As I am a witness to some of the crucial events that changed the fate of Pakistan, I wish to narrate my experiences as Advisor in the GS Branch of GHQ. Late General Ziaul Haq used to call me frequently to brief him verbally on the state of motivation in the Army among the officers cadres as well as the perception and feelings of the civilians about his governance. This was more or less a routine affair. Sometimes I used to submit written reports but Zia, I found was rather reluctant to read. He preferred verbal assessments of the trends in the society, political, social and economic. I recall that it was late June 1977, when he called me and asked me to give him a feedback of the young officers' reaction to what was developing against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's massive rigging in the elections and the PNA movement, which had strongly condemned the army for illegitimate support it was giving to PPP government. My spontaneous reaction to this was, that as the officer's cadre was so much worked up due to massive propaganda, my talking to them could not be of any particular use. So I told him, "Sir, why don't you personally go and talk to the young officers so that they can be pacified by directly listening to you, as to why the Army support was being given to Mr Bhutto." His response was very surprising and even shocking. He said that he could not face his Corps Commanders and that I was advising him to talk to the young officers. He thought that I was a bit reluctant to go and address the officers. So he directly questioned: "Was I scared to go and face them?" He then cited the case of Mr Aziz Ahmed, a bureaucrat of great standing, who had addressed the officers in Multan and had to face a good deal of humiliation as the officers had put very embarrassing questions to the extent of even insulting him. General Zia thought, I was apprehending Mr Aziz Ahmed like situation. I gave him a very emphatic reply that I was not at all sacred to face them and that I was sure, I could handle them. So he asked me to proceed at once, as that I should visit Lahore Garrison, Multan and lastly Karachi. He emphasised that I should listen to them patiently and apprise him of their "exact" inner feelings. His instruction was that I should cover these places within 3 to 4 days, come back and report to him directly. I consequently got the messages sent through GHQ that I would be addressing a cross section of young officers at the three Garrisons. At all the three place, the major feeling of the officers was that as I was the representative of GHQ, I must be supporting the policy of General Zia. But the reality they thought was that the elected government was not legitimate as it was based on massive rigging. My argument in general was that the democracy was a delicate plant and it is much easier to trample it but to rear it, takes time. I gave the example of Anglo Saxon democracy and all that kind of logic to provoke them to come out with their real feelings. No one came in to support my argument that I presented. The same situation was in Karachi (Malir), where officers were vocal and blunt. My lecture was only of 45 minutes duration. The rest was devoted to question-answer session. On the whole it was an hour and half interaction with the young officers not above the rank of Majors, a few Lt Cols were involved in the interaction. When my conversations ended in Karachi, I went to see the Commander 5 Corps, Lt Gen Jehanzeb Arbab, whom I knew personally. As I entered into his office, he very jovially said, "What did you find Dr?" I told him exactly what were the reactions, in all the Garrisons I had visited. I'm sure Gen Jehanzeb knew what transpired between me and the officers in Malir. He had his own representatives of Military Intelligence there to report before I reached his office. After listening to me he inquired if I would tell exactly the same to the chief. I replied, "Of course, I would." After some formal interaction, he invited me for dinner at his residence in the evening, so that we could talk more about the prevailing political situation in the country. I recall, it was July 3, when I went to his residence and while we were chatting the telephone bell rang and he went to listen to it. When he came back, I noticed that he was a bit disturbed. He told me that the call was from General Ziaul Haq and that he wanted him to leave for Rawalpindi, early morning giving the impression that there was some Emergency. What exactly was it, he did not know. I told General Jehanzeb that my feeling was that the PNA talk was perhaps failing, which would be disastrous for the country. So, I urged him that when you go back, make sure that the politicians agree at some point for the sake of country. The talk, I insisted must not fail. I felt that the general was not so keen on that and that martial law would give him immense power and privilege. Moreover, he said that as he had informed General Zia about me and that he (Zia) had instructed that I should also return as soon as possible. I reached Rawalpindi by evening and General Jehanzeb arrived in the morning the other day. When I reached GHQ, I received the instructions from CGS Lt Gen Abdullah Malik that a meeting of the Motivation Board was convened on July 4 in the conference room adjacent to the office of General Zia. In this meeting, all the important people in GHQ were instructed to be there. We all sat hoping that Zia would come to preside over the meeting of the Motivation Board of which I happened to be the secretary. I was prepared to present the proceedings of the last meeting. But we waited and waited and the general never appeared. There was something fishy going-on. However, we learnt that in his office, there were only three people intensively involved in discussion - Lt Gen K M Arif, Lt Gen Chishti and obviously Gen Zia himself. It was later revealed that the preparation for Operation Fair Play was being finalised. All of us in the GHQ were kept under the illusion of a meeting when in-fact, it was designed that we all should be confined in a room and nothing would leak out as to what was happening in the GHQ. We were in great suspense as to why General Zia was not coming. No one was prepared to go to the chief's office to find out what - exactly - was happening. When it was nearly 4 or 5 pm, I persuaded VCGS to go and find out what were the chief's instructions. He ultimately went and the message was "Gentlemen the Troop Motivation Board meeting has been adjourned for today and the new date and time will be intimated later. You all may leave now." So after a full day of suspense, I went back to my residence. Later in the morning around 4 or 5 AM, I got the message from very dear colleague, Col Iftikhar that there was unusual movement of troops and possibly martial law has been imposed. He also said that there was a message from the chief that I should report to GHQ as early as possible. As I drove I found the streets barren and calm - another Martial Law. When I reached GHQ, I got the message that I should see the CGS for further instructions. Lt Gen Abdullah Malik had been appointed CGS by Bhutto to keep track of things as to what was happening in the GHQ. As I entered his room, I found that I had to go to the same Garrisons to find out what was the impact of the martial law and how the officers were reacting. I told him that there was no need to do so, I can tell exactly what would be their expressions but the chief's order had to be complied to. As I had to address the same officers again, it was very embarrassing since I had talked to them only few days age on the merits of democracy. What I would say now was an intriguing question for me. Nevertheless somehow, I faced the situation by assuring them that the martial law would be for only 90 days, and that the general will not go back on his words. New elections would be held under the army and a sound political system would be established. My contention proved wrong. The PNA negotiations had not failed and before the agreement could be signed, the army had intervened. Retrospectively, I feel that General Zia was only implementing what the US wanted him to comply with. The idea was that General Zia could be manipulated to fight along with the mujahideen in defeating the then Soviet Union. If Bhutto would have remained in power, it would have been difficult to make him do what US interest's demanded. They had a full knowledge of the fact that Bhutto was trying to improve relations with USSR and that he had taken some concrete steps in this respect. Imposition of martial law was to serve the US interests to mobilise mujahideen to oust the Red Army from the soil of Afghanistan. Ironically these very mujahideen are now Taliban, extremists, fanatics and terrorists. To undo them and ensure that Afghanistan is made safe for the American soldiers to stay another military ruler was needed. General Musharraf came in handy to accomplish this goal. Only the role had reversed. One general played a pivotal role in mobilising the mujahideen, the other had been tasked to eliminate them, as many as possible under the so-called War On Terror. The writer is secretary general FRIENDS E-mail: