Please tell us something about
your early life, your parents, family?
was born in 1935 in a village called Mianwal located in District
Jullundher, East Punjab. Our ancestors most likely came from Iran and
settled in this area and took up agriculture as their livelihood. In
Tehsil Nakoder there were a number of Muslim (mostly Arain Community) as
well as Sikh Villages. Choudri Muhammad Ali former Prime Minister of
Pakistan also came from the same area and his village was nearby. Most of
our elders including my grandfather Choudri Muhammad Ibrahim and my father
Choudri Muhammad Yaqub went to school at Shahkot which was the only high
school catering for about ten villages. I was the eldest child followed by
two sisters and two brothers.
father being in Government Service got posted to Jhang in early Forties
where we stayed till about 1970 when my parents shifted to Burewala where
my father acquired a modest house and some land for post retirement life.
started my early school in a Madrissa located in a Mohallah Bhabhrana of
Jhang Saddar. This Mohallah was known by a Desi Dispensary run by Hakim
Wali Muhammad mostly undertaking surgery without use of any western
medicines. There was a large “Neem” tree, leaves of which dried or
green, were the natural antibiotics which Hakim Sahib used in abundance.
Any wounds accidental, or surgical were covered with a thick layer of
“Neem Pattas” and dressing changed weekly. No infection, no
antibiotics, no multivitamins, no fuss and the wound healed. Son of Hakim
Sahib Dr. Muhammad Ismail was class fellow of my uncle Choudri Abdul
Rashid and eventually Dr. Ismail served as an eye specialist in Kings
Hospital, Madina Saudi Arabia. For his services and devotion to medical
profession he was one of the first Pakistanis to have been given Saudi
nationality and every child knew his name till he retired. I last met him
in 1977 and was impressed with his humbleness, modesty and urge to serve
the Madrissa School in addition to Quran we also did other subjects,
therefore, it was a balance education. We sat on the ground and the
teacher used the chair along with his dreadful stick. I still remember
Master Muhammad Aslam who started with me at Madrissa School and by sheer
hard work and self-education ended up at the College, where I became his
student once more.
four years at Madrissa School, I joined 5th class at Islamia High School
Jhang where Professor Abdus Salam (Nobel Prize) was also a student a few
years earlier. Islamia High School was run and supported by Anjuman
Khadim-ul-Muslimeen. This Anjuman was founded by Shaikh Ghulam Yasin who
was also the first President. After his death Shaikh Elahi Buksh, Col.
Abid Hussain (father of Syeda Abida Hussain) and Shaikh Abdul Majeed
headed the Committee and raised funds for the school. Mosque was part of
the school and Zuhr prayers were mandatory. Sunni and Shias were like
brothers and on many outside school functions we prayed together. Emphasis
was on quality education specially the science subjects. There was no
electricity and petromax lamp was used for late night classes which was an
improvement over the Classic lantern. Our Headmaster at Islamia School was
Khawja Kamaluddin who had excellent command over English and a commanding
voice. There was pin drop silence in the class when he uttered “Oh Boys
Pay Attention”. I did my Matric in 1950 from Islamia High School Jhang
and joined Government College before being selected for 6th JSPCTS Course
Which individuals in your opinion influenced you most formatively?
mother certainly, till I joined the Navy. She was a grand lady who was
extremely intelligent endowed with great organizational skills,
hardworking, loving, caring and always sacrificing for her husband and
children. The year 1947 was a bloody year as far as Muslims of East Punjab
were concerned including my family. Due to education, I was with my father
at Jhang but my mother along with two sisters and brothers had to be
rescued from the jaws of death because our village was burnt by the Sikhs
and they executed publicly Choudri Muhammad Aslam the village leader. This
sad episode is covered in the Urdu Novel “KHAK AUR KHOON” by late
Nasim Hijazi. I had lost all hopes of seeing my family and used to cry at
night missing them. My father, though depressed, kept my morale up and we
both used to pray for their safe arrival. God eventually answered our
prayers when one day suddenly my mother along with four children turned
up. I was at school and someone brought the great news and I rushed home.
