Dr Afzal Mirza

Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Studied in Govt. College, Lahore, Punjab University,Peshawar University & Zagreb University(Croatia). Started writing when in 7th class. Wrote prose & poetry,Have published writings in almost every Pakistani Urdu & English magazine and newspaper,held important positions in many literary and professional organizations. worked as a teacher, research scientist and industrial management professional, In the words of Arthur Miller I have always felt as being temporary. That is why there was no significant achievement.

Monday, February 27, 2006


D.H. Lawrence, whose life was marked by volatile loves and disappoinments, was the prototype of many of his fictional characters

By Dr Afzal Mirza

David Herbert Lawrence, known to the world as D.H.Lawrence, had unusual experiences as a child and a young man that drew him into introversion and restlessness. Born to a coal miner, Arthur Lawrence, D.H. Lawrence never liked his father because he was either doing his work or boozing and never spent any time with the family. He was excessively drawn to his mother, an ex-school teacher, who looked after him alone, and David, too, became the sole focus of her affection . When David's elder brother expired. David's father outlived his mother but their relations remained the same throughout their lives.
David had a sickly childhood that kept him in and out of school. Tall and blond and frail, he was not unattractive but he kept himself to himself and did not play with other boys, who generally jeered at him. Thus a feeling of loneliness developed in him that brought him nearer to the muse than to human company.
That is the period when he really worked hard and won a scholarship to go to high school, becoming the second miner's son from the county ever to go to a high school. Having finished school, he found a job in a surgical goods factory and, for the first time, he got the taste of the world outside the shelter of home.
His biographer, John Worthen, writes an incident in the factory that had deep impact on his Lawrence's psyche. "The work girls at Haywoods (factory) shocked him with the stories of their boyfriends and they soon did rather more. They set on him one lunch break and attempted to remove his trousers -- a time-honored rite of passage for new employees. Lawrence set about those girls with teeth, hoof and claw. In rage he could be a very demon." After the incident Lawrence did not like to work in the factory and tried to find other means of earning a livelihood. The other job he undertook was that of a teacher something of which his mother also approved. His experience as a teacher is expressed in his novel 'The Rainbow'. A teacher May Chambers, three years older than him, once told him, "you seem like a girl sometimes." But later on he became friendly with her. At her house he met Jessie Chambers, the younger sister of May, and had his first love affair with her. To her Lawrence showed the poems that he had started writing when he was still in high school. With her he discussed all the writers that they both enjoyed reading, including George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, Thackeray, Dickens, Balzac and Flaubert.
To get his teacher's certificate Lawrence had to attend a training college but he did not have the means. So he appeared in King's Scholarship examination, in which he excelled, and decided to go to Nottingham University College. It is at this stage that he started writing his first novel, then called 'Laetitia' but published later as 'The White Peacock'.
After finishing training college Lawrence started his career as an elementary teacher at Croydon. The salary of the teacher was not enough for him, so writing was a necessary to him to make a living . Before he started publishing his works he once commented that "I feel as if I stood like a naked slave in the market under the glances of a crowd of fools safely swathed in stupidity." And when his work was published he said, "I lie exposed and quiveringly vulnerable in print." While he shifted to Nottingham College his mother was diagnosed of cancer. When she died in 1912, he wrote to a friend, "She was my first great love. She was a wonderful, rare woman, as strong and steadfast and generous as the sun. She could be as swift as a white whip-lash and as kind and gentle as warm rain and as steadfast as the irreducible earth beneath us."
Frieda entered his life after the death of his mother. She was the German wife of his professor in Nottingham College, older than him and a mother of three children. She came from the German aristocracy. Her brother was the famous Red Baron of Germany. Blond, buxom and bored by her marriage to Lawrence's tutor Ernest Weekely, she had enjoyed many affairs while holidaying in Germany, long before the long and tall Lawrence appeared in their home to keep an appointment. Meanwhile, Lawrence had had a couple of affairs after breaking up with Jessie. However, his intellectual friendship with her had persisted and he continued to send her his poems and writings.
Initially Frieda was not serious in her affair with Lawrence and she told her daughter that "all she expected from this striking young man was 'an affair and no more'". Worthen writes that "For Lawrence, Frieda really was the woman of a lifetime; within a few days he told her she was the 'most wonderful woman in all England.'.But although Frieda was attracted to him and eventually found herself in love with him, she had not the least intention of leaving her husband or children... ". But when the affair became known, Frieda's father, Friedrich von Richtofen, commented that "the last thing he wanted was Frieda mixed up with an 'ill-bred, common, penniless lout.'" When she left England for her hometown Metz with Lawrence, he had just eleven pounds in his pocket. In Germany, being unacceptable to Frieda's parents, they lived at different places and Lawrence worked on his novel 'Paul Morel', which appeared at a later time under the name of 'Sons and Lovers'. After completing his novel he sent it to the publisher. In its foreword he spelled out his literary philosophy. "My great religion is a belief in the blood, the flesh as being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds. But what our blood feels and believes and says is always true."
Getting a divorce from her husband, Frieda married Lawrence and they returned to England. In 1914, the First World War had started and life in Europe had become difficult. Frieda's German background did not make it easier for them. Lawrence openly opposed the war. In 1915 he wrote, "War finished me; it was the spear through the side of all sorrows and hopes." When he would go out singing German songs with Frieda the war-hit Britons would consider it unpatriotic. It is during this period of despair and darkness that Lawrence got inspiration from a Hebrew hymn entitled 'Rannani' and invented 'Rananim' or 'The Island', a Utopian concept of communal life at some place far way from England. He planned it together with John Middleton Murry, the husband of writer Katherine Mansfield, and tried many a time to give it practical shape. During that period he became friendly with Cynthia Asquith and Bertrand Russell, especially the later, who saw in Lawrence a man gifted with startling insight and invited him to develop a course at Cambridge, but after some time both parted ways due to Lawrence blaming Russell "of having a contradictory nature". Then in autumn 1915 his book 'The Rainbow' was attacked in reviews calling for 'suppressing the book as it could inflame public morality'. The book was tried under the Obscene Publications Act 1857 and the magistrate ordered the book's destruction.
Lawrence was disheartened with his literary setbacks, but amazingly he continued writing with the same zeal. Sometimes he had to write and rewrite his books. His health was not so good since childhood. His life with Frieda was also not very pleasant and there were violent fights between the two. After the war was over they again moved to Europe, shuttling between Germany and Italy. Then in 1922 they undertook a journey to Ceylon and, disliking its hot and humid weather, moved onwards to Australia. From there they sailed to San Francisco and then moved to New Mexico where he chose Taos to live, where he wrote his novel 'The Plumed Serpent'. After a bit of travelling in America they returned to Europe in 1925. The thin red-bearded Lawrence had showed symptoms of tuberculosis in New Mexico but had never seriously tried to get himself cured of this disease.
'Lady Chatterley's Lover' kept him occupied from October 1926 to the publication of its third version in 1928. The book, published in unexpurgated form in England in 1960, altered his reputation permanently. It earned him more money than he had made in his entire career. The inspiration for the book had been derived from his own situation at that time. According to Worthen: "He was all the characters. Due to his liberating relationship with an older and experienced partner he knew Constance's situation very well. He was also Mellors, the working class man who moved into middle class but felt at home nowhere. And he was Clifford the writer, the husband now no longer feeling desire, prepared for his wife to have an affair with another man." The fact is that when Lawrence was down with tuberculosis Frieda had developed a relationship with Ravgali, a former army man depicted as Mellors in Lady Chatterley's Lover. Frieda lived with Lawrence until his death at the age of 44 in Vence (France) on March 3, 1930. One of Lawrence's friends, Aldous Huxley, and his wife Maria Huxley, comforted him as he lay dying and paid for his friend's burial. Frieda went to America with Ravgali in 1931 and in 1934 published an extremely moving book about her life with Lawrence. She died in 1956.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Dr Afzal Mirza

