Pakistan’s former army chief General (r) Mirza Aslam Beg says the US intelligence agency is responsible for the 1988 plane crash that killed then president and army chief Ziaul Haq, US ambassador Arnold Lewis Raphel and other military officials.
Zia, one of the most powerful Pakistani heads of state, was killed on August 17, 1988 after the C-130 plane carrying him and other Pakistani and US officials crashed just outside Punjab’s Bahwalpur.
In an interview, Beg told Turkish Anadolu news agency that the plane crash was not an accident, but sabotage. The former military chief said he believes that the US Central Intelligence Agency was involved in the sabotage.
According to General (r) Beg, an internal inquiry conducted by the military intelligence when he was the army chief also raised suspicion about the role of the CIA in the plane crash.
Ijazul Haq, Zia’s son and a former Pakistani minister, believes that General (R) Beg and former national security adviser Major General (r) Mahmood Ali Durrani were also involved in the conspiracy to bring down Zia’s plane.
Durrani and Beg, however, dismissed Ijazul Haq’s accusations. Beg said that he held the elections and handed over the government to the elected officials after Zia’s plane crash. He asked that if he were involved in a conspiracy, did it benefit him?
Durrani said that he disagrees with both Beg and Ijazul Haq and doesn’t believe in the sabotage theory.
Durrani, who was heading the Multan division that hosted Zia in Bahawalpur, said that the plane crash was just an “accident” that took place due to a “technical fault”.
Ijazul Haq also claimed that Durrani had called his father 16 times to convince him to fly to Bahawalpur. Durrani has denied the accusation and said he spoke with General (r) Haq twice before his visit to Bahawalpur.