Hanged Man – Gibran Peshimam

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The past week ought to be celebrated – and enthusiastically so – in Pakistan. Not just by the common man, but also by political and armed forces. After all, we apparently stand on the threshold of solving many mysteries – ones that we thought we would never get to the bottom of.

But we have.

Reports appearing in the press suggest that it was Maj-Gen Nadeem Ijaz, the former director-general of the Military Intelligence (MI). Our very own Frederick the farmer.

Yes, angered Baloch, it was he who was behind the assassination of Sardar Akbar Bugti. It was he who ensured that things would reach a point where the military would shell the Baloch leader’s “hideout”. In fact, he probably dropped the bombs and fired the missiles himself.

Yes, angered jiyalas (and Pakistanis in general) he ordered the hosing down of the site of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. He, by extension, and of course innuendo, is probably also involved in some way in the assassination itself.

Yes, angered citizens of Karachi, and the families of 40-odd people who lost their loved ones on May 12, 2007, a day the provincial capital turned into a war zone, it was Maj-Gen Ijaz who plotted the entire thing.

Yes, families of people who have gone missing never to be heard from again, it was Maj-Gen Ijaz who conceptualised and ordered the picking up of these men and women. He condemned them and their families to a life of hellacious uncertainty.

The politicians and the intelligence agencies? They did nothing wrong. It was all just one man.

Even popular hate figures, Chaudhrys Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi were bullied and threatened by Maj-Gen Ijaz. The brave souls that they are, they actually disobeyed his orders to arrange an attack on the chief justice of Pakistan on the motorway.

In fact, all the breakaways who sided with Gen Musharraf in the aftermath of the coup were innocent – because Maj-Gen Ijaz actually tortured many of them into break away and side with Musharraf. Those who didn’t listen despite the torture, he probably hypnotised.

He tortured leaders of the PML-N, the PPP, and many others. So emphatic was the torture that leaders such as N-leaguers Javed Hashmi and Khwaja Saad Rafique only just remembered after the passage of over a decade that it even happened.

You can gauge how wicked, how twisted, he was by the fact that he recorded the screams of politicians being tortured and gave the tapes to his boss, Gen Musharraf. Therefore, the allegations against him can’t possibly be untrue.

Political parties in the centre of the war zone that was Karachi, including the MQM, were helpless in the face of the arm-twisting of Maj-Gen Ijaz, who single-handedly made May 12 happen. He was there on the rooftop of Falaknaz Apartments when the first shot was fired. In fact, he fired the first shot that began it all.

Sindh’s then top man, CM Arbab Ghulam Rahim, was faultless, as was the province’s then security chief Home Minister Waseem Akhtar, as was Karachi’s ruling party, the MQM.

Meanwhile, the all-powerful intelligence agencies were also helpless. The then IB chief Nadeem Shah, who Benazir herself suspected to be conspiring to target her, and the ISI chiefs, first General Kayani and then Nadeem Taj, were silent spectators to the horrors perpetrated by Maj-Gen Ijaz. In fact, Maj-Gen Ijaz continued to hold the post of MI chief for months even when Gen Kayani became army chief, because the COAS was powerless to remove the man.

Maj-Gen Ijaz also attempted to have the army chief removed by whispering in the ear of Gen Musharraf – who, this evidence shows, was not a bad guy, but just misguided regularly by the MI chief. It was our good luck that then DG ISI Nadeem Taj refused to help in this regard – but how he refused to comply with the omnipotent Maj-Gen Ijaz’s orders is mind-boggling. He deserves a medal along with Chaudhry Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi – a medal dedicated just for the purpose of honouring those who resisted the omnipotence of the dastardly Maj-Gen Ijaz.

Tamgha-e-Muzahimat-e-Maj-Gen Nadeem Ijaz.

On 27 December, 2007, Rehman Malik, who was Benazir’s chief protocol officer, probably only drove away from Liaquat Bagh in the backup vehicle of the PPP chairperson because Maj-Gen Ijaz threatened him to do so, or else.

Now that we have found the man guilty of it all, almost everyone else gets a clean chit. The rest are all innocent; exonerated – at worst only guilty of not raising a voice. Good, well-meaning Samaritans, needlessly given a bad name. Let them be given rap on the wrist and a bit of a lecture and then set free forever.

Think about all the things this one man has done. Seditious, murderous and conspiratorial. This man should hang, shouldn’t he? It is a good thing we all found out about all his misdeeds when we did.

Yes, it was Maj-Gen Ijaz who did it all. All our problems. It was him.

Who knows what else he has done. Perhaps it is he who is responsible for all the corruption. All the coups. East Pakistan. The electricity crisis. Inflation. Global warming, perhaps.

It was a good thing we caught him when we did. Otherwise who knows what else he could have done.

But let us not think negatively. At least we are on the verge of solving a number of mysteries – which can now be put to rest given that we have our man. Cases closed.

It is now time to celebrate – particularly for those who stand to be exonerated in the wake of these discoveries.



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