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* Who’re the two generals who killed V.S. Naipaul’s brother-in-law Gen. Faisal Alvi?
* Why British journalist Carey Schofield is hiding names of the accused generals?
By Habib R. Sulemani
Late Major-General Ameer Faisal Alvi.—image via Google
A CRIMINAL gang of serving generals of the Pakistan Army first humiliated then allegedly killed a fellow general who wanted to expose the gang’s involvement in terrorism—secret deals with the Taliban.
The assassinated officer, Major-General Ameer Faisal Alvi (1954-2008) is said to be a unique general of the Pakistan Army who considered himself a professional soldier not a power-broker.
General Faisal Alvi was the brother-in-law of British writer Sir V. S. Naipaul who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001. Lady Nadira Naipaul, sister of General Alvi, was a glamorous journalist in Pakistan. Her column, Letter from Bahawalpur, used to appear in a daily English language newspaper of Lahore. However, she left the profession and country after her marriage to the Trinidad-born British writer in 1996.
General Faisal Alvi was a former chief of the Special Services Group (commonly known as SSG or commandos). He had joined the Pakistan Army in 1974 and was forcefully retired in 2005.
Two colleagues reportedly played the traditional dirty espionage game. They made a sex scandal about General Faisal Alvi and the wife of a junior officer. Then they secretly recorded General Alvi’s remarks about the then President General Musharraf—when the despot military dictator heard it, he gave General Alvi the sack without more ado.
When the current Army Chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, took over in 2007, General Alvi wrote a ‘confidential letter’ to him — the new King of the Islamic Republic — exposing the alleged conspiracy of his colleague generals. (At the end of this email)
The three-page letter is a historic document which shows the sick culture within the ranks of the Pakistan Army. The letter speaks louder than the many engineered books on the so-called inside stories of the Pakistan Army. It shows what an almighty general feels when he retires—probably a fish out of water!
After reading this letter, one can understand the politics of military awards and after-retirement-lucrative-civilian-jobs—in particular vice-chancellorship of government-run universities at home and ambassadorial positions abroad (this could be solid reason for the destruction of our education system and visionless foreign policy).
General Alvi’s letter shows how helpless civilians are in the militarized and Talibanized nation-sate.
Sir V. S. Naipaul with wife Lady Nadira Naipaul.
It’s said that General Kayani mysteriously kept silent as Dawn newspaper dubs him the silent soldier. When General Alvi didn’t get any response from the Army Chief (General Kayani has not responded to my letter either for the last 15 months), he smelt threat to his life and gave a copy of the letter to a British journalist, Carey Schofield.
"It hasn’t worked, they’ll shoot me," General Alvi reportedly told Ms. Schofield.
The Pakistani General obviously trusted a British journalist than a scribe in the militarized and Talibanized media of Pakistan. But General Alvi didn’t know that the self-styled independent journalist/writer (Ms. Schofield) would breach his trust—was it for the big bucks or something else? Let’s discuss it later in this blog post.
Anyway, as predicted, on November 19, 2008, General Alivi along with his driver was shot dead in Rawalpindi. In a typical action, the authorities immediately blamed the Taliban and al-Qaeda for the assassination, and picked some former military-officials-turned-militants according to the written script—but later they were set free for “lack of evidence" as it happened in the assassination case of Minority Minister Shahbaz Bhatti recently.
The British government just paid lip service! Unfortunately, the literary circles, especially in the West, didn’t take notice of this gruesome murder of a relative of a Nobel Laureate. May be thinking: the bloody civilians have no right to meddle in the affairs of a militarized Islamic country—it’s the Murder of a General by Generals (I’ve no plans to write a novel with this title currently. From solitary confinement, I can write blogs only).
General Alvi’s daughter, Mehvish Zahra Alavi, bravely defended her father when the callous multi-million cyber propaganda brigade of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) started character assassination campaign against the assassinated General in the media, saying that the late General was not a practicing Muslim, lacked patriotism, was a drunkard, womanizer and gangster. It was perhaps an effort to dilute the anger of the people especially the SSG commandos who loved General Faisal Alvi as a true commander.
To divert the attention of the public, the rumor-mills of the ISI and MI spread their outdated conspiracy theories regarding the assassination of General Alvi. They didn’t forget their pet trick of involving family members, friends or neighbors in an assassination besides the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
The touts of the agencies said that family members of General Alvi were involved in his assassination as he was “morally corrupt” and his wife was not living with him (the secret agencies have done it recently in Supreme Court judge Justice Javed Iqbal’s parents’ gruesome murder besides the assassinations of Senator Habib Jalib Baloch, Gilgit-Baltistan MLA Saifur Rehman and many others).
