In the Line of Fire by Pervez teshimaryokan.info - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online. Find out more about In the Line of Fire by Pervez Musharraf at Simon & Schuster. Read book reviews & excerpts, watch author videos & more. In the Line of Fire: A Memoir by Pervez Musharraf. Free Press, , pp., $ Gen Pervez Musharraf: despot or redeemer? This question is pondered by.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Dutch|
|ePub File Size:||16.42 MB|
|PDF File Size:||14.84 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Regsitration Required]|
Chapter 7: Into the Fire. Chapter 8: Life in the Tire. Chapter 9: Living Through the Dreadful Decade. Chapter From Chief to Chief Executive. Chapter The. According to Time magazine, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf holds "the world's most dangerous job." He has twice come within inches of assassination. IN THE LINE OF FIRE A Memoir According to Time magazine, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf holds 'the world's most dangerous job'. He has twice come.
My brothers and I were very excited by the idea of going to another country. Our parents made it a point that we show respect to elders regardless of their station in life. Teeth Maestro I appreciate your integrity. Yet the war on terror is just one of the many headline- making subjects in In the Line of Fire. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Sehba has been with me through thick and thin— avalanches, hijacked flights, risky road journeys.
Too curious to know what exactly this book has! I am not that knowledgeable person, so request you to please enlighten me about the services of Mr. CR follow kare ga bacha……. The true believer on Allah remains happy and success, but General Pervaz Musharaf is a person who only believe and trust in America. Now i will suggested him that he should pulled him self from Americas hand other wise the whole Muslim world boycott Pakistan. I agree with Musharraf, He did well to kil Bhugti, due to such peole Bilochistan never get better.
Let's be true and see ourself retrospectively before critizing any body. It is easy to say any thing sitting in our homes but it is really difficult to do it practically. President Musharaf is the very very best ruler among all the rulers of pakistan who have yet ruled.
He was the right man according to our Quaid's vision!!!!!! Mr Pervaz Musharaf was the leader of Islam but he did lot of mistakes and forget his own task.
It is fact that including General Pervaz Musharaf all presedents of Pakistan were courpt they should be punished put into the jail and we should hang our all current leadership if we want to move as a nation other wise we must be ready for face the dangerous challanges from the world.
Our leaders have no any capacity to face the current scienario of the world. Home DrAwab Teeth About. Share this blog post: It is illegal to scan copyrighted stuff or create a duplicate of any such material. Teeth Maestro I appreciate your integrity. Wanna share an interesting link, http: I bought the book though… I would actually recommend it. Its a quite read… i repeat myself over here again.
We would lure them into an area, ambush them, and run off with their flag to the top of a hill. It was defeat for them and victory for us! I had more than my fair share of energy, and it had to be expended somehow.
It had to find outlets outside the house; burning it up inside was impossible. Of course, in those days there was no televi- sion, which has turned many of today's boys into couch potatoes.
Javed was very fond of books, but I read them only when I had to. We became members of the British Council Library and would take out our weekly quota of two books each. Being a voracious reader, Javed would finish his books in a couple of days and then read my books in the next two—if not sooner! Before the week was up he would want to return to the library and take out four more books.
I had perhaps read one, or not even that. So I would insist that we wait until the end of the week, after which I would want to renew one of the books and take out only one new one.
This would upset Javed and lead to arguments. We had a Turkish maid named Fatima whom we respectfully called Hanim, meaning "madame"—thus, Fatima Hanim.
Our parents made it a point that we show respect to elders regardless of their station in life. We were not allowed to call our domestic staff "servants"—they were employees who earned an honest living and deserved respect. Fatima Hanim was an old, uneducated woman, quite a simpleton really, but extremely hardworking.
We would tell her that the earth is flat and that Pakistan is at its edge and when you look down you can see paradise. Either she really believed us or she went along with our game, because she always insisted that we take her to Pakistan so that she could look down and see paradise.
There were two military attaches at our embassy—colonels Mustafa and Ismail—whose smart ceremonial uniforms attracted me to the army at a very young age.
But a man who had a greater impact on me was Hameed, their personal assistant. Hameed was a junior commis- sioned officer, a very smart and handsome young man from Kashmir. He was very fond of our family and would take me and Javed out on long treks in the hills. There was a zoo very far away, and we would trek up to it and then return on foot.
Hameed was very good at games and would coach us. It was he who taught me badminton and volleyball. Across the road from our embassy was the house of a retired Turkish general who had become a big industrialist. He had a beautiful daugh- ter named Reyan. She could see Hameed sitting in his office from her window.
