Remains of General Beg’s battered convoy sped out of the bungalow premises towards the reinforcements. Aslam at once came running towards Beg’s car and saluted when General himself opened the door and got out to take a look at the reinforcements.
“ Major, you arrived just in time to save our asses. These buggers killed half of my men in minutes and still have my family. They are no ordinary terrorists. “ Beg said somewhat shakily.
“ We can take out these rats easily sir. Just give us the order. “
“ Don’t be a fool. These men might be holding my family inside the house. I can’t risk their lives.“ Beg snapped. “Find out what their demands are. Only then I’ll decide on future course of action”
Aslam was back 15 minutes later with the new that his men had discovered that telephone lines to the house were cut from the junction box in guard house. Within minutes, Beg received news that the lines were reattached. He himself dialed his landline number and waited anxiously as the telephone inside his house rang. He was nearly startled when someone inside the house picked up the phone. Beg started shouting at once, “Hello, hello!! Who is there ? Nussarat ? Is that you ? “
A heavy male voice replied mockingly, “Ah General Beg .You have a really long life. We were just about to call you.”
“Who the hell are you and what do you want ? Where is my family? They’d better be alright, otherwise you’ll regret that you were ever born.” Beg was beside himself.
Man on the other side laughed and said, “ Relax General. Your family is completely safe with us. We don’t wish any harm to them or even you. “
“Then why have you taken them hostage and why did you killed my bodyguards ?”
“ That was really unfortunate general. Believe me, if we had any choice, none of this bloodshed would have happened. Our plan was to meet you inside and persuade you to act according to our wishes in a reasonable and mutually beneficial way. Only if your boy was not so naughty so as to warn you, you’d know of our benign intentions firsthand.”
“Shut the hell up and tell me who are you and what do you want.” Beg bellowed into the phone.
“Well, who we are is not important General. But, what we want from you is infinitely more important. We just want you to give up one thing that you should’ve relinquished long ago “
“What is that? “
“Your post of Chief of Army Staff .“ The voice replied in a very casual manner. But the effect on General Beg was anything was casual. He lost whatever self-control he had on himself and started shouting even louder into the phone.
“ Who the hell you think you are ****** ? Do you think that you can just walk into my house and force me to handover everything that I worked for all my life just like that? I have lakhs of men at my command. I control the whole country, I control the Americans. You are nothing but a sneaking filthy rat. My men will enter the house and tear you apart within minutes.”
Man on other side of the line laughed even louder this time, “I’d not count on that if I were you. You need to understand it very clearly General that we are not ordinary terrorists. Our goal is to make sure that you give up your post with as little trouble as possible. We do have other means to persuade you apart from your family.”
“ What do you mean ? “
“ For starters, why don’t you try calling General Khalid ? Maybe that’ll make you see the light. I’ll call you after 10 minutes. “
General Beg was left holding the phone to his ear. He immediately broke out of his paralytic state and asked Major Aslam to contact General Khalid. Beg had promoted Khalid in order to cut down the power of General Asgar. Khalid was to assume command of Karachi garrison from Asgar who was transferred to a Nak Bundi near Afghanistan border. There his role would’ve been nothing more than that of a border guard. Orders to this effect were issued just a few hours ago in just concluded meeting.
Aslam was back within minutes looking shaken, “Sir, we have some very bad news. General Khalid convoy was attacked just outside his house just a few minutes ago. He is missing and 5 of his bodyguards are dead. Survivors claim that attackers who were in army uniforms bundled him into an army vehicle and sped away. “
Beg was speechless for a moment. “ Can anybody tell me what the hell is going on ? Are you telling me that some nuts not only took my family hostage and almost killed me inside my own house, but also managed to kidnap my most trustworthy subordinate? That too right inside my cantonment? “
Aslam shifted uneasily on his feet but kept quiet. He was rescued by ringing of Beg’s phone. It was from his house and he at once accepted the call and snarled into the phone, “ What have you done with General Khalid you ******** ? Who are you working for ? “
Man completely ignored his questions, “Do you realise what you are up against, General ? You, your family, your cronies, nobody is safe even in your own backyards. You might wear the stars, but it’s us who control everything in this country. For your own sake General, I’d strongly urge you to give up and do exactly as we say. “
“If I resign, who’ll take up my place ?”
“You need not worry about that General. After you retire, we’ll make sure that you lead a very comfortable retired life anywhere in the world.“
“It’s that ******** Asgar and you work under him? Isn’t it ? I always knew that he wanted my job, but never imagined that he’d stoop so low.”
“Right now, it’s not important who wants you job. Only thing important is the safety of you and your family. After all we can’t afford to keep them tied and bound for long.” Threat in the voice was too explicit to be ignored.
“Like hell I will. You’ve signed your own death warrant asshole. None of you will leave this building alive, even if it’s the last thing I’ll ever do.”
He disconnected the call and ordered Aslam to collect a crack team to storm the house. In the mayhem that followed his orders, his men suffered 28 causalities. They managed to save his son but not his wife . Her dead body was found in her bedroom, shot at point blank range. Total of 11 dead intruders were found, all in army uniforms but with fake identification papers. All were later identified as serving army person, 3 of them commissioned officers.