Ezra Pound’s biographer David Heyman writes of the poet’s predicament at the time of fall of Italy in these words,” Then on April 28,1945 Pound’s universe crumbled completely. Benito Mussolini attempting to escape was caught and killed on the shore of Lake Como by angered partisans…. A day or two later without firing a shot the Americans occupied Rapallo. The next day they came for him. They were not Americans but communist partigiani. There were two of them both armed with Tommy guns. The poet, his Legge Four Books opened wide on the desk, was working on a translation of the Book of Mencius. Olga Rudge had gone into town to buy the paper. Dorothy Pound was paying the weekly visit to Ezra’s aging mother in Rapallo. Rumor has it that the gun butts sounded twice against the door. Pound went to open. Ezra slipped the Confucius and the Chinese dictionary into his pocket and left the keys with the girl who lived on the first floor. He preceded the two men down the winding mountain trail to a waiting car. He was handcuffed and driven away.” Thus one of the most remarkable poets of the twentieth century who coined the term Imagism was driven away and handed to the Counter Intelligence Center Genoa for interrogation. What Pound said during those investigations is still buried in the archives of the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. but he was moved to Detention Training Center Pisa. This is the town of Italy known for the famous leaning tower of Pisa. In the Center the war criminals mostly murderers and rapists who were about to be executed were detained in iron cages. Pound’s cage was tenth at the end. Pound called his cage “gabbia” gorilla cage. It was six by six and a half feet. A tarpaper roof provided little shelter from sun or rain. By night a special reflector shed glaring light onto his cage alone. He slept on the cold cement floor and ate the meager food once a day. His toilet was a tin can. For three weeks he was kept in the cage. He couldn’t stand the strain and collapsed. He lost his memory and became extremely thin and weak. Then he was taken out of the cage and lodged in a large tent in the medical part of the camp. Impressed by his fame as a poet, the medical staff allowed him to use the type writer of the dispensary. On it he typed his poetry—the Cantos that became his identity.
and there was a smell of mint under the tent flaps
especially after the rain
and a white ox on the road towards Pisa
as if facing the tower….
(Canto LXXIV)
He wrote as if he would not survive the experience, as if he expected to be shot at any time. In the meantime his friends in States started a bid to trace him and get him freed. Six months after his imprisonment the poet was handcuffed and flown from Rome to Washington. As he stepped from the plane photographers and reporters clustered around him on the airport.It reminded of the days before the beginning of the World War II when in 1939 he had returned to the United States his home country from Italy.
Born in Hailey, Idaho, Ezra Pound studied at the University of Pennsylvania for his Masters degree. Cutting short his teaching career as an instructor at Wabash College Indiana in 1908, he set sail for Europe and stayed in Venice for several months. He liked this city of canals with its rich heritage of art and history. He wrote here several poems and compiled his first book of poetry. But after several months pecuniary problems drove him to London. Finally settling in London, he met his hero, W. B. Yeats and befriended many literary personalities who were yet the beginners. The leading literary figures of that period were James, Conrad, Hardy and H.G. Wells --all stars of fiction and Shaw in theatre. Between 1908 and 1911 he published six collections of verse, most of it dominated by a passion for Provençal and early Italian poetry. Modernizing his style, he launched the Imagist movement in 1912, advocating concreteness, economy, and free verse. The range and brilliance of Pound's contacts in all the arts convinced him that London was to be the centre of a new Renaissance. He cast himself in the role of an editor contributing to Yeats's mature style, discovering and promoting Joyce and Eliot.
Attracted to Mussolini by his energy and his promises of monetary reform, Pound naïvely assumed that the Italian leader could be persuaded to put Douglas's theory into practice. At first, the main target of Pound's attacks was 'usury', which he depicted (e.g. in Canto 45) as an unnatural force that polluted the creative instinct in humanity. By about 1930 the usurers he condemned were usually Jews. In the later 1930s Pound devoted much of his energy to defending fascism and trying to avert war. In 1939 he had returned to the United States as a self-styled peace broker in a bid to prevent the war to happen Then he was in his mid-fifties and had already made a name as a poet and a literary figure in the circle of W.B.Yeats, T.S.Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Ernest Hemingway. E.E.Cummings and others. His friends advised him not to express his political views in America but restrict himself to economic field. The foremost question in every one’s mind was; would there be a war? He met the press at the harbor and his defense of Mussolini and his policies and remarks about contemporary writers and books raised a furor. “I regard the literature of social significance as of no significance. It is pseudo-pink blah.” He told everywhere that Mussolini represented the only logical answer to bourgeois materialism and Marxist determinism. He painted a pessimistic picture of the future of United States and his friend Carlos William wrote later,” The man is sunk, in my opinion, unless he can shake the fog of fascism out of his brain during the next few years which I seriously doubt that he can do.” He left again for Italy leaving behind lot of controversial speeches, statements and writings in America that supported fascism.
Back in Italy he started a full-fledged onslaught on the Allied powers through the media and in support of Hitler and Mussolini while the war ravaged. His return to America in 1945 was as a sixty years’ old prisoner set for trial on charges of treason. The defense attorney took the plea of insanity of his client and contacted his old friends for their testimonies. Hemingway wrote back that he could attest to Pound’s madness and believed that his friend’s mind and judgment had become progressively impaired over the past ten years with occasional flashes of brilliance. He blamed the poet’s condition partially on the false flattery of an unscrupulous few who had taken advantage of his “ever-mounting vanity”. The evidence was collected to prove that Pound was no longer of sound mind. So he was sent to St. Elizabeths purgatory (hospital)until his sanity was restored. Ezra Pound remained in purgatory until 1958. In 1957 some of his friends and admirers started a campaign to get him freed from purgatory. Among them were people like Robert Frost, Eliot, Hemingway, Norman Mailer, James Kilpatrick, Dag Hammerskjold and others. He was officially discharged from St. Elizabeths on May 7, 1958 and sailed for Italy again with his family on the last day of June. He announced,” “after the fogs of London and Paris I have found in Rapallo sunshine and possibility of renewing myself; it had been a good place for poetry. It was actually the place where most of the Cantos were written.” Based in Italy Pound made short visits to other European countries and a two-week stay in US as well but during the tail end of his life he settled in Venice---the city where he had landed in 1907. Absorbed in his own universe he spent the last days of life in that city of canals. During those silent years he celebrated his 87th birthday. Two weeks before his birthday he read at a small café for an intimate gathering of friends the final fragment of his The Cantos:
I have tried to write paradise
Do not move
Let the wind speak that is paradise
Let the Gods forgive what I have made
Let those I love try to forgive what I have made
(Post Script to The Cantos)
Ezra Pound whom James Joyce called “the unpredictable bundle of electricity” and T.S.Eliot termed as “the one responsible for the twentieth century revolution in poetry” passed away in sleep peacefully in 1972 in Venice.(The End)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


