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Friday, November 18, 2011

Air Marshal (Retd) Asghar Khan: Pakistan's Role in Distorting Historical Facts

After the death of the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, which was followed by the assasination of the first prime minister of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan -political turmoil ceased to stop. This country has seen the rise and fall of many politicians and generals in only six decades. Among them, one prominant name is that of Air Marshal Asghar Khan, a man of principles, who later came into politics and whose party can be considered as the launching pad of almost all the politcians of Pakistan, but who was never voted in by the people of Pakistan.

Today, when we see that almost everything is done in a very wrong and questionable manner at every level - we as citizens are responsible for this mess too. We are responsible because we chose NOT TO SELECT HONEST people and among those honest people, there is one name that tops the list  - Asghar Khan.
Here is an interview that I found on You Tube (which he gave to Khyber TV and is available in 3 parts.)...I think we must listen to what Air Marshal Asghar Khan has to say.
Part 1: An interview with Air Marshal (retd.) Asghar Khan

In the above video (at 3:20 min), Asghar Khan said while answering to a question that dishonest people have been voted in but this does not mean that an honest person has no place in Pakistani culture however, the following  for 'honest people' is not enough to bring them to power. He further said that almost always corrupt and dishonest leadership has ruled this country and he thinks that it will continue to happen in future too. People here have ceased to learn from history.

When  asked why people left his party (Tehreek e Istaqlal)  he replied that because we stood by truth, it is not an easy path furthermore, his party was a short cut to fame for these politicians.. Asghar Khan was labelled as an agent of Bengalies...when Bangladesh was still East Pakistan - just because he stood by the fact that the East Wing of Pakistan must be given its due respect and rights. For this view point, he was stoned in Multan city (South of Punjab) and was called a traitor. He said that the policies made in West Pakistan act as a catalyst for the creation of Bangladesh.

When asked whom he would like to name for the breakup of Pakistan he replied: " not a few men but all the people in West Pakistan because they looked down upon Bengalies, discriminated them and never even considered them as equal. When Awami League won the elections they should be allowed to make the government and run the country - they were not going to run away with Pakistan but we - the people of West Pakistan- we were not willing to accept the reality. Furthermore, the government of the time was also responsible for the breakup of Pakistan. He said that simply put: the then political party -PPP of Bhutto along with Yahya Khan - are responsible for this episode."

When asked if there were any other politicians who thought that what happened in East Pakistan was wrong and if he would name them?
Asghar Khan replied that Wali Khan and Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan are among the few but they were not ready to openly talk about it or face the wrath of the people or being stoned by them which he himself had to go through! He added that there are very few politicans who dare to speak truth rather than making false promises to please the people - a difficult task! He said that in the history of Pakistan, we have not seen such people, who can risk their vote bank by telling truth.

When asked about his opinion and thoughts on the status of 'Most Favoured Nation(MFN)' given to India he said that he does not understand what the government means by that? However he thinks that Pakistan's policy towards India has always been wrong. Pakistan has "no danger" from India whatsoever. He added that we fought four wars with India- all of which were started by Pakistan and not by India. (This reply surprised the interviewer because in Pakistan History and Pakistan Studies text books, we are taught that Pakistan was attacked by India. I remember that in schools we learnt these facts from third grade onward - that India atacked Pakistan and so they are our biggest ememy).

Part 2: Air Marshal (retd.) Asghar Khan

In the video above - Wars that were fought between Pakistan and India are discussed. In reply to a question Asghar Khan said that Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan suggested to prime minister to send the tribals into Kashmir in 1947, followed by the armed forces, the Raja had at the time did not acceed to Pakistan and he wanted to meet the prime minister to discuss the matter but his request was declined and therefore 3 weeks after the independence of Pakistan on 14th. August 1947, the Raja joined forces with India and from then on ...the dispute is lingering between the two countries. According to Asghar Khan, it was the Pakistani leadership that must be held responsible and rightly so! Khan said that when Pakistan was to test its first atomic bomb and he was asked about his opinion he recalls that he reiterated that Pakistan does NOT need this bomb and India is not at all a threat to Pakistan but neither the media (both electronic or print) nor the political elite were at all interested to hear or talk about any such thing. He also said that it is NOT in the interest of Pakistan to have such a huge army when there is no potential danger and we must lower our defense spendings. He said that it is in the interest of India to have a stable Pakistan moreover, the US is successful in using us whenever they want. He strongly suggested that money must be allocated to education and welfare projects and it can bring "any change" in Pakistan.

Part 3: An Interview with Air Marshal (retd.) Asghar Khan

Here Asghar Khan has pointed out some very delicate yet important issues such as the incapacity of Pakistan by not merging the tribal areas (FATA) in Sarhad or KP province. He added that it has been over 60 years and no government has ever tried to bring them into the mainstream. In FATA there are no universities or colleges and no development projects have ever been conducted and he simply can NOT understand the reson for that. According to Asghar Khan FATA must be divided into manageable districts within NWFP (KP). He strongly protested against the drone strikes of  the US forces because a large number of civilians have died in drone attacks and it is against human rights and international law. He said that Pakistan must protect its citizens which it has failed to do.

Finally, Air Marshal Asghar wrapped the conversation by emphasing that we must admit facts, uphold truth and be honest even if it might hurt us in a short term but surely, such an attitute will bring long term benefits and will set high moral grounds for the rest to follow.

He said that as a Pakistani we must know that:

One: India never attacked Pakistan but Pakistan attacked India ( he said that he is ready to debate on this sunject at any forum).
Two: Stronger and stable Pakistan is what India would like to see as its neighbor and therefore, we in Pakistan must stop misleading people on that and decrease defense spending sharply.
Three: Do NOT distort historical facts.

In his interview, he repeatedly emphasized that in Pakistan neither the media nor the governments have given the corrects historical facts to masses at large and their role in distorting historical facts is huge. No wonder, this had to take its toll  and for Pakistan of today - we must take responsiility of what ails it and how it reached the crossroads.

Another very good interview of A.Khan is here.
An interview where he said: "abhi yeh qoom bari maar khai gee"  (he is very honest and no wonder, we are a nation where we do NOT respect honesty and more so  - real people who can speak truth - these are the patriotic people. We have been brainwashed to believe that if we will say truth or critique Pakistan or Pakistanies - we are traitors and enemies of Pakistan ).

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