What were your interests/hobbies as a young man?
grew up during the Second World War and due to strong government media one
was inclined towards the glamour of the uniform and the Armed Forces. I
liked sports and football was my favourite game, at times even at the cost
of my studies. I was good at studies and preferred science subjects over
arts. Frankly, I liked adventure and, therefore, aeroplanes came first.
Was the Navy a burning passion in your life scheme or did you join it
because of some situational reasons?
I ended up in the Navy as a routine but submarines have always been my
passion even though the first Submarine was acquired by the Pakistan Navy
nearly ten years after I joined the Navy. At Royal Naval College Dartmouth
my Divisional (Platoon) Officer was Lieut. Holloway, a submariner, who
inspired me about submarines by narrating heroic tales of World War II
Submarine Commanders. He even arranged a short trip to sea in a submarine
for our class which was adventurous and wonderful. Subsequently, while
serving as ADC to President Ayub Khan I requested to be released so that I
could join the first crew for acquisition of PN Submarine GHAZI from
Please tell us about the cadet life?
spent about 6 months in Cadet Training School at PNS Himalaya, Manora
Karachi, nine of us were selected to go to British Naval Academy at
Dartmouth in 1954. While we were at Dartmouth, Cadet Imranullah Khan
(Later Lt/Gen.Imran) was at Sandthurst. We used to live at the same hotel
in London during term breaks. At Dartmouth we had the British and Indian
Cadets and Australia, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries joined
us later on board the training ship for sea training. On return from
England as Midshipmen we were, under auspices of SEATO, sent to Australia
for remainder of our training. On completion of our training I was
commissioned in Royal Australian Navy on Ist January, 1957. Four months
later I returned to Royal Naval College Greenwich for what can be probably
described as Junior Officers War Course coupled with heavy dose of
academics including nuclear science subjects. After graduation from Royal
Naval College Greenwich there were a number of technical and operational
courses at Plymouth and Portsmouth. On completion of these I returned to
Pakistan and joined PNS Jahangir as a Lieutenant for my sea watch keeping.
PNS Jahangir was an efficient ship under the command of Commander Ibne
Ali. We participated in CENTO and Commonwealth maritime exercises. Ship
was later based at Chittagong where we frequently patrolled along the
maritime boundary with Burma. On return of the ship from East
Pakistan I did a short TAS (Torpedo and Anti-Submarine) Course at Himalaya.
Subsequently I was selected as ADC to President and in March 1961 assumed
my new assignment at Rawalpindi at the President House (Now COAS House).
at the President House was tough and simple. After departure of Captain
Akhtar Ayub Khan as Army ADC we were only two, Flt. Lt. Anwar ul Islam as
Air Force ADC and myself as Naval ADC. According to President’s wishes
Military Secretary represented the Army while Navy and Air Force were
represented by the two ADCs. One ADC was on duty for 24 hrs. with the
President and other looked after the Begum Sahiba. Sherdil battalion was
performing duties at the President House. Lt. Col. Naqvi was followed by
Lt. Col. Niazi as the
Commanding Officer. Captain Asif Nawaz followed Captain Gohar Ayub as
adjutant and Major Fazle Haq along with his juicy stories was commandant
President Body Guard. President Ayub lived simply and so did we. Our
living quarters including office were not air-conditioned and there was
only one air-conditioned car in the President House which could only be
used by the President and not even the Begum Sahiba. I remember once
accompanying Begum Ayub to Peshawar for family condolences in scorching
heat of summer in a non- air-conditioned car. She preferred to rough it
out both ways but did not use or ask for the only air-conditioned car.
