A gentle reminder...

Published: November 19, 2011
The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto

Amid all this talk of how our sovereignty has been compromised by Memogate, another Memo, this priceless one signed by none other than the Founder of the Pakistan Army who first taught the Generals a lesson they never forgot: how to mount coups d’etat and take over the government from the useless ‘bloody civilians’ came to mind. Here it is:


General Headquarters



27th Sep ‘55.

D.O. No. 7/36/C-in-C.

My dear Admiral Radford,

Considering that you have been such a good friend, I thought you would be interested to know how the affairs of military aid stand looked at from our angle… which to say the least is gloomy.

2. In early 1954, we were informed that Meyer’s Mission was coming out to Pakistan to negotiate details of military aid with us. In order to prepare our appreciation and plan for presentation to this Mission, we made several approaches to Pentagon (sic) to give us an indication of the scope of the aid. On failing to get any reply we prepared our case on the following basis.

In the event of major aggression against Pakistan, determine the forces required to:

(a) Defend it.

(b) Launch a counter-offensive from it.

The result of appreciation on the above basis gave us an estimate of the additional effort to be put in by USA (sic) after deducting our maximum effort on one or both scores, depending on how far America was prepared to go. It was not till the end of our briefing we were told that… the Mission had come out to find out our deficiencies in nuts and bolts and no more.

3. Then came our meeting in Washington in October ‘54. On it (sic) we were told that America would be prepared to complete one ½ Division of our Armour and four Divisions of Infantry, and as we were spending the maximum we could on Armed Forces (sic), apart from weapons etc required our additional internal expense [salaries, staff cars?] would also be covered for these Formations. The programme was to take three years to complete. Thereafter our dealings began with the USMAAG.

4 .Now that the target was set, I thought the things (sic) will move smoothly so long as a sound working arrangement was evolved between the American Staff and our Staff. So, I issued a directive to my staff that they will work (sic) in close collaboration with the Americans, who were also asked to work more or less on a joint staff basis with our fellows. Unfortunately I failed to obtain American cooperation on this with the result that when our staff presented our requirements list it was objected to on the ground that our Divisional strength was in excess of theirs, which could not be supported. In any case no more than 40,000 additional men could be catered for. Our figure was 56,000 men. When asked for the working (sic) of the figure of 40,000 men, no satisfactory answer could be given.

5. Thereupon the whole thing was put in the melting pot and our staff went to work again. We reduced our establishments to remain within 40,000 men additional permissible limit with the following effect:-

(a) Reducing of officer strength by 20per cent. (b) Reduction of JCO and OR strength by 10per cent. (c) Conversion of A/Tk units to Fd Arty Units. (d) Conversion of two 5.5’ gun units to 155 mm How units. (e) Non-activation of certain units. (f) Deletion of expansion in Schools & Centers (sic).

6. Our requirements based on above (sic) were then worked out and submitted to USMAAG and presumably accepted by the Department of the Army, who allotted certain amount of funds for internal use for the fiscal year 1954-55. Incidentally the allotment for a certain set of accommodation (!) estimated to cost 16.64 crores (sic) rupees was 7.40 crores and so on. Meanwhile, the whole of Pakistan Army (sic) in general and especially the five ½ Divisions earmarked for completion are being churned up and re-organised to conform as far as practicable to American establishments.

7. Then came the bomb-shell in the form of the message from the Head of the USMAAG … shorn of its verbiage it reads that as far as the Army is concerned the ceiling of military aid is 75.5 million dollars and that all talk of balancing five ½ Division (sic) is revoked.

8. Forgive me for being frank, but I would be failing in my duty if I did not tell you that our people are completely frustrated. They think they have been given an enormous amount of work unnecessarily and that they have been let down. They are in a mood not to accept an American word however solemnly given. This is sad in that it does not augur well for our future good relationship which was one of the things I had been hoping to develop.

9. What the political repercussions be (sic) when this news gets known, and after all you cannot conceal facts indefinitely in a Democracy (this is really rich coming from the grand-daddy of coups d’état in the Land of the Pure!), I do not know. But one thing I do know that (sic) this government will come under tremendous pressure and fire from within and without.

Hope you are in very good health.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

M.A. Khan’

Admiral Arthur Radford

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff


Washington, US


Now then, for those of my readers who are ‘bloody civilians’, Ayub Khan disclosed, in his memo, the Table of Organisation and Equipment (TO&E) of the Pakistan Army to the American. The TO&E is always Top Secret for it gives out the actual make-up of the sub-units/units/and formations of the army, information that can be of the greatest help to the enemy. Also, kindly note the whimpering tone of the Memo.

