besieged Indian Army Position at Kargil
Chief Accuses Musharraf's Team of Major Slips in Kargil
August 30: A former ISI Chief Lt Gen (Retd) Javed Nasir has held
General Musharraf's team responsible for major slips in the disastrous
Kargil misadventure and has demanded that an inquiry commission
of senior retired army officers be formed to determine what mistakes
slips in the application of methodology and the evolution, implementation
and execution of the operational instructions were made,”
Gen. Nasir said in a newspaper article but he regretted that unlike
the Indian side, instead of sacking, some of those responsible
had even been promoted.
former ISI Chief stated that it was correct that Gen. Musharraf
had given five or six detailed briefings to Nawaz Sharif but he
cast doubt on the timings of these briefings. “In which
month Kargil was occupied and when was the first briefing given
by Gen Musharraf to Nawaz Sharif has perhaps been deliberately
omitted. This is the most cardinal issue of Kargil which has not
been cleared by anyone so far,” he wrote.
is the complete text of the article published in The Nation of
by leaders and a large numbers of articles which have appeared
about Kargil in the Pakistani newspapers during the last few months
make it necessary to correct the resultant distorted version conveyed
to the Pakistani nation.
was very much part of the Azad Kashmir and under the control of
Pakistani troops up to 1972. Because of permafrost high altitude
features mostly exceeding 17,000 and some even 20,000 feet ASL,
logistic dumping in the area used to be carried out for scouts
from May — August who used to be moved in in May and withdrawn
in December each year because the position was never threatened
by the Indians. Because of the humiliating surrender in East Pakistan
on 17 Dec 1971, the troops even on the western front and Kashmir
were highly demoralized. The Indians have always been deceitful
and cunning while dealing with Pakistan.
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the grand victorious leader
and knew that whatever she would dictate at Simla would have to
be accepted by Bhutto, therefore she took the Indian Army Chief
in confidence sharing with him that she would include the following
term about Kashmir in the Simla agreement. That the areas captured
across CFL (ceasefire line) in Kashmir would neither be vacated
nor given back, instead the present line held will be termed as
LoC but areas captured across the recognized international borders
would be given back by both sides on the western front.
Indian Army Chief therefore moved his troops to occupy the vacant
snow line features in Kargil. Pakistan Army Chief Gen Tikka Khan
did not even have a clue of what Bhutto was going to sign at Simla.
He believed that once ceasefire was agreed between Indian and
Pakistani Governments all the areas under adverse occupation across
the CFL would be vacated and given back to each other as was done
Bhutto on the contrary wanted to put the army in such a humiliating
and disgraceful position that no Chief in future would ever dare
to remove the politically elected government.
the occupation of Kargil, the Indian army opened the road along
Shyok river to the mouth of Siachen and Ladakh which previously
was dominated and overlooked by the Kargil heights which always
had been under occupation of Pakistani scouts.
this very area the CFL. toward Siachen had been left unmarked
in 1973 because of inaccessibility. The Indians neither ever claimed
Siachen nor challenged Pakistan’s control over it. All the
positions in Siachen being permafrost areas. Pakistan army started
holding the lower features very thinly from May to November after
the loss of Kargil in 1972, pulling the troops back in early December
each year. Having developed the road to the mouth of Siachen glacier
and Ladakh, the Indians started experimenting with adventure thinking
teams in early 80s and based on their recommendations occupied
the Siachen heights in April ‘84 before the Pakistani troops
were to move in.
Aslam Beg who could have easily occupied the seat vacated by Gen
Ziaul Haq’s accidental death, because of no resistance from
any quarter, took the army’s depleted image to an unimaginable
height by bringing in democracy. He was the first army Chief with
outstanding dual qualities of professional supremacy and field
dynamics and the only one who as a student leader was a devout
worker for Pakistan Movement.
was not only my most favorite Chief Instructor and colleague but
also my friend. He prepared the plans to play back Siachen on
the Indians in Kargil from where the Indians like the Pakistan
scouts used to pull back by end November each year and re-occupy
in mid-May next year. Gen Beg had the best team at GHQ Pakistan
will ever have.
Shamim Alam was the CGS & Gen Jahangir Karamat was the DGMO,
both of whom rose to four star ranks.