>>By Dr Afzal Mirza>>
What did Manto so prematurely in? Excessive drinking, unjust criticism, a>sense of separation from his friends of Bombay and permanent pecuniary>problems he faced in Lahore>>

Saadat Hasan Manto arrived in Pakistan sometime in 1948. Before that he was well settled in Bombay where with his perspicacity he had attained an>important position as a writer of fiction and film scripts.There he had a circle of friends ranging from literary stalwarts to famous>actors and directors. He was not happy in bidding farewell to the city that had given him so much in terms of fame and fortune. His friends like Ashok Kumar and actor Shayam tried to prevail upon him to forget about migrating to Pakistan. They would tell him that things would>settle down soon and his family, he had sent to Lahore amidst all the heat of partition, would be able to come back. But as he wrote in one of his>Bombay stories "aur bazoo wali gali say ho kar man Pakistan chala aya" (And taking a side street, I came over to Pakistan).
Lahore of 1948 was much different from Lahore of today. The after effects of partition were evident from every thing. The biggest transmigration of>people in human history had left its deep impact on the atmosphere of the city. Convoy after convoy of refugees was arriving in a state of utter destitution. The people had lost their identities and were trying to re-establish themselves in new environment. Manto arrived during those trying times and tried to settle down with his family. They say Qudratullah Shahab who was then a director of industries offered to allot Manto an ice factory. But how could a man sold to literature become a business man? As expected, Manto declined the offer. Before partition, Lahore was one of the major film centres of India but most of the film-makers who were non-Muslims migrated to India. So this avenue was also not available to Manto. Masud Parvez, his friend from Amritsar and Bombay, produced a film, Beli, which was based on a Manto story but it flopped. So to make both ends meet Manto reverted to story writing. This was the most productive period of his literary career. Rather I would say that in Bombay Manto used to spend much of his energy on film writing but in Lahore he got engaged in writing stories exclusively for newspapers>and magazines.Those days one could find Manto in the evenings either on Macleod Road or on The Mall. He would regularly visit Tea House where most of the writers used to meet. The period following partition affected almost every important writer. But Manto wrote outstanding pieces on the ravages of pre- and post-partition>religious frenzy, not realising that Chaudhry Muhammad Hussains of this world -- who had prosecuted him for his earlier stories Kali Shalwar and Boo -- were still there to catch him for 'obscenity' in his writings.Thanda Gosht was published in magazine Javed edited by Arif Abdul Mateen.>Both Manto and Arif were prosecuted for this. When Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi published Manto's story Khol Do in Naqoosh, he was warned and the paper's issue was banned. Both these stories depicted the black side of the post-partition period. All this discouraged Manto as well as his publishers who were afraid of publishing his pieces. Those days Manto also wrote indiscriminately. The remuneration offered to>writers was very poor. However, due to his popularity, Manto could at least get his payment in advance but the return on his hard work was so meager that he was in perpetual pecuniary problems. It was during this period that>he wrote to one of his friends, Ghulam Mustafa, in Karachi, "Some law suits and monetary problems have made me so miserable that I cannot explain my condition to you. When I received your money order, the same day I received a summon from the high court to present myself before the court in order to explain why my story Thanda Gosht should not be banned. I appeared that day but hearing was not held that day. On fourth day, judgement was announced>in>my absence that the story be banned." The perpetual disappointments aroused in Manto nostalgic feelings about his past especially the good times he had spent in Bombay. So while living in Lahore he mentally sojourned in Bombay. Then he wrote the character sketches of his Bombay friends like Ashok Kumar, Shayam, Nargis and stories like>Mamad Bhai, Mummy, Mozaile, Babu Gopi Nath etc. "I am not happy in Lahore. I miss Bombay where I had all my friends. There I got married and my first daughter was born and the second began her life," he wrote. After all Lahore was a much smaller city as compared to Bombay with few opportunities and Manto needed money to live. In Bombay he was used to lavish living and consuming best drinks. In Lahore both these things were missing. He wrote, "You think that I am a broke but actually that is not so.Here in Pakistan my income is around seven or eight hundred rupees per>month. But it is not sufficient for me. My personal expenditure alone is thirty to forty rupees a day." This monetary problem together with consumption of cheap liquors told heavily on his health. In Lahore when he arrived he was in his>mid-thirties. Then he was healthy with long brown hair and a glowing Kashmiri complexion. He used to dress very meticulously. He cut an impressive figure. He had piercing brown eyes that darted out of his thick-rimmed glasses. And in a few years time we saw him with a pale face and yellow sunken eyes. His hair were fast getting gray and were disheveled and he would walk with faltering gait. He was so frustrated that to an editor who had asked for his photo he wrote, "My brother, why are you demanding a photograph from me. I am fed up>with my own face. Yes, I am prepared to write for you." Generally speaking the people were not averse to his drinking but were not>prepared to bear the expenses for it. Once he told Farigh Bukhari who castigated him for excessive drinking, "Brother, I don't like it myself. But if I get it so scarcely then why shouldn't I drink to my fill. People think>that I drink to enjoy. Rather it has become an ailment for me. It is an old habit. How can I get rid of it now? I tried to give it up many times but it has so much affected my nerves that I can hardly leave it. Just imagine who would be happy to drink after borrowing or begging or hiding one self and listening to the jibes of friends and foes. Under these circumstances how could it be termed as enjoyment."This irreversible habit made him highly touchy. He would not tolerate any criticism. He would roughly rebuke any one even his close friends who tried to point out any shortcoming in his writing. He was excessively upset because he had been equally condemned by the progressives and the rightists for 'obscenity'. He could understand the attitude of the obscurantists but would lament at the criticism by the leftists. He used to say in despair, "My talent has become a problem for me. I wish I were not a writer...Who is more progressive than myself. I am one of the founders of this movement. I am the one who introduced realism in literature. My friends now charge me for obscenity. They say that throwing of garbage in the open is against the hygienic principals. They want to conceal the muck in their basements but they forget that it could create a bigger epidemic in society than plague or cholera. ...if they do not consider me progressive let them do so. I am not>progressive I am Manto only Manto." Manto's popularity, however, had made him a star attraction at every literary gathering that he attended in Lahore. He read his masterpieces in some of the annual meetings of Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Zauq. Manto had his unique style of presenting his stories. He would read them>slowly with pauses and deliver the dialogue in a dramatic style -- a trait he developed due to his long association with film industry. Those who>listened to his rendering of Toba Tek Singh in YMCA Hall packed to capacity>would hardly be able to forget the great impact it had on the audience. There was absolute silence in the hall when he finished it and there were tears in every eye. His presentation of Mozaile in another meeting also left every one stunned.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Dr Afzal Mirza
