Z.I. Abbasi - 2004
By Kazi Zulkader
Siddiqui, Kit no. 671, Latif House
Capt. Zahirul Islam
Abbasi (popularly known as Z.I. Abbasi) was
the fifth adjutant of Cadet College Petaro from
He was born on 12
January, 1943, and got married to Mrs. Shahida Zaheer
(daughter of Sqn.Ldr.(R) A.A.
Shaikh) on 25 November 1972. They have two sons and
two daughters. He expired on 30 July 2009 at Islamabad
after cardiac arrest.
After leaving Petaro,
Z.I. Abbasi rose up through the ranks to eventually become
a Major General in the Pakistan Army.
Z.I. Abbasi joined the
Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army around the year 1960. His
parent unit was the 12 Baloch. He fought the 1965 war against
India as a Captain in the Army.
A year after the war, Capt.
Z.I. Abbasi was assigned the position of Adjutant of Cadet
College Petaro. He was a disciplinarian, and at times his
strict actions were not popular with the students. However,
despite the difficult times in the country with the political
upheavals, strikes and riots everywhere, he was able to
maintain calm and peace in the college.
It was during the period of
Capt. Z.I. Abbasi as adjutant that Petaro won all the three
championships at ICCST.
After leaving Petaro in
1969, Capt. Abbasi was posted back to his unit. The
country was already in turmoil leading to the 1971 war with
India. Z.I. Abbasi participated in the war from the western
He was regarded very highly
as an officer, and by the mid-1980s, he was given the rank of
a brigadier. In 1987-88, he was appointed the Military Attaché
at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. He was rated
very highly in this position, and therefore the Indian
establishment was very unhappy with his presence in New Delhi.
They were looking for a ruse to throw him out of India.
On December 1, 1988, the
Indian military intelligence (in the garb of New Delhi police)
arrested him at a restaurant while he was having a meal with a
friend. He was falsely accused of meeting a "spy" and for gathering
information. During the few hours of arrest, he was beaten and
man-handled. Since they could not find any incriminating
evidence against him nor could they obtain any information or
documents from him, the Indian government chose to deport him from India
without notice by declaring him persona non grata.
Their attempt to take legal action against him failed. This
was the least that the government of India could do as a face
In 1991, he was posted to
Siachen Glacier where he led the Pakistani forces against
India. His performance was very good and he was given the rank
of Major General subsequently.
As a Major General, he was
then given the position of Director General of the Infantry
Corps at the GHQ - a staff position. He did not command troops
in this position. During this period, an alleged coup plot was
uncovered in which Major General Z.I. Abbasi was implicated by
the main accused as being the guide. After a court martial and
a trial, he was given 7 years of imprisonment but he was
exonerated from the charge of being the main leader.
On the other hand, the
earliest reports from the diplomatic corps in Islamabad give a
different version. They say that the alleged plotters were
supplying arms to Kashmiri fighters and were not plotting a
coup. The Pakistan government was under pressure from the US
government to find scapegoats and to crack down on the
military support to the Kashmiri fighters against the official
policy. These fighters had created a big problem for India.
Abbasi appealed to the
Supreme Court which ruled that his conviction appeal cannot be
considered since it was done by a military court. He remained
at Haripur Jail. Although the imprisonment was to be for 7
years, he was released after 4 years in 1999 due to his good
conduct and the good work he had done with the criminal
convicts at Haripur Jail.
During the period of his
incarceration, he used to teach classes to other prisoners
(who were convicted of other crimes). According to the Prison
In-charge, there was a marked change in the attitude of other
prisoners due to Gen. Abbasi. He played a great role in
reforming their lives and making them realize how to rebuild
He commanded great respect
in prison among the Haripur district officials, the prison
officials and the prisoners. Everyone seemed to want to be in
his company. The prison officials would often sit and have
dinner with him in his cell, and would gain a lot from his
teachings and discussions. And they marveled at his
superlative character and humble attitude in life.
I had an opportunity to
visit him in late 1999 in his prison cell at Haripur Prison (a
few months before his release). We prayed maghrib together,
and - to my surprise - the prison officials walked in with
food to have dinner with him. We all ate together. I left him
after dinner that night with satisfaction that he had proved
his worth even in prison.
Since his release, he had
been leading a relatively quiet life in Rawalpindi/Islamabad. He
lectured on various aspects of Islam and values of religious
life, and formed the Azmat-e-Islam Movement with the
objective of leading the ummah to return to the khilafat.
Maj. Gen.(R) Abbasi always
looked forward to meeting Petarians and had a lot of love for
them. He even visited Petaro during the
His sudden death on July
30, 2009 was a real shock for most Petarians. His
namaz-e-janazah was held at the Fizaia Colony, Islamabad, and
the body was taken to his ancestral village Hali, Teh. Haripur
May Allah grant him the
best place in Jannatul Firdaus, and make him a beacon of light for all.