Generals — theirs and ours

Published: March 10, 2012

It is often said that Pakistan has better soldiers but India has better generals. Strategy comes from the Greek work strategos which means general. Better strategy wins the war. What passes for strategy in Pakistan is tactics raised to the level of strategy, to the detriment of the state.

A recent book by Tahir Malik, Richard Bonney and Tridev Singh Maini, Warriors after War (Peter Lang 2011) carries interviews of generals of both sides. What emerges confirms past assessments of Pakistani generals. The Indian generals are more professional; the Pakistani ones are ideological — therefore non-professional — and daring. The Indians speak from the drill; Pakistanis are unorthodox and swashbuckling.

Stereotypes: the average Indian officer will say Pakistan was a mistake; the average Pakistani officer will say India never accepted Pakistan. Both stances are wrong. The first one can’t be proved; the second one has been proved wrong again and again.

Being a general in a status quo state with unconquerable size is laid-back, intellectually fertile, and lacking in daring tactics; his counterpart has to be fidgety in peace, trigger-happy, non-intellectual and daring. India is better-off not being revisionist vis-à-vis China or it may have produced generals in the Pakistani mould. The paradox in the case of Pakistan is that defeat teaches nothing.

From the Indian side those interviewed included: Maj-Gen Gagandeep Bakshi, Lt-Gen Kamaleshwar Dawar, General VP Malik, etc. From Pakistan, we have General Mirza Aslam Beg, General Hamid Gul, General Talat Masood, Major-Gen Syed Wajahat Hussain, Brigadier Shaukat Qadir, etc.

Aslam Beg says: The 1965 and 1971 wars were defeats for Pakistan. Jihad is ordained and has bestowed dividends in Afghanistan and Kashmir because of Divine Will behind Jihad. “In Pakistan, Pakhtun power has emerged as a reality. There are over three million Pakhtuns in Karachi; their power extends to Balochistan, NWFP and to the Hindukush mountains. Their fight for freedom, since 1980, has galvanised them into a formidable force, combining the forces of Pakhtun nationalism, Islamic idealism (jihad) and the universalism of the Islamic resistance against oppression, with its hard core resting along the Durand Line.”

Hamid Gul says: “Indian secularism is a ruse as Babri Mosque proved it. This is my reason for dislike of India. The rift with India has a solid basis and that is why the Muslims living in the subcontinent — whether in Pakistan, Bangladesh or India — are one nation. The 1965 war was an interrupted victory because finance minister Shoaib sabotaged it. Foreign minister Zafrullah Khan sabotaged the 1948 war. I strongly believe that the sole purpose of the Pakistani Army is to liberate Kashmir from Indian occupation. I assure you that India is in a miserable state. Deep down, Indians are afraid of Pakistan.”

Major-General Syed Wajahat Hussain says: “Jinnah emphasised a liberal, tolerant and outward-looking, progressive Pakistan. Hamid is wrong on the 1948 war. Jinnah never wanted it and it was abandoned after Pakistan Army Chief General Gracey and Liaquat agreed with Jinnah to call it off. The 1965 war was our mistake. Extremism and the concept of jihad were never part of the Pakistani Army.”

He goes on: “General Zia was the first to introduce the concept of jihad and shahadat. Pakistan has suffered more than India in the three declared wars. The people who were supported once by us are those who are causing terrorism in Pakistan today.”

Lieutenant-General Talat Masood is for normalising ties with India instead of fighting. He thinks President Zardari is sticking his neck out to improve relations with India. His vision of relations with India is driven by economic and cultural motivations and is futuristic in approach.

Brigadier Shaukat Qadir is remarkably perceptive, challenging the military’s fundamental tenets of war: “The military is responsible for converting a genuine movement for an independent Kashmir into a jihad — the greatest damage that we could do and did. Both 1965 and 1971 wars were acts of stupidity. Musharraf, like others of his ilk, is given to bragging. Our oft-quoted strategic location is strategic only if commerce flows through it in all directions.”

Today, because the Pakistan Army is not allowed to self-correct, it is being penetrated by a thinking that not only negates the military profession but the state itself. Professional soldiers are silent, Aslam Beg and Hamid Gul are encouraging Pakistan’s nemesis, the non-state actors, to pull apart whatever is left of the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (102)

  • faraz
    Mar 10, 2012 - 11:52PM

    Professionalism of the army can be judged by the remarks of the army chief who advocates the policy of recruiting civilians to wage wars. Then what exactly is the purpose of an army if civilians have to fight?


  • Mar 10, 2012 - 11:52PM

    What worries me is the ingrained sense of hatred of India – you have an ancient gentleman like arif nizami who wants to be strapped to a missle and sent to destroy India.


  • Mar 10, 2012 - 11:59PM

    This is rubbish. Pakistan Army won all wars with India. Western media just dont want to show this ‘truth’!


  • Babloo
    Mar 11, 2012 - 12:00AM

    Well said. Its clear which power in Pakistan is dismantling the state.


  • Dr. Inject
    Mar 11, 2012 - 12:12AM

    another self loathing and self hating article.


  • G. Din
    Mar 11, 2012 - 12:31AM

    “The Indian generals are more professional; the Pakistani ones are ideological — therefore non-professional — and daring. The Indians speak from the drill; Pakistanis are unorthodox and swashbuckling.”
    “Ideological”, “daring”, “unorthodox”, “swashbuckling”. You could have economized on the words describing Pakistani generals by saying they are like the fizz of the soda bottle. Open one and out shoots the fizz. Soon, it wears off and everything falls flat. Pakistani generals are rank immature, amateurish, irresponsible and have no respect for the men they lead. Such generals are easy to vanquish. For the most part all they do is to try to impress each other. Kargil operation was a classic case! When the curtains fell on that war, the commando general washed his hands off of it not even wanting to give a decent burial to the men he had sent to the battle.