So there you have it. So let us not just dump on ‘bloody civilians’, that is, if they had anything to do with any of it in the first place.

Just a gentle reminder to the keepers of our ideology…

Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2011. 

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Reader Comments (46)

  • Sal Sal
    Nov 19, 2011 - 11:30PM

    Ayub Khan got Liaquat Ali Khan shot. Liaquat Ali Khan wanted a non-aligned policy during those years but America wanted Pakistan to be on their side cz they were trying to get India to but they failed. SO they tried Pakistan. Pakistan turned out to be an easier target and hence Ayub Khan allied Pakistan to the U.S. Whenever there has been an army takeover, things have gone America’s way.
    1) After Ayub Khan took over, Pakistan became U.S ally
    2) After Zia ul-Haq took over, Pakistan joined U.S.A to fight Soviet Union
    3) After Musharraf took over, Pakistan joined U.S.A to fight Taleban.

    Whenever America wants Pakistan to do something big. They bring in the army because then nobody can speak against anything.


  • waqas ahmed
    Nov 19, 2011 - 11:39PM

    a gentle reminder: next time don’t compare turnips with strawberries. thanks.


  • DOC
    Nov 20, 2011 - 12:22AM

    that’s a good point, let me take it forward with my 2cents, even in current memo mansoor ijaz says ” I was just informed by senior US intel that GD-SII Mr P asked for, and received permission, from senior Arab leaders a few days ago to sack Z. For what its worth”, somehow Pakistani deliberately or conveniently swept it under the rug, army’s cheerleader IK and his twitter/media cheerleaders failed to point out, how in the heaven IK got to know that, it was HH who written the memo at the behest of Zardari even before the BBMs were published in a public domain.something seems to be really merky


  • Talha
    Nov 20, 2011 - 12:54AM

    But back then Amreeka was Pakistans best fraaand.

    If today China asks for secret info, Pakistan would provide it and more.

    Pakistan is like the dumb girl who gets too involved with her boyfriends who take advantage of her.


  • Arindom
    Nov 20, 2011 - 1:37AM



  • Reem
    Nov 20, 2011 - 2:14AM

    After reading this letter, I find it even funnier that Ayub Khan accused Miss Fatima Jinnah of being Indian & American agent:

    Ayub era saw increased reliance on loan & aid, as well as lack of investment in East Paksitan which led to alienation of Bengalis & subsequent break-up of the country.

    His son Gohar Ayub was the one responsible for riots in Karachi in Ayub era, which at that time was a peaceful city.


  • arsh
    Nov 20, 2011 - 5:57AM

    I wonder if you could quote the source of the memo as well.

    Anyways, good eye opener for the ‘bloody civilians”

    But who care., Might is right. Army will do what ever it like. You dare to do anything against them, be it a legitimate cause, you would fail


  • Sajjad Ashraf
    Nov 20, 2011 - 6:56AM

    What’s so wrong with this?


  • Raza
    Nov 20, 2011 - 8:14AM

    You have gone so low in defending HH that you compared an official letter written in 50s to the secret Memo. If you think that people are stupid you are mistaken. Sir, you are so outdated and your thought process is not making any sense may be its b.coz you have lived in a Deep State of confusion for too long.


  • Saima
    Nov 20, 2011 - 8:35AM

    It is interesting…please reveal more Memos.


  • observer
    Nov 20, 2011 - 9:39AM

    @Waqas Ahmed

    You mean the one that came in 1965 was a Turnip and the current one is a Strawberry?
    Be as it may, revealing defense secrets is more treasonous in my book than talking about vague fears of a coup. What do you say?


  • Nadeem
    Nov 20, 2011 - 9:54AM

    Only one way forward for Pakistan: civilian supremacy


  • Khan jr
    Nov 20, 2011 - 9:55AM

    Without taking any sides on the Memo-gate affair,what I fail to understand are all these shrill and raucous calls accusing the memo writers of “treason”. Since when did an attempt by a democratically elected (though much despised ) civilian setup to defang ambitous and politically interfering Generals become an act of ‘Treason’.

    As far as revealing our national secrets to the US, as history and more recently Wiki-leaks inform us, everyone from Presidents, Army Chiefs, Prime Ministers to senior bureaucrats have happily been providing confidential to the Americans ( while at the same time the boys of Aabpara have been orchestrating a very successful ‘Hate US campaign).

