General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan
Although this book is about General Yahya Khan’s personal trajectory in the Pakistan Army, yet it most importantly offers a historical insight into key political events from 1947 to 1971. The author, popularly regarded as Yahya Khan’s important PR-man, throws new light on the 1965 war and the still mysterious change in command in mid-offensive during that war; Yahya Khan’s take-over of power from Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan; army action and surrender in East Pakistan, and other issues considered contentious to-date. Moreover, this book offers an analysis on the Pakistan Army’s ideological positioning—in its Introduction, ‘The Pakistan Army and an Anatomy of Jihad’—throughout these years which help us understand the nature of armed conflicts within and without, the infiltration of the jihadi ethos against conventional professionalism of the army, as protectors of the homeland.
While most of the failings in the higher military and political command and that of the civil servants and politicians, of that time are well-known, and covered in a number of retrospective books, memoirs, and the Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report, this book holistically questions and analyses those alleged failings since the author presents his first-hand, objective account as a witness to essential developments in 1965 and 1971 wars and the events leading to both periods. Therefore, as an former Army PRO, Brigadier Siddiqi’s is an inside account and he does not hesitate to speak his mind.
Brigadier A.R. Siddiqi (retd.) joined the military PR (ISPR) as a Captain in 1950, rising to the rank of Brigadier in 1970, and retiring on 30 September 1973. As a columnist he worked for Dawn, The Nation, The Daily Times, and Business Recorder. He launched and published the Defence Journal in 1975, and was its executive editor until 1997. He is the author of The Military in Pakistan: Image and Reality (Vanguard, 1996), East Pakistan: The End Game (OUP, 2004), Partition and the Making of the Mohajir Mindset (OUP, 2008), and Smoke without Fire: Memoirs of Old Delhi (Aakar Books, 2011). He is the recipient of the Republic Medal (1956), Pakistan Defence Medal with Kashmir Clasp (1965), Sitara-e-Khidmat (1970), and the War Medal (1971).