  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Mar 11, 2012 - 12:33AM

    I believe that instead of war, peace should be given a chance. My ancestors were from Gujranwala and I still respect the land of my ancestors and people living there.I would request the government to increase the expenditure of money to be spend on education and health services be increased to 6 % of the GDP because of the constraints there. Please remove the hatred filled syllabus in school against minorities and have a common syllabus till class 6, whether it is Urdu or English. Secondly, each province should teach their mother tongue as 1st or 2nd language. I am a Punjabi Sikh and I know Bengali living in Bengal along with Punjabi language and script along with English. I am happy in west Bengal and we punjabis are respected as business men who pay their taxes. Hamid gul type people can only divide the society to their end. Rab rakha, we Indians don’t want to annex Pakistan but only want peace for our children. We have extremists in all societies of the world but we try to get better. We fought for Kashmir but the end result has been more disastrous for Pakistan as the military got more say in politics there. It was the Kashmir enimity which cost you Bangladesh in certain reasons. Please govern the country well and we can emerge stronger. Satsri akal, salam, cheerio. Take care brother and sisters there. Jai hind


  • Whats in the name.
    Mar 11, 2012 - 1:04AM

    With nuts like Hamid Gull why do you need Americans, Jews, Indians to destroy Pakistan. It has already pressed a self destructive button. I suppose it is a matter of when if not whether.


  • Talha
    Mar 11, 2012 - 1:06AM

    Aslam Beg and Hamid Gul are seriously delusional and have their own version of history which isn’t supported by facts at all.

    How these men were able to rise to such high ranks is a blunder in itself.


  • whoever
    Mar 11, 2012 - 1:42AM

    “The rift with India has a solid basis and that is why the Muslims living in the subcontinent — whether in Pakistan, Bangladesh or India — are one nation” —You might be Ok in ur perception , but where were your these Muslim population when you defeated 4 wars . Mr.Hamid…I think you don’t know a Muslim soldier in Indian Army , coincidentally matches your name ,Mr.Abdul Hamid , who had got “Bharat Ratna” after his death during war with Pakistan . So,I think you remain in illusion and we believe in “Let the enemy remain in dark” .


  • Rizwan Gondal
    Mar 11, 2012 - 2:08AM

    I will not comment upon the professionalism of Indian generals, however, it is pertinent to say something about our lot. I agree with the author that our generals are more ideological in nature than being professional. The vision which they have supported over the last 64 years is marred by brinkmanship, myths about bravery, and role of a self-styled saviour of Muslim Ummah. There is no gainsaying the fact that these generals are to be blamed for our current lot. Until their role in the state affairs is minimzed to the level of their professional responsibilities, we can not expect this country of ‘pure people’ to make a paradigm shift from a security state to a welfare state.


  • Hindi hain hum
    Mar 11, 2012 - 2:14AM

    Pakistan as a state is prone to subscribing to propaganda. So its no surprise that losses are justified with statements such as “Pakistan has better soldiers but India has better generals”. In India, people firmly believe that India has a better government and a better army, that includes better soldiers and better generals. This is not because Pakistani soldier is less brave than the Indian soldier. What differentiates the two countries and the two armies, is different motivation and analysis that drives judgment and action.

    In both armies, soldiers and generals are of the same mould. If Pakistan really had better soldiers it would have better generals too. Neither soldiers nor generals alone win wars. India’s wins against Pakistan has been delivered as much by the judgment, skill and bravery of our soldiers on the frontline as the strategic analysis and intellectual depth of our generals in their HQ.

    Pakistan’s soldiers and generals reflect the country they inhabit. Religious ideology drives them as much as life in the country. With religion occupying central space, conviction based on faith and decisions based on religious sentiment has legitimacy. This is charitably labeled as “daring”.

    In India with religion having been relegated from public space to private life, the focus has shifted to conviction of rational/intellectual analysis based on data and decisions based on long-term strategic gain. This is as true of India’s soldiers as its generals.

    The results are evident as much in the army as in civilian achivements.


  • Shock Horror
    Mar 11, 2012 - 2:37AM

    A very thoughtful, perceptive and informative opinion piece.


  • Akash
    Mar 11, 2012 - 2:47AM

    Nice article… clearly proves the section of army and ISI in Pakistan hate India and train Jihadist element against India. They forget to realize in the long term it is going to hurt Pakistan more than India.

    Mr. Hamid Gul needs to get a life and may be also an education that broadens his mind. Quoting 3 or 4 shameful incidents that happened in India does not in anyway undermines India’s secularism or democracy.

    The facts on the ground are different. He needs to know the radical elements both in Hindu and Muslim sections are shrinking. And these lunatics are marginalised by majority of Hindu and Muslim moderate voices. He needs to know that Muslims of India are different from Pakistan. They have achieved success in all spheres of life and progressing with each day. Yes, there are issues and we admit but things are moving ahead.

    People like Mr. Gul have actually brought upon Pakistan all the misery, shame and utter chaos. The worry is that Pakistanis who follow his line of thinking are in majority and increasing by the day.


  • KDP
    Mar 11, 2012 - 3:25AM

    I kept reading slowly scrolling down on the page expecting to read what Indian Generals stated instead I hit the comments section so here it is!!!


  • Ali Tanoli
    Mar 11, 2012 - 3:27AM

    Then libral extremist tells us put the names of Sri Zaferullah Khan and Mohammad Shoaib in
    our school books and also say good about them because they are real Traitors of ummah
    i will say put there names in the great list of traitors Mir Jafer, mir sadiq, Nawab e hyderabd.


  • arjun
    Mar 11, 2012 - 3:31AM

    Hamid Gul….hahahahha is a joker par excellence. What else is left with Pakistan today? One stroke-Balochistan is out too. But we do not want that. Indian muslims have rejected Pakistan time and again. Forget about Indian muslims-even Bangladeshis have tore themselves off Pakistan 30 YEARS AGO-WAKE UP!!! Both US or India can divide Pakistan today but none is interested. Hamid Gul needs to know that the concept of India and Gandhi is respected world over …why would Indians care about Pakistan or Islamic world when Indian Idea of nation or secularism is much greater than anything islamic world can offer. Has Hamid Gul not seen the Arab Spring or has he not know that thousands of muslims are leaving islamic world to settle in Europe and US?? The entire world knows Buddha and Gandhi-two of the greatest Indians since the last two millenia -what has Hamid Gul to offer to his own nation or himself-NOTHING but lost wars and pride. Even China and Japan follow Buddhism that originated in India. He needs to accept the fact that India, hindus and buddhists and its ancient culture came thousands of years before even islam came and if arrogance is a prerequisite for survival-Indians have enough of it-what has Pakistan to offer the world other than radicalism and intolerance-name one Pakistan leader who is even known outside the subcontinent????? If India asks for its land just as Gul thinks muslims are one–then Gul will have to pack his bags to get the second class respect in Saudi Arabia.