    If we have to start trying people for treason then let us follow our supreme law, which is the Constitution, and first start with all the uniformed coup makers and their helpers.


  • antanu g
    Nov 20, 2011 - 10:04AM

    the contents and essence of the memo is totaly different with that of recent one.in his memo ayub bluntly express his frustration with US double speak.please dont try to justify the recent memo. the article also confirms two thinks…1. ayub had high regards for democracy but revolted due to ots ineptness and 2, US was never sincere to its commitments. Still if paki intellectuals question the anti americanis of the common citizens…they should think twice.I am an indian and we enjoy good relations with US but can never forget the rotten wheat shipped by them when we were starving.Further it is US who armed pakistan so that it became bold enough to confront India. Had it not been the case We would have been at a level 30 yrs ago where China is today.In a way US is resposible for making us a second category power behind China


  • Mukhtar Ahmed
    Nov 20, 2011 - 10:33AM

    what the author is going to prove.?Memo is asking for aid to newly born state,give FM the credit.For the information of the readers the TO&E (Table of organization & equipment) is not a secret document,even Havildar Quarter Master knows it and so is the case officers they are all supposed to know.It is time the writer desists talking against the army enough is enough


  • M.K.
    Nov 20, 2011 - 11:11AM

    I would love to see some recent memos from our beloved army chief to his bosses in America.
    Maybe as revenge Zardari and Haqqani should do that. If not recent ones then some from Musharraf’s era would do. I am pretty sure they would be a lot more explosive then this memo.


  • Americano
    Nov 20, 2011 - 11:17AM

    It has one sic too many. No earth shattering information was shared, especially not with a friend who you’re trying to convince to fund and arm your military.

    The current memo is laughable, if it’s genuine, in its naiveté that a Pakistani general bent on a coup would listen to a retiring American admiral.


  • Timour
    Nov 20, 2011 - 11:31AM

    @ Waqas Ahmed: This is an apple to apple comparison, everyone asks America for their help in some way or the other and more often then not puts self-respect on the side when doing it…


  • Mirza
    Nov 20, 2011 - 11:51AM

    Not just Ayub but also Mush has done this. Mush gave digital copy and virtual tour of our nuclear plants to the US. Yehya gave away more than half of the country. Zia made the army culture a madarsa like and waged a Jihad with the US money. The current generals were caught in bed with OBL and other terrorists. What is wrong in putting the army under elected civilian control like all democratic countries of the world? Every country has an army but Pakistani army has a country.


  • A Pakistani
    Nov 20, 2011 - 11:52AM

    Talha is right. Pakistan is a like a insecure dumb girl who would fall for anyone who sweet talks & gives a few gifts to her. Unless we have a strong independent foreign policy, we cannot do much. Thank you Kamran Shafi Saaheb, for showing us the mirror, but we`ll not learn even from our mistakes. All democratic governments face the threat of Coups from the Army which is as corrupt as our politicians. Imran Khan appears clean, but has no vision. What do we do?


  • Fawad Shah
    Nov 20, 2011 - 11:54AM

    The mindset of military is not to trust civilians. As long as I remember, this country was made by the civilians for the civilians and military was to defend its geographic boundaries and not to keep a check on civilian leadership. Gen. Musharraf secretly gave bases to Americans few years ago, which made basis for the Taliban to attack Pakistan and we have to suffer suicide bombings almost everyday. He did all this to keep himself in power. How about that? I don’t trust our military the same way they don’t trust civilians.


  • Shah G
    Nov 20, 2011 - 12:22PM

    in short: this luckless country is for the Army and the Army is not for this county..!!!!


  • Samson Simon Sharaf
    Nov 20, 2011 - 12:53PM

    I have been an aggressive critic of how Pakistan has resigned voluntarily as a vassal state of USA. The capitulation of the self begun over half a century ago, when Pakistan’s helmsmen decided to offload the Vision of Jinnah for a self serving and narrow-vision containment policy through exploitations of the many imbalances and contradictions that existed in our politic body and system. I have no doubt over it and I stick to my guns.

    My contention is that this TO&E is not TOPSEC but RESTRICTED. It was also known to US when they raised and trained our forces in Kharian etc. In our Command & Staff College Quetta and all other training institutions, these TO&Es are distributed as GSPs to allied officers that include trainees from USA, UK, Germany, France, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and the list goes on. When I trained in France, I had the entire TO&E of the French Army, something I still keep in my library.