One day he was called and invited to have tea at their house. They married, and it caused quite a stir. When Hameed was transferred back to Pakistan, she went along with him. He was so bright that he advanced in rank and retired as a major. He started his own business and did quite well. The last time I met him was when I was a brigade major in Karachi. Sadly, he suffered a heart attack and died suddenly. On one of my foreign trips as presi- dent of Pakistan my wife and I met Reyan in London.
My love of dogs began in Turkey. We had a beautiful brown dog named Whiskey. I loved him. He was killed in a road accident but left with me a lifelong love of dogs.
I prefer small dogs, though, not the huge ones. This surprises my friends, for they expect a commando to have some- thing like a rottweiler. I think people who keep rottweilers, and similar dogs, have a need to cultivate a macho image.
Our seven years in Turkey passed in a flash. We departed with very heavy hearts, saying good-bye to a country that we had come to love, to our relatives, and to our many good friends. We were all crying. Those were among the most enjoyable and formative years of my life. Our journey back was filled with wonder, too, for my father drove his small Austin Mini up to Basra. We drove through Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon. We crossed Jordan into Iraq, ending at the port city of Basra.
From there our car was put into the hold of a ship and we returned to Karachi by sea, just as we had left it seven years earlier. The sheer hassle of settling down dulled much of the pain of leaving Turkey and our many friends and relatives there.
Coming home has its own charm, too, of course, even though our home was very different now. In the seven years that we had been away, Karachi had exploded into a large and vibrant cosmopolitan metropolis. The city was humming with life. My father reported back to the foreign office, still located in Mohatta Palace. We soon found a house in Nazimabad Block 3, one of many new settlements that had mushroomed after independence to accom- modate the millions who had fled India.
It was well planned, with wide roads and boulevards. Most of its neighborhoods were middle- class or lower-middle-class. Ours was one of the few families on the street to own a car.
My mother soon found another job. My parents were friendly with a Dutch couple, Mr. Brink was the general man- ager of the Philips factory, located in a new industrial area called SITE, and my mother became his secretary. Her pay was good, and one of the perks of the job was that she got a Philips radio at a discount. She worked there for a long time. That fall, Javed and I took the entrance examination for classes nine and eight, respectively, at St.
Patrick's, the old and highly regarded Catholic missionary school for boys that we had attended earlier. Javed got in anyway, because of his excellent showing in every other subject.
I didn't, and was temporarily admitted to a school called Mary Colaco. My parents immediately worked to bring our Urdu up to scratch.
We picked it up quickly, it was, after all, their tongue. They both taught it to us, and they also hired a tutor. I became good enough to get into St. Patrick's after three or four months, though I suspect that my swift admission may also have had something to do with Javed's high score on the first quarterly examination he took. They must have thought that the brother of such a bright boy couldn't be a completely hopeless case.
My younger brother, Naved, joined St. Patrick's School later, in class six, in He was a steady boy who earned average grades. In Ankara we had walked to school through beautiful fields.
In Karachi our school was too far for walking, and the route wasn't pretty either. Sometimes my father dropped us off in his car; usually we went by bus. The bus was always brimming with people, with hardly ever any vacant seats. To return home, Javed and I walked from school to the Regal Cinema nearby, where the bus had to slow down at a turning.
There, we would both jump onto the moving bus, thanks to our gym- nastics—a dangerous practice, but boys at that age normally throw caution to the wind. It would take us half an hour to get home, dead beat from the heat and the humidity. Our neighborhood, Nazimabad, was a tough place to live, and it has become tougher since.
I would not call it the Harlem of Karachi, but perhaps it was the South Bronx. A boy had to be street-smart to survive. There were the inevitable street gangs, and needless to say, I joined one.
Needless to say, too, I was one of the tough boys. Flying kites is a favorite sport in Pakistan, but it is done with a dif- ference. Here, as in Afghanistan, people dip the string in glue filled with crushed glass. There are kite fights, with one flier trying to cut the string of the other to make him lose his kite.
The flyers' fingers always get cut, and bleed. The cuts are very painful, much worse than paper cuts. The severed kite floats slowly to the ground and, in an unspoken tra- dition, the boy who catches it gets to keep it. There was a bully in our area who would walk up to the boy who had caught a kite and demand that he hand it over, or else.
Most boys would oblige. One day my older brother got hold of some string from a cut kite. The bully, accompanied by two other boys, rudely asked him to hand it over. I held my brother's hand and said, "Why should we give you the string? A fight ensued, and I really thrashed him. After that people recognized me as a sort of boxer, and I became known as a dada geer—an untranslatable term that means, roughly, a tough guy whom you don't mess with.
