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Musharraf's Historic Book Leaves Us Breathless!

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Submitted by Rakshas 10 Anan (India), Sep 27, 2006 at 06:14

Each reference to India alone is a collossal lie! The author of this article rightly says, "The general either has very great confidence in his persuasive powers or harbours utter contempt for the people of Pakistan, who are the primary audience of this book."

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/13450.html

Heights of deception

K. Subrahmanyam

Posted online: Wednesday, September 27, 2006 at 0000 hrs

It has taken seven years after the event for General Pervez Musharraf to come out with his version of the Kargil war. What an imaginative version! He tells us now that it was a great victory. It helped to internationalise the Kashmir issue. It was undertaken because the Indian side was preparing an offensive operation. He expects the Pakistanis and the rest of the world to accept this version after dozens of books have been written on the war, an overwhelming number of which give a very different version of the event. The general either has very great confidence in his persuasive powers or harbours utter contempt for the people of Pakistan, who are the primary audience of this book.

If India was preparing for an offensive action and this move was undertaken as a countermeasure, why was this charge not made earlier when the then Pakistani foreign minister, Sartaj Aziz, visited India in June 1999? Why did it not feature in the conversations of the director-generals of military operations? Why did not Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif raise the issue in his conversations with Atal Bihari Vajpayee? The general claims it was a great victory for his army. Why then is it that the officers and men of the Pakistan army who fought valiantly and got killed did not get the decent burial that was their due? Why were their bodies abandoned on Indian territory? There is no precedent in the history of warfare of a victorious army behaving this way. Why did Pakistan not own up to this victory? Why was it not advertised to the great pride of the Pakistani people till this book was published?

If Pakistan's action was a preventive or preemptive action against a planned Indian offensive, there should have been no difficulty in it owning up to the presence of its Northern Light infantrymen across the LoC. But the myth of "mujahideen" was maintained even at the time of withdrawal. There was no need for Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz to cover himself with ridicule by claiming that the LoC was not clear, with the Indian side throwing at him the demarcation maps signed by General Hamid of Pakistan and General Bhagat of India.

Musharraf is economical with the truth when he claims that he told Nawaz Sharif, as he was leaving for Washington on July 3, 1999, that the military situation was favourable to Pakistan. Tololing was recaptured on June 17, Point 5149 in the Dras section on June 20, and Tiger Hill in the Dras sector was retaken even as Sharif was flying to Washington. Presumably the Americans did not share the general's assessment of the military situation being favourable.

According to Bruce Riedel's account, the Pakistani army was attempting to escalate the conflict while being pushed back, by attempting to deploy presumably nuclear missiles, as the Americans assessed. General Musharraf denies this and says that at that stage the Pakistani nuclear arsenal was not in a position to be deployed. He may well be right on that point.

However, the Americans with their satellite information were not confirming General Musharraf's assessment to Prime Minister Sharif on the night of July 3, 1999 that the military situation was favourable to Pakistan.

General Musharraf claims Kargil as a great diplomatic success since it internationalised Kashmir. In fact, it was the first time India found that neither China nor the United States was prepared to back Pakistan on its misadventure and in a sense Kargil marked a turning point in Indo-US relations. President Clinton's firm stand that there was no point in Sharif coming to Washington unless he was prepared to withdraw his forces impressed India favourably. Subsequently, in March 2000, on General Musharraf's watch, Clinton said in his TV address to the entire Pakistani nation that borders could not be redrawn in blood. Evidently these developments count as favourable ones from General Musharraf's point of view. No need for India to quarrel with him on this issue.

General Musharraf confirms the conclusion of the Kargil Committee report that the balance of probability suggested that Nawaz Sharif was fully in the picture. This, it may be recalled, was against the wisdom of the then top Indian political leadership who maintained that Sharif, who had signed the Lahore Declaration, could not have approved the Kargil aggression. While the general may not necessarily be truthful on all points in recounting the Kargil misadventure, it is clear that Sharif too has not been telling the truth on Kargil.

Obviously the book is a kind of election manifesto for the general to stand for election as president next year. Among the previous military rulers of Pakistan, President Ayub Khan and President Yahya Khan did not survive defeats in the military adventures they launched. In this case, the war was launched by Sharif, no doubt instigated by General Musharraf. Sharif has paid the penalty for launching the Kargil war.

General Musharraf is trying to salvage his position after having survived the aftermath of the Kargil debacle for seven years. His version of events is not likely to impress political leaders, analysts or military establishments around the globe. On the issue of Kargil, the audience he is aiming at is Pakistani servicemen and common people. Presumably he relies on public memory being proverbially short. Still he has taken high risks of being challenged in his own country. India has to deal with General Musharraf as a ruler of neighbouring Pakistan. There is no alternative to that. In doing that we have to bear in mind the mindset of the leader we are dealing with. In this case, he seems to be a person who is not highly concerned about his own credibility.

The writer was chairman of the Kargil Review Committee set up by the Government of India in 1999

Submitting....

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