Rejoinder to Gen Aslam Beg’s Article
I was a little surprised to read “Imran Khan ki Syasat, Civil or Fauji Qiadaton ke liye Challenge’’. The author, in trying to compare the agitation of PNA in 1977 to the present protest by PTI, has made some invalid and unsavory comments related to Air Marshal Asghar Khan. There are several of them but the worst is that AM Asghar Khan did “saaz baaz with India” and was removed from his office because of that. AM Asghar Khan is, and has always been, a man of impeccable integrity, probity and character. He has never done anything for his self. All his politics, books and litigation have been for a better Pakistan. It is highly unprecedented for a former COAS to make such baseless allegations against a former C-in-C of another service. AM Asghar Khan was the father of PAF and was responsible for laying the foundation on which the PAF was built and continues to stand on till today. His failure in politics was ascribed to his integrity and unwillingness to compromise on his principles. This has been acknowledged by all political commentators and even Imran Khan. As an acknowledgement of AM Asghar Khan’s clean past and record, Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association (PESA) , made him the Chief Patron of their organization.
Other aspersions that have been cast are a matter of perception and the author is entitled to them. Like his allegation that in June, 1977, the matters had been settled between Z.A. Bhutto and the opposition parties and AM Asghar Khan sabotaged the agreement which was about to be reached by writing a letter to Gen Zia-ul-Haq. This is a matter of conjecture or a point of view in Maulana Kausar Niazi’s book. Even if we assume that it was true, then the motivation to do this was the same as General Beg’s, like when he helped create and finance the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) - to take Pakistan out of a crisis and prevent further chaos. It is another matter that Gen Beg was caught on legal grounds (in the famous Asghar Khan Case) of trying to undermine the Constitution of Pakistan.
This is a given that people in high places, without exception and especially in the military, are driven by the supreme national interest in whatever they do. If they were to demonstrate otherwise, it would be a poor reflection of the Armed Forces’ selection, training, evaluation and promotion system. Therefore, people who have been in high places should desist from indulging in slander like a low-level journalist would. In view of the fore-going, Gen Beg owes an apology to AM Asghar Khan.