‘Taliban architect’ Naseerullah Babar passes away

Babar was also known for launching a brutal operation against the MQM.


Saba Imtiaz January 11, 2011

KARACHI:


Major-General (retd) Naseerullah Babar, who was known for his role in the operation against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and widely seen as the brains behind the Taliban in Afghanistan, passed away on January 10 in Peshawar.

He reportedly had an attack of paralysis on Sunday and was admitted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Peshawar, where he died early on Monday. He was buried in his ancestral graveyard in Pirpai, Nowshera, on Monday afternoon. His funeral was attended by many prominent political and government functionaries.

He was 82 and is survived by his wife and daughter.

Born in 1928, Babar served in the Pakistan Army from 1948 to 1974 and joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the 1970s. He also served as inspector general of the Frontier Corps, as well as governor of the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) from 1975 to 1977.

He was considered to be extremely close to the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and served as interior minister during her second tenure. It was at this time that the government decided to launch an operation against the MQM, one that saw the streets of Karachi turn into a battlefield.

“Regardless of how grave the situation was, he would remain cool and unfazed. Even during the operation he would go out on the streets and visit affected areas himself,” one journalist recalled. “Benazir Bhutto treated him with a lot of respect and trusted him completely. She would always address him as Babar Sahib,” he said.

Senior PPP leader Taj Haider said Babar was “very brave and had a great deal of integrity.” In the years following the dismissal of Benazir’s second government, Babar remained close to the PPP leader. “He was very perturbed about her security when she returned in 2007,” Haider recalled.

Babar’s role in propping up and supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan was also pivotal. He made no bones about the fact that he was the father of the Taliban and commanded respect within the Taliban leadership. However, the sources say, Babar looked at Taliban as a ‘strategic and political ally’, not an organisation he was ideologically connected to, and believed a Taliban government could help Pakistan strategically.

Babar’s connection with Afghanistan spanned several decades. Several books, including Steve Coll’s Ghost Warsand Ahmed Rashid’s Descent into Chaos, mention that Babar trained Afghan leaders such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ahmed Shah Massoud in the 1970s to launch a guerrilla movement.

In his twilight years, Babar distanced himself from the PPP over the issue of the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance – of which he was a bitter critic – choosing to leave the party and formally end his political career.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2011.

COMMENTS (51)

K G | 10 years ago | Reply Dear Mr Ali, Asalaam alaikum, many thanks for your contribution. Having just retruned from Pakistan yesterday after having visited General Sahib's grave and attended his chaal- ees- wahn I had the opportunity to meet and talk to many people. I also met Waseem Sajaad, the Chairman of the Senate so got an 'insiders' view on whats going on. Basically the problems in Pakistan, as we know are many and varied. The thing is that Pakistan is and has always been divided along ethnic, cultural, sectarian, religious, social lines. As the comments above prove we can't even decide whether a person did good for the country, though everyone...and I mean everyone is entitled to their own opinion. My view is that organistaions such as the MQM, PPL, PMQL all...all of the so-called 'political' parties actually represent such vested interests. Though General Babar allied himself to the PPP it was really to obtain a political footing for his own Pathaan people. As such even this demonstrates that people really only chose to represent their ethnic, cultural group, such is the system in Pakistan. Really the situtaion in Karachi, at present is that the MQM and Pathaans are vying for economic and political control over the city. In the midst of this are the PPP who as always are attempting to forge their own foothold in the city by allying themsleves to the pathaans. The problem is futher exacerbated by the USA who let of the odd bomb or two and blame it on the Pakistan Taleban and Baitullah Masood. Thats not to say that the Taleban are not responsible for bombings. However, I have first hand information that one such bomb was planted by men dressed in unusual uniforms, armed with highly sophisticated equipment and weaponery-possibly Blackwater/CIA operatives using 'our' country for their own purposes (Raymond Davis etc???). What this shows is that Pakistani blood is cheap, whether its spilt by our own people OR by foreign agents. This shows a weakness in character in our people.....a people so divided...so much at odds with one another that really...yes really Pakistan is being pulled apart due to the lack of character amongst our race and due to their greed, lack of scruples personal ambition. Its a damning indictment that Pakistan is economically under-developed and in a situation of constant political turmoil, yet its larger neighbour India, is due to become the next economic super-power......a tragedy....for the poor people of Pakistan, that those disgraceful people are ever present......these people are destroying the country and are milking away its wealth and resources for their own unquenchable thirst for money...WHILST people starve....scratch out a meak existence... What a sad sad country....that is what I saw...the poverty....the despair in the poor's eyes...whilst these disgraceful charcaters and their family's continue to rule and live it up.... YET the irony is that people still continue to support such people.........ALL of these people are a disgrace since they feel they have a god-given right to rule over Pakistan or to influence events there. Thats why General Babar was so different, that he did NOT have econmic motives..he may/or may not have killed certain people, that I cannot say for sure....maybe others can say since they may have witnessed.... The Pakistan Taleban's activities have also ONLY got worse since the Laal Masjid incident....before that much of what was happening in Pakistan was confined to the NW frontier. One last point is that the army has a lot to answer for.....no army in world has so many quangos and institutions....the Pakistan army is running a parallel economy...even the most lowly officer lives or resides in opulence....what a travisty...in comparison when I saw General Babar's house...and his grave I was amazed how modest it all was.... Anyway...I must say salaams to all of my friends here and thank them for their comments..please take care and may Allah Almighty all protect us and our nation with his blessings and mercy...AMEEEN!!!!!!!!!!! K.G
Hanif Awan 831682 831682 | 10 years ago | Reply LATE NASEERULLAH BABER was a great personality of Pakistan n PPP. INNA LILLAH E WA INNA ILEHE RAJE OON.We will remember you always THE GENERAL of all fields of LIFE.
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