The lesson I learned was that if you call a bully's bluff, he crumbles. The secret is to stand your ground for a few seconds, and your initial fright vanishes.
This lesson later stood me in good stead as a commando. I remember St. Patrick's with great affection. I learned a lot there, and not only from books. Of course I couldn't help being naughty, and I would get punished, especially by one teacher, Mr. De Lima. I think that at the back of their minds, my teachers compared me unfavourably with my brother, who continued to get superb grades. Sometimes I was made to kneel in a corner; sometimes I had to stand outside the class- room.
Once when I was standing outside, I saw my father coming to meet with the principal. I sneaked behind the building so that he wouldn't see that I was being punished. The punishment I remember best happened when Father Todd caught me throwing chalk at another boy in class and gave me six of the choicest blows on my posterior with a sturdy cane.
It stung like hell. When, as president of Pakistan, I returned to St. Patrick's for a reunion, I reminded Father Todd of the caning. An old classmate of mine came to the microphone and said, "Father, did you know at that time that you were caning the presidential seat?
Father Todd is a good soul and I have great regard for him, as I do for all my teachers. One teacher was Mr. He was very good and worked on building our character. I can never forget how he would try to inculcate in us the attributes that make a gentleman. He himself personified the qualities of a gentleman.
My romantic uncle Ghazi Ghulam Haider, the one who married the half-Turkish woman, was great at mixing with youngsters and would take the lead in many practical jokes. He would pile eight or ten of us boys into his car—a German Opel Rekord—and go looking for mischief. One day, he took us to Frere Gardens, where people go to relax in the evenings. He spotted a man who was as bald as a golfball, sitting on a bench.
For some reason, the man had oiled his bald pate, making mat- ters worse, for it was shining like a mirror and inviting trouble. We all shrank back, asking him how we could do such a thing and get away with it. He walked right up behind the man and gave him a tight smack right in the middle of his shiny head, saying, "Bashir, there you are.
I've been searching for you. The baldy spun around in shock, but before he could say anything my uncle apologized pro- fusely. You are a carbon copy of a good friend of mine and I mistook you for him. He was supposed to be here. We were aghast but also relieved: Lo and behold, he raised the stakes. To get away with it once was a miracle.
To get away with it twice was asking for very serious trouble. When we demurred, Uncle Haider said, "Watch me. I just saw a man who looks exactly like you and smacked him on the head. Before he could get a word out, Uncle Haider started acting contrite.
He apologized even more profusely, asking in mock dismay, "How was I to know that you had shifted seats? We all rolled on the grass with laughter. He was in the air force and had won the sword in the Indian Air Force before Partition. Before I reached class ten, at the age of fifteen, I had been an above- average student, usually among the first four in my class.
That year, however, my grades dropped dramatically. The cause: A first crush is a distraction that all young people must suffer sooner or later, but different people handle it differently. The later a man gets it, the more of an ass he makes of himself I let it become the focus of my life, not least because it came out of the blue. Truth to tell, she made the first move.
I was still too shy to initiate a romance, let alone woo a girl. She was a neighbor, about my age, perhaps a year older. I found it far more convenient to be wooed than to have to court a girl myself Any- way, I could think of nothing else except her. She didn't know English, and I wasn't brilliant in Urdu. A friend would read her letters to me in Urdu, and I would dictate my reply to him in Urdu. The person who would deliver the letters was my younger brother's friend.
He was slightly built and could squeeze in and out of most places. He would deliver my letters and pick up hers, by quietly sneaking into her house.
I went so far as to get my Nani Amma, my maternal grandmother, into the act without her realizing it. She was a lovely woman who used to wear a burka, as conservative Muslim women do. I would tell Nani Amma that she must visit the neighbors, and then direct her to the girl's house. Before she went, I would hide a letter in a pocket of her burka and pass a message to the girl explaining where to find it.
Poor Nani Amma would go to the girl's house as an unwitting courier with a romantic letter in her pocket. Had she known, she would have been quite upset, to put it mildly. Certainly my mother would have come to know of it. This girl was very beautiful. It was puppy love, really, just an infatu- ation, and it lasted only until my parents moved to another house, far away on Garden Road, near the Karachi Zoo with its beautiful gardens. On Garden Road, I fell straight into my next romance. She was a beautiful Bengali girl from East Pakistan now Bangladesh.
