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February 2, 2013

Musharraf planned Kargil to scuttle Indo-Pak peace process

February 2, 2013

Although General (r) Pervez Musharraf has claimed in his memoirs that the Kargil standoff with India had actually boosted the cause of freedom for Jammu & Kashmir, a study conducted by US-based Centre for Contemporary Conflict (CCC) concluded that the Kargil operation was planned by the Musharraf-led Army to scuttle the Indo-Pak peace process which had led to the 1999 Lahore Agreement between the two neighbours.
General Musharraf had stated in his 2006 memoirs titled ‘In the Line of Fire’ that the Kargil operation was a landmark in the history of Pakistan Army since just five units in support of freedom fighters compelled the Indians to employ more than four divisions. Musharraf concluded the Kargil chapter of the book with a telling claim: “I would like to say emphatically that whatever movement has taken place so far in the direction of finding a solution to the Jammu and Kashmir conflict is owed considerably to the Kargil conflict.”
However, the findings of the Washington-based Centre on Contemporary Conflict into the Kargil conflict convincingly negate Musharraf’s argument. The CCC is the primary research wing of the US Naval Postgraduate School’s Department of National Security Affairs which conducts research on emerging national security threats and shares its findings with US and allied military and civilian decision makers. “The cause and consequences of the 1999 limited war in Kargil” was the topic of the CCC study which was sponsored by the office of the US Secretary of Defence. The study was conducted through lengthy deliberations made during a series of workshops and seminars in the US, Europe, India, and Pakistan.
The Kargil conflict was a treacherous event not because of its duration or casualties, but because it contained a real risk of nuclear escalation. As per the findings of the study, “The Pakistan Army had planned the Kargil operation to scuttle the Indo-Pak peace process which had been initiated by

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and which had led to the 1999 Lahore agreement. The operation was an attempt on the part of the Pakistan Army for regime sustenance by creating a war-like situation with India. The political impact of the Kargil conflict was a deepening of mistrust between the military and the political establishment, which ultimately led to the ouster of the government”.
According to the study, the Kargil conflict had affected Pakistan’s politics and society in many ways: first, it deepened the already brewing distrust between the military and the political establishment; second, it produced tensions between the military and religious groups; third, it raised questions about the responsibility and reliability of the Pakistani state among the community of nations; fourth, it damaged the professional reputation of the Pakistan army, allowed the international media to portray it as a rogue army; and fifth, by deliberately keeping the public in the dark about the civilian government’s involvement in the Kargil conflict, Islamabad’s political strategy had an adverse societal impact. This problem was exacerbated by the government disowning the remains of the dead soldiers of the Northern Light Infantry, which caused resentment among families of those who were killed in combat.
However, the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif insists that the military high command had kept him completely in the dark while advancing towards Kargil heights where thousands of Pakistani soldiers died. “This ill-planned and ill-conceived operation was kept so secret that besides the prime minister, some corps commanders and the chiefs of navy and air force were also kept in the dark”, an under-trial Sharif had stated on June 12, 2000 while reading out a hands written statement before the newsmen outside the accountability court established in the 16th century Attock Fort where he was being kept by the Musharraf regime after his take over.
Sharif pointed out that Pakistan had suffered heavy loss of lives in the operation. “The fact is that units after units of the Northern Light Infantry were wiped out. With every passing day Pakistan was losing posts. Our loss on the Kargil conflict was more than what we had suffered in the 1965’s full-fledged war with India”. Sharif then observed: “When I was briefed about the Kargil operation, I was told that the loss of life would be negligible and would be equal to nothing. I was told that if something was not done quickly, Pakistan was in the danger of losing remaining heights after already losing the Tiger Hills”.
But this contradicted Sharif’s earlier claim and gave a clear hint that he was taken into confidence by the khakis before the Kargil operation was launched. However, senior PML-N leaders say he was taken into confidence by the army after the operation had been launched. They refer to a secret telephonic conversation between Musharraf and his Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Mohammad Aziz which was picked up by the Indians during the Kargil crisis and delivered to PM Nawaz Sharif. At least two conversations of May 26 and May 29, 1999 — when the Kargil hills were afire — between the two Generals were picked up and delivered to Nawaz Sharif by R K Mishra, along with a written transcript on June 3, 1999. Sharif’s close aides say these tapes had proven that Musharraf and Aziz were keeping the Kargil operation as a closely-guarded secret.

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