Army covering up issues, claims ex-general
ISLAMABAD, Feb 16: Former corps commander Lahore Lt-Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz on Saturday said problems in the armed forces are increasing as the army chiefs have been trying to cover up issues fearing it would defame the organisation.
He was speaking at the launch of his book Yeh Khamoshi Kahan Tak at Islamabad Club on Saturday.
Gen Aziz, who played a role in Pervez Musharraf’s coup and also held an important post in the army and ISI at the time of the Kargil war, said his aim to write the book was to guide the new generation.
It may be noted that Gen Aziz also worked as chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for about two years after his retirement from the army in 2005.
“I have also tried to encourage those who are capable to change the fate of the country but they are not ready to change the rotten system. Some of my colleagues in the armed forces are not happy with my writing of the book and they think that I have brought disrepute to the army. I knew that fingers would also be pointed at the army but it (the writing of the book) was also necessary for the welfare of the organisation,” he said.
Gen Aziz said while taking part in the coup he knew that he was violating the law.
“But then I heard the voice of my conscience. I wanted to serve the nation and I knew that those who had made the constitution were not implementing it,” he said.
While in service, he added, so many times he had to disagree with the decisions of his seniors and even resigned from the staff college.
He claimed that he was against the decision of following the instructions of United States but Musharraf insisted that only he could see the full picture of the situation. “Even today the policy of Musharraf is being followed,” said Gen Aziz.
“I feel guilty for being part of the military-led government because time has proved that the coup was wrong. This was also a reason for writing of the book,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof Ashraf Sarab of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), said when the Kargil adventure was started the Kashmiris were asked by the army to take to the streets because they (forces) had decided to enter the Indian held Kashmir.
“But after sacrificing a number of soldiers, the army went back,” he added.
“I talked to then Minister for Kashmir Affairs Majeed Malik but he said Kashmiris should not have started protests.”
It showed that the Kargil war was either a strategic mistake or launched on the directions of someone else, because after the war India and US came closer to each other, he observed.
Poet Ayesha Masood said though the book was good but she wished Gen Aziz had protested against the policies and decisions while serving in the army.
Anjum Shahid Aziz, the wife of Gen Aziz, said her husband wanted the betterment of the country.
Engineer Mumtaz from the research and development wing of the armed forces told Dawn that Gen Aziz was the key person during the Musharraf coup. Gen Musharraf used to get his input regarding every decision, he added.
“He feels that there are so many problems in the system and it should be changed otherwise the system will collapse. He stresses that we should raise our voice to address the problems,” he said.
Journalist Aslam Khan said those criticising the book want to hide the truth.