    Yes Force Structures and Modernization Plans are TOPSEC for their employment and Doctrine but not in Organization and Equipment.



  • asif
    Nov 20, 2011 - 1:05PM

    The author needs to take break from writing for public consumption. He has run out of steam.


  • Nov 20, 2011 - 1:30PM

    Apples and oranges.


  • waqas ahmed
    Nov 20, 2011 - 1:31PM


    are you the same doctor talha from my fb list??


  • Parvez
    Nov 20, 2011 - 1:31PM

    If what you’re saying Sir, is that nothing much has changed, then your right but then this is no great revelation.


  • Talha
    Nov 20, 2011 - 3:04PM

    @waqas ahmed

    No, I am not on your FB list and I am not a Dangar Doctor either.


  • Max
    Nov 20, 2011 - 4:58PM

    I seriously question the authenticity of this DO letter. So what is the columnist’s point? Please also look at contents of this memo and compare with one that has stirred the pot.Recommend

  • Nov 20, 2011 - 5:22PM

    It is rightly said that “Civil military imbalance has always plagued the country since its inception. The actual power for formulating key policies including foreign policy has always been exclusively with the military as against the presumed civil rule supremacy to entitlement to frame out policies.”
    We must understand that no country, organisation, institution or even a house-hold can survive with such imbalance of dual power centers where the real power lies at nontraditional / unconstitutional place. If Pakistan or for that matter any country has to rise, progress and even survive in the present world scenario such imbalance has to be corrected. It is in the supreme interest of people of Pakistan to resolve this anomaly at the earliest. They have tried many a time with Army being on the top; now, they must give a sincere chance to their own constitution and force every department of state to be under the civil Govt. It looks difficult and the concerned will fight tooth and nail to retain their hold but THIS IS NECESSARY FOR GOOD OF PAKISTAN and is certainly possible.


  • Romm
    Nov 20, 2011 - 7:15PM

    I am great admirer of Mr Shafi’s writting skills but this article does not speak any sense. he was Rightly retired as major and not promoted to higher ranks despite his brilliant linguistic skills. Example of Turnip and Strawberry is good description


  • Sacret Papers
    Nov 20, 2011 - 7:27PM


    This is not an official document, and Ayub Khan did not have authority to right it. It is part of the secret papers published by the US government of official communication between various organ of states, diplomatic missions etc. The papers are declassified between 20-30 years after the occurrence.

    The same papers also revealed that Ayub’s finance minister was on CIA payroll


  • Romm
    Nov 20, 2011 - 7:33PM

    Put ur house in order first and then advise us. $35 Bn Scam in Indian Telecom Ministry is an eye opener for sane Pakistanis, may be not for Mr Kamran Shafi . I visited India in 2005 and my Visa was extended only after paying bribe of Rs 2000. even expatriates from US were denied Extention in Visa for not paying the required Honoraria. The Term under the table orignates from From India not Pakistan.Recommend

  • Amar
    Nov 20, 2011 - 8:23PM

    @romm – two wrongs don’t make a right. Try and respond to the points raised by @vinod instead of bringing in unrelated things. Every arm of the government has a function and if for example foreign service started meddling in defense related policies then you can imagine what will happen!! Similarly when army of any country starts meddling in things like foreign policies and governance then don’t you think it is a problem?

    Also I would love to hear where you got 35 billion dollar figure!!! The number you quote is way higher and the figure iis a notional loss that the government thinks it lost out on revenues. That lower number itself is hugely bloated. Of course there was a scam but not to humongous proportion that you seem to suggest. Do you also know that people responsible for this are in jail including an ex cabinet minister and is no longer in the government.


  • Boota Khan
    Nov 20, 2011 - 8:34PM

    Thank you Sir for calling the Black Sheep, a Black Sheep


  • fyu
    Nov 20, 2011 - 8:39PM

    In other words the retired major is saying that if Ayub Khan has written a letter, what’s wrong with a memo by HH. Two wrongs don’t make one right. Just a gentle reminder.


  • Hafeez
    Nov 20, 2011 - 10:20PM

    It should serve as an eye opener for those Pakistanis who still got an eye to see things. Compared to the memo/letter shared by the author, the currently flying around memo, supposedly from Haqqani, is just peanuts.


  • Mohammad Ahmed Khan
    Nov 20, 2011 - 10:46PM

    Ayub Khan was from army league and don’t you know that nobody can touch army personnels?