Believe me that we the ADCs paid 4 annas a mile for use of car for
non-duty purposes. For visits abroad the President always travelled by
commercial flights (Boeing 720 mostly) and there were no special
“treats” on board. Entourage for visits abroad was small and President
did not mind staying at the Ambassador’s residence to save huge hotel
bills. President Ayub being Head of State and Head of Government did not
create much tension in summoning ministers and secretaries at five minutes
notice. He mostly used green line (dialling himself) for discussion on
files. Everyone answered his own green line and was expected to do so.
Any contemporaries or senior in the Naval Academy who impressed you and
who played a major role in formation of perceptions in your cadet life?
I said earlier my Divisional Officer (Platoon Commander) at Royal Naval
College Dartmouth who inspired me about the Submarine Service.
What was your impressions about the political life of Pakistan in the
Fifties I was mostly away at high seas undergoing tough sea training.
Landmark was 1956 when as a young Sub/Lieut I received my first medal
(republic medal) and started to write P.N. (Pakistan Navy) instead of RPN
(Royal Pakistan Navy) after my name. After 1956, politics at home, as I
recall, became an arena for a bunch of wrestlers as governments fell in
rapid successions and Ministers changed loyalties overnight to retain
their jobs. We used to, while training in England, feel embarrassed with
state of affairs at home. We kept on hoping against hopes that somehow
democracy will work in Pakistan but it was not to be so. Therefore,
notwithstanding my training with British Navy which inculcates Democracy
being the only acceptable form of government, I along with other young
officers took a sigh of relief when Armed Forces took over the Government
in October, 1958.
How was the row between Admiral Siddiq Chaudri and Ayub viewed in the
Ayub is dead and Admiral Chaudri is alive but according to me both behaved
like great gentlemen in this matter. Admiral Chaudri differed and as per
service traditions resigned in grace. President Ayub on his part let
bygones be bygones and never “chased” the Admiral thereafter or
hindered their family business of BECO. As a matter of fact while his ADC
President Ayub asked me a couple of times to inquire discreetly if all was
well with Admiral Chaudri and his business concern. They both met in
public with mutual respect and regards.
What was the standard of training and professionalism like in the Navy of
Fifties most of the officers trained with Royal Navy and other foreign
navies. We received the same training as their own cadets and there was no
mercy if you faulted. Sole objective was to achieve highest degree of
professionalism for the young officers.
Even mess life was part of the training.
What are your recollections about 1965 war?
ADC to President I got married in March, 1963 and then having left Nahid
to complete her studies at the college left for Submarine training at
United States Submarine School, New London, Connecticut. Lt/Cdr. K. R.
Niazi was the Commanding Officer designate and I was given the assignment
of Operations Officer. After the Basic Course we were assigned to various
U.S. Submarines for sea training. I joined USS Angler, a World War II
Submarine, under the command of Commander James Rooney who was an
excellent person and helped me qualify in diving, torpedo firing and other
operations of the Submarine. He was courageous enough to even give me
independent watch at night, a great responsibility which I discharged with
utmost devotion, alertness, presence of mind and correct reaction to
emergencies. Before commissioning of PNS/M GHAZI in June 1964 three of us
(Lt.Cdr. Niazi, Lt.Cdr. Bazal, myself) qualified a prospective commanding
officer course with other allied officers mostly from Latin America. Crew
of GHAZI was well formed up
and efficiently integrated. Being the first Submarine, we felt very proud
and Commanding Officer displayed exemplary leadership. He led us from the
front and forged us into a fighting crew by the time we returned to
Karachi in Aug, 1964. Submarine service owes a special debt to Admiral A.R.
Navy for his affection to the new service. He protected us from usual
service jealousies and gave us special treatment so that we may overcome
the teething problems and other difficulties normally faced by a new arm
of the service. Therefore, Admiral A.R. Khan is truly founder of the
submarine service and people of my seniority cannot forget it.
