Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Review/Comment:Memories of a soldier;1947,before,during ,after

Major General(retd) Wajahat Hussain , has published his memoir recently and deserves attention of thinking Pakistanis who care to think about Pakistan and its problems and potential.I may not be qualified enough to undertake review of a book written by a very senior and sincere General of Pakistan Army,but surly I can possibly make a few comments.

It is my good fortune of having had some contacts and interaction with a few very respectable personalities of Pakistan Army,purely in an intellectual context.General Wajahat is one of them and additionally,an uncle(real) of a very dear friend of mine.General Ateequrrehman,wrote such an appreciative and laudatory comment on my maiden book at that time(Pakistan's Nuclear Dilemma,1984),that I would not expect to get from a person of that stature ,all my life.General A.I.Akram wrote Foreword to the same book.General Wajahat belongs to that class of old genre"gentlemen" of liberal upbringing and outlook and intellect,which perhaps was the only reason General ZiaulHaque quietly opposed the promotion of Major General Wajahat to the rank of a Lieutinent General, as is claimed by the author and is generally known.

General Wajahat has been forthrightly candid about a number of issues,of which I would single out the following for a special mention:

1)As narrated by Brigadier Qayyum ,later Senator,Mujeeburrehman while in custody in West Pakistan,offered to a settlement within the framework of one Pakistan,and reverse the course of history,if he was made the P.M. of Pakistan.Brig.Qayyum,as disclosed by General Wajahat in this book.Qayyum says he spoke to General Hameed about this offer,who did not take it up to his boss Yahya Khan ,saying that Mujeeb has been publicly declared as a traitor by the president.Perhaps Mujeeb's offer was too late,in the context of the consensus that came to exist then in West Pakistan,that the former could not be trusted and,if in power, may create a situation for the dissolution of West Pakistan, a thesis I and many others in Pakistan tend to give credence too.

2)General Wajahat,as Air Marshal Asghar Khan, does not have many charitable words for 1965 War,which he says, ended into a stalemate with 500 square miles of territory of Pakistan occupied by India ,was fought without adequate planning and fore-thought and without thoroughly examining all and other strategic options.Pakistan Army may not like these assessments , although it has already gone soft on 6th September.There are many who donot subscribe to this view.

3)General Wajahat has tried to expose the real personality and prejudicial mind of General Ayub Khan ( and the gang of four,as he chooses to call GM,Iskender Mirza etc.) ,whom his son Captain Gauhar Ayub , is doing his best to paint a holy picture of.Prejudice,corruption and opportunism,infact,got weaved into Pakistan's public life due to the" pioneering" work of these persons.General Wajahat has done a good job of putting these people in right perspective.
4)General Wajahat rejects Kargill campaign,but has chosen to be brief about it.

1 comment:

  1. It is indeed an excellent book which throws light on many hidden facets of our history. I read this book many years ago and now I again wanted to go through it but quite astonishingly it is neither available in the market and nor with its publishers. Can you please help me in getting this book.