  • SM
    Nov 21, 2011 - 1:08AM

    Why do not you write more on the mess-ups the civilians make than keep harping on the mess made by the military?


  • najeeb
    Nov 21, 2011 - 1:29AM

    Thank u sir; its appreciated for informing us youth with a very historical unbelieving and sure fact. These two memos are written by our top leaders to our boss America just for saving their positions. From these memos one thing is quite clear to us, that is with out the back of America no one can govern in our country but some differences are there between these two memos that are following
    1) Time and Situation
    2) Former was military while the later is civilian leadership
    3) Purposes and aims are varying one for military help while the other seek help for sustaining democracy in Pakistan
    4) Problems facing by the governments
    Hence we can conclude from all the above mentioned differences, that written a memo to outsider is absolutely wrong but by comparing the consequences. Its stated that till some extend the current memo is advocatable in whatever capacity it is written because its sole reason was to protect the civilian government from takeover of military which has destroyed the image of Pakistan internally and internationally. it’s due to their deeds that the image of our beloved country globally portrays as a terrorist state.
    Once again with the core of MY HEART THANK YOU SIR. . . . .


  • Omar
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:51AM

    Isn’t it suppose to be apple to apple comparisons?
    You’re so full of hatred for the Army. Recommend

  • Nov 21, 2011 - 12:14PM

    @Romm: Dear Romm not 100% but 200% I agree with you that we have to put our ” house in order first and….” Sir, we are sincerely trying. I want to point out for you kind information that we in India do not sweep thing under carpet or defend and are not used to auto denial mode. Be it Gujarat or Babri Masjid or scams by Sukhram, Kalmadi, Raja, Kanimohzi etc. We have been bold enough to face the challenges with honesty. Mr Sukhram is punished at the age of 85 years after a prolonged trial. So will Kalmadi, Raja or Reddys will be brought to justice.Same will happen for Gujarat. May be late but we will not let them run free.Wait and watch. Think about the massive movement under Anna going on peacefully in our country against corruption. Please give me a chance to say that I love people of Pakistan and it hurts to most of us when an American official call you a “pathological liar” In my comment I only wanted to say – Please give democracy a chance. Regards.


  • Nov 21, 2011 - 12:16PM

    @Amar: Thanks Amar for understanding of my point. Please watch for my reply to romm.


  • Imran
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:43PM

    Wrong interpretation. USA was a close ally at that time an the TO&E isnt a secret in the form of operational plan or war strategy. The americans had agreed to finance the whole army on a major scale and he was telling how many people and other requirements are in it. And it was not a secretly written letter. The writer is very misinformed and is misleading everyone.


  • Usman Saeed
    Nov 22, 2011 - 6:25PM

    This Demi-Official letter should be viewed in the factual perspective when Pakistan at its very formative stage was struggling to develop Army equal to Five and a half Modern Divisions(4xInfantry Divisions,1xArmored Divisions,1x armored brigade) through US Military Aid 1954.Earlier,in 1953,FM Ayub Khan visited USA to seek new weapons/ equipment due to alarming deficiencies, long frontiers(5000 miles with India and Afghanistan), inconsistency of political leaders who one hand motivated the nation to liberate Kashmir, while concurrently called Army as the White Elephant. The whole scale re-organization/restructuring of military outfits and induction of modern weapon systems/equipment/technologies took three years of close interaction with US counterparts in completion .Prior to this Army, was organized on British Military System /pattern and it needed solid rationale to switch over to US System. It was this overhaul that Army withstood the external aggression in 1965 with success.
    Incidentally, TO&E was/is never classified as TOP-SECRET and remains in the RESTRICTED CLASSIFICATION till date. TOP SECRET classifications are given to those documents whose compromise will render the national security into severe jeopardy. Such classifications are mandatory to be written on such documents.
    This DO has nothing extra-constitutional or beyond the limits. At best we can call it a reaction against likely revocation of US Aid worth 75.5 Million USD in order to probably get more that did happen in the final out-come.


  • Imran
    Dec 25, 2011 - 3:12PM

    Come on Mr. Shafi, that’s crappy comparison! A decoy. I hope you also remember the April 1958 letter of your ZAB to Iski (see here: http://www.therepublicofrumi.com/archives/58zab.htm) and your BB’s 24/9/1990 letter to Peter Galbraith (see here: http://www.pakistanprobe.com/2011/08/benazir-bhuttos-letter-written-to-us.html). We ‘ve had enough of such treacherous acts from champions of democracy. You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. In Peace!


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