Expelled by Mush, late Gen Alavi wanted to expose Taliban friends

Expelled by Mush, late Gen Alavi wanted to expose Taliban friends
The News, December 15, 2008
By Aamir Ghauri

LONDON: As if the Mumbai attacks last month were not headache enough for the Pakistan Government and its military, a British Sunday paper has claimed that Major-General (R) Faisal Alavi, a former head of Pakistan’s special forces knew he would be killed by his own comrades because he “threatened to expose Pakistani generals who made deals with Taliban militants”.

Writing in a damning report for the Sunday Times, Carey Schofield, a British author said that Faisal Alavi was murdered last month after he threatened to “furnish all relevant proof” about the two Pakistan army generals, in a letter to a senior most general of the army. The letter can be seen on the newspaper’s website but the names of the concerned generals have been blackened to conceal the identity. The author claimed that the deceased general had given her a copy of the letter once he was sure that the military leadership was not going to respond positively to it. “Aware that he was risking his life, he gave a copy to me and asked me to publish it if he was killed,” the author wrote. She said that Alavi told her in their last meeting at an Islamabad restaurant that his letter was a waste and he feared for his life. “It hasn’t worked,” he said. “They’ll shoot me.” He was killed within four days of the meeting when he was driving through Islamabad, the report said.

Ms Schofield, whose book on the Pakistan Army is due next year, said that Alavi - the brother-in-law of VS Naipaul, the British novelist and Nobel laureate - believed his sacking from the army for “conduct unbecoming” was a “mischievous and deceitful plot” and his letter was a final attempt to have his honour restored.

“Alavi believed he had been forced out because he was openly critical of deals that senior generals had done with the Taliban. He disparaged them for their failure to fight the war on terror wholeheartedly and for allowing Taliban forces based in Pakistan to operate with impunity against the British and other Nato troops across the border in Afghanistan,” the report said. “The entire purpose of this plot by these general officers was to hide their own involvement in a matter they knew I was privy to,” he wrote in the letter. He wanted an inquiry, at which “I will furnish all relevant proof/information, which is readily available with me”.

The author said she came to know of Alavi’s death when she was in South Waziristan, to see a unit from the Punjab Regiment. “It was early evening when I returned to divisional headquarters and switched on the television. It took me a moment to absorb the horror of the breaking news (of General Alavi’s death) running across the screen.”

She said the Pakistani media reports blamed militants, “although the gunmen used 9mm pistols, a standard army issue, and the killings were far more clinical than a normal militant attack”. She claimed that friends and family members were taken aback to be told by serving and retired officers alike that “this was not the militants; this was the army”. A great many people believed the general had been murdered to shut him up, she wrote.

The British author wrote that General Alavi — who had dual British and Pakistani nationality — was deeply unhappy about the way some elements of Pakistan Army were behaving in the fight against Taliban. “He told me how one general had done an astonishing deal with Baitullah Mahsud, the 35-year-old Taliban leader, now seen by many analysts as an even greater terrorist threat than Osama bin Laden.”She wrote: “According to Alavi, a senior Pakistani general came to an arrangement with Mahsud whereby - in return for a large sum of money - Mahsud’s 3,000 armed fighters would not attack the army”. The two senior generals named in Alavi’s letter were, according to the deceased general, in effect complicit in giving the militants free rein in return for refraining from attacks on the Pakistan Army, the newspaper report claimed. The report said while Alavi as the SSG head was seeking help from his British SAS counterparts to win the battle against terrorists, “His enemies were weaving a Byzantine plot, using an affair with a divorced Pakistani woman to discredit him.”

“Challenged on the issue, Alavi made a remark considered disrespectful to General Pervez Musharraf, the then president. His enemies played a recording of it to Musharraf and Alavi was instantly sacked. His efforts to clear his name began with a request that he be awarded the Crescent of Excellence [HI (M)], a medal he would have been given had he not been dismissed. Only after this was denied did he write the letter that appears to many to have sealed his fate,” the newspaper wrote.

However, a retired army general told The News that generally when any complaint is received against anyone in the army a process of probe is pursued that usually takes time. He said he knew that the army was probing the issue raised by Gen Alvi.

The retired general said it was part of an international conspiracy to damage the credibility of the army. He said such issues are taken on merit by the army and a set mechanism is followed. He said those casting doubts about the army were playing in the hands of those who wanted to damage the country’s integrity. The report said that if investigations eventually proved that Alavi was murdered at the behest of those he feared within the military, it might “prove a fatal blow to the integrity of the army he loved”.The newspaper report hinted at a possibility of British interest to investigate the killing of General Alavi. “James Arbuthnot, chairman of the defence select committee, and Lord Guthrie, former chief of the defence staff, were among those who expressed support this weekend for British help to be offered in the murder investigation.”

For original source of the article UK may help find Pakistani general's killers, click here
For details about Gen. Alvi's Death, click here

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