This crush was somewhat less frivolous than my first. I think my mother suspected all along, because I suddenly slipped in my studies. She wasn't sure, but she became very annoyed with me for my poor results. I did well enough on my finals for class ten, ranking in the second division and missing the first by just four points.
I earned the first prize in mathematics. At that point, my mother decided that Javed would go into the civil service of Pakistan CSP , the most prestigious branch of our bureau- cracy. Her youngest son, Naved, she decreed, would become a medical doctor.
With my excess energy and mischievousness, I would go into the army. And so it came to pass. First I had to go to college to get through classes eleven and twelve, which we call freshman of arts FA or, if you take science, freshman of science FSc. This is unlike the American and British systems, where grades eleven and twelve are part of high school. I chose nonmedical science.
Only after doing my FSc would I be eligible to join the army, provided I passed the military's highly exacting entrance examinations and arduous physical tests. Frankly, none of the colleges in Karachi were good enough at the time, so my parents sent me to the famous Forman Christian College in Lahore, better known as FC College, which is run by American mis- sionaries. Lahore was the obvious choice. It has long been a center of learning, art, culture, poetry, and literature, not just of Pakistan but of the entire subcontinent.
The college principal was a wonderful Amer- ican gentleman who mixed with all the students. Another American I remember there was our director of physical education, Mr. He was very good at organizing athletic tournaments. Javed went to Government College—now a university—in Lahore, a school for the brightest students. Yet another of Lahore's famous colleges is Islamia College, which among other things produced most of our international cricketers in the early years of Pakistan.
Forman Christian College was known as a college for anglicized "modern" students; Government College attracted the more studious types, and Islamia the more earthy types. I was keenly aware of never having lived away from home on my own.
I didn't realize then that I would never return to live with my par- ents as a dependent. A time would come, as it naturally does in life's course, when roles would be reversed and my parents would come and live with me.
But for now, I was on my own and terribly homesick. However, I soon got into the swing of things and made good friends. I was assigned room and board in Kennedy Hall. Its warden, Mr. Dutta, was also our English teacher. He was a good man, tough but fair. Forman Christian is a beautiful college and has fine facilities for stud- ies and sport, the latter being compulsory.
You had to play at least one game. Athletically I became a jack-of-all-trades, competing in gymnas- tics, cross-country running, bodybuilding, and athletics. I was fourth in cross-country, was the top gymnast, and was third in the "Mr. FC College" bodybuilding competition. All in all I earned the most cer- tificates.
Muhammad Iqbal Butt, who had competed creditably in the Mr. Universe competition, told me at the time that I had a most mus- cular physique. Campus life taught me independence. I interacted with boys from all backgrounds, even from abroad. Some were rich, some not; some were modern, some religious. There were quite a few East Africans. There were female students, too. I got along with all of them. I made friends with boys from the Niazi tribe, especially Amanullah Niazi, who was senior to me and was later to become a brigadier.
They per- suaded me to run in the elections for first-year representative. That is when I gave my first public speech. They made me stand on a table. Trembling with nervousness, I managed to tell the listeners that if they elected me I would look after their interests.
I didn't enjoy it a bit. Tariq Aziz, who was my principal secretary after I became president and was later appointed secretary to the national security council, was there too.
He was senior to me and we were not that friendly, probably because he was a "good boy," reluctant to join me in mischief-making. As early as seven or eight in the evening the hostel gates would shut, and no student could go out, nor could any vis- itor come in.
However, there was a mango tree next to a hedge at the hostel periphery, and thanks to my gymnastics, I could climb the tree and jump over and across the high hedge. So would some of my friends. We would take in a movie from nine PM to midnight, usually at the Regal Cinema, and return to college on foot because tonga drivers refused to go that far at night.
Obviously, we couldn't get back in, but just outside the main gate of the college there was a mosque, and no one could stop us from sleeping there, as mosques have traditionally been a haven for wayfarers. Early in the morning, when the college gates opened, we would sneak back in. It was in FC College that I learned how to make a time bomb, which I later used as a commando to good effect. In today's age of terror, this is hardly the thing to say, but those were relatively innocent times, and the only kind of homemade bomb then known was the Molotov cocktail.
I discovered that if you take a normal firecracker and attach a filterless cigarette to its fuse, it becomes a timed fuse, depending on the length of unsmoked cigarette.
One day, three or four of us decided to give Mr. Datta, the warden, a scare. We left a timed firecracker in a big steel trash can outside his house so that it would make an awful bang. We placed another outside the assistant warden's house, and a third inside a mail- box at the entrance. Then I went back to my room.
