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Pervez disappointed over Kayani's claims

Pakistan President dismisses claims by Lt Gen (retired) Kayani that Nawaz Sharif was initially kept in dark about army's plans to intrude into the Kargil sector in 1999.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Islamabad
UPDATED ON JUN 07, 2008 08:56 PM IST

President Pervez Musharraf was on Saturday dismissive of claims by one of his former top generals who said that Nawaz Sharif was initially kept in dark about Pakistan Army's plans to intrude into the Kargil sector in 1999.

Musharraf said the Pakistan People's Party-led government could appoint a commission to probe the Kargil episode as demanded by former premier Sharif but he would not speak about the issue as it involved national secrets.

"The Kargil operation involves national secrets and confidentialities and it cannot be debated. I don't want to talk about it," he said during an interaction with a select group of journalists.

"There are a lot of confidentialities which should not be violated," Musharraf said when asked about former aide Lt Gen (retired) Jamshed Gulzar Kayani's claim that Sharif was "not carried on board" during the initial stages of the intrusion into Kargil by Pakistani troops in early 1999.

Kayani, who served in the Inter-Services Intelligence and commanded the crucial Rawalpindi-based 10 Corps, said in a recent interview that Sharif offered only conditional support for the Kargil operation after learning of it in May 1999.

Kayani also said Musharraf and a handful of generals were responsible for the Kargil episode. Musharraf said he was disappointed that Kayani had chosen to speak about the issue.

"I am disappointed that he did it even after becoming a lieutenant general....He is letting down the institution of the Pakistan Army, which is the greatest institution," he said.

The president also dismissed a group of former generals, including Kayani, who have demanded his resignation as "a private enterprise", saying they did not represent the armed forces. "I don't think it is becoming of me to talk about them and expose them."

Musharraf also dismissed nuclear scientist AQ Khan's contention that he had been forced to confess to nuclear proliferation four years ago. Khan, who has been under house arrest since early 2004, made the allegation against Musharraf in a string of interviews over the past few days.

"The AQ Khan (episode) is a confidential and international issue. It is a very serious matter as Pakistan may suffer," Musharraf said.

"I want to close this episode by saying that everything he has said is completely wrong, period. I don't want to get into a debate. I know about all the embarrassment and the pressure faced by Pakistan due to his proliferation. Let's keep it at that."

Musharraf said the statements issued by Khan and Kayani seemed to be part of a campaign against him. "Sometimes they come out on the streets, and statements are issued against me by ex-servicemen, Jamshed Gulzar and AQ Khan. Let's see who is next," he said.

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