Musharraf's Kargil claim untrue: Aziz

The former Pak minister says Kargil in fact harmed the Kashmir cause by halting the Lahore process. Your take?

india Updated: Oct 02, 2006 16:59 IST

Former Pakistan foreign minister Sartaj Aziz has rejected the claims made by President Pervez Musharraf that the Kargil conflict helped bring the Kashmir issue back in international focus.

Aziz has also rejected the claim that the political leadership had lost the gains claimed to have been made by Pakistan army in Kargil. According to him, Musharraf's account of Kargil, in his book In the Line of Fire was not entirely correct.

"I do not agree with General Musharraf's view in his book that it was Kargil which helped in bringing back the Kashmir issue to international focus. In fact, Kargil led to disruption of the Lahore process initiated by Nawaz Sharif and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The military takeover completely destroyed the process", Aziz told the BBC Hindi service on Sunday.

Contradicting Musharraf's claim that Nawaz Sharif and his cabinet were fully aware about the happenings of Kargil, Aziz, who was the foreign minister at that time said, "this statement of General Musharraf is not correct."

"I was present in that meeting. Discussion was held regarding road disruption along Neelum valley and the possibility of an alternate road. Kargil was not mentioned in the meeting."

"I would like to say some of the things said about Kargil in the book are not correct. I would agree with some of the things he has written about Kargil, but not all".

Aziz also contested Musharraf's claim that the political leadership of the country had lost the gains claimed to have been made by the Pakistan army during the Kargil conflict.

He said: "I do not agree with General Musharraf that the political leadership lost the gains made the Pakistan army during the Kargil conflict. It was Nawaz Sharif, who during his visit to Washington, when the conflict was on, resolved the matter in a way which benefited both India and Pakistan".

Aziz said the military option could not solve any problem between the two neighbours. He was also non-committal on Musharraf's claim that Kargil was a victory for the Pakistani forces.

He said: "Technically in the short run one may say so. However, it is difficult to establish the victory or loss in a conflict after the ceasefire. From army's point of view, this may be different, but once both countries decided to return to normal positions, victory or loss cannot be claimed".

Welcoming the Havana joint statement between Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Aziz said, "This is a good step and should be sincerely taken forward. It is always helpful to have a joint mechanism."

"The Mumbai blasts are a good test case for this mechanism. If a joint investigation could be carried out for Mumbai blasts, then the evidence would be credible in the eyes of the international community."

"If those who have been arrested are made to go through joint investigation, then the case would certainly be solved and both nations would be able to reach to the roots of terrorism".

Aziz also appealed to India to exercise restraint while talking about terror activities. "It does not help to blame any agency of a neighbouring country for any act of terror. If you say ISI (Pakistani spy agency) is behind the attacks, then we can also turn around and say RAW (Indian spy agency) is behind some violent activities in Pakistan. In my view, both countries should carry forward the peace process with sincerity".

Asked how he perceived Musharraf's rule, he said: "General Musharraf is trying to elicit the support of different countries of the world on the issue of terrorism. However I feel that issues concerning Pakistan can only be solved when there would be a true democracy governed by rule of law and supremacy of the constitution."

"Unfortunately, General Musharraf's book does not spell out a roadmap for any of these essentials of a democracy".

First Published: Oct 02, 2006 10:59 IST