This excellent team had correctly appreciated that the occupation
of vacant Kafir Pahar, Damgul, Tortuk Challunka in Kargil sector
which completely overlooked and dominated the road running on
the bank of Shyok river to Siachen would force the Indians to
vacate Siachen failing which the Indian troops in the area with
their logistics completely consumed and exhausted would be left
with no option but to withdraw or surrender, unless they resorted
to the most vulnerable heli-lifted supplies which too would have
plan was presented to President Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Prime
Minister Benazir in 1989. The response of the President was typically
bureaucratic non-committal, but Benazir very curtly disapproved
the plan. I met Gen S.R Kallue (R) the DGI, who was my best friend,
who disclosed to me that during the pre–GHQ briefing he
had advised Benazir that because of India’s undisputed nuclear,
qualitative and quantitative overwhelming superiority and the
freedom struggle by Kashmiris being in a very preliminary stage,
the time was not ripe to go for such an operation for to retaliate
it the Indian army will be forced to resort to major escalation,
including war, which Pakistan, with its prevalent economic state
and relative inferiority of strength, would not be able to endure.
then met Gen. Beg to console him since he was highly disappointed
and disheartened by Benazir’s curt rejection which according
to him strongly reflected the sense of revenge about his father’s
hanging by a military dictator, rather than an assessment of the
prevalent situation whereby India had committed the blunder of
getting three of its divisions committed in Sri Lanka and as such
would not be in a position to go to war with Pakistan.
December 1998 the power balance in the subcontinent had undergone
a major change by the certification made by the pro-Indian western
media that Pakistan’s three nuclear explosions in May 1998
had proved that its nuclear technology was far superior to the
operations in Kashmir, particularly their too frequently successful
and daringly bold suicidal missions and a too frequent turnover
which was making all ranks serving in Kashmir due for the next
tenure within 1½ year after the completion of the running
tenure, had completely sunk Indian troops morale in Kashmir.
had forced the Indian Chief to thin the fighting strength even
from armored regiments, air defence and artillery units of the
defensive as well as strike formations from the main land, thus
inducting major strategic and tactical imbalances rendering the
formations inoperative for all type of operations on the main
land should a war break out.
Gen. Musharraf was appointed the Chief, his dynamically decision
making personality was instantly reflected when within the first
hour of his having taken over he issued orders for the postings
of six Lieutenant Generals of his choice which included both the
CGS and Chaklala Corps Commander. His choice CGS, as a brigadier,
had served in FCNA as a Brigade Commander and Chief of Staff in
the Chaklala Corps.
proposed to the Chief a number of times to go ahead with the plan
of occupation of Kargil. The Chief had himself while serving as
DGMO minutely gone through the 1989 script of the plan which had
not been approved by Benazir. From his excellent experience as
instructor in the War Wing at the National Defence College he
knew how to carry out the most critical analysis.
correctly evaluated that in the event of Pakistan Army occupying
Kargil as a playback on Indians what they did to Pakistan in Siachen
in 1984, the Indian Army would neither be in a position to undertake
hot pursuit operations nor in a position to fight even a defensive
battle should the conflict be enlarged and carried over to the
a brilliant analysis, Gen Musharraf as the Chief perhaps gave
the green signal. The responsibility beyond this point was that
of his team comprising the CGS, Corps Commander, DGMO, Commander
FCNA. Whether correct methodology was followed to get the government
approval, and the operational instruction evolved, highlighted
the most salient point that the occupation of the vacant Kargil
feature would not involve even the firing of a single bullet but
the measures to be taken for denial thereafter of the vital tactical
features would be of utmost importance.
question is whether these were identified along with the period
for which the Indians were to be denied access to these features
under all circumstances – which entailed strengthening through
sufficient strength and defensive measures, logistical buildup
and maximum possible fire power to beat back Indian attempts to
capture the features to open the road to Siachen.
was to be done irrespective of the fact whether troops occupying
Kargil positions were to be second line forces or even Mujahideen.
Pakistan Army instead as a cover plan gave the credit to Mujahideen
for the occupation of these positions. Somehow it skipped the
vital fact that Pakistan Army was to come in by all means to thwart
Indian attempts to recapture these positions. Prior approval by
the PM was a must for total support as this operation would instantly
become an international issue and might lead to a war between
India and Pakistan if India failed to take back Kargil.
learnt about the occupation of Kargil by Pakistani troops for
the first time at the end of March ‘99 in Karachi from a
civilian whose brother was an officer in NLI. When I met PM Nawaz
Sharif, in connection with Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee
as the Chairman ETPB, in the first week of April ‘99 when
I asked him about Kargil, he had no idea. In May I met the Air
Chief who told me that he and the Naval Chief learnt about the
Kargil operation for the first time in April ‘99 when a
presentation was made to the PM by Army Chief Gen Musharraf.
