Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hayat Khan Sherpao: Inspector Aurangzeb and the Wooden Replicas

This is the third part in a series of posts about the murder of Hayat Khan Sherpao.

Click here for the 1st part.
Click here for the 2nd part.
Click here fore the 4th part.


Following his arrest on suspicion of the murder of Hayat Sherpao, Asfandyar Wali is transported for his detention and locked in a cell somewhere inside Bala Hissar Fortress. After his dinner, Inspector Aurangzeb enters his cell and confronts him with the Police's case theory.

The Supposed Plot...

Inspector Aurangzeb tells Asfandyar that he has just returned from a meeting with the Inspector General of N.W.F.P Police. The I.G was apparently of the view that the murder of Hayat Sherpao was committed in immediate retaliation for the murder of Ahmad Raza Kasuri's father a few months back. The I.G also beleives that the decision to kill Sherpao was taken at a meeting that took place at Chaudhry Zahur Illahi's house in Lahore, with the following participants:

1. Wali Khan
2. Ahmad Reza Kasuri
3. Chaudhry Zahoor El
4. Malik Muhammad Qasim
5.Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan
6. Mian Tufail Muhammad

Inspector Aurangzeb confronts Asfandyar with an allegation to the effect that after the meeting in Lahore, Wali Khan traveled back to the N.W.F.P and tasked Asfandyar with carrying out the murder. Asfandyar Wali obviously denies the charges.

It is interesting to see where each of the aforementioned individuals are today.

1. The late Wali Khan, father of Asfandyar Wali, hopefully requires no introduction by this stage.

2. As I mentioned in my first post in this series, On the 20th of November 1974, Kasuri famously turned up at the National Assembly carrying a bottle his fathers blood and his bloodstained shirt, vowing revenge against Bhutto. He was the primary complainant in the trial that resulted in the hanging of Bhutto. He also represented the Government in the Chief Justice case.

3. Zahoor Elahi fathered Chaudhry Shujaat (shown here with Shades & Ladies) who served briefly as Prime Minister and head of the civilian wing of Musharraf's Government.

4. Confusingly, Malik Muhammad Qasim was tried for treason during Zia's tenure, but the case was dropped. Despite his standing affiliation with the PML, he served as Federal Minister in Benazir's government in 1989, and was the Federal Minister for Railways during Musharraf's pre-election post emergency caretaker Government.

5. Nasrullah continued to wheel and deal with his Fez and Hookah until he died in 2003, and by establishing the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) laid the foundations for the promising (yet nauseatingly incestuous and mutually fellating) coalition government of Zardari-Bhutto-Sharif.

6. Mian Tufail Ahmed was Ameer of the Jama'at Islaami after Maududi, and a founding member of the United Democratic Front. Somewhere between 9-20 Pathan UDF workers were gunned down by Bhutto's FSF at a rally in Liaquat Bagh on the 23rd of March 1973 (Yet another irony that Benazir was assassinated on the same spot).

When Stephen Cohen is talks about a 'Pakistani Establishment', what hes saying is that the players never really change. They occasionally have children, switch sides and pick up new cronies but they never really change. Henry Kissinger recently observed:
"...the relation between Pakistan's three feudal-type organizations - the military and the major political parties - has more of the character of those among Italian city states during the Renaissance described by Machiavelli than of the party politics of traditional democracies.

They have occasionally made temporary alliances - as they appear to be doing now - for tactical purposes, but these have always proved preludes to new confrontations with the military appearing as arbiters in the end. The difference between feudal leaders who wear uniforms and those in civilian clothes is in their constituencies, not in their commitment to a pluralistic process as we understand it."
Kissinger's observations aren't really news to most Pakistanis. But still, for this 80's born naive young Pakistani, it is still jarring to realize how little has changed amongst Pakistan's political families and cliques over the last 40 odd years.

Anyways, back to Hayat Sherpao and Asfandyar Wali's jail time experience.

The subsequent 'Confession'

Interestingly, within the court transcripts, the sordid events and conversations that follow Asfandyar's denial are transliterated from Pushto/Urdu not simply in to equivalent English, but in to the Queens English. I would assume that this is to preserve the sobriety of the transcript, but it ends up coming across as some twisted Victorian parody of a South Asian S&M show .

"...Inspector Aurangzeb Shah called Hassan Gul A.S.I and asked him "Saman Rawara". Hasan Gul A.S.I Brought a small box which was opened by Inspector Auranzeb Shah and he took out two wooden replicas of the male organ and put the same in a table and asked me to choose between the two whether I wanted Wali Khan or Sardar Daud. I told him that I was not a fit person for the same and that the fittest person for those organs would be his wife or sister.
Thereupon Aurangzeb Shah inspector started slapping me and hitting me."

