Blast from the past; Cash for nukes attempt that failed
ISLAMABAD: General (r) Ziauddin Khawaja, former DG ISI, has disclosed for the first time that North Korea had attempted to bribe him by providing him 0.5 million US dollars in Benazir Bhutto’s last tenure as prime minister, in 1995.
“They wanted an expedited cooperation between the two countries on the missile programme, which was going on between the two countries in that era,” said General (r) Ziauddin while exclusively talking to Dawn at his Lahore residence.
Khawaja, was heading the Directorate of Combat Development, currently known as Strategic Plans Division (SPD). He was directly involved in Pakistan’s defense agreements with North Korea.
The retired general while answering a question said that, a bag full of dollars was actually dropped in his office by a North Korean General Kang who at that time was serving as Defence and Commercial Attache in the North Korean Embassy located in Islamabad.
Khawaja asked General Kang why he was giving him such a large amount of cash. The North Korean General told him that his government is distributing money among the relevant officers dealing in defence cooperation with his country.
General Khawaja said that he immediately informed the then Chief of General Staff (CGS) General Jahangir Karamat who spoke to the then Chief of Army Staff General Abdul Waheed Kakar who was on a foreign trip at the time.
Khawaja added that General Waheed consulted with Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and ordered him to return the money after two or three days.
“General Kang was called at the Headquarters of the Military Intelligence, General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, where the money was returned to him by the then MI Chief, Major General Ali Kuli Khan in my presence,” said Khawaja.
Ziauddin Khawaja is living a retired life in Lahore these days. He was nominated Chief of Army Staff by the former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, on 12th October 1999 soon after the removal of General Pervez Musharraf but the orders of the prime minister could not see the light of day as the military launched a coup.