The firecracker in Mr. Datta's trash can went off first, with a defeaning bang, just like a small bomb. The trash can made it worse, for it amplified the sound.
Everyone started running toward the warden's house. I did, too. As soon as we got there, the "bomb" in the assistant warden's trash can exploded. We all ran there, at which point the firecracker in the mailbox exploded. There was utter confusion. It was terrible. A few days later Mr. Datta got hold of one of my friends, Hameed, and asked him for the name of the boy behind the bombs.
If he didn't reveal it, he was told, he would be either suspended or expelled. Hameed, who was from Hyderabad, Sindh, told me about the sword hanging over his head.
I knew it would be unconscionable if he were punished so severely for something that I had done, so I told him to tell Mr. Datta the truth. He said that Pervez Musharraf was the culprit. Datta called me to his house that evening. On the way, I won- dered what I would tell my parents if I were thrown out. Datta began by asking me who was behind the "bombing episode.
I really felt ashamed of myself. I said that I was very sorry and it would not happen again. He did not do anything. All he said was, "OK, never do this again," and let me go. That is when I learned the power of truth, a lesson that has never left me. My first brush with death, as silly as it was, happened at FC College, thanks to a mango tree. It was laden with fruit. My friends told me to use my skill as a gymnast and climb the tree to pluck some mangoes.
I shimmied up. Hanging high up from a branch, I would swing upward and pluck the fruit with my feet. Things went fine and I had plucked quite a few mangoes when on a high swing the branch in my hands broke. I came crashing down, hit the ground very hard, and passed out. My friends thought that I was dead. I opened my eyes quite some time later in Mr. Dutta's house, under a doctor's care. I was young and strong and soon recovered.
I was always getting into scrapes. Lahore's most famous girls' college is Kinnaird, and you invariably see a lot of boys hanging around outside it, especially in the evenings.
One day there was a debate at FC College in which some girls from Kinnaird had been invited to participate. A boy sitting behind me kept hitting my chair with his foot, really irri- tating me. I repeatedly told him to stop, but he would not. With girls from Kinnaird there, my testosterone level had probably shot up, so I told him to step outside.
He did, and a big fight ensued, but soon the other boys separated us. They told me that he belonged to a club of wrestlers headed by Badi Pehalwan and they would return to beat me up.
But they never did. If, from all this, you have concluded that I was not intensely focused on my studies, you would not be far wrong. I was more involved in extracurricular activities, both healthy and naughty. Lahore is a great city, with numerous attractions, particularly for a young boy free of direct parental supervision, but in reality my mother and father were always with me through the values that they had inculcated in their sons. Of course, my parents were very con- cerned about my studies, but I had already appeared before the Inter Services Selection Board and been selected for the prestigious Pakistan Military Academy as a cadet before my final examinations for FA.
After a three-year course, if successful, I would get my commission as an offi- cer of the Pakistan Army. So I took my FSc finals somewhat noncha- lantly and managed to get through, because the actual result had no bearing on my selection by the army, as long as I passed.
My life as a carefree teenager was over. The longest chapter of my story was about to begin, a chapter that would define my life and career as soldier and statesman. First he care- fully chooses the clay, poking it, pushing it, feeling it between thumb and forefinger. After making his choice he wets it just so, with the exact amount of clean water, kneading it into fine dough with just the correct consistency.
He then puts it on his potter's wheel and spins it at the right speed, then fastidiously fashions it into shape. Next he places it in the kiln, heated to the correct temperature. After the exact amount of time—not a moment before, not a moment later—he takes it out of the oven.
Now the piece is ready. This is exactly how a soldier is made. How good he is depends on how good the potter is, how good his choice of clay was, and how good his hand was on the wheel.
A cadet in a military academy is like clay on the wheel. When he is shaped, he is let loose in the oven of army life. How good a soldier he becomes depends on the fire that bakes him every day of his life in the army. Winning a spot was a cinch for an athletic, intelligent boy. To begin with, there was a written test in Karachi. I was selected for further tests and went up to Rawalpindi by train and then on to Kohat in the North-West Frontier.
The tests were physical, mental, psycho- logical, and medical. At one stage during the psychological tests I was told to write whatever I was imagining at the time, whatever came to mind as I looked at a blank picture frame. There were socioeconomic discussions. I was pretty good at all that. I completed the obstacle course nearly twice in the time allotted. Finally, we were inter- viewed by a commandant. I didn't find the interview difficult. I know I did well.
