Navy Chief, Admiral Fasih Bokhari breaks his Mandatory Silence
“Musharraf had decided to
Topple Nawaz much before Oct 12”
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan former Naval Chief, Admiral Fasih Bokhari,
who suddenly resigned a week before the Oct 12 coup in 1999, says
he knew about General Musharraf’s plans to topple Nawaz
Sharif and did not want to be part of these “Dirty Games”.
by Admiral Bokhari come exactly three years after his resignation.
He told this correspondent now he was free to speak because the
minimum term to stay quiet after leaving the Navy job had been
resigned on October 5, 1999, a week before Musharraf’s coup
of Oct 12 because I had come to know that he had decided to topple
the Sharif government,” Adm Bokhari said in Islamabad after
he had attended an SDPI seminar on the plight of the Okara tenants
and the role of the Army in evicting them from their lands.
why in his view Gen Musharraf wanted to topple Nawaz Sharif, Adm
Bokhari said: “Because he feared he will have to face a
court martial for masterminding the Kargil (debacle).”
rang him up and told him that I was resigning. I could have stayed
for another five months. He asked me not to resign. I said that
I don’t want to embarrass him. Because he was junior to
me. He used to call me Sir. He said that I should resign but say
after two months. I said no and insisted that I wanted to resign
and he agreed,” the former Navy Chief said.
also disclosed that immediately after his resignation, two former
generals came to him, probably sent by General Musharraf. “When
I had resigned, one day General Talat Masood rang me up. He said
he wanted to see me along with Sahibzada Yaqub Ali Khan. I said
come on. They came and sought my views. I told them that Musharraf
should not have done this (the coup). He would regret it and would
not have an exit strategy. The best for him would be to leave
as soon as possible and seek a solution like (former COAS General)
Abdul Waheed Kakar. They said why don’t I share this with
Musharraf. I said I had no intention. They said could they tell
this to him. I said go ahead.”
went to him and told him what I was saying. Musharraf greeted
them and said he wanted them,
otherwise it would be difficult for him to run the show. Musharraf
massaged their ego. He offered one the post of member PAC (General
Talat Masood). And promised to send other as his special emissary,
which he did.”
Bokhari says he did not want to become “part of this dirty
game. I am happy to have resigned.”
has been slowly becoming politically active but now he seems ready
to take up the job full time, as evident from his participation
in the campaign against the Okara tenants and his occasional remarks
to the Press in the past.
August this year Bokhari addressed a seminar in Islamabad and
called for “ending confrontational politics and pursuing
policies that could empower the citizens and ensure consumer rights,”
carefully worded words for anyone to begin his political career.
spoke at the Centre for Technology and Policy Analysis (CENTPA),
a newly established think tank, which held a meeting on 'Defining
a Strategy for Political and Electoral Reforms in Pakistan' at
the Imperial Institute of Technology. The meeting, presided over
by him brought together various stakeholders in Pakistan's democratic
process including representatives of two major political parties,
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People's Party
(PPP), international donors like the UNDP, Friedrich Naumann Stiftung
(FNS), Hans Siedel Foundation and National Democratic Institute
for International Affairs (NDI).
also emerged as a strong proponent of people’s right to
access information on allocation of resources. He has been urging
political parties to announce their plans regarding financial
allocations prior to the elections in October.
ardent supporter of greater transparency, he says, it would not
only empower the people but also limit the manipulative capacity
of the vested interests.
even mentioned transparency in decision making while handing over
the scroll to the new Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Abdul Aziz
Mirza, shortly after his resignation.
there is any contribution that I am asked to single out during
my tenure, it would the transparency in decision making. The difference
between a good and a bad process of decision making is transparency
and wide participation. Wider participation leads to more rational
decisions,” he said at the handing over ceremony.
Admiral Fasih Bokhari retired after four decades of service in
the Pakistan Navy. He graduated from the Pakistan Naval Academy
in 1959, the Royal Naval College (Dartmouth) in 1962, and the
French Naval War College in 1975. He commanded submarines, destroyers,
a Destroyer Division, a Submarine Squadron, and the Pakistan Navy
held senior staff billets in the Operations, Personnel, and Supply
Branches at the Naval Headquarters. He saw active service in the
Indo-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971. His foreign assignments include
submarine acquisition in France, Destroyer acquisition in the
USA, submarine training in Turkey, and as the Senior Pakistan
Navy Officer in Saudi Arabia.
He is known to be a supporter of peace with India and even adversaries
recognize that. Indian Navy Admiral (retd) J G Nadkarni recently
wrote that Pakistan had sensible mariners in decision-making positions
who were keen to have agreements with the Indian Navy.
“Admiral Fasih Bokhari, Pakistan's naval chief from 1997
to 1999, was a great proponent of maritime co-operation with India
and believed that it would benefit both countries,” the
Indian Admiral wrote.
He also mentioned that Indian Admirals Vishnu Bhagwat and Sushil
Kumar had also been keen to bring about greater co-operation between
the two navies. “The ingredients are all there. It now requires
only a final push to see some sort of preliminary maritime co-operation
agreement, which may bring an era of peace and prosperity at sea
between the two counties,” he wrote.
The bottom line is that Admiral Fasih Bokhari is now going to
be a new rising star on the Pakistani political scene and he had
excellent credentials to take up the challenge.
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