  • Mar 11, 2012 - 3:36AM

    Who says that we do not learn from our mistakes “defeat in wars.” We do learn but no one has defeated us yet. 1948 in Kashmir it was Sir Zafarullah Khan our foreign minister and General Gracey, who sabotaged our victory. In 1965 it was our finance minister Shoaib, an american agent who sabotaged it. Retired Chief General Mirza Aslam Baig, a military genius and a brilliant strategist is correct to claim that we lost in these wars only because we didn’t declare these wars as Jihad, so the devine help was missing. No one has defeated us, no one can defeat us. Whenever we were defeated it was due to the conspiracies of Yahood and Hanood with connivance of a few traitors in our ranks.Recommend

  • dasmir
    Mar 11, 2012 - 3:52AM

    Isn’t it true that Gen hamid Gul is a Grandson of Hindu grand mother in the same way as Benazir Bhutto was a grand daughter of again a Hindu Grand mother?


  • Arijit Sharma
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:04AM

    ” … I assure you that India is in a miserable state. Deep down, Indians are afraid of Pakistan.

    Dare I suggest that the General is suffering from paranoid delusion ?


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:39AM

    What a flawed article. Never have i read such a more incorrect and more biased article ever. Basically, what you are doing here is using the facts from the book to match your own argument.
    Victory or defeat from 1965,1971, 1999 is another issue but to say that our entire top brass of army is not professional is utterly in a bad taste.
    nearly 80 % of our top brass are trained in the best academies United States, UK has to offer. This is in addition to the fact that those lucky few who manage to achieve such a high position go to several countries in their career as deputations where they meet and interact with other armies for 3 years. Our ISI alone handles security of Saudi and Bahraini royal family and oversees security ops in those countries. I can say this because i was given a tour of the level of influence ISI has on these countries.
    Now, some guys from across the border who have no experience in such fields, no achievement in life will start BS-ing by quoting verses from books by western authors to downplay the achievements of our army. I wish they had something else to do in life


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:55AM

    I have a question with Tribune. Why don’t they publish news of women being paraded naked in India (which happened on holi when times of India publishes a news story about us quite happily on their home page


  • Muhammad Shoaib
    Mar 11, 2012 - 5:27AM

    illogical draft!


  • non-conformist
    Mar 11, 2012 - 5:43AM

    A poignant analysis. I wish the movers and shakers of the Deep State are listening.


  • Mar 11, 2012 - 5:50AM

    Great piece.
    As one Pakistani person observed in his travel in India and his Pakistani experience of his own army, Indian senior officers are professional to the point that they actually stand in line with civilians instead of acting or being treated like sacred VIP’s. Pakistani army seniors may laugh at how ‘weak’ that is…but that shows a cultural value of respect, discipline and civility towards fellow citizens, instead of pride and contempt for ‘bloody civilians’.
    Beg and Gul remain delusional, but dangerous. Incredible how Beg continues the colonial martial race nuttery and views Pashtuns as mindless military canon fodder for war. Would not have been surprising if Gul went off in his Taliban Khilafat fantasy. He and beg should be in jail for treason, both for corruption and proxy terrorists. I can only hope that is not the case with the current generals at the helm, but sadly doubt it. Encouraging that at least some Pakistani generals are voicing towards progress instead of war.


  • vasan
    Mar 11, 2012 - 5:53AM

    Excellent .


  • Rohit
    Mar 11, 2012 - 6:25AM

    Good article and good analysis also. I would have liked to see what Indian generals say but I think in next article you will write their part. Pakistan has lost all the wars against India. They have to accept it and honest history to its people. They are keeping people (especially illiterate) in dark. If they accept their mistakes then there will be investigations and some will be punished. This is why they are avoiding and always say big fake things to control the power of other institutions. If they lose the power in country’s affairs then will lose big monetary funds and ultimately their luxuries. I don’t believe that Pakistan’s army has any ideology. I think they create an ideology to gain the emotional support of normal Pakistani people. We sub continent people are very emotional. Because on one hand they talk about protecting Muslims in India and fighting for them, And then they call friendship with China higher than mountains when it is same China that is carrying atrocities on Muslims. Then they want protect Muslims in India but they are killing Muslims in Pakistan, need not to mention any leftover minorities) Defence forces of any country is only an institution, they can have their opinion and contribute their thoughts on foreign affairs but cannot dominate it. Defence personnel have no expertise on these matters. The War is only an action after defeat of diplomacy or dialogue. But very recent example Kargil happened just when the dialogue was only initiated. All the countries have issues between them but they don’t fight 4-5 wars. India is a big country can still afford to carry on spending on defence. Because when India is spending just 2.5% of total budget, its already many times more than Pakistan’s budget, although Pakistan is spending 5% of total budget. So India when India spends 2.5% it does not compromise others sectors but Pakistan does. So let’s grow up guys and look forward to resolve all the issues peacefully.


  • BlackJack
    Mar 11, 2012 - 7:38AM

    Another excellent article. However, I would question the statement on whether the average Indian officer would describe Pakistan as a mistake. While the consistent anti-India rhetoric and ideology of Pakistan have spawned the jihadists who now keep the army on their toes in Kashmir, the fact is that the division of the subcontinent is a done deal for most Indians, especially those born well after partition. India is proud of its pluralistic credentials, but also believes that the current demographic mix helps to maintain the peace. This is probably the reason for not even trying to absorb Bangladesh into an autonomous region within the Indian union. If we did not attempt this with a friendly population in a country completely in the control of the Indian army, it is fatuous to assume that we could ever have designs on the sovereign territory of Pakistan. Further, I honestly do not understand why Gen. Hamid Gul gets this much airtime – his regressive views are extremely well-known, highly repetitive and increasingly stale.