During the testing process I shared a room with P.
Mehdi, who later became an air marshal and our air chief. I remember we saw a movie called Savera, which means "Dawn. The PMA is a historic place. It has verdant lawns and beautiful red- shingled colonial buildings in the lap of the Himalayas in a place called Kakul, near the town of Abbotabad, named after a British commissioner called Abbot. Imagine our excitement—a batch of fresh-faced young cadets in their new civilian clothes and immaculate haircuts—as our truck rolled in. The senior cadets were waiting for us like predators.
Now imagine our shock when our smiles were met with deafening commands—"Crawl under the truck; now climb over it. They can't break me. If our moth- ers had seen us they would have been horrified.
The senior cadets let us have dinner; then they crowded us into an anteroom and made all seventy or eighty of us squeeze into the fire- place, one on top of another. We should have made the Guinness Book of World Records. Next we were taken for haircuts, army-style.
They sim- ply sheared us like sheep.
We looked extremely odd. They made us do all sorts of indescribably silly things, like balancing a metallic tub of ice- cold water on our heads in the dead of winter, which in Kakul is very cold. If the tub falls, not only do you get drenched and freeze, you are given another equally terrible punishment. I had been told to expect hazing—or "ragging" as we call it in Pakistan—and was prepared for it, but it was a terrible experience nevertheless.
That first night I fell onto my bed and was out like a light, overcome by conflicting emotions—from excitement to incredulity to exhaustion. Patrick's, FC College, and the Bengali girl.
Not many boys break down under ragging, and I took it in stride. It lasts for only the first ten days. I learned to outsmart the 'raggers. I knew that they were not allowed to touch us. I knew too that when I became a senior I would be ragging the new cadets myself When my turn finally came, I didn't rag much, and I was never cruel. I ragged with a purpose: Soldiers become a breed apart, a breed that willingly dies for its country without question.
It was in the PMA that I actually started studying seriously. Fortu- nately, I learned that if I applied myself, I could excel. We were taught all kinds of subjects—science, mathematics, geography, military tactics, map reading, and of course, weapons training and drill.
We were also taught how to command men and get the best out of them. We learned how to absorb psychological pressure and develop physical endurance.
Above all, we learned about making decisions in a crunch, and no ordinary crunch: If the men under you don't trust your decisions, they will not have the confidence to go into battle under your command.
A military academy is a great place to learn how to be a man who can deal with a crisis, provided it is a good military academy. The PMA is the best in the world. I did well in the PMA and was one of the top cadets in my course, one of the ten sword carriers. If not for my nonchalant attitude and my tendency to react badly to irrational authority, I would have done even better.
Frankly, I was quite an ill-disciplined young man—quarrel- some and irresponsible. I was one of four candidates short-listed to go to Sandhurst, England, to complete my training, but another cadet, Ali Kuli Khan Khattak, was selected. He retired as a lieutenant general and chief of general staff when I became army chief, but I suspect that his retirement, which was optional, had more to do with disappoint- ment at not becoming chief himself, which is perfectly understandable.
Once during an outdoor exercise my pla- toon commander asked me to look at the other cadets and tell him what was missing from my uniform. I looked, but could not figure out what they had that I lacked.
He asked me to touch my "damn head. I was marched in the next day, for punishment. The platoon commander was so impressed by my drill that without imposing any punishment he ordered the sergeant, "Good drill; march him off" In fact, my physical bearing and drill were so good that I passed my "saluting test" on the first try with a special commendation from the adjutant. When I told him I was from Forman Christian College and not from a cadet college, he was quite surprised. Later, during a parade rehearsal, he sin- gled me out for a drill demonstration to the whole battalion of senior cadets.
This got me into immense trouble with my seniors for "having the audacity to show them proper drill. On another occasion, however, I was nearly thrown out of the PMA. In our final term, just before we were to graduate, there was a drill com- petition of the first-term cadets in which the senior cadets, as spectators, were expected to wear black socks.
Some of the seniors wore the wrong color. The battalion commander called me and ordered me to note down all their names and serial numbers—"and put your name at the top," he thundered. Our punishment was to run nine miles.
When we came to a loop in the road some of us cleverly decided to take a short- cut and save about yards meters. Unknown to us, we were being closely watched through binoculars.
About fifteen of us were caught. Inquiries started, and the whole thing became quite serious. Academy officials were determined that we should be thrown out for taking the shortcut—even though six of us who had done so were sword carriers who were to lead the graduation parade! Luckily, good sense prevailed and we were spared expulsion. Instead, our course grade was lowered. I was the battalion junior under-officer, and my position in the class would have been very high on merit, but as pun- ishment we were pushed down six positions.
