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US eliminated my father, charges Zia’s daughter

By Khalid Hasan

General Ziaul Haq was eliminated by the United States with help from elements from within Pakistan, including military personnel, according to the former military leader’s daughter Mrs Rubina Salim.

In a lengthy interview given to Afaq Khayali, editor of weekly Pakistan Post, New York, the former President’s daughter, married to a Pakistani banker, who has lived in the United States since 1980, claimed that she knew who played what role in her father’s death in 1988 in an air crash over Bahawalpur. Asked if she would like to identify the murderers, she said, “Our father’s murderers were the very people who came to rule (Pakistan) later.” Asked if she meant Ms Benazir Bhutto, she replied, “Benazir was included and there were several others whom I cannot name one by one.” Pressed as to why she was hesitating to name others when she had named Ms Bhutto, she said, “According to my estimate, rather my information, or whatever we have come to know, a large number of military people were also involved.” When reminded that one of the persons often named was former Gen Asad Durrani, she answered, “Yes, that is so, and he was involved and perhaps he knows that too. A friend of mine said to me, ‘So now it is known who were responsible,’ to which I said, ‘You have come to know now; we have known that from the beginning.’”

When asked why her brother Ijaz-ul-Haq, who had vowed to find and identify his father’s killers, had failed to do so, she answered that he had his “political difficulties.” Pressed again to name names, she said, “After his (her father’s) death, Ijaz-ul-Haq and Gen, Akhtar Abdul Rehman’s sons came here to sue the US government because the administration of the time was involved, had a hand in it, but how can you fight a power so big as (the United States)?” She added, “Everyone in Pakistan knows; you can ask any Pakistani and he will tell you who the people involved (in the murder) were.” When told by the interviewer that another name that had often come up was that of Gen Mirza Aslam Beg, though later he had been cleared, she remarked, “Those names have already come up.” She also said that it was right to suspect Gen Beg as some people had done initially. When reminded that Gen Beg was no longer one of the suspects, she said, “Why not his name? I have a tape, his (her father’s) last tape, the Bahawalpur one. You should listen to that tape carefully. He invited Gen Beg to travel back with him as he had invited the American ambassador to do so. Because he knew what was going to happen to him, but...”

Asked if Gen Zia knew that he was going to die, Mrs Salim answered, “Yes, absolutely, he knew but since he was a ‘Fauji Musalmaan’, he was not afraid. He said God’s will be done. He invited Mirza Aslam Beg to accompany him in his plane but Beg sahib told him point blank that he had his own aircraft and he would return alone.” Had the American ambassador also refused, she was asked? She answered, “He was not due to come with him (Gen Zia) either as his own aircraft was parked there as well. It was all his doing.” Did that mean, she was asked, if the American ambassador had committed suicide? Mrs Salim’s answer to that was, “Yes, he was going to commit suicide. Where these people’s interest in involved, they feel no compunction about getting their own killed. It makes no difference … If you have to do something for your country and nation, and you have been trained for that purpose, you will, of course, do what you are asked to do. (We) tried very hard to meet the American ambassador’s wife (Mrs Raphel) but America did not allow anyone to meet her. And to date no one has been allowed to meet her. America has employed her in its State Department and that is where she works.”

When asked why the United States would wish to kill Gen Ziaul Haq, Mrs Salim replied, “The reason was that Ziaul Haq’s job was done and America had won the Afghanistan war and Russia had been expelled from there. America was now a superpower which had been its ambition.” Another reason she gave in a later answer as to why the US wished to eliminate Gen Ziaul Haq was that he was working for an “Islamic bloc” which would have made the Islamic world strong, something the United States did not want. She also said that if her father’s wishes had been carried out and the Geneva Accords on Afghanistan had not been signed, the world would not be facing the problems it was facing now in Afghanistan and the region.


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