Ex PAF Chief Says Qabail Raid Gave Kashmir To India21 October 2011
Islamabad: Stirring a hornet’s nest, former Pakistan Air Force chief, Air Marshal Asghar Khan, on Friday said that Kashmir had gone to India because the invasion by tribesman had forced the hand of the state’s Maharaja who, according to him, had otherwise favoured acceding to Pakistan. The Air Marshal’s remarks at a high-profile function in Islamabad, squarely blaming Pakistan for four unprovoked attacks on India and the creation of Bangladesh, sparked off a chorus of criticism from known establishment figures, notably former ISI chief, Gen Hamid Gul, who was pivotal in fashioning the nation’s disastrous jehad machinery, a phenomenon bringing Islamabad virtually to its knees. Releasing a book by former cricket star and Tehreek-e-Insaaf Party chief, Imran Khan, in Islamabad, the Air Marshal said that Pakistanis should remember their four successive attacks on India in case New Delhi retaliated in kind now due to mistakes of Pakistani leaders and army generals. “The tribal invasion of Kashmir was the first such attack, and this forced the hand of the Maharaja who had favoured acceding to Pakistan rather than to India,” the former Air Force chief said. “In fact, the Maharaja waited a full 21 days before taking a decision,” he said. “In 1965, Pakistan repeated the process by sneaking tanks into the Jammu region. I took the matter up with the then president, General Ayub Khan, but he expressed ignorance about the affair,” he said. The Air Marshal attributed the creation of Bangladesh to the mistakes of some Pakistani political leaders and army officers. “Had the majority there been allowed to form the government, East Pakistan would never have broken away,” he said. “Indian troops moved into East Pakistan only when our army was ruthlessly slaughtering Bengalis,” he said. “In 1999, Pakistan invaded India for the fourth time with its incursion into Kargil,” he said. Reacting to Asghar Khan’s remarks, former ISI chief Gen Hamid Gul, and retired diplomat Akram Zaki, described his words as a “distortion of history.” “How can you expect a person in his nineties to recollect details of the past accurately?” the duo said. “The Air Marshal’s words are far from the truth, having no bearing on historical facts,” they said.