  • Feroz
    Mar 11, 2012 - 8:13AM

    In India nobody knows who is COAS and nobody cares who comes and goes. The man is trusted to carry out the dictates of the State and is a powerless and toothless tiger in every other respect. The Indian Army no longer produces charismatic and magnetic leaders like a General Sam Maneckshaw who could speak his thoughts. The Generals today cannot even hold a Press conference without clearance from the Defense Ministry. Ideology has destroyed Pakistan and its armed forces had a primary role in this decline. Will things get better, God only knows !


  • venky
    Mar 11, 2012 - 8:17AM

    Well thought and written article. This shows who can grow up in the Pakistani Army.


  • Mr. Righty rightist
    Mar 11, 2012 - 8:46AM

    I have a relevant but slightly different observation to make.

    Hamid Gul is an interesting character. He must have been a ladies man, given his confidence, dash and a voice that makes men insecure. No wonder he’s worshiped in pakistan.

    However, if you look at thousands of years of history, the real heroes were always seemingly meek, vulnerable, fragile, not dashing or not even courageous. Remember, I used the word seemingly. Because in truth, they were confident and courageous. Take Gandhi, Tutu, Mandela, Luther Jr., Einstein or even Jinnah for example. None of them can be described as heroes in the cinematic sense.

    On the contrary, men like Gul, Musharraf have always been the villains. The best example is Hitler – a charming, confident, articulate, handsome, dashing man. This is why I doubt someone like Imran Khan.

    And Pakistani public has a penchant for dash than honesty. Let’s not forget that in most Pakistanis’ eyes, they are superior to Indians and Bangladeshis because they are fair skinned, well built (to be more precise, beef eating!), good looking, strong chaps.


  • Raw is War
    Mar 11, 2012 - 9:30AM

    Good article sir, but do not agree on one point. It is often said that Pakistan has better soldiers This is based on the assumption that muslims are better than hindus (since they are vegetarians) physically. This may or may not be true. Hindus do not kill wantonly out of religious ideals of Hinduism like respect to all life. Muslims on the other hand are driven by barbarity and inhumane treatment of all life- in battle field and sometimes outside, to some extent.

    But look at live example of Longewala battle. This will give a realistic look at both the soldiers- Indian as well as Pakistani.

    this puts to rest all the arguments. Pakistani soldiers are nothing compared to Indians.

    Indians killed- 2
    Pakistanis Killed – 200+
    here the Pakistani division was also very large compared to the Indian platoon.

    India may have few aberrations like Babri masjid issue, but Muslims in India are better off.


  • Altaf Hussain, Mumbai
    Mar 11, 2012 - 9:59AM

    @zaid hamid:
    If Pakistan Army won all their wars with India then Bangladesh must be a conspiracy theory, huh?


  • Ritz
    Mar 11, 2012 - 10:36AM

    “those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad”


  • Mar 11, 2012 - 11:11AM

    @zaid hamid: Living in the cobwebs woven around your mind. Please join the truth.


  • Naive
    Mar 11, 2012 - 11:15AM

    @Altaf Hussain sb. Please try to feel the satire in Zaid Hamid sb’s comment and enjoy it.


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Mar 11, 2012 - 11:17AM

    @Altaf Hussain, Mumbai:
    Bangladesh was a lost cause.
    In 1965, we successfully defended against a much larger force with a country thrice our size. We even gained Indian territory although we lost too admittedly!


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Mar 11, 2012 - 11:21AM

    This article is severely biased and foolish. Author is quoting verses from a book. I have seen the army and nearly 80% of top brass from Brigadier to General rank have studied from the best academies US and UK have to offer. This is in addition to the fact that for a soldier to get 5 stars has to go on several deputations across the globe to interact with other generals to be in a favorable light compared to competitors.
    Now we will have guys from across the border who know nothing about army except some handouts from western books commenting as if they know everything about the army. In addition to the fact that they have to come to our newspaper to make themselves feel good
    God bless Pak Fauj Recommend

  • John B
    Mar 11, 2012 - 11:35AM

    @Altaf Hussain, Mumbai:
    Zaid Hamid comments are satire, always. I am surprised people don’t see this and jump on his comments.


  • Mirza
    Mar 11, 2012 - 11:40AM

    What a great thought provoking Op Ed, thanks a lot. Indian generals are law abiding soldiers not the usurpers of all resources and law breakers. No general in India can dare throw 60 top judges and their families in detention.Recommend

  • Akhtar Nawaz
    Mar 11, 2012 - 11:50AM

    how can you call a book which interviews Aslam Beg and Hamid Gul a balanced analysis of Pakistani Generals’ thinking. If the intention of the book was to prove the points the author argues in the end, then its makes sense but its show very poor research quality and analysis. I am sorry Khaled saheb, cant agree here.


  • Mar 11, 2012 - 11:59AM

    Very interesting and thought provoking analysis. But such an analysis should have a larger scope. Beg and Gul are illiterate minds and devoid of logic and reason. They have self fantasy and have been playing with the destiny of this nation when they were powerful. Pakistan army has in its fold educated and brilliant generals.

    To analyze the thinking process of our generals we need to have a look at how we perceive Pakistan as a state and a nation? How the constitution process took its course? What is education system and does it inculcate ab ability to think and reason? How the nation is exposed to the history of Pakistan? These are the factors which determine a mindset. The generals and also citizens of Pakistan and brought up in the same environment. The fair approach should have been to read the minds of our national leadership since independence. The whole blame is not on the army.