A few months later I took over as Executive Officer
(Second-in-Command) of PNS/M GHAZI. Rann of Kutch crises had started
followed by tension and action in Kashmir. PNS/M Ghazi undertook a couple
of patrols in enemy waters off Bombay and by shadowing Indian ships tested
their defences and gained confidence. By good planning we were already in
our area off Bombay on 6 September when Indians attacked on international
border. The morale was high and we were itching to attack any Indian
warship, not knowing that Indian Navy felt safe in the harbour and would
not venture out due to presence of Ghazi. We came to Periscope depth and
heard President Ayub’s speech which was a great morale booster. Towards
the second week of September Ghazi had to return discreetly to Karachi for
24 hours to rectify a defect concerning our ECM (Electric Counter
Measures) Mast. We returned to our war station and still found the Indian
Navy bottled up in harbours. Incidentally government had not permitted
attack on Merchant Shipping so War Ships were the only legitimate targets.
This enabled our surface fleet to bombard Dwarka which was a daring
operation without any air cover. During third week of September a short
time after sunset we detected two Indian Naval Warships while at Periscope
depth. The Commanding Officer (Commander Niazi) had a good look at the
target and conveyed parameters (speed, course, draft etc) of the target to
fire control coordinator (myself). He was also gracious enough to invite
me for a quick look through the Periscope to confirm his observations on
the target, which I did without hesitations. We prepared four Torpedoes
and after I confirmed good fire control solution on Torpedo Data Computer,
the C.O. ordered “Shoot” and torpedoes left one after the other for
the target. Two torpedoes scored a hit damaging
the target and thus putting it out of action for rest of the war.
How would you compare the Indian Navy with Pakistan Navy as you saw it in
1965 war in terms of junior
level leadership, intermediate level leadership, higher leadership, naval
have no hesitation in saying that we were far superior in 1965 war as far
as leadership at all levels is concerned. Attack on Dwarka speaks for the
excellence of Naval gunnery.
Any forgotten heroes as you saw in 1965 war?
higher recognition should have been given to participants of Dwarka
Any operational opportunities that Pakistan missed in terms of Naval
Admiral elected not to answer this question.
Please tell us about your service profile from 1965 till 1971?
continued to serve as Second-in-Command of PNS Submarine Ghazi after 1965.
After the war sanctions were imposed and it became impossible to get spare
parts for Ghazi. PN Dockyard was manned by real professionals who through
innovation coupled with exemplary dedication, kept the submarine
operational. I assumed command of PNS Submarine Ghazi in March 1967 and
continued to operate with restricted depth for safety reasons.
Subsequently Turkish Navy after tacit approval from the Americans, agreed
to refit Ghazi at their Gulchuk Shipyard. By now the submarine was not fit
to dive and most of the equipment including engines needed major overall.
Suez Canal was closed and voyage round the Cape amounted to half way
around the world. C-in-C Navy, Late Admiral Ahsan personally asked me if I
was confident to take Ghazi in the present condition to Turkey. Having
faith in God and my crew we accepted the challenge though at some risk,
and sailed for Turkey. My batchmate and good friend Lt/Cdr. Yousuf Raza
was second-in-command. Lt.Cdr. Kadri and Sair were technical officers who
through their sheer hard work kept us going. We stopped for fuel/ration at
Mombasa, Lorenco Mark, Simonstown, Luanda, Toulon and Izmir before
arriving at Gulchak Shipyard after a voyage of 2 months. While off
Simonstown we almost had a collision with a super tanker whose autopilot
malfunctioned and she would have split the submarine in two, had I not
gone full astern (reverse) a few seconds earlier. The pooping sea brought
the water upto the main induction (Inlet for Engine Air) and it would have
flooded the Engine Room if God had not dawned wisdom on us earlier to shut
this 36” hole and instead take the suction through snorked Induction
Pipe which is at a higher level. Well, such are the hazards of the sea
life and all is well if it ends well. After the prerefit trials I handed
over the command of Ghazi to Lt/Cdr.Yousuf Raza and returned to Karachi to
prepare for manning of French Submarines in France. We learnt French
language at Karachi/Paris and subsequently arrived Toulon (France) to
translate heaps of French Documents into English. Crew went through
rigorous training programme on board French Submarines mostly using French
language as means of communication. French Navy went out of the way to
look after us and provided excellent training. I took command of PNS/M
HANGOR (First Daphne Class Submarine) at French Naval Base Brest on 01
Dec’ 1969. Admiral Muzuffar Hassan C-in-C Navy and Mr. S. K. Dehlavi our
Ambassador were present at the ceremony. After 3 months of sea trials in
miserable weather of English Channel and subsequent operational work up at
French S/M Base at Toulon, PN Submarines Hangor and Shuskuk sailed for
home in Sept 1970. Once again the voyage was round the Cape and it took us
three months to arrive at Karachi Port in Dec 1970. The President and
C-in-C Navy came on board and greeted the crew.
