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‘If the army stayed out, Pakistan would have been different'

books Updated: Mar 03, 2008 20:23 IST
Amit Baruah
Amit Baruah
Hindustan Times
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Arshad Sami Khan, ADC to Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was in New Delhi. for the launch of his book. Excerpts from an interview with Amit Baruah:

Why this book now?
I wrote the notes a long time ago. I was too busy and wasn't too sure that those were the right times to bring the book out. Our region has unfortunately been in all kinds of conflicts. I wanted to put something together to bring India and Pakistan together.

You talk of the Nixon-Yahya phone call and point out that the Seventh Fleet never reached close to the theatre of war in 1971. In India, we believe otherwise...
Whatever I heard, I have written. Third parties, be they the US or anybody else, have their own interests and these interests don't have to relate to what you think or I think. Even today, we are an ‘ally' in the war on terror. But is that their interest? I'm not sure.

You've worked with military rulers. What's your view of the role of the military in Pakistan's politics?
The army, in any part of the world, should not have any role in politics. The army is meant to protect a country, not rule a country I must praise India and its army in that context - that it has not played any other role than its original role as laid down in your Constitution. If the army had stayed out of the politics of Pakistan, would the course of the country have been different? I am definitely sure of that.

What advice do you have for Pervez Musharraf and General Pervaiz Kayani?
They are not going to listen to my advice. Kayani might listen. He's a very decent person, a man with an open mind. Whatever I have seen of his present day policies of pulling back the army from civilian positions, it seems to me that he really wants the army out of politics.

The mandate of the Feb 18 polls is quite clear. The people want the Muslim League and the PPP to work together. Is that possible?
If outside forces do not push their way in like the army, like Musharraf, I'm sure the politicians will find some cohesive way of getting together.