Other junior under-officers got moved up six positions and thus graduated above us. The experience at PMA was akin to an overhaul—being taken apart and put back together differently. Gaining acceptance into the school was like being chosen as the right clay. The PMA wet us—the clay— and placed us on the potter's wheel, ready for fashioning by the potter's hand.
Once fashioned, we were all set to be baked and hardened in the kiln. I was now ready for the army, guided by the maker's hand. With- out giving it much thought, I opted for the Thirty-sixth Light Antiaircraft Regiment, because its training, firing, and courses were all in Karachi. Why my fixation on Karachi? The reason was not my fam- ily—it was that my Bengali girlfriend was there. I suppose the army can change many things, but it cannot change primeval instinct.
No matter where I was stationed, I reckoned, I would still have to go to Karachi twice a year for a course or for practice in firing. My plans came to naught when that year it was decided that after graduation no one could go directly into antiaircraft without first going into artillery.
Worse, my romance came to an abrupt end when the girl's family returned to East Pakistan. I never did go into air defense. I stayed in artillery. From then on my entire career would be dedicated to the army and the defense of my country. I was still more of an officer than a gentleman. It didn't take long for me to get into trouble.
In mid, with clouds of war with India gather- ing, my unit was moved into the Changa Manga forest near Lahore, a train ride of about twenty-four hours from Karachi. The rest of the young officers belonged mostly to the Punjab, and it took them only a few hours to get home to see their families. I applied for six days' leave to go to Karachi, and with a Sunday at both ends it would be effectively an eight-day leave.
I thought he was being irrational and insensitive. I defied his decision, bought a train ticket, boarded the Karachi Express, and went home for the eight days. One of the officers slightly senior to me, Javed Ashraf Qazi, who retired as a lieutenant general and later became my minister for railways and then for education, phoned me and told me to return immediately.
Otherwise, I would be in a lot of trouble on disciplinary grounds for being absent without leave. I refused, and took the full eight days off that I had "granted" myself On my return, my commanding officer went ballistic and initiated court- martial proceedings against me.
What saved me was the war of , when India attacked Pakistan on all fronts and strafed a passenger train, killing many civilians.
The Indian attack came on September 6. The war lasted seventeen days and ended in a cease-fire sponsored by the UN Security Council, but Pakistan gave India a fright and a bloody nose to go with it. There was no strate- gic gain on either side.
Still, Pakistan certainly achieved a tactical victory in the sense that we conquered more territory, inflicted more casualties, took more prisoners, and almost blew the Indian Air Force out of the air. My performance in the war earned me recognition and an award for gallantry. The commanding officer had little choice but to change his opinion about the "fiery young officer all out of control. My artillery regiment was a part of the only elite armored division of the Pakistan Army equipped with American-made Patton tanks.
We were launched into an offensive in the Kasur-Khem Karan sector on September 7, We established a bridgehead across the Roohi Nul- lah a water drain and quickly seized enemy territory up to fifteen miles deep, capturing the sizable town of Khem Karan. My artillery bat- tery was deployed just ahead of the town. During a lull in the firing, I took a quick tour of the deserted streets of Khem Karan, and felt very proud.
Only dogs were barking: I wrote my first letter during the war to my mother, proudly saying that I was writing from India. After three days of battle my division was ordered to move to the critical Lahore sector, which was under enemy threat.
We stabilized our position there after two days of intense fighting. Having stabilized the Lahore front, we were ordered to move again to the Sialkot front. This was the front where the famous tank battles of Chawinda were fought. At the end of the war this sector was to become a graveyard of Indian tanks. My next confrontation with death came on the night of September 16, I was detailed as an artillery observer attached to an infantry company that had been ordered to attack and capture a village called Jas- soran, situated on a mound.
The company commander was my best friend, Lieutenant Bilal. We were to attack at midnight. After prepara- tory movement in the dark, we went into a "forming-up place" yards about meters from our objective, where the company lined up in a formation for the final assault.
Bilal and I impulsively embraced each other. This could be our last embrace, we thought. I brought the whole weight of our division's artillery fire on the vil- lage.
Under cover of this fire we advanced, and finally charged the vil- lage crying Allah o' Akbar "God is the greatest".
The artillery fire was very accurate and effective, keeping the enemy's head down. We braved the enemy's counterfire and forced them to beat a hasty retreat. We had accomplished our task. I felt great. Another significant action took place on the night of September Our guns were positioned in a graveyard. An enemy shell hit one of our self-propelled artillery guns and set its rear compartment on fire.
