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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

World

Kargil, a 'four-man show'; Sharif 'not' kept totally in dark
PTI
Islamabad, January 29, 2013
First Published: 16:45 IST(29/1/2013)
Last Updated: 16:49 IST(29/1/2013)

The operation by Pakistani soldiers to capture strategic heights in Kargil sector in 1999 was a "four-man show" orchestrated by former army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf though then premier Nawaz Sharif was "not" kept totally in the dark, a retired general has said.

Lt Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz, who recently created ripples by acknowledging in an article that regular troops were involved in the Kargil operation, said the "misadventure" was a "four-man show" and details were initially hidden from the rest of the military commanders.

When the operation began in the spring of 1999, it was known only to Musharraf, Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Mohammad Aziz, Force Command Northern Areas chief Lt Gen Javed Hassan and 10 Corps commander Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmad, Aziz told the Dawn newspaper.

Though former premier Nawaz Sharif has for long claimed that he had no information about the Kargil operation, Aziz said information he had gathered suggested Sharif was not kept "completely in the dark".

Aziz said he was personally not aware of what information had been shared with Sharif but recalled that another general had told him that Sharif had once asked during an informal discussion: "When are you giving us Kashmir?" This suggested that Sharif was not completely in the dark, Aziz said.

The former general's remarks are the first time someone from the senior military hierarchy has spoken in detail and with frankness about the Kargil conflict, the report said.

Aziz said the operation was a "failure" and the actual figure for Pakistani casualties was still not known.

"It was a failure because we had to hide its objectives and results from our own people and the nation. It had no purpose, no planning and nobody knows even today how many soldiers lost their lives," he said.

A majority of corps commanders and principal staff officers were kept in the dark and even then Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Tauqir Zia learnt about the operation after it had begun, said Aziz, who was the head of the analysis wing of the ISI in 1999.

Musharraf worked on a policy of "need to know" throughout his tenure as army chief and later President, Aziz said.

Musharraf would issue orders to only those who were required to implement them instead of first consulting corps commanders and other officers.

"The Pakistan Army did not plan the operation because Gen Musharraf never saw Kargil as a major operation. Only the FCNA was involved in it and perhaps a section of 10 Corps," said Aziz.

He claimed the operation reflected a "major intelligence failure for India".

"It was a miscalculated move", he said, adding that "its objectives were not clear and its ramifications were not properly evaluated".

Aziz said he first discovered that something was up in Kargil when he came across wireless communication intercepts that showed something was making "Indian forces panic".

He added: "The intercepts worried me as I thought we were not aware of whatever was unsettling the Indians. I deputed two officers to figure out what was happening".

The next day's intercepts were clear enough for Aziz to realise that the Indians' anxiety stemmed from the fact that someone from Pakistan had captured some areas in Kargil-Drass sector but it was not clear if they were mujahideen or regular troops.

"I took these intercepts to then ISI Director General Lt Gen Ziauddin Butt and asked what was happening. It was then that Aziz was told by Butt that the army had captured some area in Kargil".

Aziz said this was not right. "In his opinion, he should have been told about the proposed operation in advance so that he could have provided his analysis in advance," the report said.

Musharraf worked on a policy of "need to know" throughout his tenure as army chief and later President, Aziz said.

Musharraf would issue orders to only those who were required to implement them instead of first consulting corps commanders and other officers.

"The Pakistan Army did not plan the operation because Gen Musharraf never saw Kargil as a major operation. Only the FCNA was involved in it and perhaps a section of 10 Corps," said Aziz.

He claimed the operation reflected a "major intelligence failure for India".

"It was a miscalculated move", he said, adding that "its objectives were not clear and its ramifications were not properly evaluated".

Aziz said he first discovered that something was up in Kargil when he came across wireless communication intercepts that showed something was making "Indian forces panic".

He added: "The intercepts worried me as I thought we were not aware of whatever was unsettling the Indians. I deputed two officers to figure out what was happening".

The next day's intercepts were clear enough for Aziz to realise that the Indians' anxiety stemmed from the fact that someone from Pakistan had captured some areas in Kargil-Drass sector but it was not clear if they were mujahideen or regular troops.

"I took these intercepts to then ISI Director General Lt Gen Ziauddin Butt and asked what was happening. It was then that Aziz was told by Butt that the army had captured some area in Kargil".

Aziz said this was not right. "In his opinion, he should have been told about the proposed operation in advance so that he could have provided his analysis in advance," the report said.


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