Please tell us about your experiences in the 1971 war?
has been written about Naval side of 1971 war including a number of books
by Indian writers. Briefly, things were heating up in East Pakistan and
war clouds were visible over the horizon. I volunteered and NHQ approved a
patrol in Enemy Waters in Aug 1971 to gather intelligence and pick up
vital operational information for war time submarine operations. This was
one of the longest patrols (over 30 days) by a Daphne Class Submarine. It
helped us to build confidence and to test our stamina and equipment under
wartime exacting conditions. On the night of 21/22 Nov when Indian Army
crossed the International Border in East Pakistan we sailed again with
full wartime load of Torpedoes and Hangor was on station off Bombay by
about 26 Nov. A serious defect in seawater circulating system developed
which required docking the submarine to effect repairs. It would have been
shame all round returning to Karachi so soon. Therefore, with consultation
and support of my officers and crew we decided to take risk. We rigged the
submarine as a fishing boat (night vision), listed her heavily by shifting
water in tanks, kept vigilance for enemy and with faith in God managed to
rectify the defect within 36 hours. During the night one Enemy Warship
approached us. We would have been sitting duck if he had opened fire. But
I resisted the natural instinct to dive and kept my fingers crossed. The
ship closed to about 1000 yards and then taking us to be a fishing boat
turned back and left us. Such is the luck which favours the Brave who take
risk. After rectifying our defect we were returning to our station off
Bombay when on the night of 2/3 Dec 1971 Indian Fleet (8 ships) left
Bombay and passed over us when Hangor was at 50 meters depth. It was an
excellent opportunity to attack but in absence of NHQ orders to
‘shoot’ one could not act on his own. I do not think that Higher
Military Command at Rawalpindi ever realised that three Pakistani
Submarines were on their War Stations since end of November and,
therefore, should have been authorized to attack
‘Targets of opportunity’. Code word giving permission to attack
Indian War Ships was received on 4 December and we started to look for
night of 2/3 December the Indian Fleet was heading towards our waters and,
therefore, I broke Radio Silence to inform NHQ about the enemy movement.
Indians naturally intercepted this transmission and located my position.
Instead of despatching a hunter killer group the Indian Naval Ships
altogether avoided the area while transiting in and out of Bombay. It was
frustrating to see lucrative targets passing outside my area and range. On
about 6 December, I requested NHQ to shift my area and in anticipation of
approval headed for the new area. Approval from NHQ came promptly and by 8
December Submarine Hangor stationed herself at the middle of New Area. We
could hear SONAR of Enemy Ships and it took us some time to establish
their Search Pattern. We were operating in shallow depth with bathy
conditions extremely favourable for ships to detect submarines. Similarly
sea was flat calm and any use of periscope, even for short duration, would
be immediately picked up by Enemy Radars and sure suicide for the
submarine. Therefore, we closed the two targets at 50 meters depth with
caution, prudence and exercising all professionalism to avoid our own
detection. At about 2000 hours one target came within firing range and
with excellent fire control solution one torpedo was fired. The torpedo
homed on to the target, passed under and did not explode. Immediately we
turned round at high speed and fired second torpedo on the second ship.