The flames leaped up toward the sky in the darkness of the night. The ready-to-fire shells on the gun were in danger of catching fire and bursting, setting off a chain reaction with all the other guns. It was a very dangerous situation. While everybody took cover, a lesson that I had learned on the streets of Nazimabad came into play. I stood my ground, dashed to the blazing gun, and climbed into it. One brave soldier followed me.
We saw three men of the crew lying in a pool of blood. Instinctively, I ignored them, in order to save the shells first. We took off our shirts and wound them around our hands for protection from the hot shells. God saved us from that disaster. In the meantime, seeing me facing all this danger, all my men who had run for cover returned. Together we first put the fire out and then, sorrowfully, pulled out the three crewmen.
I noticed that one of them was still alive. I took his head in my arms, but while I was trying to put a field bandage on his wound, he died. I will never forget it. Such are the brutalities of war; they leave a permanent imprint on the mind. I received an award for gallantry for saving lives and equip- ment. The brave soldier who helped me was also decorated for gal- lantry. I can never forget that night. These two actions changed the commanding officer's opinion about me.
I should have been decorated with two awards for gallantry, but instead I received one award and the dismissal of the court-martial pro- ceedings. The war ended on September 23, , and I was promoted to the rank of captain soon after.
Commando train- ing demands tremendous physical and mental stamina, so it was exactly the right kind of environment for me. Commandos have to undergo survival training in jungles, mountains, and deserts, and learn to make it on their own. Eating delicacies like snakes, frogs' legs, and the local lizards which are like iguanas is not infrequent.
I learned that one can eat anything except plants with white sap. Ever since then I have not been finicky about food—I can eat anything, though I do appreciate good food. You learn to really appreciate food and water when you are hungry or thirsty for a long time.
Then you thank God for anything that He provides. The training was physically exacting. There was very tough physical exercise for an hour every day, starting with a warm-up run of two miles about three kilometers. We ran four miles nearly 6.
In addition, there were several tactical exercises involving hundreds of miles of route marches. Then there was watermanship in lakes and fast- flowing canals, as well as parachute training in which one had to qual- ify in six jumps. I was considered very good at these tests. The course gave me confidence in my physical and mental abilities. It taught me that enduring extreme hardship has more to do with mental resilience than physical stamina.
After my initial training I served in the SSG for two periods of four and a half and two and a half years, respectively, first as a captain and then as a major. When I look back on my service with the SSG, I feel that my self-confidence and my qualities as a soldier and a leader were all honed there. I felt physically very tough, mentally alert, and able to handle tough assignments with ease.
The SSG provided me with ample opportunities to develop initiative and drive because it encouraged so much independence of training and operation. I developed my own, very innovative style of training the men under my command. I expected them to undergo several confidence-building and nerve-testing actions.
One test was to hold a self-made grenade of plastic explosive with holes made at three-second intervals in the time fuse.
A new SSG vol- unteer was expected to throw the bomb when the spark of the ignited time fuse came out of the last hole just three seconds before exploding. Some got jittery and threw it prematurely. A second test was to run on a yard-wide iron beam feet 90 meters high, spanning the top of the side structure of a metal bridge about yards meters in length.
The distance had to be covered in forty seconds. It might sound easy, but when one reached the mid- dle of the length, with a fast river flowing underneath, it became dan- gerous.
You could get dizzy if you looked down. Another improvised test was to lie flat on one's stomach in a railway culvert, looking toward a train hurtling at full speed that would pass one or two feet about one-third to one-half meter away. Closing the eyes was not allowed. Then I would make my men sit a couple of yards to the side of a tar- get being fired at from or yards to meters. The whizzing and thud of the bullets helped inoculate them against the stress of battle.
I have always believed in leading from the front by setting a personal example. Never ask your men to do what you would not. I became an exceptionally good shot with a rifle and a submachine gun. I was also a good runner. I would compete with my men in everything and would treat them to a cold drink if I lost; a few did beat me, but not many.
All this endeared me to my men, who started looking up to me. They loved me because I was just and com- passionate. I would share their worries and help them with their prob- lems.
My seniors recognized me as an exceptional leader, but also as a bluntly outspoken, ill-disciplined officer. I was given a number of punishments on different occasions for fighting, insubordination, and lack of discipline.
When I became army chief, my military secretary showed me my service dossier and naughtily asked me to look at my discipline record.