He was the most learned, rakishly debonair man I had had the privilege of knowing. Naveed Tajammal, a captain in 3rd Baloch was apprehended by General Ziaul Haq in 1980 for attempting a coup against him with many other officers and organised by his father, Major General Tajammal Hussain Malik, the only brigadier who was promoted to the rank of Major General for having refused to lay down his arms in the 1971 war and was taken prisoner of war with his wrists broken, skull cracked open and having thereby fainted. The alleged plan was to assassinate Ziaul Haq on Pakistan Day Parade on 23 March, 1980. Naveed Tajammal was awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment in jail where he served five. The remaining five were rescinded upon the general accepting full responsibility for the aborted coup, thereby allowing all others indicted, including Naveed Tajammal, to go free. The general himself was later released by Gen Mirza Aslam Beg after Zia’s plane crashed on a Hindu Shamshan Ghat in basti Lal Kamal on the historic 17th August, 1988. He was released by his successor General Beg who restored his full military rank and honours. Naveed Tajammal was given a clean chit many years later retiring him honourably from the Army with a statement saying “no fault of the Officer”.
When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged to death and his body was flown to his home village, Naveed Tajammal’s regiment received late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s body. It was Naveed Tajammal who stood on duty at the grave of the departed day in and day out to note who came to visit for the initial 40 days of traditional mourning. I was never tired of listening from the horse’s mouth the sad details of those days. History as it happens, and as it is reported, can often be two different things.
An avid reader and lover of history, he had three masters to his name: Fine Arts, Business Administration and History. Undoubtedly, his love was with history, an affair that lasted until his death from the world at the age of 57 on September 12, 2014. Representatives from Universities in Canada and others would turn up at his doorstep requesting him to deliver lectures on the subject of his research, the Indus Valley Civilisation, where he could unerringly take you back for centuries in timeline. His articles were carried on many blogs and newspapers. A son of the soil, Naveed Tajammal was passionate about Pakistan and her interests. In a piece, The Indus Accord 1960, he writes, “Two sets of laws govern the water disputes: first is the Harmon Doctrine, named after a Judson Harmon, who was the Attorney General of USA in 1895, when arose a dispute between Mexico and USA over the usage of Rio Grande waters. Mexico was a lower riparian, the doctrine above cited gives “absolute territorial sovereignty” to the upper riparian as goes the usage of water resources passing through its lands, though the matter was resolved by a convention held between USA and Mexico on May 21, 1906, by which Mexico got its share of waters.”
Indus valley river system is an ‘international drainage basin’, as the geographical area extends and covers the administrative boundaries of more than two states, from Afghanistan to Chinese administered Tibet in the north east, and to Indian Occupied Kashmir. Technically India cannot claim sovereignty over Kashmir as it remains a disputed state, and the matter is in reference before the world courts while it has over a million troops keeping its control of the area.
“The ILA (International Law Association), a set of rules, drafted in 1966, called “The Helsinki Rules” define the perimeters in case of water related disputes in the cases where the drainage of a basin is international, as stated above. There are 11 main points/clauses that govern the rights of a lower riparian. They are briefly all about the geography of the basin, extent of drainage, and area in the territory of each basin state, the hydrology of the basin, past history of water flow, population dependent on the waters, economic and social needs of each basin state, and the degree to which the needs of a basin state may be satisfied without causing injury to a co-basin state.
India, it seems, follows the Harmon Doctrine while we twiddle our thumbs.”
All his pieces root back in history giving dates, names and all relevant information that made it impossible for anyone to dispute.
In yet another piece titled The Imposters that Now Threaten Balluchistan! (The spelling is NOT a typo but how it was originally spelt), he writes and I share:
“The roots of the system of Sardari in Balluchistan needs a closer scrutiny. The pettysardars were technically abolished by the Presidential Ordinance of 1976, which was focused on abolition of the ‘Sardari system in Balluchistan’.
“Under Naseer Khan Barrohi, the Nizamate of Kalat was divided in four political entities. This Nizamate was the creation of Nadir Shah, to teach a lesson to the Kalhora for not paying the tribute in 1740 AD.
“Naseer khan was a successful administrator and a brave warrior. His administrative areas were:
1) Sarawan, the plateau from Nushki till Sibi, inclusive of present Mari and Bugti region.
2) Jhalawan, the lowlands from Surab to the boundaries of Las Bela.
3) Makuran under the Ghicki Chief, but subservient to the Khan.
4) Kaachi, extending till Harrand-Dajjal, (later, DG Khan district). This region was awarded in lieu of Naseer Khan’s help to Abdali in the third Battle of Panipat against the Mahratta intruders. The point to appreciate and understand here is the system of Naseer Khan.”
Regarding his dealings with tribal chiefs:
“The powers of the Sardars or feudal lords were limited in the Barrohi tenure of rule, until the British jumped in. These Sardars held a consultative position in the matters of importance and in deciding tribal cases. They were as a sort of conciliatory commission. Their duty was that of an arbitrator of peace between the contending parties. In case they failed, the matter was referred to the Khan — the Supreme Power — who in return forwarded it to the Qazi-ul-Quzzat (chief judge) for the final decision. Such was the position of the Sardars in the criminal cases, while civil cases were directly dealt by the Qazi. The Khan was the Court of Appeals in all matters concerning the tribes of the conquered areas. The Sardars (tribal chiefs) were given jagirs by the Khan, and consequently they supplied the Khan with men and material in emergencies. Failing to produce specified quota of men, their jagirs were confiscated. Regarding internal affairs, the Khan acted quite independently in making laws and various other changes in the administrative spheres. While in his dealings with external matters, the feudal lords acted as a sort of advisory council. It was Naseer Khan, who had appointed tribal chiefs through general elections of the tribe by the headmen. Seniority in age and personal distinction were the deciding factors in the nomination of the tribal chief. (History of Baluch Race, by Muhammad Sardar Baluch, Page 85, 1958).
“When the British came and started setting up their new class order, they met with problems in the Nazimate regions. Sir Robert Sandeman was of the view that owing to the democratic setup found amongst the tribes, the headmen (Tumandars) if unsupported could not enforce authority over the unruly spirits and in order to preserve what influence they possessed, they were compelled to follow the path where the unruly spirits led (unruly being those who opposed the British).But the balance of power was turned when the Tumandars were given the means to entertain armed servants of their own, and when supported by suitable allowances and the prestige of connection with ‘OUR’ power. They then can exert themselves successfully, to keep their tribes in order. (Sir Robert Sandeman by T H Thornton, Page 304, 1895).”
The research, references and in-depth study was always superb.
Naveed Tajammal was the unsung hero of Pakistan. The defender of ideological boundaries of his motherland.