  • Zaid Hamid number 2
    Mar 11, 2012 - 11:59AM

    Pakistan has won all wars……………Bangladesh will become part of Pakistan…………….parts of afghanistan and India will also become our parts…………….media is telling lies


  • Syed
    Mar 11, 2012 - 11:59AM

    Who ever says a well said, shame on you. The article is not full and not logical ended. At the very outset is claims “Indian professional, Pakistani non-professional”. Goes on to explain pakistani generals statement and then conclusion without giving a single statement of indian generals. I think the motive of this article is to defame Pak army apart from lies and truths in this article.

    Pity, is this the way your draw comparision.


  • ashish
    Mar 11, 2012 - 12:02PM

    @altaf hussain

    he was being sarcastic. take it easy yaar.


  • Sanjay Sharma
    Mar 11, 2012 - 12:43PM

    It is not always that Pakistan doesn’t have professional Generals. The problem with Pakistani Army is that they are predictable in their strategies notwithstanding they are a higher risk taking force, and Indian Army is defencive in nature . From General Ayub Khan to General Musharraf, all didn’t show element of surprise in initiating hostilities against India, which Indian Army successfully predicted in advance except Kargil conflict. It is, therefore, certain that those Generals, who remained committed to the safety of Pakistan did not try engaging India in a theatre of war and also did not join politics during their service period or thereafter, and were indeed professionals to the core. Any politician is essentially partisan, whether he was earlier a sportsman, scientist, social activist or an army-man. It is best for a politician to practice politics for betterment of his state and nation, whereas professionals always do what is suited them most and remain committed to their profession. War is a futile exercise and Army of both the countries should refrain from it. Good and courageous article.


  • Arijit Sharma
    Mar 11, 2012 - 1:08PM

    “ …. Jinnah emphasised a liberal, tolerant and outward-looking, progressive Pakistan. … “

    Jinnah was a second generation Muslim – his ancestors were Hindus for countless generations, so when Jinnah expressed a desire for a liberal, tolerant and outward-looking Pakistan, it was the Hindu genetic material in him talking.


  • Tony Singh
    Mar 11, 2012 - 1:10PM

    @Zaid Hamid number 2:
    I agree and the new nation will be called “Bharat”!!!! (Now awaiting a comment from “India never accepted partition” rant brigade.)


  • Mar 11, 2012 - 1:22PM

    hhhhhhhhh for disco mullah zaid hamid.


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Mar 11, 2012 - 1:29PM

    Very biased article. Top brass of army is made of individuals produced by the best academies of US and UK has to offer. Tribune stop being biased. Stop supporting India.


  • sane voice
    Mar 11, 2012 - 1:48PM

    even the pak generals of today have lofted mindset…………….dont know where they live. I remember gen. kayani in one of his speech delivered to PMA as saying that the Pak Army is the defender of geographical as well as ideological boundries of Pakistan. I am yet to understand ‘the ideolgical boundries’ and how does Pak army defends it. perhaps……… creating difa e pakistan counsel.


  • wonderer
    Mar 11, 2012 - 1:59PM

    I wish to add something to this very well written and informative article.

    The saying that, ” An army officer should be a gentleman” is extremely important. It is, at the same time. not possible to define precisely who is a gentleman. This is something that has to be understood in a rather oblique way. There are certain things that a gentleman will never do, and if someone does that thing, he is not a gentleman and thus cannot be an army officer.

    All armies have some officers who prove to be not gentlemanly. Those officers usually do not reach the rank of Generals. Such officers are said to have low OLQ; Officer Like Qualities. The OLQ of an officer is seen in his day-to-day personal and social life, besides his professional life.

    In the past over half a century Pakistani Generals have been doing many things they should have never done. In my humble view, the Pakistan army has been seen to contain too many Generals who should never have become Generals, because of their low OLQ. Gen. Musharraf was a perfect example of an officer with very low OLQ.


  • Tony Singh
    Mar 11, 2012 - 2:31PM

    @Pakistani Agnostic:
    Then how do these officers recocile their western learning with Islamic concept of Jihad? No wonder they are confused and live in dillusions.


  • Altaf Hussain, Mumbai
    Mar 11, 2012 - 2:39PM

    @Pakistani Agnostic:
    The current Chief of Indian Army is one Mr. Singh. The next chief is another Mr. Singh (already announced). 99.99% Indians do not even care to know who these guys are, or from which academy they passed out. They are treated like any other senior Government functionary. Should any General from any wing of the Armed Forces try to create a media flutter, he will be unceremoniously sacked. They are supposed to be in drill and keep their forces in preparedness at all times. That is what they are paid for. And that is what they precisely do. The author means exactly that by calling Generals from India as professionals and their counter parts from Pakistan as un-professionals. Pakistani Generals are known to have their finger in every pie. It is unthinkable in India to have an equivalent of Major Gen. Abbas, who is supposed to be the spokesperson of the Pakistani Army. His counter part in India is again another Mr. Singh, an under-secretary in the Ministry of Defense, who gives press briefings for the armed forces. You see the point the author is trying to make?


  • DILU
    Mar 11, 2012 - 3:21PM

    I am not seeing any war between India and Pakistan in near future. So there was no need for such an article. The only purpose behind this article is to give a bad name to Pakistani generals so that pakistanis remain against their own army and west sponsored politicians keep on robbing pakistan.


  • FactCheck
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:23PM

    @Pakistani Agnostic:

    Try and jump out of the deep well. Let us see how this really worked for you. You were given chance to serve in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. What does this tell?

    ISI along with you your army is a mercenary force fro hire which it is, in more deeper terms by the US since 1947.

    Second, if you really served in one of those countries, you made rupees so you think it is one-in-life time opportunity. So, you see everything flawed.

    Third, professional army and generals does not usurp elected governments, publicly hang politicians in 20th century, steal when in power and run away to west to live because they have an arrest warrant.

    Fourth, there are more real life thugs, thieves and idiots that first rate western schools. Saif al-Islam and Ayman al-Zawahiri, both went to prestigious London School of Economics. I don’t think neither would win medals for being intellectual power houses or Noble Peace prize.

    So, before calling someone article biased and what not, check your facts. Recommend

  • zoro
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:51PM

    @ Dasmir
    In that case the whole of pakistan was Hindu … ask ur fore fatheres tooo… and now dont align urself to arabs… hehehe


  • Bhindian
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:52PM

    joke of an article.


