04 December, 2020

Ayub And The Fog Of '65

Let alone India's war plans, did Ayub Khan even know of Bhutto's strategy?

Ayub And The Fog Of '65
I was saving the conversation with Gohar Ayub, son of the Pakistan president and martial law administrator Mohammed Ayub Khan, for my autobiography. Now that Gohar has made public part of what he told me, I feel I should be saying all. Gohar used to live in a palatial house in the suburbs of Abbottabad in the North West Frontier Province. This was where he hosted a lunch for me. Mushahid Husain, then the editor of Muslim, had arranged it. I remember the day distinctly because I heard about the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi at Gohar's house. He spoke about her only for a while and that too cursorily. He was keen to tell me something which was not complimentary to our armed forces. His story was that our armour had chinks. I was sure it had.

But I was taken aback when he said that a copy of topmost secret papers from India's military headquarters would be "with us before they reached Nehru's table". The Indian military headquarters and its prime minister's office were located in the South Block—as they still are. Those days you could talk through corridors from...


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