The torpedo exploded under the magazine of INS KUKRI and the huge
explosion broke the ship in two and she sank in less than two minutes
causing heavy casualties. KUKRI was ship of the Squadron Commander Captain
Mohindera Nath Mollah who went down with the ship. Meanwhile, third
torpedo was fired on Enemy Ship closing in fast to attack Hangor. The ship
on hearing the torpedo reversed course, increased speed to outrun the
torpedo. The torpedo hit her at long distance causing severe damage.
Indians lost about 250 men in this action including Squadron Commander
Captain M.N. Mullah. For the next three days Hangor was subjected to
extensive depth charge attacks. Someone in the crew kept the count and
according to him it came to be 156 attacks during this period. An
extensive air search combined with surface ships made our life miserable
but with intelligent evasive action we managed to survive these attacks
and arrived in Karachi safely after the ceasefire.
trained very hard including patrols the Hangor Crew had become efficient,
well integrated and above all motivated for war. It was a team effort
where everyone did his bit and did it well. I had the privilege to command
an outstanding, intelligent and hard-working set of officers proven by the
point that later on one made CNS (Admiral Bokhari) two Vice Admirals (A.U.
Khan and myself) one Rear Admiral (R.A. Kadri) two Commodores (Waseem and
Pasha). Others would have gone up too if they had stayed in the service.
In deference to intelligence and professionalism of my officers I
tolerated free discussion (a trait I picked up from Admiral Niazi while
serving on board Ghazi) even if it was pain in the neck at times. Hangor
action being a team effort I wish everyone of the 52 crew to have been
rewarded but sadly it could not be so. Government awarded four SJ’s,
four TJ’s and a number of Imtiazi Sanads. I, however, morally share my
second SJ with all my officers, CPOs and Sailors who made it possible for
us to sink first warship by a submarine torpedo since Second World War. I
owe profound gratitude to all my crew members for their loyalty,
dedication, hard work, professionalism and support given to me during the
How would you rate the performance of the Pakistan Navy in the 1971 war?
in mind the constraints Navy did well. We lost a destroyer and a
minesweeper while Indians lost KUKRI and damage to another Surface Ship.
Loss of submarine GHAZI was due to operational accident and Indians have
never claimed it as such.
of surface fleet to harbour after loss of PNS Khaiber by Indian missile
attack, however, did not go well with rank and file. It was not exactly a
morale booster. I am sure some more respectable way could have been found
to maintain the “fleet in
being” while remaining at sea. I appeared before Hamud-ur-Rahman
Commission and said so in answer to their query. I was a bit surprised
when released portion of HR report did not recommend any action against
those (mostly retired or dead) who were architects of this decision.
Did the Navy suffer as a service in the period 1958-71 because the country
was ruled by the army?
really. President Ayub got the first submarine (GHAZI) from the Americans
and also provided funds for procurement of three DAPHNE Class Submarines
from France. During General Zia’s time two AGOSTA Submarines were also
added to our fleet. Similarly Air Arm of Pakistan Navy has expanded during
Army rule. As a matter of
fact most of our Senior Helicopter Pilots did their training with the
Army. Actual issue is Army’s perception regarding role of Surface Ships.
It is not appreciated that surface ships are an essential part of any
three dimensional modern Navy. Sixteen million tons of liquid cargo alone
is imported for economic survival of the country and, therefore, going to
war by halting country’s economic activity is absurd.
