Kargil nags Pakistan
There is only one response that India can have to retired Pakistani Lieutenant General Shahid Aziz’s recent revelations regarding the Kargil War: “We always told you so.” In an article recently published in The Nation newspaper, the former chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence’s analysis wing presents a riveting account of the Kargil War which debunks several Pakistani claims about that conflict. First and foremost, reiterating India’s long-held claims that the attack was initiated by the Pakistani Army, Lt Gen Aziz concedes, for the first time in popular Pakistani discourse, that it was indeed uniformed soldiers of Pakistan who acted under the direct orders of their Army chief and attacked the Kargil Heights in the summer of 1999. This acknowledgement flies in the face of the Pakistani Establishment’s repeated assertions that the conflict was perpetuated by Mujahideens. Instead, Lt Gen Aziz makes no bones about the fact that the Kargil conflict was the brainchild of then Chief of Pakistani Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf — who ironically, as the President of Pakistan, would later make a show of smoking the peace pipe with New Delhi. Lt Gen Aziz also makes clear that the conflict was a meaningless, military misadventure that was bound to fail, given that it was planned with total disregard for “regional and international environment”. Towards that end, he writes: “There were no indications of an Indian attack. We didn’t pre-empt anything; nothing was on the cards”; consequently, trashing the popular Pakistani claim that the war was a “defensive manoeuvre”. In fact, the former soldier does not shy away from stating that it was the Pakistanis who breached the Line of Control by trying to take control of areas that have been with India since the Shimla Agreement of 1971. Ultimately, Lt Gen Aziz bemoans the death of several Pakistani soldiers who died for no worthy cause at all, but merely because their Army chief was a military maniac driven by the basest instincts of war mongering. Indeed, in his article, Lt Gen Aziz details how “an unsound military plan based on invalid assumptions” (that India would not retaliate with force) led to hundreds of Pakistani soldiers being needlessly pushed to death. And he minces no words when he states there is nothing to be gained by blaming India for a supposedly ‘escalated response’ to the situation.
While whole-heartedly welcome, Lt Gen Aziz’s revelations now make it that much more difficult for India to trust the Pakistani Army or the Establishment. This is especially the case when one takes into consideration the lies perpetrated by Rawalpindi after two Indian soldiers were recently killed and their bodies mutilated by Pakistani troops; or even Islamabad’s tawdry response to the mutilation of Captain Saurabh Kalia’s body during the Kargil War. In fact, in Capt Kalia’s case, Pakistan’s response has always been that its Army could not be blamed for the incident because the Army had not played a major role in the Kargil attack. Perhaps the Mujahideens had done it, was the underlying conclusion. It has even been suggested, as Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik atrociously said on a recent visit to India, that Capt Kalia’s body could have been disfigured as a result of the harsh weather conditions in the region. Given the disclosure, New Delhi must at least now pursue with Pakistan the case for justice to the martyred Capt Kalia.