Saadat Hasan Manto died in Lahore in January1955 at a relatively young age of forty two years. Originally hailing from Amritsar he had shifted to Bombay in early 1940s where he was in great demand as story and dialogue writer for Indian movies. As now Bombay was even during pre-partition days the major film center of India. Before moving there Manto had a short stint at Delhi where he worked for All India Radio writing features and dramas. Famous humor writer A.S.Bokhari (Patras) was the director general of broadcasting and he had attracted a sizeable number of writers to Delhi. They included Krishan Chandar, Opindar Nath Ashk,Rajindar Singh Bedi and many other well known writers of the period. Manto’s fame traveled to Bombay where he was offered by the owner of weekly film magazine ‘Musawwar’ to work as its editor. There he made lot of friends in the film industry and was hired by Bombay Talkies to write stories and dialogues for its productions. By the time Pakistan became a reality Manto was nicely settled in Bombay enjoying a life of comfort and effluence—a rare thing for a writer. A few months before the independence he sent his family to Lahore believing that when things would settle down he would recall them. But the things never settled. The large scale carnage that followed independence continued unabated and even a relatively peaceful Bombay known as the melting pot of the religions was also affected. He became restless there and wanted to join his family and in early 1948 against the advice of his friends shifted to Lahore. Thence began a period of great stress and struggle for Manto because the whole country was in the grip of turmoil.
Manto’s nephew Hamid Jalal who was a reputed media man himself got his family settled in a flat in Lakshami Mansion located in the center of Lahore in the vicinity of the Mall. So Manto on arrival in Lahore joined his family comprising his wife Safia and two daughters. His wife Safia was a remarkable lady. She was already well known in the literary circles because she had been mentioned in many of Manto stories. A typical Kashmiri woman Safia was fare complexioned like Manto himself and wore glasses on her sharp nose. In Lahore’s literary circles she soon became a known figure because she would escort her husband in most of his meetings and functions. She would bravely face embarrassments that her husband used to cause by his blunt statements sometime in high spirits. We first time saw the couple at the meeting of Majlis-e-Iqbal of Government College Lahore where Manto was invited to read an article.. GC of those days had a number of important writers among its teaching staff and students. Among the teachers one could name Sufi Tabassum, Safdar Mir, Ashfaq Ali Khan, Dr Ajmal, Dr Sadiq, Dr Nazir Ahmad and G.M.Asar . While among the students one could count Ashfaq Ahmad, Muzaffar Ali Syed, Shahzad Ahmad, Akhtar Ahsan, Javed Shahin and many other budding writers. As a tradition Majlis used to hold its meetings in the college staff room. But on that occasion the staff room fell short of space because a large number of students came to listen to Manto. Many of them therefore watched from the corridors.
Manto accompanied by his wife was ushered in the room by G.M.Asar who taught Urdu in the college and was Manto’s neighbor in Lakshmi mansion flats. Hailing from Madras he wrote beautiful English. It was said that Asar was a boozing partner of Manto as well. Manto had a glowing Kashmiri complexion and wore light brown shirwani on silk kurta –pajama and had a Salim Shahi sandal in his feet. He had a crop of thick brown hair on his head and a pair of brown eyes darted out of the lenses of his thick-rimmed glasses perched on his slightly slanting nose. He sat down on a sofa flanked by Safia and Prof Asar. Lutfulmannan Sahir was the secretary of the Majlis who made a short introductory speech inviting Manto to read his essay entitled “How I write a short story.” The essay was later on included in one of his books of articles. Manto had his unique style of writing simple prose and would read it slowly giving pauses at appropriate places. That evening he mesmerized his audience with his personality and his reading style. He began by saying that “ I do not write a story rather a story writes me.” He talked of the three aspects of the process of writing a story. Firstly what sort of environment he requires to write a story. He said that he didn’t need any specific environment because he could keep on writing while his children played around and sometime even disturbed him. “But before writing a story my condition is like a hen who wants to lay an egg.” He said he was quite particular about the type of paper and fountain pens for writing. He always wrote on smooth papers with expensive pens. “I write 786 on the top of the page and then start writing and then it goes on and on.” In Delhi and Bombay Manto used to write with an Urdu type writer machine that he had purchased in Delhi but in Lahore since he did not have such a type writer he used to write with a pen. Then came the question how did he conceive the ideas for his short stories. Manto said that he derived his concepts from different sources. “Every morning I go through the newspaper to find whether there is any news that could trigger some idea,” he said. In his day to day dealings he observed the people and would sometime come across a man or a woman who could become the character of his story. Many years later travelogue writer Mustansar Husain Tarar whose family also came to live in one of the flats in Lakshami Mansion wrote in his autobiographical novel Raakh how Manto tried to’ blackmail’ his hero to tell him the details of his love affair to weave a story around that character.
In the question-answer session that followed the article many questions were asked about the charge of obscenity leveled on his writings and he strongly defended himself even getting very blunt sometime. A questioner asked him whether after reading his own story it had ever occurred to him that he had transgressed certain limits. ”No.” he retorted. “If I had felt like that I wouldn’t have defended it in many courts of the country.” To the question why doesn’t he write a novel Manto replied that he did not possess the concentration which is required to write a novel. After conceiving a character it was difficult for him to hold him on for more than the time required to write a short story. “I can’t keep him with me for more than that but for a novel sometimes it takes years to hold him on,” he told the audience. After the meeting Manto was encircled by the students for his autographs and he was so happy to oblige them. The meeting took place sometimes in 1951. Then he was in his late thirties. He had arrived in Pakistan only three years earlier but the four years that followed were so stressful for him that in a couple of years one could feel that he was not the same Manto we saw in the Government College. During that period he wrote indiscriminately almost an article a day. One could see that it was affecting his health and quality of work adversely. The problem was compounded by his consumption of cheap liquors. One could see him now with withered cheeks, pale complexion, graying disheveled hair and a faltered gait. It seemed that he was driving fast towards his end which came on a cold day of January 1955—fifty years ago. Indubitably he was the greatest Urdu short story writer of the last century.(End)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Book Review: The World Was Going our Way

