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Nights of the knights

By Waseem Altaf

Brigade Major Munawar Khan testified before the Hamood-ur -Rahman Commission (The Commission) that the Commander Brigadier Hayatullah had brought some girls for entertainment in his bunker on the night of 11 & 12 December 1971 in Maqbulpur sector when enemy shells were falling on his troops.
Brigadier Jahanzeb Arbab (later Lieut. General) as SMLA Multan had demanded 100,000 as bribery from a PCS officer who was chairman of Multan Municipal Committee. The PCS officer committed suicide while leaving a note behind which read that he had only earned rupees 15000 while the SMLA was asking for rupees 100,000, informed Brigadier Abbas Beg to the Commission.
The same Jahanzeb Arbab as Commander 57 brigade in former East Pakistan had looted rupees 13.5 million from the National bank treasury in Siraj Ganj. The Commission concluded that Major General Khudadad Khan Adjutant General Pakistan Army had illicit relations with General Aqleem Akhter Rani whom he helped in suppressing some martial law cases. He also minted money in a number of business deals during martial law.
General A.A K Niazi had amorous relations with Ms Saeeda Bukhari of Gulberg Lahore who used to run a brothel house by the name of Sinorita Home. She also worked as a tout for Tiger Niazi for receiving money and getting things done when he was GOC and later Corps Commander at Lahore. She also colluded with Niazi in the smuggling of pan from East Pakistan.
Shamim Firdaus was another notorious character from Sialkot who did the same job as Saeeda Bukhari but at a different location. Major Sajjad-ul-Haq of 604 field intelligence unit told the Commission that dancing girls were frequently brought to a house in Dacca where they would entertain the generals.
He further informed that ‘Tiger’ Niazi would even visit some dancing girls in his staff car bearing 3 stars and the corps flag. Lt. Colonel Aziz Ahmad Khan told the Commission that the troops said ‘When the commander himself was a rapist, how could they be stopped.’ General Niazi also shamelessly defended the rapists by declaring that: ‘You cannot expect a man to live, fight and die in East Pakistan and go to Jhelum for sex; would you?’ Yahiya Khan was extremely fond of women and wine.
Some of his girl friends were; wife of an IG Police, Begum Shamim K.N Hussain, Begum Junagadh, Madam Noor Jehan, Aqleem Akhtar Rani, wife of a Karachi based businessman Mansoor Heerji, wife of a junior police officer, Nazli Begum, ex wife of Major General (retd) Latif Khan Mst Zainub, ex wife of Sir Khizar Hayat Tiwana with the same name i.e. Zainub, Anwara Begum, an industrialist from Dacca, Lilly khan and Laila Muzammil from Dacca.
In addition, there were actrors Shabnam, Shagufta, Naghma, Tarana and countless others. A number of generals and other army officers would accompany their wives and other female relations to presidency and then leave while the ladies would remain behind.
The report contains names of more than 500 women who spent time with the most licentious ruler of this country and in return extracted countless material benefits at the expense of the State. The wives of Generals Naseem, Hameed, Latif, khudad, Shahid, Yaqoob, Riaz, Peerzada, Mian and several others were Yahiya’s regular visitors.
Even when the situation in East Pakistan was degenerating Yahiya Khan used to visit Lahore and stay at the Governor House where the aphrodisiac Madam Noor Jehan used to meet him at least twice or thrice a day- in different dresses, makeover and hairdo. At night, she made sure that she was there. General Rani told ex-IG Prisons Hafiz Qasim that once she herself saw General Yahiya pouring liquor over the body of Malika-e -Tarannum Noor Jehan and then licking it, while both were sitting naked on the bed. This was when East Pakistan was burning.
Begum Shamim K N Hussain would come to see Yahiya at night and would leave early morning. Later Shamim was appointed ambassador to Austria while her husband was sent as Pakistan’s ambassador to Switzerland. Both husband and wife were not from Foreign Service with no experience of diplomacy. The father of Shamim, Justice (retd) Amin Ahmad was appointed Director National Shipping Corporation when he was 70 years of age. Similarly, when Noor Jehan went to Tokyo to take part in a music festival, she got hefty allowances in foreign exchange in violation of rules while many of her family members were sent to Japan on state expense. When Nazli Begum, one of Yahiya’s mistresses was not sanctioned loan by the MD PICIC, Yahiya dismissed the officer. 61, Harley Street Rawalpindi, a house owned by Yahiya was built and decorated with funds obtained from Standard Bank. Yahiya and his Chief of staff General Abdul Hamid Khan used to have fun with their mistresses in the guarded premises of this house. General Rani in one of her rare interviews described Yahiya’s idiosyncratic behavior ‘One night Agha Jani came to visit me and was somewhat agitated.
The moment he entered, he inquired if I had heard the song ‘cheeche da chala’ from the film ‘Dhee Rani’. ‘I smiled and stated that I had no time to listen to songs’. He then called the military secretary and ordered him to have a copy of the song delivered to my house at once. It was two o’ clock in the morning and the MS had to specially, have an audio shop opened up in order to obtain the album. Nevertheless, the command was obeyed and within an hour, Agha Jani was blissfully listening to the song, informed Noor Jehan.
Another widely circulated anecdote during the regime of the philanderer General Yahiya Khan was about actor Tarana. One evening a woman arrived at the presidential palace and demanded admission, ‘I am actror Tarana,’ she told the security guards. ‘I don’t care what Tarana you are, ‘replied the guard, ‘you have to have a pass to go in.’ The woman was incensed and demanded to speak to the ADC to the President. The guard rang up the ADC and was told to let the woman in. Two hours later when she was leaving, the same guard sprang to attention and saluted her. ‘What change in your behavior!’ remarked the woman very sarcastically. ‘Honorable ma’am, when you came, you were the actor Tarana; now you are leaving you are Qaumi Tarana (national anthem), and so I must salute you.’ replied the guard. General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan continued to live a peaceful and happy life at 61, Harley Street, Rawalpindi while drawing full retirement benefits including pensions as Army Chief and as President. When he died on August 10, 1980, he was honored with a full military burial.



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