Last week the issue of Kargil was reignited in public debate again after a decade. In a confessional interview of sorts broadcast on national TV, Gen (Retd.) Shahid Aziz admitted that the Kargil operation was a ‘misadventure’ to say the least and that there was no proper planning for the operation. He also said that a lot of people even within the military were kept in the dark about the operation. Most people had long said exactly that but this was the first time one of the people directly involved has spoken up about Kargil and given insider information.
But this was not the most crucial part of the interview that in fact was the part where the former General admitted that the 99’ coup was preplanned and that democracy was systematically dismantled because a few people decided that they did not want to respect the opinions of millions of their countrymen. What Shahid Aziz said opens up a whole new debate about how this country is run and what has been going on behind the scenes for a very long time now. To start with this new information finally vindicates the PML – N and its stand that the 99’ coup was a preplanned conspiracy to get rid of democracy. Additionally this confession shows the disdain for democracy that was held by Musharraf and his peers that they did not bother respecting the mandate of the people of Pakistan and instead spent night and day to dislodge a democratic government. Imagine the desperation of these people to get rid of the people’s choice that they did not even for a second think before sending our soldiers in to harm’s way.
Based on the recent interviews of Shahid Aziz and others, fact is Kargil was nothing more than a pointless war that was waged by a few lunatics who had no respect for life of others. The whole episode was used to paint the government as a failure even though Musharraf did not even give full information within the military let alone to the civilian government. It was this episode that Musharraf used to defame a democratic government and then used as an excuse to plan and execute a coup.
Here are excerpts from various interviews that prove this exact point. Until the time there is a judicial inquiry in to how a few men put this country at risk, there can never be any moving on for our democracy. We the people owe it to our democracy to never allow such incidents to happen again where a few gung ho individuals put our nation at stake for their own personal gains.
(Jan 31, 2013)
Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retd), “Under Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan army not only suffered a humiliating military defeat in Kargil, but also sunk to an abysmal depth in the eyes of military professionals all over the world“
Sharif’s government was veering around to the view that India’s hand of friendship should be accepted and was committed to opening up trade, liberalising the visa regime and encouraging people-to-people, cultural and sports contacts.
Gen Ziauddin was a close confidante of Nawaz Sharif and used to keep him informed of all actions of Gen Musharraf. The later had stopped inviting Ziauddin to the meetings of the Corps Commanders. During the same period Maj Gen Jamshed G Kiani was taken into confidence by Gen Musharraf to keep an eye on the activities of his DG (ISI) Gen Ziauddin. Most of the key operations of intelligence, which were the normal domain of the ISI, were taken out from ISI’s jurisdiction and were allocated to the Military Intelligence (MI) Directorate indirectly being controlled by Gen Musharraf himself.
(Some others have mentioned in the past too that Mush used to keep the critics out of loop)
On 2nd June 2008, in an interview to the Geo TV, Lt Gen (Rtd) Jamshed Gulzar Kiani ‘…….according to his information, Nawaz Sharif did not know anything about the Kargill episode. He was never thoroughly briefed on the same. I personally support the holding of a probe into the Kargil fiasco’.
Dawn newspaper on 2nd June 2008, Gen Kiani said that Nawaz Sharif, the majority of corps commanders and the ISI were kept in the dark about the Kargil operation in 1999. Although Nawaz Sharif was briefed on the Kargil issue but it was fairly late and the conflict had taken start by then. ‘It was not a comprehensive briefing that the Chief Executive should have been given.’
Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) of Indian Intelligence had noted in their files, as detailed in OutlookIndia.com, that in the last week of May 1999, Gen Musharraf had been to Beijing on an official tour. He was in daily telephonic contact with Lt Gen Mohammad Aziz, the then CGS, in Rawalpindi from his hotel room in Beijing. All these conversations were intercepted by the RAW. The government of Atal Behari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister of India, later decided to release the transcripts of two tapes to the media. He did it for three reasons:
- Firstly, the tapes showed that it was the Pakistani Army which had occupied the Kargil heights violating the Line of Control (LOC) and not the Kashmiri Freedom Fighters (Mujahideen) as claimed by Gen Musharraf.
- Secondly, it was the Pakistan Army which had shot down an Indian Air Force plane and asked the Hizbul Mujahideen to claim the responsibility for it.
- Thirdly, the tapes showed that Gen Musharraf had launched his operation without the knowledge of Nawaz Sharif, many of his Corps Commanders, the ISI, the Chiefs of the Air Force and Navy and his Foreign Office.
Leaving aside the question of whether PM Nawaz Sharif was told about the operation or not, the real issue surfaces that why or how the operation failed. Even one presumes that the PM was told or fully briefed about Kargil Operation, and even the PM had given green signal to go ahead, the onus of failure comes on the shoulders of the Army Chief who had thought it, planned it, worked it out and launched. It was a total failure on the part of Army Chief and his close associates.
Lt Gen Ali Kuli Khan, “Kargil was flawed in terms of its conception, tactical planning and execution. The Kargil incursion was a far bigger tragedy for Pakistan than the civil wars which led to the creation of Bangladesh and damaged the country’s Kashmir cause, contrary to Musharraf’s often repeated claim that his misadventure had helped revive theKashmir issue at the international level. The Kargil episode was an unprofessional decision by someone who had served in the Pakistan Army for 40 years. As the architect of Kargil, Musharraf must answer critical questions as to whose brainchild it was and what exactly the broad strategic aim behind the operation was. Let the government appoint a Kargil Commission as had been done in India to hold a thorough investigation and let the nation know the truth about Kargil.”
General Ziauddin Butt, “”The then prime minister Nawaz Sharif was not given a proper briefing on the Kargil operation. Musharraf bluffed him (Nawaz) to start the Kargil war”, he said in an interview to GEO TV Sunday night.
“A thorough inquiry ought to be conducted to unearth the facts,”
“Pervez Musharraf, Lt. Gen. Mahmood and Lt. Gen. Aziz Khan hatched the whole plot along with a few other close associate in the military”, he said, adding, “Lt. Gen. Tariq Pervez opposed the offensive in a meeting and was forcibly retired from army by Pervez Musharraf later on as a punishment”.
“The political leadership was kept out of the loop”, he said. “The federal cabinet demanded removal of Musharraf as chief of army staff in a meeting June 3, 1999 because the country had to face embarrassment internationally on account of Kargil war”.
“Musharraf had the plans to take-over from the very first day of his appointment as army chief”
Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army, and America’s War on Terror, is authored by Mr Hassan Abbas, Research Fellow at the Harvard Law School and a PhD. candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He has served in the administrations of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (1994-95) and General Musharraf (1999-2000)
Author Hassan Abbas gives a graphic description of how the Kargil disaster was planned and managed by the Army led by General Musharraf who led a “Gang of Four” and quotes Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Maleeha Lodhi as saying: “Even corps commanders and other service chiefs were excluded from the decision-making process.”
“So much so that even the very able DGMO, Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia, was initiated into the secret after the gang of four had already taken the irrevocable decision of going ahead with the operation,” the book says.
(His book criticizes NS a lot more than it praises)
General Kiyani (he says NS was briefed…..but also says that NS traveled to US to save the Izzat & Azmat symbol of PK Army.
“After that Nawaz went to the United States. But an attempt was made to create the impression in the print media that Nawaz Sharif was at fault to surrender there. He said this impression was created by General Pervez Musharraf which was totally wrong”
Referring to Mush’s book, “whatever has been written there is against logic. If you catch your enemy by the jugular vein he would react with full force. If you cut enemy supply lines, the only option for him will be to ensure supplies by air”