(The KGB and the Battle for the Third World)
Authors: Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin
Publisher: Basic Books New York
Pages: 675 Price:$29.95


Dr Afzal Mirza

In America the classified documents of various departments are declassified periodically so that the public especially the academia could have access to them .Some people who have contacts in the administration sometimes lay their hands on some beefy classified information and produce articles and books. So there are several books based on the material pertaining to CIA operations in various countries of the world especially the third world countries.. In this context one could name The Inside Story by Andrew Tully (1962), The CIA-- A Forgotten Story by William Blum (1986) and The Cultural Cold War by Saunders (2000). Recently two other books on CIA activities have come in the market i.e. CIA at War by Kessler and the Trial of Henry Kissinger. But there was hardly any material available concerning Soviet intelligence agency KGB as Russians strictly guarded their secrets. Vasili Mitrokhin a KGB employee who was in 1972 made responsible for moving the KGB’s foreign intelligence archives to a new headquarters outside Moscow spent more than a decade clandestinely making notes and transcripts of these highly classified material. He then hid it beneath the floor of his house. After the fall of Soviet Empire Mitrokhin tried to pass on this material to American Embassy in Latvia but they refused to accept it doubting about its credibility. He then passed it on to the British embassy who involved Christopher Andrew a professor of history at Cambridge University to decipher and retrieve the material whose many pages had all gone soiled and unreadable. The result was their joint first book entitled The Sword and the Shield (1999) based on the Soviet secret operations in Europe and America. Now the present book being the second volume of Mitrokhin Archives has appeared a year after Mitrokhin’s death in 2004. Andrew has given the detailed biography of Mitrokhin in the foreword to the book. Unlike other non-fictional books The World makes interesting reading as it covers Asia, The Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Though the book carries interesting description of KGB’s involvement in the third world countries and its liaisons with the leadership of those countries it also provides information on KGB’s local agents revealing names of some of them while others have been mentioned under their code names. The part of the book dealing with Asia could be of special interest to us because it tells about KGB’s operations in Pakistan and it’s role during various events leading to the break-up of the country. It was always an open secret that KGB like its American rival CIA provided funds to some organizations and local operators but the most interesting thing is the way KGB influenced the public opinion and created bias among the leaders about their opponents. The authors open the chapter on Pakistan with the statement,” The Soviet Union’s special relationship with India drastically limited its influence in Pakistan. Gromyko (Soviet Foreign Minister) complained of the ‘insidious (Western) web’ into which Pakistan fell almost at the outset of her existence as an independent state. The KGB also found authoritarian military regimes which governed Pakistan for most of the cold war period more difficult to penetrate than India’s ruling Congress Party.” The authors write that according to the KGB files about twenty leading Karachi and Hyderabad communists set up a small underground party with the cover name “Sindh Provincial Committee” which maintained secret contact with KGB’s Karachi residency. The Committee was kept going by an annual Soviet subsidy of $25-30000. Another small Communist underground party in East Pakistan also received covert funding…. Moreover a number of SPC leaders made what KGB considered handsome profits from the privileged trading contracts with the Soviet Union.” According to the authors during Ayub’s period the KGB had a number of agents in the Pakistan foreign ministry and diplomatic corps who provided information by photographing documents. “The most senior Pakistani diplomat identified in the files as GREM was recruited in 1965 and became ambassador later on. The only KGB agent in the Foreign Ministry whose identity can be revealed is Abu Sayid Hasan (codenamed GULYAM)…After his foreign assignments in 1979 before his death he moved to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.” The one who served them very diligently was ALI who held a senior position in the military communications centre in Rawalpindi

According to the authors the main job of these agents was to spread suspicion of the United States.”The main target of the influence operation was the flamboyant Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.The operation REBUS in the a spring of 1966 was principally designed to reinforce Bhutto’s hostility to the United States by passing to the Pakistan government forged documents that US ambassador McConuaghy was plotting the overthrow of Ayub Khan, Bhutto and other ministers. The operation seems to have some effect at least on Bhutto who was convinced for the rest of his life that his removal from office in June 1966 was the result of American pressure.” As Yahya took over the power the KGB then embarked upon operation RAVI to make Yahya Khan suspicious of both China and USA. After this operation came operation PADMA which was meant to persuade Yahya Khan that Chinese are inciting rebellion in East Pakistan. Mitrokhin writes that, “ after the partition of India in 1947 when shown a map of the divided Pakistani state Stalin had commented,’ Such a state cannot survive for long.’ ” So in 1969 KGB started to cultivate Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. In the eyes of Russians Mujib was more acceptable as he had no deeper relations with China as against Bhutto who was not acceptable to both Russia and USA. Mitrokhin writes, “ It was evident by the fact that no significant Soviet dignitary visited Pakistan during ZAB’s five and half years’ tenure in office despite his own two visits to Moscow.”

Regarding KGB’s influence in Pakistani media the book relates,” During the mid-1970s the KGB substantially increased its influence in the Pakistani media. In 1973 according to KGB statistics it placed 33 articles in the Pakistani press –little more than 1 percent of the number in India. By 1977 the number had risen to 440 and the KGB had acquired direct control of at least one periodical….Disinformation fed to Bhutto government claimed that the United States considered Pakistan too unreliable an ally to deserve substantial military aid. Washington was allegedly increasingly distrustful of Bhutto’s government and regarded Shah of Iran as its main regional ally. The Shah was determined to become the leader of the Muslim world and to regard Bhutto as a rival. He was also reported to be scornful of Bhutto’s failure to deal with unrest in Baluchistan and to be willing to send in Iranian troops if situation worsened there. By 1975 the KGB was confident that active measures were having a direct personal influence on Bhutto….Among the initiatives by Bhutto that annoyed the Kremlin was his campaign for a new economic world order to redress the grave injustice to the poorer nations of the world. “ Bhutto’s plan to hold non-aligned summit in Islamabad in 1976 was also seen with disfavor in Kremlin so KGB embarked upon a plan to discredit Bhutto’s initiative and the countries like Somalia, Nigeria, Ghana, Cyprus, Yemen, Mexico, Venezuela, Iraq, Afghanistan and Nepal were approached with the message that Islamabad conference would weaken the NAM.” So instead of the conference the government of ZAB was overthrown by the army in 1977.

