Saturday, July 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Don’t ‘embarrass’ host
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 6
Union Home Minister L. K. Advani today literally took the bull by the horn when he commented on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s desire to meet Hurriyat leaders during his forthcoming visit to India saying “guest should not act in a manner which would embarrass the host.”

He was speaking at the centenary celebration function of Syama Prasad Mukherjee here.

Referring to his 1978 visit to Berlin at the invitation of the then East Germany, Mr Advani said for his convenience he wanted to return to India by Air India flight from Frankfurt airport (West Germany).

“When I wanted the Indian Ambassador to make the necessary arrangements, he told me that it would embarrass the host country East Germany,” Mr Advani said adding I accepted the Ambassador’s advice as “guest should not act in a manner which would embarrass the host.”

On the vexed Kashmir issue, Mr Advani said India did not buy the western world’s thinking that Kashmir was a disputed territory and consider that the integrity of the country was closely linked with Kashmir.

“We don’t see Kashmir in the light of Pakistan...we link Kashmir with the unity of the country and we can’t allow any threat to this,” the Home Minister emphasised.

He warned Pakistan that any call for self-determination on multi-lingual or multi-ethnic basis would have a “domino” effect.

“Self-determination is applicable to the nation and it can’t be applied to linguistic group or regional group. If self-determination is based on linguistic group then it will be disastrous to Pakistan too, especially in the Sindh province,” Mr Advani said.

However, the Home Minister was confident that day would come when people of both Pakistan and India would realise the futility of the partition and want a reunification the manner in which the two Germanys had remerged and the European Union introducing a single currency.

For this, he stressed that a conducive atmosphere needed to be created in the subcontinent and expressed confidence that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s bold initiative of inviting Pakistan President would lay the base for that.


Release PoWs from Pak jails: Pamma
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, July 6
The National Akali Dal President today demanded the release of the PoWs, who are languishing in Pakistani jails, before the visit of General Musharraf. The need for entering a “concrete agreement for peace and progress” in the region was stressed.

Mr Paramjit Singh Pamma, party president, also demanded an immediate arrest of Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, the self-appointed President of Khalistan.


Musharraf ‘can be rash, dangerous’
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
PA-6920 General Pervez Musharraf, says the first listing on the Pakistan Army List. Behind the name is a personality known to be a professionally-bred, morally upright soldier with strong links with fundamentalists, who, at times, can be rash and dangerous.

The entry concerning the India-born Pakistani President, Chief Executive and Chief of Army Staff, which was first incorporated in the list when he was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery on April 19, 1964, is now expected to remain there for several years to come.

A perusal of his profile, drawn up by Indian intelligence, shows the General to be a well-trained officer with a wide-ranging mind. He is reported to be hard working and appears to be thoughtful and shrewd in assessing future developments. “To the outside world, General Musharraf’s expression appears stern and his manner often abrupt. He is hot headed and considered to be unpopular among his subordinates,” says one intelligence report. The report adds that he can be rash and dangerous if he feels that a situation is going out of his control. He does not mix freely with officers, but prefers to interact with JCOs and other ranks.

Intelligence has assessed him to be a “strong personality, who came to be known for his capability for taking definite decisions as well as tremendous drive and tenacity”. This could be due to his early Special Services Group background. His meteoric rise in the Pakistani army is attributed to his professional competence and his being a Mohajir. He is conscious of his Mohajir background and projects himself as a Punjabi.

According to reports, the General had an undistinguished career till the early 80s, when he came to the notice of the then Pakistani military ruler, Gen Zia-ul-Haq. It is said that Zia chose to groom Musharraf for advancement as he was a devout Deobandi and strongly recommended by the Jamaat-e-Islami. One report, however, describes him as a “nominal Muslim, who does not go to a mosque very often”.

Musharraf was tasked by Zia to train Islamic mercenaries to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It was during this assignment that Musharraf was reported to have come in contact with Osama bin Laden, then a Saudi-based civil engineer who had been recruited by the CIA to construct bunkers for the Mujahideen. “The links which General Musharraf developed with Bin Laden have since remained strong,” one report states.

Interestingly, reports also state that it was because of General Musharraf’s links with narcotics smugglers in the NWFP that he had very limited interaction with the US military in the form of higher training, seminars, joint exercises and visits to US military establishments. “Though the CIA valued his services in Afghanistan, US narcotics control officers had reservations about him because of suspicions regarding his contacts with narcotics smugglers,” a report says.