Army Chief Gen. Kayani, right, with ISI chief Gen. Pasha
Ms. Alvi, besides writing for the Jang Group, also defended her father very bravely in the cyberspace. She seemed like a lioness fighting for life among a hungry group of hyenas.
“My father had no one in Pakistan Army to favor him. He came as a boy from another country (British national). He made it to the rank of a Maj-General all due to his own hard work, no one helped him. Unfortunately, even in the military there is politics at the higher level. That is something you have no control over,” the daughter of General Faisal Alvi reacted in the cyberspace during a discussion (archived here).
"I do not know who killed him (General Alvi) but yes the weapons were 9mm military weapons. And from what I have heard the attackers came into the car to make sure he was dead. Normal bullets could not kill my father. He was shot three times in the brain too. There were numerous witnesses to the incident yet how come no one has come forward to identify the attackers. No one will. Everyone is scared."
Everyone is scared and terrorized in Pakistan. This is the reason that Ms. Alvi couldn’t continue her fight for justice in the lawless Islamic Republic.
After General Alvi’s assassination, Carey Schofield wrote in The Sunday Times that the General was murdered "after threatening to expose Pakistani Army generals who had made deals with Taliban militants.” General Alavi had “named two generals in a letter to the head of the Army. He warned that he would ‘furnish all relevant proof’. Aware that he was risking his life, he gave a copy to me (Ms. Schofield) and asked me to publish it if he (General Alvi) was killed.”
The real story starts from here.
There are three basic questions to ponder over this typical Pakistan-style assassination:
1. Who’re the two generals whom General Faisal Alvi feared they would shoot him?
2. Why Ms. Schofield dishonored General Alvi’s will and hid names of the accused generals?
3. What compelled a Westerner to breach the trust of the Dead General—editorial policy of the British newspaper, pressure from the Pakistan Army or just self-interest—an opportunity to make quick bucks?
A description of Ms. Schofield’s latest book, Inside the Pakistan Army, says: "Having spent five years so closely embedded in the Pakistan Army that they (the Army) even had a uniform made for her (Ms. Schofield)."
It says a lot!
Now again the questions:
1. Did Ms. Schofield hide the names of the accused generals (who may have served her as typical hosts) for personal gain to be near the Pakistan Army and complete her book?
2. Did Ms. Schofield barter General Alvi’s letter for her book on the Pakistan Army unscrupulously?
3. Ms. Schofield refused to give a copy of General Alvi’s letter to his daughter, Ms. Alvi, who says: "I contacted her (Ms. Schofield) asking a copy of the letter. She agreed but then refused." Why?
In the past, Pakistani generals have commissioned many western journalists and writers, especially female, for writing engineered reports and books as a part of their media war (ground battles have become an impossible thing for the commercialized and politicized generals in Pakistan).
Slain journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad had hinted on the dangers from the ISI in emails and it has taken the country by storm. In his letter, General Alvi has taken names of the accused serving generals with details but shamelessly, the so-called independent journalist (Ms. Schofield) is hiding the names even after three years of the murder.
After the assassinations of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Governor Salman Taseer, Minority Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, General Faisal Alvi and elderly parents of a serving Supreme Court judge, Justice Javed Iqbal, people have been demanding independent investigation into the heinous crimes.
And after the recovery and killing of Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan and attack on the Naval base… the 180 million people of Pakistan are now demanding accountability of the military that failed to defend the country although it digests 80 percent of the annual budget.
Ms. Schofield’s revelation of the names of the accused generals can bring positive changes in the terror-hit country. And this would also affect the U.K. and rest of the world positively. Global leaders especially the U.S. should realize that there is no way but to bring the brains behind global terrorism to justice. Deals will never work in the long run!
What is the truth? It couldn’t remain hidden for a long time in this cyber age as the global scenario is rapidly changing. Ms. Schofield’s book has been published. Therefore, now, the Pakistani people expect that she would make the unedited letter of General Faisal Alvi public. It’s an opportunity for her to make her conscience clear! An intellectually dishonest person can’t get peace of mind despite successes in the world.
Alavi was born in Kenya as British national. He belonged to the Awan tribe of Pakistan. In 1966 at the age of 12, he came to Pakistan to study at Abbottabad Public School where he studied from 1966–1971. Out of his love and zeal for the military he renounced his British nationality. He got his Pakistani citizenship when he wrote to then President of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to be granted citizenship in order to be able to join the Pakistan Army. He thus renounced his British nationality to join Pakistan Army. He was commissioned in the 49th PMA Long Course in 1974 in the 26th Cavalry Regiment of the Armoured Corps.