  • zaar
    Mar 11, 2012 - 5:37PM

    India is 10 time bigger than pakistan area wise,
    indian army is ten time bigger than Pak Army,
    Indian econmy is better than us through out the 60 years,
    Indian are spending ten time more money on defence than pakistan,
    india always desire to wipe out pakistan from this world but still with all those resources and in your word better Militry minds we are here even though we are smaller in all terms,

    we are here to stay Recommend

  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Mar 11, 2012 - 5:48PM

    All of your answer was based on common stereotypes. Please churn out some thing new or just stop for your intelligence sake.


  • dasmir
    Mar 11, 2012 - 5:56PM

    The Pakistani generals have scant regard for the life of his jawans.All the wars that Pakistan waged or faought either with India or with Russia,Look at it from Junior rank and jawan’s eye and you will find frightening disregard for the life and limb of the ranks.I wonder why Pakistani ranks have put up with this,dying unknown,unsung in the name of islam,Kashmir,Jihad while Generals stashed away millions and millions in Dubai and US!


  • wonderer
    Mar 11, 2012 - 6:14PM

    A cursory glance at the comments is enough to see that most Pakistanis are very happy with their army, and seem proud of it and satisfied with the bravery of the soldiers and competence of their Generals. That is good news for army and the Generals. Everyone is satisfied.

    Is it not foolish of Indians to try so hard to prove the Pakistanis wrong?


  • amit
    Mar 11, 2012 - 6:21PM

    India is 4 and half time bigger than pakistan area wise.not 10X
    indian army is 2 and half time bigger than Pak Army not 10X
    India was bankcrupt in 1990 .after 1990 today india economy is 9 times bigger than pakistan and population wise india is 6 and half time bigger than pakistan. not 10X
    and after independence south asian muslim produce 2X higher children than hindus/sikhs.and today also..
    and main thing you forget india litteracy rate is 74% and pakistan litteracy rate is only 54%..and today india produce more doctors and and enginer than whole islamic world produce and india litteracy rate is growing 10X faster than pakistan.
    and last india no desire to wipe out pakistan it is only brain washed by your millitry to remain in power.they also used kashmir issue .if we wanted 1971 was a best chance when we not kill your 96,000 POW


  • love pakistan
    Mar 11, 2012 - 6:31PM

    Pakistan is the only place where army recrute civilan for war they torn the country into part and develop this jihadi culture the ethinic division and sectarian violence and still not learning any lesson


  • Sanjay, Mumbai
    Mar 11, 2012 - 7:16PM

    Let us not debate about whose Military personnel are better or worse. Soldiers, Generals are product of selection process, training etc. Basically , Pakistan has lost wars on all the occasions not just because of poor strategy/ tactical moves by their back room boyz and front soldiers, but also due to fitting responses by Indian military and its political leadership. Basic difference between military establishments between Indian and Pakistan, is more to do with powers they have over their civilians. The bottom line is simple– Military establishment in India is restricted to Military strategies, tactics etc, without any influence , however remote, on Policies affecting civilians. Indian Military is more focused on its military accomplishments & future strategies, roles..without even an ounce affecting political landscape. hence in that sense, Indian military is truly professional, like many other military establishments of other countries like USA, Germany, Japan, UK, France . In contrast, Pakistani military has always played significant role in political sphere , even engaging in coups, unseating local govts, influences foreign/ economic policies and even engaging in activities against other sovereign nations. Civilian govts in Pakistan on many occasion, are subservient to Military establishment..hence, Military in Pakistan produces many times poor generals , who are more political & ideological leaning than professional in their respective fields. Its unfair to blame ordinary soldiers and generals of Pakistan , based on the few individuals. However, there is structural defect in the way bridge exists between Political and Military establishment in Pakistan.


  • Rajeev Nidumolu
    Mar 11, 2012 - 8:44PM

    The Pakistani military’s private business empire could be worth as much as £10bn, according to a ground-breaking study. Retired and serving officers run secretive industrial conglomerates, manufacture everything from cement to cornflakes, and own 12m acres [4.8m hectares] of public land, says Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, author of Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy.Ms Siddiqa is a a former director of research at the Pakistan navy.
    Five giant conglomerates, known as “welfare foundations”, run thousands of businesses, ranging from street corner petrol pumps to sprawling industrial plants. The main street of any Pakistani town bears testament to their economic power, with military-owned bakeries, banks, insurance companies and universities, usually fronted by civilian employees. Ms Siddiqa estimates that the military controls one-third of all heavy manufacturing and up to 7% of private assets. Of the 96 businesses run by the four largest foundations, only nine file public accounts. The generals spurn demands by parliament to account for public monies they spend.
    “There are gross inefficiencies and the military is mired in crony capitalism. The primary purpose of a trained military is war fighting. They are not designed for the corporate sector.”
    You cannot expect a general to be professional when he is busy selling cornflakes to cement


  • Rajeev Nidumolu
    Mar 11, 2012 - 9:01PM

    Modern wars are too complicated for Generals to be entrusted to start and carry out. Modern wars are backed by industrial complex. German soldiers were brave, disciplined with very professional Generals but they lost to Soviet Union. They lost because the Soviets were able to prevail because it out produced German’s in tanks and planes by 10 to one.
    Professionalism among Indian generals has deteriorated recently with multiple cases of corruption. Fortunately the system has been able to correct the deviation by court martials.
    Has there been any case of Court martial for corruption against Pakistani general ?
    General who overestimates his resources , ignores realities on the ground, is mired on emotional myths and stereotyping of qualities of opponent is not a professional .He is bound to lose in strategy.


  • HEM
    Mar 11, 2012 - 9:52PM

    @Khalid Pathan:

    Remember East Pakistan? Now the world calls it Bangladesh.


