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Nawaz okayed Kargil, says book

July 28, 2004 14:09 IST

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif granted "formal approval" to the Kargil plan to capture Indian peaks along the Line of Control but was informed about it only after he met his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee in February, 1999, according to a book by an official who worked for both Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf.

Pakistan's Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army, and America's War on Terror, is authored by Hassan Abbas, a Research Fellow at the Harvard Law School and a PhD. candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He has served in the administrations of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (1994-95) and General Musharraf (1999-2000).

According to the South Asia Tribune, the book says says Sharif was briefed about the Kargil plan on March 27 or 28, 1999, though he was "not aware" of the operations when he met Vajpayee on February 20.

I was in dark about Kargil aggression Sharief   

Abbas gives a graphic description of "how the Kargil disaster was planned and managed by the Army led by Gen Musharraf who led a 'Gang of Four', and quotes Pakistan High Commissioner to UK Maleeha Lodhi as saying 'even Corps Commanders and other chiefs were excluded from the decision-making process'", the portal said.

"So much so that even the very able Director General Military Operations, Lt Gen Tauqir Zia, was initiated into the secret after the Gang of Four had already taken the irrevocable decision of going ahead with the operation," the book said.

Complete coverage: The Kargil conflict

The 1999 Kargil plan, according to the book, was the third in the series, with the earlier two having been rejected by then Pakistani rulers, including President Gen Zia-ul Haq, on the grounds that it could lead to a full-scale war with India.

The "third and final operational (Kargil) plan" was put forward by Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Mohammad Aziz Khan, himself a Kashmiri and "fully committed to the Kashmiri freedom cause", the article quoted the book as saying.

The second author of the latest plan was 10 Corps Commander Lt Gen Mahmood Ahmad and the third Maj Gen Javed Hassan, commander of Pakistani troops in the Northern Areas (Force Command Northern Areas).

Musharraf was "taken in" by the enthusiasm of his closest generals and "became the strongest advocate of the operation," it said.

The book said a presentation was then organised for Nawaz Sharif in March, 1999 "where he granted formal approval of the plan" and added that "at the time of Sharif's meeting with Vajpayee on February 20, 1999, he was not aware of the Kargil operation".

However, it said that Sharif "agreed with the plan, though the operation was already in its final stages and he was not aware of that. Probably in his reverie, he was looking at the glory that would come his way when the fruits promised by the operation were harvested".

It also quoted Sharif's close associates as saying that the briefing "never mentioned that regular troops would be involved in the operation and the discussion was framed entirely in terms of increasing the heat in Kashmir".

' When the operation fizzled out like a wet firecracker, they were a nation left speechless in anger and disbelief. Musharraf and the planners could not give any excuses in public, but privately they let it be known that the blame for the scuttling of a brilliant operation lay on a panic-prone prime minister, who could not stand up to the US president. Nawaz Sharif too could not say anything in his defense publicly, but privately he let it be known that his generals had taken him for a ride, and that he had to bend over backward to get the US president to help Pakistan out of a very sticky situation," the Tribune article said.

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