AKBAR KHAN, MAJOR GENERAL (1920-1994) Major General Akbar Khan was one of the many military officers who were to perform actively on Pakistan’s political stage He first gained public attention as the senior commander in the first Indo-Pakistan war, under the pseudonym of “General Tariq” (after the Muslim leader who crossed the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain at the beginning of the eighth century) Pakistan deployed Akbar Khan’s troops in 1948 to assist the Pathan tribesmen in Kashmir The invasion of Kashmir by the Pathan warriors was encouraged by Pakistan once it became clear that the state’s maharaja (ruler) was not anxious to accede to Pakistan But Pakistan was not as yet prepared to get directly involved by sending its troops into Kashmir General A T Massarvey, Pakistan’s commander in chief, a British officer who had stayed behind to serve the new country while Pakistan was in the process of grooming its own officers to take charge, was not willing to lead the country into open conflict with India Accordingly, the Pakistan army gave the Pathans support in logistics but watched them operate from a safe distance Akbar Khan was not happy with this passive approach

Akbar Khan came to the attention of the public again in 1951, when he was accused of masterminding an attempt to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan The conspiracy was hatched in Rawalpindi, the city that housed the army’s general headquarters The Rawalpindi Conspiracy was the first indication of the unhappiness within the ranks of the army with the way Pakistan was being run and managed by the politicians The conspirators were arrested, tried by a military court, and sentenced to serve long prison terms Akbar Khan reappeared briefly in the early 1970s, as minister of state for defense in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government He played a marginal role in the Bhutto Cabinet

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