US behind 1988 Pakistan plane crash that killed Gen. Zia: Pakistani senator

The United States was behind the August 1988 C-130 Hercules plane crash that killed then-Pakistan President General Muhammad Zia-ul Haq, according to Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain. Also killed in the crash were several of Zia’s top army officers and the American Ambassador in Islamabad, Arnold Raphel.

Senator Hussain, who is also a renowned political analyst, strategic expert and journalist, made the remarks in a recent exclusive interview with Pakistan’s GEO TV.

The assassination of General Zia “was a joint operation by America and the then (Pakistani) military establishment,” he claimed.

Senator Hussain said a year after the assassination, Congressman Stephen Solarz, who was then the chairman of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, asked him (Hussain) at a US embassy reception in Islamabad: “Who do you think killed Zia?”

“You guys did,” Senator Hussain said he replied. “You people killed General Zia.”

“We? It’s not in our Constitution. We don’t do such things now,” Solarz said.

“Have you stopped assassinating Third World leaders? Since when?” Senator Hussain said he asked him.

Then the senator said he gave a list of the leaders of the Third World leaders who were killed by the CIA and the congressman’s face became pale.

When asked why then the American Ambassador was killed in that incident, the senator explained: “It was a mistake. He was not supposed to be on that plane. At the last moment General Zia put Ambassador Arnold Raphel and Brigadier General Herbert Wassom, who was (America’s) chief defense representative (in Pakistan) on the plane.” General Wassom also died in the plane crash.

Hussain said that the United States covered up the assassination plot. “There is a rule in America that wherever a suspected terrorist incident happens, they send the FBI for investigation, but the FBI was not allowed to investigate that incident.”

General Zia ruled Pakistan from September 16, 1978 till his death on August 17, 1988 in the crash. Backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia, Zia played a major role in the 1979-1989 Soviet–Afghan War.

The Pakistan army under Zia’s rule had trained Afghan “mujahideen” to fight against the Soviet occupation throughout the 1980s that culminated in the Soviet Union’s withdrawal in 1989.

According to some analysts, the United States used General Zia to defeat Soviet forces in Afghanistan and then had him killed because the general was planning to establish a regional bloc constituting Pakistan, Afghanistan and the newly liberated states from the Soviet Union.