Regional conflict: ‘Stronger Pakistan is in India’s interest’

Former Air chief says none of the four wars fought with India were started by Delhi.

Qaiser Butt June 03, 2011
Regional conflict: ‘Stronger Pakistan is in India’s interest’


“India is not interested in attacking Pakistan as a strong Pakistan is in its own interest,” Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan said on Thursday.

Ridiculing the Indian-centric policies of establishment, he said that none of the four wars fought with India were started by Delhi. “From the first incursion after Independence in Kashmir till Kargil, all hostilities were started by us.” His lecture was arranged by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on “Pakistan’s Security PAF”, at the ISSI premises.

Khan said that if Pakistan falls, India would be next, adding that “New Delhi is not insane to seek our fall”. He said that it was Pakistan that started operation in Kashmir before 1965 war and Kargil was also “our misadventure”.

In his presentation, Khan held fast to his view that India is not interested in attacking Pakistan, which provoked quite a few who grilled the former admiral in the charged question-answer session that followed, but he dismissed all valid criticism. Some in the audience — including Islamabad’s top researchers, intellectuals, media persons, former diplomats, army officers and students – were heard saying that the speaker, now in his nineties, “did not quite have his grasp on realities”, both historical and current.

In the panel discussion, the former air marshal and chief of Mehrek-e-Istaqlal, said there were many other politicians also disliked military action by Gen Yahya in 1971, but they did not speak out. “Gen Ziaul Haq senselessly started participating in Afghanistan war despite our opposition,” he said. He said that he openly opposed the operation against Mujaeebur Rahman and was called a traitor. He also urged service persons not to obey unlawful commands, but agreed it is difficult to decide which an illegal command is.

History of the subcontinent shows that no incursion started from the south-east, it was always was from the north-west, he further added.

He stressed that there is a dire need to increase budget allocation on education, which currently is around per cent. “It is criminal to spend less on education,” said Khan and advised that at least 10 per cent of the budget should be allocated to education.

Earlier, the Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Ambassador Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, introduced the speaker and said that he is an honest politician and could not achieve his political objectives because of his principled and candid stands. “National security is not only important for the armed forces, but it is equally important for all of us,” he said.

In the end, the ISSI Chairperson Ambassador Gul Haneef, thanked the former air marshal on behalf of the institute for his scintillating talk. He concluded with the remark, “War is not in the country’s interest and democracy should be supported despite corruption.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2011.


Cosmo | 13 years ago | Reply @Fantastic: Yeah, i saw you flying the other day.
foruchandan | 13 years ago | Reply Hope Pakistan learns to be a good neighbor to INDIA....
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