ISLAMABAD, Aug 5: The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) on Saturday claimed that the Indian government knew about the Kargil operation plan in June 1998, about 11 months before it was launched, and it had made preparations to turn the battlefield into a deadly trap for Kashmiri freedom fighters and Pakistan.
The claim was made by the PML-N in a 100-page ‘white paper’ on the Kargil operation titled ‘Kargil adventurism: another huge defeat after Dhaka Fall, who is responsible?’ released by its joint secretary Siddiqul Farooq at a news conference here on Saturday.
The PML-N leader said it was necessary to constitute a high-powered commission on Kargil debacle that should submit its findings to parliament within six months, adding that it was a national demand.
Mr Farooq said a detailed report on the operation had been submitted by the directors of the Indian Intelligence Bureau to the then prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the interior minister and the DG Military Operations.
However, he said, a “naive military adventurer, Gen Musharraf,” launched the operation without proper planning on May 8, 1999 causing loss of life of 3,000 officers and Jawans of the Northern Light Infantry (NLI) and Kashmiri Mujahideen, while India suffered loss of 474 soldiers.
Mr Farooq said the Kargil operation had brought the two neighbouring countries to the brink of a nuclear war. He said the operation code-named ‘Operation Vijay’ was a clear and unquestionable diplomatic and military victory for India, while it was another debacle for Pakistan.
The PML-N leader said Gen Musharraf had wilfully avoided constituting a commission to fix the responsibility for this huge military defeat that had demoralised the entire nation. He said the deposed prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, had “constituted a military inquiry committee that recommended court-martial” of Gen Musharraf but the general overthrew the government and “stole the report” from the PM House to save his neck.
Mr Farooq said right from the beginning, the Indian government started bringing the international community in picture about its human and financial losses in Kargil and succeeded in mustering their support and sympathy, while Gen Musharraf brushed the losses of Pakistan under the carpet, tarnishing Pakistan’s name internationally.
The PML-N leader said with the entire international community firmly on its back, the Indian government “cut off all supply lines of Mujahideen” and brought its entire conventional military hardware to the battlefield, making Kargil a “death trap for Pakistani troops”.
The Indian military made a “clean sweep of the NLI and the military posts started falling one after the other”, he said. He said during the Kargil Operation, the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, fed useful information to their military causing their victory, while “the intelligence agencies of Pakistan shamefully failed in feeding any useful information to the military”.
Mr Farooq said while Gen Musharraf was on a state visit to China, the then Chief of General Staff Gen Aziz informed him about the nitty-gritty of the Kargil Operation. He said RAW “bugged every word of this conversation and made it public” thus inflicting a huge diplomatic and political loss on Pakistan.
He said that on his return from China on June 2, 1999, when the federal cabinet summoned Gen Musharraf, he told them that the China had advised him to call back Mujahideen from Kargil. This brought all defects in the Kargil Operation plan in the limelight and laid bare the fact that Gen Musharraf alone was responsible for the debacle who did not take air and naval chiefs and his corps commanders into confidence before launching the operation.
In this meeting, he said, Gen Musharraf “begged Nawaz Sharif to play his role in saving the prestige” of Pakistan Army.
He said when the then foreign minister, Sartaj Aziz, went to China on a one-day state visit, he was “counselled that Pakistan should avoid confrontation and find a diplomatic solution to the crisis”. He said when Sartaj Aziz reached New Delhi on June 12, the Indian leadership gave him a cold shoulder. On the other hand, international newspapers published the conversation of Gen Musharraf and Gen Aziz about Kargil operation on their front pages on June 14, rallying international community behind India and isolating Pakistan at the international level.
Mr Farooq said on June 12, Gen Musharraf “requested Nawaz Sharif that he and the chiefs of the other two forces wanted to meet him”. On June 13, the then foreign minister Sartaj Aziz and three service chiefs called on the prime minister and Gen Musharraf “informed him about the Kargil situation and told him that withdrawal of Mujahideen from Kargil was the only honourable course of action” for Pakistan. He said the then US Centcom chief Gen Anthony Zinnie visited Pakistan on June 24 and called on Gen Musharraf in which they had “worked out the details of withdrawal from Batalik, Tiger Heights and Marlpol”.
Mr Farooq said in these pressing circumstances created by a handful of military adventures; Mr Sharif visited Washington on July 4 and met President Clinton in the presence of his adviser on South Asian Security Bruce Riddle. He said a withdrawal plan was hammered out during two 75-minute sessions.
The PML-N white paper recommended that Gen Musharraf should “admit his blunders and present himself for a court-martial”.
“If he does not have the moral courage to own his blunders then his court-martial is a must to close the doors of future takeovers by adventurer generals,” the report said.