Thereupon indeed. Just as a reminder, Sardar Daud was the King of Afghanistan. And before it is assumed that naming the phalluses (phalli?) after the King of Afghanistan was something deviously original, below is an excerpt from the statement of another co-accused in the case who is also incarcerated at Bala Hisaar. According to Ahmad Farooq:

"Aurangzeb Shah Inspector again came to see me and told me that it was a last warning and that i Should agree. He then asked me if I was married. He then asked Hassan Gul A.S.I to bring the "Saman". Then Hassan Gul A.S.I brought something covered in white piece of cloth which was opened and it contained wooden male organs. Aurangzeb Shah Inspector told me that one of the wooden replicas of male organ was Ajmal Khattak and the other was Sardar Daud and that I was to choose between the two. Aurangzeb Shah Inspector told me that as I was unmarried he was going to make me unfit for marriage. He also told me that they could bring my father of family members in whos presence they could use the said wooden organs on me. At this time, I gave way. Honour is dear to everybody."

Everybody except for Sardar-Daud's-wooden-manhood-wielding Inspector Aurangzeb. Turning back to Asfandyar Wali , over the next few days the police proceed to tie him to a pillar and make him stand naked for extended periods of time while they electrocute him.

"Tamash Khan S.P said that I should think over [signing the confession] and that he would come again. After he left, DSP Akram Khan made me naked and tied my hands behind my back and forced me to swallow the salted water which he was putting in my mouth by force. I was made to drink four bottles of such water and they made me lie on the table, facing upwards.

"D.S.P Akram Khan had a string of plastic with which he tied my male organ tightly. A foot constable then came and he stood on my belly and started applying pressure with his feet on my belly.

After 5-6 minutes I lost consciousness and when I regained consciousness I found myself lying on the floor of the lockup with blood on the whole of the lower part of my body. When I went to ease myself, I urinated pure blood."

After sometime, D.S.P Akram Khan again came and said, "do you now agree?" I said "no." "
They police continue to torture Asfandyar Wali for some time. But he stubbornly refuses to sign the statement. In a scene which is almost comical, after torturing Asfandyar Wali and making him piss blood, the police end up begging him for a confession citing the fact their superiors 'have them by the balls':

"After 5/6 days Tamash Khan S.P again came to my cell and he said, which I quote; "Do you agree? We are helpless, above us is Abbas Khan D.I.G who is the cousin of the late Hayat Muhammad Khan Sherpao and he is not leaving our testicles, unless we make you agree to sign the statement."
Meanwhile, in another part of Bala Hissar, the police continue to turn the screws on Nisar Muhammad Khan. After some relativley light torture (mostly sleep deprivation and harassment), they cut to the chase.

"Niaz Gul S.P placed his hands on that Volume 1 of "Tafheem-ul-Quran" and swore that they, having exhausted all means to persuade me to agree to confess the guilt, were obliged to bring my wife and other females to me; and not only that but that they would disgrace them in my presence. He also warned me that even if that method did not bear fruit I would die in the cell.

I told Niaz Gul S.P that since he had taken oath on the Holy Book and our honour was involved, therefore with a view to save my honour and the honour of my family I told him that I was prepared to admit anything what they would ask me to do. "

Nisar Muhammad Khan is then taken to Asfandyar Wali's cell. He tells him of Niaz Gul's oath to sexually assault their women in front of them, and Asfandyar Wali finally agrees to sign the confession documents.

And there is another parralell. Above most torturers stands a person or a body convinced of a prisoners guilt. That party has the torturer by the "testicles". A confession must be elicited, so a confession is elicited. The confession is worth nothing, and leads the party who is relying upon it and everyone else, into a world of hell.

Tommorow, the Courts decision.


Ahsan said...

best of the lot so far.

Asfandyar said...

wooden penises?

what a sordid and quite remarkable tale/event.

I dunno what you meant earlier though about people not being too attached to this; i'm positively riveted by the debauchery of wooden penises and oath's on the quran to disgrace women.

Ahsan said...

by the way, just a minor presentation clarification point: is there a particular reason you are referring to this as a murder and not an assassination?

NB said...

There is a personal element to murder.


Haha thanks for staying interested, and for all the right reasons too. So far that makes you, me, AKS and Ali Mate, the pantshirt.

juice said...

pantaloons zindabad

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for the final piece of the puzzle.

NB said...

Sorry about that Anon. Writing these posts were extremely time consuming so i needed to stop for a few days. Its mostly written, will try to post today or tomorrow.

Faiza said...

nb: add me on to the list of pantshirt. it's all making sense now, but why have you not posted the rest yet? i want to read it before the memory of these fades. & yes, it is additctive reading. i might just switch allegiance from aks to you if you keep this up.

NI said...