Please tell us about your service profile from 1971 till retirement?
left Command of PNS/M HANGOR in February 1972 and after one year at NHQ as
Director of Submarine operations assumed duties as Commander Under Water
Forces. In 1974 I joined United States Naval War College at Newport and
graduated in 1975 after one year war course. On return to Pakistan I
became “Directing Staff” at the P.N. Staff College, Karachi. In 1976,
on promotion, I became Director Naval Operations and then Naval Secretary
at NHQ. From 1978 to 1981 I was posted at Paris as Defence, Army &
Naval Attache where I was also promoted Commodore. On return to Pakistan I
assumed Command of Gearing Class Surface Ship PNS TAIMUR and also
Commander Destroyer Squadron 25. Subsequently I was Commandant Navy Staff
College and from there I moved to Naval Headquarters as ACNS (Training).
In 1984 I was promoted to Rear Admiral and posted to NDC as first CI (ND)
a newly created post. It was at NDC (1984-87) that I met then Brig. Pervez
Musharraf and many of the other three stars recently retired or presently
serving. From 1987-88 I was Dy. Chief of Naval Staff (Personnel) at NHQ
and from there I went to Karachi to assume duties as Fleet Commander
(1988-1990). As Fleet Commander I was promoted to three stars. From 1990 -
1991, I was Commander Karachi. In November 1991, I became Chairman, PNSC
and the Chairman, Karachi Port Trust (KPT) from where I retired in
Please tell us something about your tenure as Chairman KPT?
question should be asked to Port Users for a final judgement. Suffice to
say that I took special interest in Port Development. World Bank put our
development projects in category “A”, a rare distinction for any
Pakistani organization. I handled labour unions at the Port with affection
and firmness. They cooperated and Port never closed for a day on account
of labour dispute.
What is the solution to the continuing Joint Warfare Higher Command
structure in Pakistan? The JSHQ has so far failed to function as an
effective higher headquarters and Joint Operations cannot be effectively
conducted by a country without an effective Higher Defence Organisation?
us agree that JSHQ has failed and it is a drain on National Exchequer.
Follow the Indian Model where each Service Chief acts in rotation as
Chairman JCSC with a small secretariat at his disposal.
The “submarine affair” has been a hot issue since the last six years.
How do you view it operationally, procedurally and institutionally, i.e
was the decision to buy the French Submarines in the best operational
interest of the Navy and how it has affected the Navy as an institution
the cost, kickbacks & commission etc. aside, I feel it was correct
decision to buy French Submarines for very valid reasons including
technical, weapons, and training continuity. My only observation is that
we should have “pushed hard” for a more discreet/durable Propulsion
It has been asserted in some quarters that the Navy had to bear the brunt
of the flak in defence deals simply because it was viewed as a service
which was less politically potent than the Army. Compare the Army deals
which have been equally controversial but have never been subjected to a
“Witch hunt” unlike the one conducted againsts Admiral Mansoorul Haq?
agree to the extent that every thing seems to be O.K. for the service
which spends 70% of the budget but nothing is right with spenders of
thirty percent. It beats all human logic.
It has been asserted by some Naval analysts (Commander Azam etc) that the
Indians can effectively block Karachi. How far is this correct?
can declare War Zones off Karachi and Balochistan Coast, sending a message
to foreign merchant ships that they enter these areas at their own risk
and foreign ships are liable to search by Indians for carrying ‘war
material’ to Pakistan. These two Indian intentions backed by visible
Indian Naval Force will discourage foreign merchant ships into our ports.
Also insurance and freight rates will go sky high. No foreign sailor will
risk his life for Pakistan and our own merchant marine can carry only
fraction of our vital cargo. Next step for Indian Navy would naturally be
to interdict merchant ships coming from Europe, Persian Gulf, Far East and
Africa. Therefore, we will probably survive if it is a short war of less
than 10 days. Anything longer, country’s economic activity will come to
a grinding halt and the rest I leave it to your judgement.
What future strategy do you propose for Pakistan in the Maritime/Naval
Arms of the Navy can be best compared with an aircraft where fuselage
represents the surface and each wing represents air and sub-surface Arm.
