One year before Bahawalpur incident, a Pakistani young man met an American journalist carrying photographs of injured Afghan children with General Akhtar Abdul Rehman. The Pakistani asked the journalist the reason for keeping these photographs and he answered that whenever he was disappointed he looked at the general and the children to get courage. All his life, General Akhtar Abdul Rehman shunned publicity and performed his duties in the background. But today, US and Western analysts and experts admit that the DG ISI, CJCOSC and right hand of General Ziaul Haq, General Akhtar Abdul Rehman was the man who forced superpower Soviet Union to be torn into pieces. For the first time in history the mason of a great victory was known by the world after his death.
General Akhtar Abdul Rehman was born on 11 June 1924. His father, Dr. Abdul Rehman, was one of the few doctors in the South Asian subcontinent at the time, but he died when the son, Akhtar Abdul Rehman, was of three years and a half. He grew up and did his Masters in Statistics from the Government College, Lahore, and then joined Pakistan Army. He got commission just before 1947 and became a captain in 1949.
After various professional achievements, he became DG ISI in June 1979, when his real challenging period of service started. He strengthened the capabilities of the ISI, the Inter-Services Intelligence, in such a manner that it became among the top spy agencies of the world. General Akhtar Abdul Rehman made sure that the CIA should not have any influence and interaction in Afghanistan. Whenever the CIA tried to enhance its influence in Afghanistan, he intervened to stop it. He divided 40 Afghan war groups into a coalition of seven organizations and in 1986 succeeded in getting Stinger missiles from the US that changed the map of Afghan war.
The Soviet war was near an end when the US pressure caused General Akhtar Abdul Rehman to get transferred from the ISI. He was later made CJCOSC. He strongly disagreed with the Junejo government in 14 April 1988 at signing the Geneva Accord having the belief that if the Soviets went without a stable government in Afghanistan it would cause the region to suffer a lot in the future. He made it clear that in a situation like this Pakistan will eventually be at a loss. But upon US pressure and Benazir Bhutto’s agreement Junejo signed the accord.
After that incident, General Ziaul Haq again decided to initiate the Afghan Cell of ISI under General Akhtar Abdul Rehman. The CJCOSC was not inclined to take the job again but General Zia brought him round, and that caused the US to act abruptly. In 1988, the C-130 carrying General Ziaul Haq, General Akhtar Abdul Rehman and many other Generals fell to the ground due to technical reasons. SHAMSHER ALI