The full story about the damage General Pervez Musharraf has done to Pakistan and regional security has not yet been told. He had told the Guardian earlier this year, for instance, that during his rule as dictator Pakistan facilitated NATO operations in Afghanistan while simultaneously cultivating the Afghan Taliban.
Without any hint of regret, Gen. Musharraf admitted that he undermined the regime of former president Hamid Karzai just because the latter was close to India. In effect, he actively worked against the stability of a country that was hobbled by 30 years of civil war just to make a strategic point to New Delhi.
Gen. Musharraf is evidently not done with poisoning relations between countries yet. Addressing his party, All Pakistan Muslim League, in Karachi on Sunday, Gen. Musharraf provocatively raked up the Kargil war again, saying “India would never be able to forget the three-month-long battle when our gallant armed forces caught the enemy by the throat”. He said the Kargil operation was Pakistan’s greatest military victory against India, an opportunity which “regrettably Pakistani politicians wasted”.
Indian observers will be amused by claims concerning Kargil operations, given that they were used to his denials of the involvement of Pakistani troops. In recent months, doubts about the invasion’s provenance have been put to rest by testimonies of senior Pakistani military figures confirming the army’s involvement in Kargil operations.
Gen. Musharraf is clearly not embarrassed by that aspect of his past. Instead he is happy to dredge it up for dubious political ends in the present. These remarks, targeting both India and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, serve the purposes of the military, which has been at loggerheads with both.
If the remarks are meant to convey the disappointment in Pakistan over the lack of progress in bilateral ties, they singularly fail in that endeavour — and instead serve to inflame hardliners in India who are only too happy to allow the debate to veer unhelpfully to the Right.
Some Indian analysts may see his statements as an expression of Islamabad’s bravado now that it feels it has the upper hand in Afghanistan, owing to the good ties that Pakistan has forged with President Ashraf Ghani’s regime.
It is a shame that Gen. Musharraf has not drawn on some of the breakthroughs during his time to offer constructive advice to both sides. His unsavoury, crude rhetoric is not what the two nations need. We must not retort in similar vein.