Thereafter the KGB offensive started against Ziaulhaq because of his involvement in the Afghan war but Zia was kept informed by CIA of the measures taken by KGB that included to devise ways of working with Pakistani opposition forces to destabilize and eventually overthrow the Zia regime.. Here the authors have given details of the activities of Murtaza Bhutto and his Al-Zulfikar outfit and various KGB operations in collaboration with Murtaza. Most of the details of these activities have been incorporated by Andrew borrowing information from Raja Anwar’s book The Terrorist Prince. KGB also tried to create dissensions in the Pakistani Army by printing pamphlets and planting news in India concerning Pakistan’s piling up of chemical and biological weapons. The authors conclude the chapter on Pakistan by saying, ”When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s daughter Benazir became Prime Minister after Zia’s death in 1988 she showed little enthusiasm for Mujahideen operations in the final stages of war. Had she become Prime Minister earlier or Zia been assassinated in 1982 the history of war in Afghanistan would have been significantly different.”

This voluminous book has plenty of material on other countries like Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan , Cuba, Chile etc. Mitrokhin has mentioned how Indira Gandhi had gone close to Soviet Union or how they influenced Allende in Chile or influenced Mujib in Bangladesh. All in all the book is worth reading but the question of credibility remains unanswered as Christopher Andrew has tried to fill up the gaps in the stories by relying on various non-Russian books. For instance the whole Bhutto period has been covered by quoting from Rafi Raza and Raja Anwar’s books. Frankly speaking the book does not consist of the Mitrokhin’s papers alone but has been supplemented by Andrew’s own studies as he is considered as an expert in strategic intelligence and has been assisting CIA . (End)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Book Review: CIA AT WAR


(Inside the Secret Campaign against Terror)

Author: Ronald Kessler

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press New York

Pages 362 Price: $ 27.95


Dr Afzal Mirza

There is a long list of CIA’s covert operations in various parts of the world since its creation in 1947 by President Truman. After the World War II a period of cold war started and America’s top priority became the containment of Soviet Russia’s growing influence in the third world. In his book Cultural Cold War written by Frances Stanar Saunders the author made use of the declassified material and made startling revelations how CIA engaged some of the celebrated writers of the world in a propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union. The long list included people like Andre Gide, George Orwell, Andre Malraux, Christopher Isherwood, Stephen Spender, Arthur Koestler, Robert Lowell and others. Many writers who unknowingly supported the CIA sponsored Forum for Cultural Freedom later on renounced their support because they were not aware that it was a CIA forum. They were Bertrand Russel, Jean Paul Sartre, W.H.Auden . Saunders also threw light on how CIA made use of this forum in denying Nobel Prize to Pablo Neruda in 1962 through enormous propaganda campaign. Neruda however bagged this prize much later in 1971. Again much came to light when the CIA’s secret papers seized by Iranians when they stormed CIA’s regional center in Tehran in 1979 were made public. In them one could find how CIA had informers every where in the region including Pakistan and how big officials of this country were passing information to CIA. Even their names were mentioned but surprisingly they continued to serve the government of Pakistan even after that exposure.

Kessler who has written a very readable book The CIA at War has not only made use of declassified material but also collected information after interviewing fifty current CIA officers as well as George Tenet who till recently was the director general of CIA. When Kessler talked to him he was still in service but he resigned after the report of 9/11 commission where much blame was also laid on the poor intelligence reports coming from CIA. The way Kessler has projected Tenet it appears that he was perhaps commissioned by the latter to do the job as he was under immense pressure after 9/11. Tenet son of a Greek immigrant and a graduate of Georgetown University and with a master’s from Columbia University was actually hired by Clinton administration and Bush made him continue in his job. Kessler himself is a former investigative reporter of Wall Street Journal and Washington Post and has written thirteen non-fiction books many of which are bestsellers. Before talking about CIA’s recent operations Kessler has described some of the earlier interesting projects. For instance in 1967 during the Kennedy administration Castro was the focus of CIA’s activity but Castro was outsmarting them. .Kessler writes,” The CIA plotted to humiliate Castro with his own people by trying to get his beard fall off –something that only someone whose level of maturity had not advanced beyond kindergarten could have dreamed up.’ He tells of a report by CIA inspector general of August 25, 1967, that” counted number of other bungled attempts to assassinate Castro or embarrass him with his people. Under one such plan CIA would spray the air of a radio station where Castro broadcast his speeches with hallucinogenic agent similar to LSD. Another scheme was designed to contaminate the cigars smoked by Castro with a chemical that would create’ temporary personality disorientation’. A third idea w as to introduce thallium salts into Castro’s shoes so his beard would fall out. This would destroy his public image.” The author writes that “the stupidest scheme was to enlist the aid of mafia in killing Castro.” A lethal pill containing botulinum toxin was produced that was to be administered to Castro in food. The gangsters couldn’t however carry out the plot.

The author further informs us that “ After fumbling in Cuba, the CIA went on to try to control elections in Chile. In 1964 the agency spent 2.6 million to support the elections of the Christian Democratic candidate Eduardi Frei to prevent Salvador Allende ‘s accession to the presidency. In 1970 the CIA tried to mount a military coup in Chile to prevent confirmation of Salavdor Allende ‘s victory in Chilean presidential election. It also spent $ 8 million to prevent his confirmation—all in vain.. The CIA also became involved in covert action and paramilitary actions in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Angola, Afghanistan and Nicaragua.” However Kessler is silent about the assassination of president Allende and bringing General Pinochet to power in Chile. He has also not mentioned a word about the murder of Patrice Lumumba. According to Kessler the CIA intervention in Afghanistan began in 1980 when they supplied money and weapons to Afghan mujahideen . He terms this intervention highly successful.The Soviets withdrew in 1989 that gave the biggest set back to Russia and brought the cold war to an end. Kessler thinks that as soon as Soviets withdrew America should not have withdrawn from Afghanistan and helped to create a stable government. Kessler quotes Richard Kerr a deputy Director CIA as saying,” If America had remained in Afghanistan after Soviet withdrawal it is less likely that Taliban would have come into existence.” Another writer Steve Cole also thinks on the same lines. He goes to the extent of saying that .”Had they allowed Hafizullah Amin to continue in Afghanistan there would be no Taliban and no Al Qaeda.”