For the aircraft to be airworthy three elements must exist together. No
Navy can simply exist on submarines and aircraft. The future strategy
should be to undertake hightech build up for two offensive arms (Submarine
& Air) and go for a low cost midtech build up of the surface fleet. I
do not agree with our Nelsons for high cost ($ 300 million plus) surface
ships because no commander will risk their loss at sea and 1971 history
will repeat itself in “preserving” them by returning to harbour.
Merchant marine and ports/harbours add to marine to about 100 ships in
private sector according to a pragmatic/liberal shipping policy should
have taken place yesterday. Similarly Gwadar Port should have been
constructed twenty years ago.
Please tell us something about your present retired life and daily
am presently working as a Senior Executive Vice President for Shahzad
Group of Companies mostly dealing in oil and gas sector. We have
concessions in Sindh Province and have drilled four wells in collaboration
with other partners. By the grace of God we have found gas in three wells.
From the first well, we are supplying gas to Sui Southern since December
2000. I work 9 to 5, six days a week, frankly a bit harder than sometime
one works in the Navy. In Private Sector there is rest only after 5 p.m.,
therefore, I do miss my afternoon nap. Visiting fields in Sindh with
summer temperature soaring to above 45oC is tough but I remain busy and
keep fit by taking regular 4 miles jog/walk every alternate day.
Alhumdo-Lilla! I devote considerable time to our grandchildren whenever
they visit us, specially our 8-year-old granddaughter Shahzil who is very
intelligent and I took her to Governor House Lahore for a special
get-together of our course, 6th JSPTCS (9th PMA). She was thrilled to have
been photographed with Grand Father Governor Safdar and other surviving
Grand Fathers from our course.
What measures do you recommend to raise the morale of the Pakistan Navy in
the present scenario with one of the ex-naval chiefs being subjected to
legal proceedings in the USA?
of the Navy is the responsibility of the CNS and, therefore, this question
better be addressed to him. However, I would be less than honest if, as a
retired officer who has given best part of his life to the Navy, I
didn’t admit my own low morale on reading these headlines in the press.
The matter is under investigation and may be subjudice, therefore, one has
to be careful in his comments.
one former Naval Chief is under investigation, there are many former Naval
Chiefs who have during their tenure made significant contribution towards
building up the Navy. They have resigned on principle rather than continue
against their conscions. One even died in office while working extremely
hard for the service. They even today enjoy tremendous respect amongst
sailors and junior officers which is so visible during service functions.
So let us please see the positive side of it all.
The “Naval Mutiny of 1946” was an important event in our history. We
understand that many of its principal leaders were Muslims. Why is it that
this event has been totally ignored in Pakistan?
was eleven years old when the Naval mutiny took place in 1946. Someone
like Admiral Sharif would be more qualified to answer this question.
Which Head of State in your view had the finest understanding about the
importance of Navy/Maritime sector in Pakistan’s history?
Z. A. Bhutto no doubt. After 1971 he gave special attention to the Navy.
He came to NHQ to listen to us. After the presentation he gave a masterly
summing up in stating that defence of the country is to be seen in
totality encompassing land, sea and air and, therefore, we should see it
from supreme national angle and disregard narrow service thinking.
we also had at Naval Headquarters Captain K.H. Zia as Deputy Chief of
Naval Staff (Operations) who was one of the most intelligent officers that
I have served with. He had the vision to introduce Air to Surface Missiles
and the Air Platform, Maritime Headquarters and back up Surveillance and
Data/Communication System, integrated Command and Control and much more.
Notwithstanding his ulcers, impatience and short temper I rate him as one
of the finest officers that I have come across. Unfortunately, as always,
in his zeal to get on at break neck speed he caused annoyance and thus
became victim of service politics and intrigues. In Armed Forces under the
military law there is no dearth of valid rules/regulations to retire
someone prematurely if it is so desired. In premature retirement of
Captain Zia, Navy lost an outstanding officer and immense contribution he
would have made to the service.