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History of Lt: Gen: Dr. Ghulam Safdar Butt
by Arshad Chughtai

Lt: Gen: Dr. Ghulam Safdar Butt a former President BCCP and Ex -- Chairman of country’s Water and Power Development Authority after a brief illness passed away at Lahore on 1st May 2006. Late Lt: Gen: Butt will be long remembered as architect of building a formidable set up of Pakistan Cricket leading to victories against England, New Zealand, Srilanka, the West-Indies and India in the era 1984 – 87. This was followed by a very creditable performance in the 1987 World Cup, though Pakistan lost the semi final against Australia the ultimate the winner of the tournament I still rate 1987 Cup to be the best, Pakistan team has ever played. That performance consolidated Pakistan's strength and ultimately she became a force to be reckoned with. Pakistan team onwards was on its course and eventually they won the 1992 World Cup.

It was also to the great credit of Lt: General Butt that with great determination and conviction he along with his Indian counterpart NKP. Salve had succeeded to bring organization of 1987 World Cup to the Sub-Continent.

Amongst some of the land marks achieved for Pakistan Cricket during his illustrious tenure as BCCP Chief include: First ever Test series win against England (1984), First Test series win against England in England (1987), First Test Series win over India in India (1987). Out of 10 test series played during that era 6 were won by Pakistan, they lost only one and remaining three ended in a draw. Such was the strength and stature of Pakistan team in those days that it was considered at par with the West Indian team who were the most fear some out fit in 1980's. I happened to make a courtesy call on Lt: General Butt in November 2005, incidentally during the course of discussion I mentioned of NKP salve and his book "The story of Reliance Cup". General Butt remembered NKP salve with great admiration.

NKP Salve, a former Indian Minister, Ex BCCI President and Chairman of Indo – Pakistan Joint Management Committee for Reliance Cup (1987) has paid rich tribute to Lt: Gen: Dr.G.S. Butt in his above mentioned book. It would be note worthy to reproduce some of the following remarks of the writer about Lt: General Butt in the said book: Giving Impressions after informal discussion at Common Wealth league Centre London before the General Body Meeting of ICC in July 1984 NKP Salve wrote: "Lt Gen: Dr. G.S. Butt is endowed with a very hand some personality and carries with himself with dignity. I found in him a man of very few words, very positive in approach and quick in taking decisions avoiding long a labyrinthine discussions on any matter".

Further referring to Lt: General Butt's visit to New Dehli for a meeting of IPJMC Mr.Salve note that the General had expressed “that though his family had professional soldiers for generations if he hated some thing most in his life it is war. Salve in return has paid compliments to these remarks stating that "I did not realize that one day his (Lt: General Butt's) commitment to peace in not too distant future would play a major role in defusing tensions between India and Pakistan in early 1987 when forces of the two countries stood in battle array to strike any movement".

It would be worth mentioning that Late President General Zia-ul-Haq had made a historic visit to India to witness the second day of Jaipur Test as a part of his Cricket for peace mission in Feburary-1987. It is believed that this visit largely helped to diffuse the mounting tension between the two countries and to normalize the situation.

His death is widely mourned in Army WAPDA, and Cricket circles. Alas the country has lost a great Soldier, Engineer, Administrator and Patron of sports. May God rest his soul with eternal peace in the Heavens.

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2006 smyaserrafique@yahoo.com)
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