ISLAMABAD: While Musharraf continues to embarrass Pakistan and its authorities, including the Pakistan Army, an important source has revealed that the General Headquarters (GHQ) and its most vital arm, the Military Operations Directorate, was bypassed by the former dictator, both in the Lal Masjid operation and Bugti killing.
The source said that none of these extremely controversial operations, which sowed the seeds of terrorism in Balochistan and the rest of the country, were the brainchild of the MO Directorate.
The source said that in both these military operations, the GHQ and concerned field command were not directly involved. “In both the cases, General Musharraf bypassed the GHQ and its MO Directorate, and gave direct orders to the relevant field commanders,” said the well-placed and well- informed source.
Ideally and as per the military’s established rules, no such operation could take place without being conceptualised and cleared by the MO Directorate. However, Musharraf, the all powerful dictator that he was, did not engage the MO Directorate.
In the case of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti’s killing, the source said, General Musharraf involved the then Military Intelligence chief Major General Nadeem Ejaz and the top command of 12 Corps.
In a briefing on Balochistan issue by the then DGMO and much before the killing of the Baloch Nawab, General Musharraf once talked about the idea of killing Bugti but the idea was not agreed to by the DGMO, who warned that it would lead to unrest. Later, Musharraf never engaged the GHQ and executed his plot to kill Bugti through the MI and the Commander of the 12 Corps.
After the Bugti killing, some key generals in the GHQ in their in-house interactions expressed their dismay over the Kohlu military operation. The Lal Masjid operation, which killed over a hundred persons and led to the escalation of terrorism cases manifold, was no different from that of the military operation aimed at killing Bugti.
The source said that the planning of the Lal Masjid operation was done by Commander 10 Corps Tariq Majid on the direct instructions of the ousted dictator.
“The GHQ and its MO Directorate were not involved in any such planning,” the source said, adding that a day after Lieutenant Colonel Haroon became the first casualty of the pre-Lal Masjid operation, Musharraf convened a meeting of top political and military authorities and given his mind that a full-fledged operation had to be carried out.
An important member of the GHQ spoke against this option and asked Musharraf to review his decision because it involved the lives of more than 100 persons. The dictator was told that when the military was taught to leave some exit point even in case of its enemy, then why should not the extremist elements holed up in Lal Masjid. Musharraf was also warned that if the Lal Masjid operation was executed, it would throw the country into a muddle for quarter of a century.
Instead of listening to his key GHQ adviser, the source said Musharraf snubbed the officer and asked him to mind his own business. Later, the assignment to do the massacre in Lal Masjid was given to 10 Corps without getting the military operation cleared by the GHQ.
It has also been revealed that Musharraf wanted to mislead the masses about the number of casualties by burying the dead unannounced and in unknown places. He was of the view that the CDA authorities would do the task of silent and hidden burial of those killed in the Lal Masjid operation.
Musharraf, who has recently formally joined politics, has lately said that if given the chance, he would repeat the Lal Masjid and Bugti operations. These two operations brought enormous disrespect for the Army and caused retaliatory attacks against the military personnel and installations in all parts of the country.
The first-ever suicide attack in a military unit in Dargai where dozens of soldiers were killed in 2006, was also the consequence of Musharraf’s announcement owning the American missile attack on a Madrassa in Bajaur where more than 80 children were killed.
Under pressure from his American masters, whom he served against the interest of Pakistan, Musharraf said that they were not the American forces but the Pakistan Army, which attacked and killed such a large number of children, including the age of 10. Musharraf lied that they were terrorists but not even a single bullet was found from the rubble of the Madrassa.
Many in the military today admit that the post 9/11 policies and Musharraf’s controversial decisions like the Lal Masjid operation, killing of Bugti and owning up of Bajaur massacre not only fuelled extremism and terrorism but made the military controversial.