Ayub Khan says Bhutto misled him into 1965 war
May 1, 2007 - 4:25:11 PM

Islamabad, May 1 - Field marshal Ayub Khan, Pakistan's long-time president who ruled for much of the 1960s, has blamed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and generals around him for 'misleading' him into launching a military conflict with India in 1965.

Ayub writes in his diaries 'Friends Not Masters', being published this week, that he had been told that there was rebellion in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan could capture the disputed territory with the help of infiltrators.

Pakistan's second president, who passed away in 1974, has also said that he removed friend-turned-foe Bhutto, who was foreign minister, because he had begun to 'behave like Krishna Menon', India's leading diplomat-politician of that era.

Explaining at length why he fell out with Bhutto, Ayub said he had 'given a notice' to him at his Sindh home. He had to remove him 'because during last year or so, something perceptible went wrong with him'.

Ayub faced flak at home and abroad for having removed Bhutto because of the latter's anti-US and pro-China stance and allegations that American aid to Pakistan was linked to his removal.

But there was none of this, Ayub has said. Actually, Bhutto had begun to 'behave and speak irresponsibly' and was conducting 'his own foreign policy' with the help of a small group of trusted people in the foreign office.

Besides, 'he started drinking himself into a stupor and led a very loose life. It is a pity that a man of considerable talent went astray. I offered him a foreign assignment, but he was not interested', Ayub has written.

Details of who has edited the diaries and who is the publisher have not been mentioned by The News that carried the report Tuesday.

Bhutto had joined Pakistan's first president Iskandar Mirza's cabinet as commerce minister in 1958. After Ayub Khan took over in a bloodless military coup, Bhutto joined the cabinet as its youngest member and was the commerce minister. In 1963, he took over as foreign minister from Muhammad Ali Bogra.

The Sandhurst trained Ayub had written 'Friends Not Masters' while in office.

His diaries also detail how Soviet prime minister Alexie Kosygin had urged him to seek an elected office and make Pakistan a democracy and had offered to 'help' him. When Ayub said that he had clear plans of his own, Kosygin and his deputy Marshal Grechko were 'disappointed'.

This was in March 1969, when the anti-Ayub movement had gathered momentum. Ayub stepped down in favour of Yahya Khan later that year.

The Soviet Union and Pakistan had in July 1968 signed agreements under which the Soviets would supply Pakistan an array of military hardware.

'They met practically all our demands barring the bombers, which they refused to supply. They promised to give us 200 T 54 and T 55 tanks, 112 130 mm guns, 500 rocket launchers and convert our ships to taking ship to ship missiles.'

'As regards the aircraft, they offered to let us have as many MIG 21 and SU 7 as we wanted. For the first three items, the contract has been signed. The terms are easy. Ten years loan with two percent interest repayable in rupees,' Ayub records.

However, India had protested vehemently and ensured that Soviet-Pakistan military cooperation did not take off.

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