  • agha
    Mar 11, 2012 - 10:00PM

    whatever the world may think of Pakistani Generals, the fact remains on ground that India, being eight times stronger than Pakistan in all forms and manifestation, has not been able to resolve disputes for last sixty years with its number one enemy Pakistan. Therefore, their Generals clearly lack in the skills set of Problem Resolution.Recommend

  • Mar 11, 2012 - 10:09PM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    Then libral extremist tells us put the names of Sri Zaferullah Khan and Mohammad Shoaib in
    our school books and also say good about them because they are real Traitors of ummah

    Ridiculous. They should be in the school books as a matter of fact, through accurate analytical historical context, be it positive or negative, not censor them based on prejudiced deluded opinions and bigoted religious nationalist zeal that fails to examine ALL historical characters, academically self criticize and fails to learn from such narrow or obtuse thinking that leads to warring misadventures in the first place (Operation Grand Slam of 1965 that led to the war). Don’t dumb down future generations because of blind ideological narrative.

    Another good article that highlights the absurdity of the inferiority complex and regressive defensive censoring revisionist conservative mindset which expunged Nehru and Gandhi, and other apparently religious conservative sensitive issues like a pregnant Hindu woman, from Saadat Hasan Manto’s piece taught in Pakistani textbooks.


  • Sanjay, Mumbai
    Mar 11, 2012 - 10:52PM

    There are many disputes which cannot be resolved militarily..and Kashmir issue is one of them. Pakistani military Establishment may be thinking that it can be resolved militarily by indulging in mis-adventures their recent tragic engagement at Kargil, when regular Pakistani soldiers were disguised and pushed across border..only to be sacrificed because of poor tactical move by military establishment and weak kneed Political class.


  • Mar 12, 2012 - 12:43AM


    has not been able to resolve disputes for last sixty years with its number one enemy Pakistan. Therefore, their Generals clearly lack in the skills set of Problem Resolution.

    This is where our thinking is messed up. They aren’t obsessed with framing Pak as the number one enemy, even if it’s a sad reality. A high level threat, sure, but this repetition of hate and loathing no. Not as much as we do anyways, to the point that our Afghan policy is based on a myopic anti-Indian framework.

    It’s not up to Generals to find the political solution, nor launch military campaigns based on their own whims. Generals’ job is to follow orders, not problem resolution, they leave that up to their Elected officials who’ll involve them when they need advice and status and in trying to resolve the dispute when needed on security. Indian Generals have clearly stayed within their roles better.

    Unfortunately our Pakistani Generals have gone beyond their roles of protecting borders, with continuous military incursions, and fail to take cue from a civilian government, rather taking over it.


  • wiscol
    Mar 12, 2012 - 3:30AM

    Most generals in india when they retire can just about afford a flat in mid sized cities. (unless they have inherited ancestoral property) but I hear that generals in Pakistan live like kings with large allocation of free land, is this true? If so then how do they expect their surbordiates to respect them!


  • Cynical
    Mar 12, 2012 - 4:59AM

    Interesting insight.Would have loved to get some quotes from the Indian generals interviewd.


  • Mar 12, 2012 - 10:04AM

    @agha: agha sahib all the world over it is not the job of Generals to resolve disputes or negotiate with foreign countries. Their job is to professionally train and carry out the political will of the nation when all other channels fail. Of course as per the directions of the civil government of the time. It is only in Pakistan Generals are set to resolve political problems, meddle with foreign policy. Please see the results on ground. Allah Maalik.


  • Mar 12, 2012 - 10:20AM

    @zaar: Zaar sahib the reason is simple. Because India does not believe that Pakistan is their ARCH RIVAL OR NUMBER ONE ENEMY. Pakistan was created with our consent and we believe that we are branches of the the same tree. So Sir what ever be our size or military power we are not going to willfully attack or destroy you. It is myth spread by ………..?


  • Harry Stone
    Mar 12, 2012 - 11:37AM

    Well it would be nice if just once the PAK generals would win a war


  • Agnivesh
    Mar 12, 2012 - 12:23PM

    If Hamid Gul (Fool, rhyms better) says Muslims of the subcontinent are one nation, then why did

    the muslims of kashmir go against you in 1948 when the tribals you sent to ‘liberate’ them
    butcher the bengalis in 1971
    you close the borders of Pakistan to muslims from India after 1951
    you not allow 2.5 millions Pakistanis in Bangladesh to comeover to Pakistan after 1971
    why are you killing so many of your own Muslims in Balochistan, and
    why are you not supporting the muslims the Chinese are slaughtering in East Turkmenistan?

  • Trapeze Swinger
    Mar 12, 2012 - 3:19PM

    @Deep: Arif Nizami never said that he wants to get strapped to a missile and be sent to India. Please get your facts straight before making such defamatory comments. It was his uncle Majeed Nizami who made this comment. The two Nizamis are not even on talking terms.


  • G. Din
    Mar 12, 2012 - 5:00PM

    “…you not allow 2.5 millions Pakistanis in Bangladesh to comeover to Pakistan after 1971”
    Correction: There were only 3 lakh (300,000) Bihari Pakistanis at the end of 1971 war left in Bangla Desh who were put into refugee camps for their own safety. Pakistan, as usual, washed its hands off of them. Looking at the bleak miserable conditions they live in, Agha Khan offered to pay for their repatriation to Pakistan. Nothing happened. This is not unexpected behaviour of Pakistanis. Pakistanis who got their country on the premise that it would be a homeland for all Indian Muslims, shut its doors to them within 3 years of its birth!


  • smart
    Mar 12, 2012 - 5:19PM

    @zaid hamid:
    when , where. In your dreams !!!
    Pakistan armed forces is way inferior to Indan forces both in equipment and manpower.
    Be happy with your perception


  • Red
    Mar 12, 2012 - 5:20PM

    @Pakistani Agnostic:
    In 65 Pakistan attacked, if it had to then “successfully defend”, it does not show it to be a very successful attack does it ?


  • Deepak
    Mar 12, 2012 - 5:23PM

    The fundamental problem is with the attitude of “hate everything” that was prevalent before Islamic invasion. Every Pakistani is trying to be more Muslim than the other. Guys! religion is not a contest of growing beards, burning flags, or who is more Arabised? Religion should remain personal not public or political. Hamid Gul quotes about Babri Masjid – Has he ever thought how many mosques are there in India now? Has he ever thought how many Hindus are living without persecution in Pakistan. Stop playing victim all the time. Dont forget a few hundred years ago you were all Hindus – most of whom were forcibly converted by invading armies.