Though a war-decorated officer, General Musharraf has, at least thrice tasted defeat at the hands of the Indian military. During the 1965 war in the Chawinda sector in Punjab, his gun battery was bombarded by Indian artillery. Instead of seeking cover, Musharraf, a Lieutenant at that time, however, off-loaded ammunition from the burning gun before it could explode. For this he was decorated with the Imtiyaz-i-Sanad.

In 1987 Zia-ul-Haq ordered Musharraf, then a Brigadier, to command a newly established SSG base in Khapalu in the Siachen sector. In September, 1987, Musharraf launched a commando attack to capture an Indian post in Siachen, Bilfond La, but was beaten back by Indian infantry. This setback, however, did not affect his relations with Zia-ul-Haq.

As Army chief, he masterminded the Kargil intrusions, which resulted in a diplomatic and military setback to Pakistan. The exact details of his role during the 1971 war, when he was serving with the SSG, are not available.

General Musharraf is also held responsible for the carnage unleashed to suppress a revolt in the northern areas of Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the late 80s and early 90s. Handpicked by Zia-ul-Haq for the job, he is reported to have transported a large number of Pakhtoon tribesmen from Afghanistan and the NWFP to Gilgit to “teach the revolting Shias a lesson.”

As Corps Commander, he developed close links with the then Prime Minister, Mr Nawaz Sharif, and kept the latter informed about criticism of the government’s functioning during the Corps Commanders’ conferences. He was also reported to have disliked the Muttahida Quami Movement, with Mr Sharif desiring him to crush the movement. Musharraf and Mr Sharif got along well till March, 2000, when differences started cropping up.

As a Lieutenant-Colonel, Musharraf commanded a self-propelled artillery regiment, while as Brigadier, he was given two command appointments — the first of an armoured division artillery brigade, and the second of an infantry brigade. On promotion to Major-General, he assumed command of 40 Infantry Division, Okara, in May, 1991, and thereafter served as Director-General, Military Operations (DGMO), at General Headquarters. On promotion to Lieutenant-General in October, 1995, he took over as GOC of the Mangla-based, 1 Corps — Pakistan’s elite strike formation. He was appointed Army chief on October 8, 1998.

His staff and instructional appointments include Brigade Major of an infantry brigade, directing staff at the Command and Staff College, Quetta, and the War Wing of the National Defence College and Deputy Military Secretary at GHQ, besides tenures in the military operations directorate. He was the DGMO during the conduct of two crucial GHQ-level exercises — Exercise Tri Star, which was aimed at exposing senior service officers and select civilians to the planning and execution of joint military operations, and Exercise Zarb-e-Mujahid-II, which was evolved to test the concept of establishing a Field Army HQ and work out modalities for moving a number of division-size formations to their operational locations.

He served with the SSG, Pakistan’s elite special forces, from 1966 to 1973. He is proud of his association with the SSG and had many times made public appearances as well as met foreign dignitaries in his SSG fatigues.

General Musharraf attended the Staff Course and the Armed Forces War Course. He also underwent higher training at the Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom in 1990.

His other decorations include the Nishan-i-Imtiaz, awarded to Generals and equivalent when considered appropriate by the government, the Tamgha-i-Basalat, for acts of valour or devotion to duty though not in active operations against the enemy, and the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, awarded to Major Generals and above for meritorious service.

Stockily built and of medium height with a good soldierly bearing, the General is said to be keen on squash, golf and shikar. Reports say that he likes drinks, but is not over-indulgent. He is also fond of ghazals. His wife Saheba is well-educated and holds modern views on world affairs. They have a son, Bilal, and a daughter. The family lifestyle is not known to be extravagant.

Born in Delhi on August 11, 1943, the General was educated at Forman Christian College, Lahore, where his father, Mr Shafuddin, a career diplomat, had migrated.


Pak-trained ultras held with RDX
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, July 6
Just eight days before the visit of Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf, the Delhi police has arrested two Pak-trained terrorists with RDX and timer devices which was to be used for causing explosions in the Capital.

Shabbir Ahmed alias Sher Khan and Mohammad Razzaq Malik, were arrested from ISBT in North Delhi. They stayed in a guest house in Ballimaran, the police said.

The police seized 1.9 kg of RDX, one pencil timer, one detonator and a battery from them.

They belonged to Harkat-ul-Jehadi-a-Islami outfit.

The police said the two had attacked Army installations in Jammu and Kashmir in 1997. They were also involved in a few other attacks in the valley.

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