Published on 24 Aug 2015 | about 1 year ago
Pakistan President General Zia-ul-Haq arrived in New Delhi (enroute to Chennai to watch the Pakistan-India Test Match) without any invitation. At that time, Indian PM was not ready to meet Gen. Zia at the Airport. Indian Army were waiting for PM orders for an Attack on Pakistan through the Rajasthan Sector. In such a situation, it was improper to meet the Pakistani President. But Opposition Leaders & Cabinet Members were of the view that despite that the Pakistani Leader arrived without any invitation, it will be against Diplomatic Norms not to meet him & would cause misunderstandings about the Indian leadership on an International Level.
On our persuasion, Rajiv Gandhi went to the Airport the receive the President of Pakistan. Gen. Zia was accorded a lukewarm response from the Indian Prime Minister with an uninterested handshake without making any eye-contact. Rajiv Gandhi said to me, “Gen. Zia has to go to Chennai to watch the Cricket Match, so accompany him & take care of him”. I thought that Bhagwan how strong is this man, that inspite of an insulting behaviour from Rajiv Gandhi, Gen. Zia kept smiling.
Before his departure, Gen. Zia turned to Rajiv Gandhi and said, ‘Mr. Rajiv, you want to attack Pakistan, go ahead and do it. But keep in mind that after this the World would forget Hulagu Khan & Gengis Khan & will only remember Zia-ul-Haq & Rajiv Gandhi. Because this will not be a Conventional War but a Nuclear War. In this situation, Pakistan might be completely destroyed, but Muslims will still be there in the World, but however with the destruction of India, Hinduism will vanish from the face of this earth’.
Cold-drops of perspiration were visible on Rajiv Gandhi’s forehead. I felt sensation in my backbone. These were only few minutes, but Gen. Zia seemed to us a very dangerous man. With a stern-face, Gen. Zia’s eyes showed that he meant business. I was astonished, that after this stern warning, in a flash, Gen. Zia started smiling as if nothing happened & warmly shook hands with other hosts. Except Rajiv Gandhi & myself, that this Gen. Zia had created problems for the Indian PM by threatening him of Nuclear War.”