WASHINGTON DC, Sept. 7, 2004 | ISSN: 1684-2057 | www.satribune.com

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Jet aircraft overflying Kargil

General Nasir has Exposed His Own Lies on Kargil Disaster

By Senator Farhatullah Babar

ISLAMABAD, Sept 7: In writing about what he calls ‘the bitter hard facts’ about Kargil the former ISI chief Lt General (Retd) Javed Nasir has sought to absolve General Pervez Musharraf ‘my instructor in the War Wing of the National Defence College’ of the Kargil debacle and blames the executioners of the plan who ‘faulted in the correct application of the methodology’ of the plan.

But history is a ruthless judge of men and matters. Its verdict is not influenced by evidence like ‘whom I had always rated as the best’ coming from a bystander of events who also had ‘the best of relations’ with General Musharraf. Objective history must depend more on the analysis of hard facts.

Javed Nasir was not an actor in the Kargil misadventure. He was a bystander who by his own account asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “to make me in charge of logistics in the Kargil area”. With a fixation about the ability of his instructor “to carry out the most critical analysis” and himself wanting to take over the command of logistics of the operation, Lt General Javed Nasir sees the plan as brilliant but laments the way it was executed by dwarfs surrounding Musharraf.

Former ISI chief may like to believe that his becoming in charge of the logistics would have brought together the ‘brilliant analyst’ and master logistician on the same side at the same time and turned the tables on the Indians.

As there is no ban on the flight of fanciful imagination the former general may be permitted to indulge in this fancy. The supposition that the Chief’s responsibility lay only in making “a brilliant analysis” and thereafter it was not his but his team’s (identified as Chief of General Staff, Corps Commander, Director General Military Operations and Commander FCNA) job to carry it out successfully, is both naive and dangerously faulty.

What is ‘brilliant’ about a plan the implementation of which cannot be guaranteed? And where is the ability of carrying out “the most critical analysis” when such simple fact is lost sight of that neither India nor the international community would permit it?

It is unbelievable that a former Lt General should advance in such spurious logic. If all generals really think like him it is all the more reason why issues of war should not be left to them alone, being too serious.

Accordingly to the writer “General Musharraf correctly evaluated that in the event of Pakistan Army occupying Kargil, 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”. It is offensive even to the meanest intelligence to say that this evaluation was ‘correct’ and that after making this ‘brilliant’ evaluation the responsibility was no longer that of General Musharraf.

A case of a brilliant former general paying compliments to the brilliance of another general. Isn’t it?

Was it a correct evaluation? Certainly not. When Kargil was occupied the Indians launched a massive diplomatic, military and political offensive forcing Pakistan to withdraw its troops from Kargil. General Anthony Zinni in his book, Battle Ready, says about Kargil, “ I met with the Pakistani leaders in Islamabad on June 24 and 25 and put forth a simple rationale for withdrawing: If you do not pull back, you are going to bring war and nuclear annihilation down on your country. That’s going to be very bad news for every body”.

He then goes on to add, “Nobody actually quarreled with this rationale”. It is strange that the brilliant visionary who did not quarrel with this rationale in June was unable to anticipate it early that year.

As a result of Kargil the bluff of nuclear deterrence was called. Nuclear Pakistan could not deter India from deploying its troops on the borders and adopting coercive diplomacy. Nuclear Pakistan had to back down from Kargil.

As a result of Kargil also the genuine struggle of the Kashmiri people was reduced to cross border terrorism as no one talked of liberation movement but of jihadis sent into Kashmir by Islamabad.

It did not internationalize the Kashmir issue. On the other hand it internationalized the issue of cross border terrorism so much that even China had to caution Pakistan against exporting jihadi zeal.

As a result of Kargil, Pakistan was isolated as never before. It is therefore quite clear that the Kargil led to consequences, which the ‘brilliant analyst’ who had the ability to carry out the ‘most critical analysis’ failed to anticipate.

Nawaz Sharif claims that he was kept in the dark about the Kargil plan. Chaudhry Shujaat says that he is prepared to affirm on oath that Nawaz Sharif was briefed and knew about it. The central issue is when Kargil was occupied and when Nawaz Sharif was briefed about it.

This can be ascertained only through an independent commission of inquiry and not on the testimony of a personal friend ‘not only my most favorite chief instructor but also my colleague’.

Lt General Nasir has also taken a swipe at Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for allegedly agreeing to include in the Simla agreement the condition that ‘the areas captured across ceasefire line in Kashmir would neither be vacated nor given back’. He says Bhutto did this ‘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”.

Simla agreement is not a secret document and is publicly available. One only has to read it to know the lie in the assertion that there is a clause in it about Kashmir, which requires that areas captured across the ceasefire line, would neither be vacated nor given back. The lie is also unwittingly exposed by General Nasir himself as he says in the same breath, “the Indian army chief therefore moved his troops to occupy the vacant snow line features in Kargil”.

The question is that if Kargil was already under Indian occupation why should the Indian army chief move his troops to the ‘vacant snow line features’ in Kargil. And if Kargil was not in Indian occupation then and Indian troops moved later to occupy it, who was to blame; Bhutto for ‘wanting to humiliate the Army’ or the military leadership whose responsibility it was to defend Pakistani territory?

If Bhutto wanted to heap humiliation on the Army he would have allowed Sheikh Mujib to proceed with the war crimes which have now come to public knowledge after the publication of Hamood Commission report.

If he wanted to humiliate the Army he would not have striven to bring back the tens of thousands of soldiers back from humiliating captivity in India. In fact in the view of some he went too far in saving the Army from humiliation by not allowing the court martial of those responsible for war crimes.

The writer also laments that a Kargil like plan was also submitted to Benazir Bhutto in 1989 but she ‘very curtly disapproved the plan’. History has proved that her curt disapproval saved Pakistan from humiliation, which was later to be heaped on it not by Bhuttos but by the Bonaparts.

The writer is a member of the Pakistan Upper House belonging to the PPP of Benazir Bhutto

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