposed IM, put him on arrest and sent him on exile to London. This is historical bitter truth which should not be denied.

MALIK T ALI,

Lahore.