In 1986 Regan administration gave more powers to CIA by creating a Counterterrorism Center “to allow CIA to identify terrorists who had committed crimes against Americans abroad and to help bring them to justice.” The first project of the Center was to deal with Abu Nidal organization. This organization was founded by Sabri Al-Banna in 1937 in Palestine. In 1970s and 1980s according to the author Abu Nidal organization killed or wounded nine hundred people in twenty countries. Their targets were Israel, Jews and moderate Arabs, Europeans and Americans. In 1974 Abu Nidal broke away from PLO accusing Yasser Arafat of abandoning its fight against Israel. Kessler tells us that before al Qaeda Abu Nidal was the number one terrorist threat. The CIA recruited a key source within the organization and prepared a comprehensive report on the organization and its financial backers and arms suppliers and called this as The Abu Nidal Hand Book. Kessler writes that the book was published and its publication had the desired effect. The governments in Europe squirmed and terminated their dealings with Abu Nidal. Abu Nidal became paranoid. “CIA fed his paranoia by sowing rumors who were in fact loyal to Abu Nidal. The result was a blood bath…Soon ANO vanquished.”

The modus operandi of CIA was recruiting agents, analyzing images from spy satellites and intercepting communications. But in some regions these agents couldn’t work ‘effectively’ He cites the example of Pakistan .”Even a Muslim CIA officer with native language abilities could do a little more in this environment than a blond, the blue-eyed all-American. Case officers cannot escape the embassies and consulates in which they serve. A US official overseas photographed and registered with the local intelligence and security services can’t travel much particularly in a police-rich country like Pakistan without the host services knowing about it.” The author has given details of the operation by which Aimal Kasi who had killed CIA employees in front of its office in Washington DC was caught.. The incident happened in 1994 but it took them several years to catch him. Ultimately what happened was that in 1997 several of Kasi’s bodyguards approached a State Department officer in Karachi who put them in touch with a CIA officer there.” They told her they could pinpoint Kasi’s location in return for the reward money then set at $2 million…Eventually the CIA agreed to increase the reward to $5million.The agency obtained support for the operation from the Pakistani government. For days with the help of Pakistani agents the local FBI agent and two members of the hostage rescue team conducted surveillance of the Shalimar Hotel in Dera Ghazi Khan in central Pakistan. … Kasi fought but was not armed. Kasi then 33 was staying there.” After several years of trial Kasi was sentenced to death by injecting drugs. At the time of his death in 2002 the author says “he held up two fingers. It was either a peace sign or a victory sign.”

The author thinks that when it came to bin Laden Tenet was not content to convey warnings. He wanted bin Laden and cohorts killed. That was the only way to deal with al Qaeda. But he is critical of Clinton saying “ Clinton a master of spin tended to look no further than the next day’s headlines.” “After 9/11 the new challenge was radical Islamists and an Arab world where the media were anti-American,.” Kessler thinks. He describes how in 2002 they apprehended Abu Zubaida from a villa in Faislabad . The CIA seized ten thousand documents and translated and analyzed them He tells how CIA restarted the practice of hiring non American journalists and mullahs.” Besides paying Mullahs CIA created fake Mullahs-- recruited agents proclaiming themselves as clerics who took a more moderate position about the non-believers,” he reveals. “ The CIA’s use of Islamic leaders was not without precedent: During the Iranian hostage crisis CIA paid Mullahs to issue fatwas stating that taking hostages was against Islam….In seizing key al Qaeda operatives in countries like Pakistan the CIA usually working with FBI pinpointed the locations of terrorists and informed the local security service. As an example the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate(ISID) of the Pakistan military might make the arrest. However aware that the Taliban had penetrated the ISI in the past, the CIA and FBI staked out the neighborhood where arrests were to take place often wearing disguises,” he writes.” The book carries many so-called achievements of CIA during the Tenet period. Winding up his story, Kessler emphasizes the need for strengthening CIA and giving it more funds and staff –something suggested by 9/11 commission report also. But all his efforts to build up the image of Tenet crashed as in view of the criticism against CIA in the 9/11Commission Report he decided to resign and was replaced by Portar Goss just a month before the 2004 elections.(End) .


(Diplomacy, Democracy and the Bomb)
Author: Strobe Talbott
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C.
Pages; 268 Price:

Dr Afzal Mirza

American former deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott’s latest book Engaging India though meant to describe Indo-US relations during Clinton’s times has much to reveal about Pakistan as well. Talbott who worked for 21 years in Time Magazine as a columnist and correspondent before becoming the deputy secretary of state had old association with Bill Clinton being his contemporary in Oxford days when the later was a Fulbright scholar there in late 1960s. It seems both of them shared a common fascination for India triggered by history books read by them.“ I remember him toting around Robert Blake’s biography of Disraeli for several weeks in the fall of 1969 and talking about it in pubs and in the kitchen of the house we shared. Then same year he read E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India for the first time,.” writes Talbott about Clinton. Again Talbott’s wife Brooke Shearer also stayed with an Indian family in 1968 when she visited India sponsored by Experiment in International Living. So India was close to Talbott’s heart when he took over as the deputy secretary of state. But the problem was that to the chagrin of Clinton administration India carried out nuclear tests in 1998. The situation was worsened by the fact that India kept their preparation for the tests so secret that CIA or any other American agency could hardly get a clue of it. Thus it was a great set back to the technical superiority of American intelligence. Talbot writes that the whole administration turned against India and wanted to clamp stringent sanctions. India justified its tests by pointing to its two neighbors “China an overt nuclear weapons state on our borders, a state which committed armed aggression against India in 1962 and Pakistan a covert nuclear weapons state that had committed aggression against India three times and that continued to sponsor terrorism in Kashmir.” Talbot responded to the occasion by developing direct rapport with Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh from whom it appears that Talbot is enormously impressed. That is why the back flap of the book carries a picture of the two. The purpose before Talbott was that having accepted the fact that India was a nuclear power the efforts should now be directed to bring round India to sign NPT or CTBT.