Thank you for your research and analysis on Hayat Muhommad Khan Sherpao's murder. This has a special meaning to me, as my father Azizullah Shaikh too was targeted. He was President Sindh NAP and since the 60’s fighting the nationalist political leaders cases in court. At the time of Serpao’s murder I was a young girl. That evening when we saw the news of Sherpao's murder on TV we 3 girls pleaded with our father that he should hide. I still remember him saying” beta, nothing will happen. This has happened in Peshawar, they will not pick me up.” The police came that night at 2 am looking for him. We again told him please don’t go out. Through the chawkidar we sent the message that he was not at home and they left.” At daylight, a friend, lawyer Nurullah Jatoi who I think at that time was in Asghar Khans party, came and my father hid in his house. Later he moved to a house where Mir Muhommad Wassan was hiding. (Mir Muhommad Wassan was a landlord from Sanghar and Khalifa of Pir Pagaro. To put pressure on Mir Muhommad,(in another matter) they put his wife, sister and mother in police lockup in Sanghar. ). We had to face incredible pressure. We would receive threatening phone calls saying that the girls would be picked and raped. My mother was totally freaked out. Abusive and vile chalking was scribbled on the house boundary wall. Then one night they came presumably in a car and fired many rounds at our house. After one round was fired they probably would drive round the block and come back and fire another round. We were on the ground floor and could here the crashing of French windows on the first floor. I can still remember my mother screaming and asking for help. But we were the 'gadaars'. When the firing had started we were able to make one phone call before the phone went dead to Sherbaz Mazari Sahab, and he along with his son Sher Azam, reeached our house and we all stayed up that night. What an honourable man. Thank you Sir. I am hoping that some body who was part of the establishment at that time would throw light on who actually killed Sherpao.


NB said...


Firstly, thank you for commenting and for sharing a personal account of what was clearly a very difficult time for you and your family.

Whilst I was aware your father was affiliated with the NAP, I had not come across what happenened to him during my research for the post.

Like you, I do hope at some stage through some turn of events, that information does come to light as to the actual perpatrators of the murder. Itd be fitting justice not only for his family, but equally and perhaps more importantly for the entire senior leadership of the NAP and their families, including yours, who were made to suffer the brunt of Bhutto's inquisition.

takhalus said...

from Cowasjee

Now we go back 21 years to a place of learning, to the Peshawar
University, to that fateful Saturday, February 8, 1975. Whilst
addressing the students, a good man Hayat Mohammed Khan Sherpao, senior
minister of the NWFP and president of the provincial PPP, was blown up
by a bomb and killed. Another Prime Minister Bhutto, Zulfikar that time,
stopped doing what he was doing in New York that day, boarded the plane,
flew back, and wept at Sherpao s grave.

The very next day, on February 9, the leaders of the opposition NAP in
various parts of the country were arrested. These included Wali Khan,
Arbab Sikander, Qaswar Gardezi, Mehroz Akhtar, Arbab Saifur Rahman,
Major General M.G. Jilani (Jil of Narowal), Amirzada Khan, Haji Ghulam
Ahmed Bilour, Mohammed Adil, Rukhnuddin Kazmi, Hassan Hameedi,
Rehmatullah Khan Rohaila, Abdul Khaliq Khan (Roedad s brother, the best
of the lot). They were held under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO)
ordinance and various other false charges.

Barrister Azizullah Shaikh, chief of the NAP in Karachi, who was in
Hyderabad, managed to remain out of reach. His home, with his wife and
three small daughters, was surrounded by agency men, it was pelted with
stones, and the children terrorised. Friend Sardar Sherbaz Mazari moved
in with his own armed bodyguards and stayed overnight to protect
Azizullah s family.

On February 10, the government of Pakistan dissolved the National Awami
Party and forfeited all the properties and funds of the Party. The
action, according to Gazette of Pakistan notifications, has been taken
under Sub-section 1 of Section VI of the Political Parties Act of 1962.
The notifications said that the government was satisfied that the NAP
was operating in a manner prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity
of Pakistan and it had, therefore, formally declared the NAP to be
operating in such a manner. Following the government order, all the
offices of the Party throughout the country have been sealed. (Dawn
Feb. 11, 1975).

The movement of scores of other office-bearers of the NAP in various
centres of the country were restricted under the dreaded MPO. On the
same day government agents raided and ransacked the offices of Asghar
Khan s Tehrik-i-Istiqlal and of the Jamaat. The office of the defunct
daily newspaper Shahbaz was set afire.

On February 14, the champion of liberty, Minister for Provincial Co-
ordination Hafiz Pirzada declared that the administrative action taken
by the government in dissolving the National Awami Party was not
arbitrary or out of rancour and acrimony it was strictly in conformity
with the provisions of the Constitution.

I now quote from Bhutto s biographer, Stanley Wolpert, the first man
allowed access to the archives of the great leader at 70 Clifton. He
had no doubt, moreover, as to the identity of the murderers, though no
party or individual would ever claim credit for killing Sherpao. Zulfi
felt as certain that Wali Khan was the man responsible for Sherpao s
death as Ahmed Raza was certain about who killed his father.

Imran may have read his Wisden, but there is no single book that
will teach him about how politics works in Pakistan. The best he can do
is to read the three books written by that erudite affable resident of
Pakistan, Herbert Feldman, dealing with three different periods in the
country s history, culminating in the happenings of 1971 when our inept
politicians lost for us half our country. To gain insight into some of
the doings of the first of the PPP governments, he could also read the
editorials written by Iqbal Burney for his Outlook magazine, a
publication that was eventually banned by Bhutto. The White Papers,
published by Zia on the various performances of the Bhutto regime, will
also enlighten him as to the workings of the mind of the third of the
PPP governments.