On Sharif-ud-Din Peerzada
ISLAMABAD: Late Field Marshal Ayub Khan had a very bad opinion of Sharifuddin Pirzada and summed him up as a man “very suspicious by nature”, who “is frightened of taking a definite stand on any issue”.
As the foreign minister Pirzada turned out to be an utter disappointment for Ayub, who accused him of making purposeless foreign visits and running a personal foreign policy instead of Pakistan’s.
Field Marshal Ayub Khan has given Pirzada’s profile in his personal diaries, which are set to be launched on Friday in book form published by the Oxford University Press.
Ayub gives his candid opinion about his contemporaries, various heads of state and discloses a number of secrets in these diaries, which cover the period between September 1966 and November 1972.
For example, Ayub repented his decision of appointing Pirzada as foreign minister and gave solid arguments in defence of his disliking for the man who is currently serving the country’s fourth military-led government. He was very critical of Pirzada’s personality and did not consider him a reliable person.
“I am getting concerned about Mr Pirzada, our foreign minister,” says Ayub’s diary note of August 31, 1967. He has not proved much of a success, it says. “He is on the run in foreign ministries most of the time and often purposelessly,” the diary note says.
“Very suspicious by nature,” Ayub noted about Pirzada. “Has hardly any communication with the staff,” the note added. “Chases small things most of the time and is frightened of taking a definite stand on any issue. There is also suspicion that he is not above telling a lie. So I am in a fix as to what to do with him,” Ayub wrote in his diaries.
But Ayub could not resist and finally burst out at Pirzada on September 5, 1967. It was Tuesday, when Ayub called and reprimanded Pirzada for his failings in discharging his duties.
“I told Mr Pirzada what I expect of him as foreign minister. He is a sensitive man and will probably take it to hear, but it was my duty to point out his failings in time so that he can correct himself,” Ayub wrote about his meeting with Pirzada. “I do not want him to go to the other point of no return as Bhutto did,” Ayub wrote in Tuesday night’s diary.
“The trouble with these people is that they begin to run personal foreign policy. This cannot be allowed. What we have to do is to run the foreign policy of Pakistan,” Ayub said.
It was Thursday, September 28, 1967, when Ayub Khan finally decided to show Pirzada the door.
During his visit to Lahore, Ayub met his law minister (also a professional rival of Pirzada), SM Zafar. “I met the law minister, who is in Lahore, and told him that he should arrange for the present attorney-general to make way for Mr Pirzada, our foreign minister. I think he will do better in that capacity. Meanwhile, I shall take over the Foreign Ministry myself and make Fida Hassan (Ayub’s principal secretary) do the running around when needed,” Ayub said.
Pirzada was finally shown the door on Friday, April 26, 1968. “Appointment of Mr Arshad Hussain as foreign minister in place of Mr Pirzada was announced today. Mr Pirzada will go back as the attorney-general for which he is more suited. I have great hopes in Arshad Hussain. I hope he makes a success. He has the family background, education and experience to do so. At any rate, he was very effective as our high commissioner in Delhi under difficult circumstances,” his Friday’s diary note said.