The dust had not yet settled after Indian tests that Pakistan also announced its intention to retaliate with their own nuclear blasts. The most stressed man at this juncture was Clinton who did not want that Pakistan should follow suit. Thus the administration planned to prevail upon Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif not to go ahead with his plans to explode its nuclear devices. Talbot has described details of the administration’s efforts towards this end. While he describes in details the discussions he had with Jaswant Singh who skillfully sold the BJP government’s point of view to his American counterpart but it hardly satisfied Clinton and his close circle of advisers. Now when they come to know that Pakistan was also preparing to effectively reply to Indian tests they came into action. Talbottt writes, “ Clinton telephoned Nawaz Sharif the Pakistan prime minister, to whet his appetite for the planes, huge amounts of financial aid and a prize certain to appeal to Sharif--- an invitation from him to make an official visit to Washington. Sharif was not swayed.’ You can almost hear the guy wringing his hands and sweating,’ Clinton said after hanging up” Having failed to evince any reply from Sharif Talbott was directed by the president to visit Pakistan and make the case to Nawaz Sharif personally. An invitation to their visit could only be obtained through the good offices of Gen. Jahangir Karamat. Which according to Talbott proved that ‘ the civilian leaders were in a state of confusion perhaps discord and the military called the shots in Pakistan.’ In Pakistan they first met foreign minister Gohar Ayub and foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad who did not agree to American proposal. Shamshad to the disliking of Americans was more vocal. He writes, ’The people of Pakistan’ added Shamshad Ahmad ,’ will not forgive those in this room if we do not do the right thing. “Then they meet General Karamat, the favorite of Talbott and all other authors (from Zinni to Tommy Franks). “ He heard us out and acknowledged the validity of at least some of our arguments….His government was still wrestling with the question what to do….There was more generally Karamat talked about his country’s political leadership a subtle but discernable undertone of long-suffering patience bordering on scorn.” Briefing them with the historic Indian attitude towards Pakistan Karamat assured them that “ given the political, military, historic and economic stakes involved the Pakistani government is carefully weighing what to do.” Then they met prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Talbott writes, “ What we got from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was a Hamlet act, convincing in its own way----that is I think he was genuinely feeling torn—but rather pathetic….On this occasion he seemed nearly paralyzed with exhaustion, anguish and fear. He was literally just as Clinton had sensed during their phone call---wringing his hands. He had yet to make up his mind but he said,’ I am an elected official and I can not ignore popular sentiment.’” When Talbott revealed to Sharif the Clinton plan of ‘dramatizing’ the world’s gratitude to him during the latter’s visit to USA if he just refrained from testing Nawaz Sharif asked Talbott, “Will Clinton promise to skip India on his trip and come only to Pakistan?” There was no way he could promise that but he told Sharif that Clinton would recalibrate the length and character of the stops in Delhi and Islamabad. He writes,” Sharif looked more miserable than ever.” Kashmir came up repeatedly during the meeting and Nawaz Sharif told him that Kashmir and not nuclear issue was at the core of the tension between India and Pakistan. Talbott did not enjoy his dealings with Shamshad and goes on to write,” Towards the end of the meeting Sharif asked every one but me to wait outside. Shamshad seemed miffed. He glanced nervously over his shoulder as he left.” Sharif told him in privacy that if he did as they wanted the next time “you came to Islamabad you would find yourself not dealing with a clean-shaven moderate but and Islamic fundamentalist ‘with a long beard.’” Pakistan went ahead with its tests and when Talbott broke the news to Clinton ,”He scowled, looked down at floor and silent for what seemed a long moment, ’That’s bad’ he finally said shaking his head ,’real bad. Those folks have got a kind of genius for making a bad deal worse’. Clinton said that he wanted to get into that situation there but that would be harder now..

Talbott writes that Nawaz Sharif a number of times asked Clinton to mediate on Kashmir between India and Pakistan as America did between Israel and Egypt but Clinton would express his inability saying that for mediation both the parties should approach the mediator. In this case India was not interested. But it seems that Clinton was definitely interested in easing out situation between the two nuclear neighbors as he mentioned to his advisors. They had a solution of the problem by dividing Kashmir along the LOC and giving more autonomy to Indian –held Kashmir. Clinton might have personally helped in its solution but according to Talbott, Kargil episode was yet another event that disappointed Clinton enormously. He has written in details what happened between Clinton and Nawaz Sharif on that occasion under the heading From Kargil to Blair House. He writes about the Lahore Summit between Vajpai and Sharif and Musharraf’s elevation as Chief of Army Staff in these words,” It quickly became apparent that the new chief of the army staff Parvez Musharraf had even less regard for Sharif and the civilian leadership than his predecessor Karamat. In particular Musharraf found the Lahore Summit galling” About Kargil he writes,”The American Government followed the conflict with growing alarm which could easily become a nuclear cataclysm…Tony (Zinni) warned Musharraf that India would cross the LOC itself if Pakistan did not pull back. Musharraf professed to be unimpressed. Back in Washington the administration let it be known that if Sharif did not order a pullback we would hold up $ 100 million IMF loan that Pakistan sorely needed….. We did not know whether Sharif had personally ordered the infiltration above Kargil (doubtful) reluctantly acquiesced in it (more likely) or not even known about it until after it happened (possible). But there was no doubt that he now realized that it was colossal blunder.”

Talbott writes that “through our ambassador in Islamabad Sharif begged Clinton to come to his rescue with a plan that would stop the fighting and set the stage for a US-brokered solution to Kashmir,” In reply to Sharif’s phone call Clinton said that he would consider it only if Pakistan first unilaterally withdrew. ”The next day Sharif called to say that he was packing his bags and getting ready to fly immediately to Washington--- never mind that he has not been invited. ‘This guy‘s coming literally on a wing and a prayer ,’said the president,” Sharif was not given the proper protocol and was received by Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia and brought to Blair House who informed the Americans that ‘they should be prepared to deal with a man who was not just distraught about the crisis but terrified of the reaction from Musharraf and the military if he gave in to American pressure.’ Talbott suggested to the president that if Sartaj Aziz and Shamshad would participate in the meeting it would not be a productive so president should have a two to one meeting with Sharif attended by one aide of Clinton. In the meeting instead of relenting Sharif made matter worse by linking withdrawal from Kargil with solution of Kashmir dispute .Talbott writes that Clinton came as close to as I had ever seen blowing up in a meeting with a foreign leader. But after giving him a lecture on history Clinton switched from “chastising Sharif for the reckless stupidity of Kargil to complementing him on his earlier contribution to moment of diplomatic promise.” “Having listened to Sharif’s complaints against United States he had a list of his own and it started with terrorism. ..Clinton had worked himself back into real anger—his face flushed. ..Sharif seemed beaten, physically and emotionally. He denied he had given any orders with regards to nuclear weaponry and said he was worried for his life.” The meeting however ended on a happy and friendly feeling on Clinton’s part after Sharif signed the press note “ As the president and his advisers were leaving Blair House Shamshad Ahmad scurried after Sandy with alterations he wanted in the text. Sandy kept walking and said briskly over his shoulder ,’Your boss says it’s okay as it is.’” (End)