A day after the launch of former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif’s biography in which he claimed that Pervez Musharraf, as Pakistan army chief, had moved nuclear warheads for use against India during the 1999 Kargil war, General (retd)P Malik has disclaimed it.
Malik, who was the chief of Indian army during the war, told the Hindustan Times on Wednesday that there was hardly any substance in Sharif’s rhetoric. “We had no information about the deployment of any nuclear weapons,” Malik said.
Sharif’s first official biography, Ghadaar Kaun? Nawaz Sharif ki Kahani, Unki Zubani, reiterates his assertions that he was flabbergasted when the then US president Bill Clinton told him at a post-Kargil meeting that nuclear warheads had been shifted from one station to another.
Malik said, “Nawaz Sharif’s claims seem to be based on observations made by Clinton. It is highly debatable whether the then US president confronted Sharif with information garnered by the US intelligence or he was merely trying to arm-twist the PM.” He said had Clinton felt Kargil could become a nuclear flashpoint, he would have discussed the volatility of the situation with the Indian leadership.
To quote Sharif from the book, “The American president told me that nuclear warheads had been moved so that these could be used against India. I was asked if I was aware of these developments. I was taken aback by the revelation as I knew nothing about it. It was a very irresponsible thing to do on Musharraf’s part.”
Sharif has claimed that Musharraf waged the Kargil war against India without his approval and he came to know of the misadventure only through Indian Prime Minister AB Vajpayee, who had provided him with tapes of Musharraf’s telephonic conversations to that effect. According to Sharif, the casualty figures of the Kargil war were higher than those in the 1965 and 1971 operations.