PM Shujaat, who has been repeatedly quoted in the press as saying
that Gen Musharraf had given five or six detailed briefings to
Nawaz Sharif is absolutely correct, but in which month Kargil
was occupied and when was the first briefing given by Gen Musharraf
to Nawaz Sharif has perhaps been deliberately omitted.
is the most cardinal issue of Kargil which has not been cleared
by anyone so far.
the Kargil operation came in the open in May ‘99 I requested
Nawaz Sharif to recommend to the Army Chief to make me the in
charge of logistics build-up in the Kargil area for which he should
place my services at the Army Chief’s disposal for one or
two months. It is most unfortunate that Nawaz Sharif had some
self-oriented advisors who were best in rendering most unprofessional
advice. The PM did not convey this to Gen Musharraf and thereafter
therefore called on Gen Musharraf who was not only one of my instructors
in the War Wing of NDC whom I had always rated as one of the best,
but we also had the best of relations with each other and had
been meeting off and on after he was made the Chief. I offered
him my services for the logistics buildup in Kargil but he thanked
me very much and gave full assurance that the logistics buildup
though difficult was already going on very efficiently.
The first two attacks on Kafir Pahar by the Indian troops who
were beaten back with very heavy casualties on the Indian side,
I met him again and informed him that I was going to include a
statement from his side in my article to the effect that while
addressing the Army troops in a formation, Gen Musharraf had stated
that in case India committed the blunder of undertaking any hot
pursuit operations in Kashmir, Pakistan would have the option
to strike at the place of its choosing across the international
border where Indians holding defensive and strike formations suffer
from strategic and tactical imbalances and were not in a position
to fight even a defensive battle. This would prevent the initiation
of total war between the two sides, and as such his DG ISPR should
not comment on it. I gave this in my article which appeared in
the newspapers in first week of July `99.
the NLI troops were pulled back from Kargil and the Indian Army
reoccupied the positions, the Indian Government held a court of
inquiry which was published in the Indian papers. Our press also
reproduced the same whereupon I met Nawaz Sharif and suggested
to him to immediately order an inquiry but his advisory group
had repeatedly made him commit such major blunders which had spoiled
his relations with Gen Musharraf to an irretrievable depth of
the dungeon of misunderstandings.
about these from the third parties, I tried my best to meet Nawaz
Sharif to suggest to him to remove and clear those misunderstandings
between him and Musharraf but he kept avoiding me. Much later
he did call me thrice during Oct 1999 but I could not meet him
because of my wife who was seriously ill and left this world for
eternal heavens on 14 October 1999. By then it had become too
Musharraf had given the green light to his team after a brilliant
analysis carried out personally by him but his team faulted in
the correct application of the methodology and thus in achieving
the most vital core objective on the success of which the Indian
reaction was to be based which was the opening of LoC to Siachen
which was possible only if the Indians succeeded in recapturing
Kafir Pahar features which completely dominated the road running
along Shyok river.
Pakistan retained this feature till end July, the Indian troops
in Siachen would have been starved because of the non-availability
of any Kerosene oil, a must to melt the ice to make even drinking
water. Denial of this position till end July would have forced
the Indian troops in Siachen either to abandon or to surrender.
questions arise. Was the significance of this fact highlighted
in the operational instructions and was the Kafir Pahar position
allocated sufficient troops and the logistics dumping to last
till end August which was most difficult because it was approximately
18 kms from the LoC? Were sufficient guns and ammunition concentrated
in range to beat back Indian attacks?
features other than the ones overlooking the LoC to Siachen merited
the same attention as the Kafir Pahar. Were any serving or retired
officers from Infantry having served in the area and risen subsequently
to the Gen’s rank like Maj. Gen. Bokhari -- who like the
CGS had commanded a Brigade in FCNA, been COS of Chaklala Corps
and DMO as well, and to beat all had been one of the top three
Infantry Generals whom I would rate the best in the understanding
and applications of operational strategy (the other two being
Maj Gen Anwar and Lt Gen Usmani).
success or failure of the entire operation depended upon the retention
of these vital features -- as such their advice would have been
most invaluable. Likewise Gen Rahat Latif (FF) had served in the
Kargil area as a Capt in scouts when it used to be part of the
liberated Azad Kashmir.
briefing on the significance of Kafir Pahar would have been also
invaluable. Based on the findings of the inquiry reports the Indian
Government has sacked apart from Brigs, Lt Cols and Majors, a
Maj Gen (GOC 3 Infantry Div facing FCNA who had been approved
for the next rank) because of false reporting and certain command
the contrary, on the Pakistan side from the information and details
available so far many major slips appear to have been made not
by Gen Musharraf but by his team in the application of methodology
and the evolution, implementation and execution of the operational
instructions but, unlike the Indian side, instead of sacking,
some have already been promoted.
actually happened and who committed the blunder in his team? Gen
Musharraf must constitute an inquiry commission comprising all
retired officers to be headed by either Gen Aslam Beg or Gen Shamim
Alam including Gen Bukhari (FF), Gen Anwar (AK), Gen Usmani (FF)
and the author so that the entire nation comes to know the true
facts and Pakistan does not miss a similar historical and golden
opportunity in the manner we did at Kargil.”