‘Sharif was not informed of Kargil by Musharraf’June 3rd, 2008 - 1:50 am ICT by IANS
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, June 3 (IANS) President Pervez Musharraf’s former aide, Lt. Gen (retd) Jamshed Gulzar Kiani, said Monday evening that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was not informed about the 1999 Kargil operation by Musharraf who was then army chief. “I am not sure from where he (Sharif) came to know, but it wasn’t through the army and the Kargil operation was kept secret from Nawaz Sharif,” said the former general who was the corps commander of Rawalpindi, one of the most important posts in the army, under Musharraf when he was the chief of the army staff.
In a late night interview Monday on GEO television, the general, speaking for the first time on the Kargil operation, said that it was because of Sharif that the forces from Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir were withdrawn which otherwise “may have spread to a bigger war”.
The former general demanded a probe into Musharraf’s acts since he went on the Kargil “misadventure”. “There are many issues and many acts on which Musharraf should be brought to the court of law,” said the general.
Indian and Pakistani troops were involved in a confrontation in Kargil, in the upper reaches of the Himalayas in 1999.
He however, without giving out names, said that it is not true to say that Kargil was a brainchild of Musharraf. “He was just leading it because of his position. There had been such moves in the past as well.”
He said, “As we know the Indian army was in an aggressive mood and they could have gone too far if the Kargil issue was not controlled in time.” He said that the Pakistan Army is a very professional army and “we were in a position to tackle any sort of aggression.”
After Sharif came to know about the Kargil operation, he immediately called top military commanders and his close cabinet colleagues to discuss the situation. “None of the political or military leaders favoured Kargil and all the blame was on one person,” he pointed towards Musharraf without naming him.
He said Sartaj Aziz, who was Sharif’s foreign minister in 1999, was highly critical of the Kargil operation and angrily said, “I’ll not be able to defend it at diplomatic forums.”
Kiani said that Sharif had gone to the US to meet the then president Bill Clinton to settle the Kargil issue “just to give a face-saving to the Pakistan Army”. He said that Sharif has great respect for the army and he proved it by settling the issue in a decent way.
The general, who was once considered to a close military aide to Musharraf, said that the referendum held by Musharraf was a “total farce”. He said, “Musharraf is a total failure and he has just done all wrongdoings to prolong his tenure.”
“He has messed things up; look at the law and order,” said Kiani commenting on the rash of suicide bombings and the fighting raging in two of Pakistan’s four provinces.
The former general said that launching operation against “innocent students” of Lal Masjid in Islamabad was a “big blunder and there was no need for such a massive attack”.
He said the inmates were under siege and could have easily given up “but it was not handled properly by the government.”
Kiani said that Musharraf gave an elaborate seven-point order of action when he seized power in 1999, but after eight years he had not delivered on any of them.
“Where is the inter-provincial harmony?” he asked. “Where is the law and order? Even the economy is going down with escalating food prices. The net result of the eight-year rule is a complete mess-up of the country.”
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