  • Red
    Mar 12, 2012 - 5:28PM

    @Pakistani Agnostic:
    If the Pakistan Army and the officers are so good, why do they need to be trained in “Western” military colleges and academies ? Lack of quality training internally perhaps ?


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Mar 12, 2012 - 5:37PM

    @Pakistani Agnostic:

    In 1965, we successfully defended
    against a much larger force with a
    country thrice our size. We even
    gained Indian territory although we
    lost too admittedly!

    Pak lost Lahore, Sialkot and parts of PoK only to gain a patch (less than one-third of what’s lost by Pak) of Indian desert in 1965.
    If that goes for successful defence in Pakistan, I wonder what would be considered a defeat by the gloriously martial nation of Pakistan!!Recommend

  • Senman
    Mar 12, 2012 - 5:43PM

    Indians should thank Pakistani Generals, they are doing huge favor by making sure Pakistan never have stable democracy. Till day I have seen majority of Pakistanis support their Military when pitted against their democratic leaders. I wish all other Pakistani generals follow their predecessor so India can concentrate on eastern border. Thank you.


  • Rakib
    Mar 12, 2012 - 5:53PM

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:

    Pak lost Lahore, Sialkot

    Pakistan “lost” neither of the two cities. Not even for a day. Please do not make up such stories and damage Indian credibility such as it is.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Mar 12, 2012 - 6:12PM


    Pakistan “lost” neither of the two
    cities. Not even for a day. Please do
    not make up such stories and damage
    Indian credibility such as it is.

    Did I say cities at any point of time? It’s sectors I was talking about.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but, isn’t Khem Karan 50km from Lahore City?


  • Mahesh Patil
    Mar 12, 2012 - 6:56PM

    Understand Zaid Hamid’s sarcasm.


  • Mahesh Patil
    Mar 12, 2012 - 7:02PM

    Forget about throwing judges and their families in detention,in India Generals can not hold a press conference without the permission from defense ministry.


  • Rakib
    Mar 12, 2012 - 7:23PM

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:

    You mentioned only “Lahore” & “Sialkot” & I could not guess your other meanings. It is better if the history of that war and details of all theatres as described by a neutral source are studied before making claims/counter claims. Khem Karan is in Tarn Taran district in the Indian State of Punjab as it always was. It was a scene of major tank battle. Pak army captured it & Indian army recaptured it.

    Only lesson I have learnt from it all is the futility of jingoism & war. Last major war before this, in nearby area, was between Abdali & Maratthas fighting the useless & expensive third war of Panipat in the year 1761 while Clive was watching the fun from far away Calcutta. English were the real gainers, others were losers! After that there was peace in North Indian plains for couple of hundred years under Pax Britannia & good progress was achieved leading to Independence. But, within couple of decades of the British leaving the subcontinent the men of straw of India-Pakistan were at each others throats in 1965! There is nothing worth boasting for either,IMO.


  • Elhaan Khan
    Mar 12, 2012 - 10:07PM

    Our generals lost all wars! Imposing martial law through triple one brigade easier than winning a war.Recommend

  • Mar 13, 2012 - 12:06AM

    what a biased article


  • Pollack
    Mar 13, 2012 - 6:41AM

    Just the fact that a person of hamid guls low calibre was able to rise to the the level of intelligence chief shows that ideological position taken by army officers seems to be more important than their calibre in rising in the army hierarchy. Recommend

  • Helmand
    Mar 13, 2012 - 9:25AM

    @ Arjun

    Like they say in India, “mind blowing yaar” your post sums it all up from A to Z. Enjoyed reading your rebuttal. I grew up in India and I never met an Indian Muslim whose allegiance to India was suspect. Indian Muslims don’t care for Pakistan or its politics.


  • Helmand
    Mar 13, 2012 - 9:33AM

    @Khalid Pathan

    I assume that you are not a Pashto speaking Pashtun because we don’t call ourselves Pathan.


  • well-wisher
    Mar 13, 2012 - 1:30PM

    Well, I certainly donot agree with the statement of a officer that India never accepted Pakistan which to my thinking is not at all true until the author clarifies who made that statement.


  • K B Kale
    Mar 14, 2012 - 6:05AM

    Excellent article. I am going to read this book.
    Civilian superiority over military was best demonstrated how our COAS fought & lost his ‘age’ battle in Supreme Court.
    Jai Ho!


  • aditya
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:41PM

    @zaid hamid: if pakistan won then why is kashmir with us(india)…


  • Apr 12, 2012 - 2:41PM

    in the first place why do you even need Kashmir,is it because its a Muslim dominated state? what rights have we not given them right from having their own constitution to innumerable other rights..And yes,wars have been fought over it but not legitimately. Pakistan has used fundamentalist against us which now has become a thorn for themselves to. if there is anything Pakistan should learn,learn the art of diplomacy from India instead of resorting to cheap diversions and so called ‘jihad’. lastly learn to swallow your pride, has three successive defeats not taught you anything?


  • K B Kale
    Apr 12, 2012 - 11:45PM

    @arch sumi:
    Bravo, Ms/Mr Arch Sumi!
    Indians like me can proudly say that Kashmiri people participate in all elections held there & percentage of voting is higher than in India’s other states. Calls by separatist leaders like Geelani are routinely dismissed by Kashmiris. What does it show?
    If Pakistan’s ISI doesn’t meddle in Kashmir, there will be peace on both sides, but will the ‘Rommels & Guderians’ of Pak Army (as my favourite Pakistani journalist Shafisahab calls them) allow their own down-gradation? No chance!!
    Indians never claim they run a perfect democracy, but they are proud to have remained a genuine democracy & hope that Pakistanis also join us with equal pride.
    In democracies people get a government they deserve. Ours is just 60 years old & we are still learning how to run it and it would be wrong to compare it with seasoned democracies of UK or USA.


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