While my previous posts were mainly dealing with facts mixed with delusions, this posts will be mainly just facts and a little bit of opinion. I also want to highlight some points regarding the standard of justice in Pakistan Army and the role of intelligence agencies.
I have mentioned my redress of grievance against the squadron CO (Commanding Officer) and its aftermath previously. This episode occurred in end 2003 in Quetta. When in desperation and confusion I asked for withdrawal of the complaint I was called for an interview by the Corps Commander. The CO got infuriated and started proclaiming that I had played a double game. I was a good player of volleyball and was appreciated by the same CO for that. Now he was claiming that I had mastery in ‘another’ game. Many of my colleagues and former teachers will bear witness to it that I do not know this game. By this, he was implying that the Corps Commander was favoring me. The squadron CO in comments mentioned that I had some problem at home and referred me to the psychiatrist. Thankfully Corps Commander did not take the advice. The CO even remarked to me that I was immature as I had not spent much time in Kakul and directly become Captain!
I was aware that my complaint is being investigated by intelligence agencies. While I was waiting for the interview, a man in plain clothes entered the room. Obviously he was from some intelligence agency. He asked my impolitely that who is the person who is in acquaintance with you in Rawalpindi. I confidently replied that it was my uncle. He wanted to disturb me before the interview. The staff captain to the Corps Commander got the message. He told me not to worry and explain my point of view freely. This shows that either my phone calls were being monitored or someone close to me was spying on me. In the background was my unusual personal episode. Later the irresponsible attitude of intelligence agencies was the partial cause of one unfortunate half-court marriage, one broken commitment and unpleasant consequences for some families. There are better and honorable ways to earn living than to spy on the personal lives of others. If someone thinks that I am delusional he can ask then Corps Commander Lt Gen Shahid Hamid that what input he got from intelligence agencies.
Then there was the turn of OER (Officer’s Efficiency Report). The squadron CO gave me an ‘average’ grading as expected. I noticed that in the date place under my signature space he had already written a date well before my ‘redress’ date. I told him. The CO responded that I had written the report on that date and in error I might have written this date in your column and that you can erase it. I did that and wrote the date I was signing the OER. The CO was plainly lying. Few weeks back he had conveyed to me via a third person that if I withdrew my redress he would not harm me in OER. The reason for withdrawal was not OER as discussed. I do not know what the plan by CO was if I had overlooked the date. I think he would have made a case that I planned the ‘redress of grievances’ in retaliation to the ‘average’ OER. The truth was the other way round. It was simply Officer’s Efficiency Revenge. On the other hand he told me that he had received a ‘well above average’ by the Corps Commander and wanted it to show to me. I declined to see. He wanted to create the impression that I am doing all this to harm him. He used every tactics to press me to withdraw the redress.
The OER was sent to the EME unit in Multan for technical comments by the technical CO. He recorded good technical remarks in OER and sent it to the Corps Commander. The ball was now in Corps Commander’s court. His name was Lt Gen Shahid Hamid. He had the powers to upgrade or downgrade up to two steps. He very well knew all the background, some of which I will discuss later in a post. There were bad remarks, though not on my character, by squadron CO, good remarks by technical CO. He upheld the grading. Rather he recorded that I had weak command potential. The good technical remarks and CO’s previous history had no bearing on him. The Corps Commander wanted to prove that he was not favoring me. Officially he was answerable only to then COAS Pervez Musharraf and unofficially to Almighty God.
I am sorry to say that the Corps Commander was suffering from what I say a ‘Command Syndrome’. This is something real. Then there is one fancy phrase called ‘command oversight’ to ignore their mistakes and even blunders. When my complaint was under consideration I was told by many that ‘commanders support commanders’. They told me that I will be screwed. I had seen the proof of this syndrome. In many cases the people in lower ranks in Army usually obey seniors out of fear and not respect them. I will share my personal experiences sometime later. I know that Army is not supposed to be a democratic institution but it should not be a prison cell either.
In end June 2004, the technical CO came to the squadron for technical inspection of the LAD (Light Aid Detachment). This was something revived. I later thought that it was an attempt by good elements in Army. The report was forwarded to the Corps Commander. Among other things it recorded that the serviceability of aircraft was close to 85% accumulative. The squadron CO had done the propaganda that it had been below 50% at times. I do not know what the Corps Commander thought about the report especially the serviceability of aircraft. The Corps Commander in interview raised some questions on serviceability but I was not allowed to speak a word on the topic. The Corps Commander fully cashed my blunder of withdrawing the complaint. One of the reasons was Corps Commander himself. He had the time and energy for all other activities except listening to the feelings of one officer under his command. For over a month there was not even an acknowledgment letter. He only snubbed me. The interview was just a formality.
I very well question the motives of the Corps Commander for having my redress investigated by intelligence agencies. It had very unpleasant consequences for some individuals and families later on as discussed. At about the same time there was another redress of grievances by a very able officer against the unfair grade rendered to him in Army Aviation Engineering School (AAES). The officer was also under same technical CO. He was also snubbed by the DG EME. The Corps Commander wanted to prove that both officers were instigated by the technical CO. I have so much regard for the technical CO. He has sincerely guided me through this difficult time. One of his advices was to “keep your ears and eyes open and mouth shut”. My mistake of withdrawing the complaint was due to the Second in Command under him who came from Multan to Quetta on the name of an inspection and ‘sincerely misguided’ me. The redress of grievances was drafted by another officer. I will not identify him. If someone is interested he should ask then Corps Commander Lt Gen Shahid Hamid. After all my phone calls were being monitored and might even being taped.
I received the stern Warning letter from Corps Commander when I was doing a Technical Investigation (TI-23) at PAF Base Masroor, whose contents I discussed previously. I was shocked and it was a severe setback. I went to Eid-ul-Azha leave from there. I went to my Uncle who had retired as Lt Col from Army. He advised me to be patient and do nothing. When I reported back to the squadron I expressed the opinion that the squadron CO has used the Prayer Link (Namazi Chain). The Corps Commander used to offer prayers regularly as the squadron CO. I had become critical of the ‘beard’ people who usually offer their prayers regularly and think that they are doing some sort of Jihad (Holly War) in Army. They think that others are just doing a simple job (jhakk maar rahe hain). This was the starting point of my delusion of grouping within Army. Even on those tense days the squadron CO pressed me that I should offer ‘Zuhar’ prayer in squadron. I did not take his advice and used to offer the prayer in room. Religion should be treated as a personal matter. Sometime later, I received another personal/confidential letter from Corps Headquarters. All my previous personal/confidential correspondence was opened by the Squadron CO, examined, re-enveloped and then handed over to me. This time I did not open the letter and sent back it to the Corps Headquarters with my observations. I do not know what they did. Maybe it was treated as yet another ‘command oversight’.
I do not know what the CO got from the Corps Commander. He got ‘well above average’ as claimed by him. I am sorry to say that there is something very wrong with the term ‘command potential’ and OER grading in Pakistan Army. While the Corps Commander did not show any sympathy to me, the NCO who was manhandled also had to bear the brunt of “Command Syndrome”. My grading of him was downed two steps (the maximum allowed) and recommendations changed by the squadron CO. Sometime I wonder at the stupid state of affairs. The Corps Commander thought that I had weak command potential. On the other hand the uniformed psychiatrists thought that I can lead the whole Muslim Nation. After all they have declared me Imam Mahdi!
This proved to be my last OER. The OER for the year 2004, which was due somewher in early 2005 was never given. Where is it. I think it is in heavens!