Former Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf, unwanted in his own country and shunned by his own fraternity there, is fighting a desperate battle for survival. Under attack from some of his own Army colleagues for having kept large parts of the Pakistani establishment in the dark over the Kargil operation of 1999, General Musharraf through his aides and confidantes, is making new revelations about the 1999 India-Pakistan conflict.
On a TV programme aired on Geo TV on Thursday night, a former Pakistani colonel revealed that Musharraf had crossed the Line of Control in March 1999, a couple of months ahead of the actual Kargil conflict, which lasted two months. Colonel (retd) Ashfaq Hussain alleged that General Musharraf entered 11 km inside Indian border to survey the area.
In his book ‘Witness to Blunder’, Colonel Hussain has written that Musharraf himself crossed the LoC in a helicopter on March 28, 1999 and spent a night on the Indian-controlled side.
General VP Malik, who was the Indian army chief during the Kargil war, told NDTV: ” The Indian Army had reports that the first Pakistani patrols had crossed over into Indian side of the LoC some time in February even as Prime Ministers Atal Behari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif were discussing the peace process and Vajpayee had taken the bus ride to Lahore. Gen Musharraf, who had already planned the incursions into Kargil thought it fit to visit the forward areas immediately thereafter to assure the troops that the operation was going ahead as planned. It is therefore possible that Musharraf went there in March 1999 but whether he crossed the LoC or not, I cannot say.”
In his book, Colonel Husain says the Kargil ‘misadventure’ was masterminded by Major General Javed Hassan, General Mehmood and General Aziz. They made then president Musharraf agree to the plans, which later lead to a limited conflict between India and Pakistan.
However, General Musharraf, in an interview to Pakistan’s Geo TV, said the Kargil conflict was a huge success militarily. He claimed that the Pakistani Army would have “conquered” 300 square miles of India, if then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had not visited the US and succumbed to pressure from then US President Bill Clinton to withdraw Pakistani troops from Indian territory.
Clearly nearly 14 years after the conflict, Kargil continues to make headlines.