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When USSR threatened to take Pak's 'eyes out'

Last updated on: April 24, 2007 21:53 IST

The Soviet Union had warned Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s that it would take Pakistan's 'eyes out' if it looked at India in an inimical manner.

The then Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev delivered the warning to Bhutto when the Pakistani leader led his country's delegation to the United Nations, according to a new book based on the diaries of former military ruler Ayub Khan.

'Khrushchev, of course, abused Bhutto and said should Pakistan look towards India or Afghanistan, the Soviets would take our eyes out,' said a noting made by Ayub Khan on May 23, 1967 with reference to a dinner he had with Said Hussain, who served as Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN.  

'He (Bhutto) told Khrushchev not to get angry: Pakistan was ready to quit the pacts (South East Aisa Treaty Organisation and Central Treaty Organisation),' said an excerpt of the book published in The News today.

The book, to be launched by Ayub Khan's son Gohar Ayub on May 4, also claims that Bhutto volunteered to 'spy' on all UN delegations for the US when he visited the world body as the head of the Pakistan's delegation.

'To Said Hassan's amazement, when seeing then US Secretary of State Christian Hutter, he (Bhutto) volunteered to spy for the US on all UN delegations. When asked for an explanation, he said that because of our dependence on the US, it was a good thing to oblige them,' The News quoted Ayub Khan's noting in the diary.

Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party reacted strongly to the allegations, saying the charges -- like Gohar Ayub's previous claim that his father obtained India's war plans before the 1965 war -- lacked credibility. 

"Not long ago, Gauhar Ayub (Ayub Khan's son) had revealed another page from his father's diary that claimed Indian war plans were purchased from an Indian Army brigadier for only Rs 10,000 (before the 1965 war)," PPP spokesman Faratullah Babar said in a rejoinder sent to PTI that refuted the former military ruler's allegations.

"When questions were asked as to why we failed to inflict a crushing defeat on the enemy despite having access to their war plans, Gauhar Ayub was obviously embarrassed and chose not to make much of his father's claim," he said.       

Babar said Khan's allegation that Bhutto had made an offer to former US Secretary of State Christian Hutter to spy for the US on delegations at the UN in the 1960s revealed that 'Bhutto's ghost continued to haunt Pakistan's establishment,' Babar said.

"Remember also that Ayub Khan has relied for his critical remarks on a dinner conversation in August 1966 with a bureaucrat who served as Pakistan's representative in the UN from 1957 to 1960," he said.

"It is strange that neither the bureaucrat reported to his government Bhutto's alleged offer at the time nor Ayub Khan was aware of it, let alone asking for Bhutto's explanation when he was still in his cabinet or making any investigations," he added.

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