Original Articles

Kashmir Bleeds, Does Anyone Heed?- by Hafsa Khawaja

Befittingly termed once as ‘Heaven on Earth’, with millions martyred since the past 6 decades, thousands of half-widows, orphans and missing – Kashmir today is a Palestine-in-the-making of Asia.

As the Kashmir intifada continues, anyone keeping a keen eye on the serpentine course of events there is bound to be surprised as to why the coverage and attention of international media does not keep up with the importance and intensity of resistance to the Indian Occupation of the region?

[Read the precise history of the issue under the sub-title of ‘Background of the Kashmir Conflict’.]

For the past six decades, Kashmir has hung in the region as a pendulum of conflict between two countries with only one demand of the Kashmiri people, Azadi or freedom from Indian Occuption and their right to self-determination.

It has been tried to stifle this voice of theirs by bullets, lynching, rape, arrests, arson and humiliation which are what solely today’s Kashmiri youth or the ‘Sang-baaz’ (Stonepelters) have grown up knowing as gruesome child-hood memories.

But what needs to be highlighted, is how the international community is turning a deaf ear to the cries of Kashmir today when they are ringing higher than ever.

Aalaw (Meaning ‘call’ in Kashur), is a site set-up by ordinary Kashmiris to help show the ground-realities there. It has updated the list of killings in Kashmir since 11th June:

“Summer in Kashmir has been drenched in blood which witnessed killing of many civilians, mostly teenagers, allegedly in police and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) action mostly since June.”

113 people have been murdered brutally and one can gage if this is the case for 4 months, what really has been happening in Kashmir for the past 63 years.

The atrocities in Kashmir can also be recognized by a data included by Pakistan’s Parliamenatary Committee on Kashmir a few years back :



Total Killings                                  90,776

Custodial Killings                            6,817

Civilians Arrested                        111,269

Houses/Shops Destroyed           105,143

Women Widowed                         22,371

Children Orphaned                     106,616

Women Molested                           9,637

(Source: All Parties Hurriyat Conference)

After much happening, recently the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon evinced his cognizance of the savagery in Kashmir by hesitatingly issuing a feeble statement (calling an “immediate end to violence” and pleading for “calm and restraint by all concerned”, thus equating the people of Kashmir with their oppressors)expressing concern over the situation there but by knwoingly not addressing India which should be diretly done as expected from the Head of an organization as the United Nations.

It is pertinent to mention here that Kashmiri population are only demanding that they should be given their rights of self determination under the UN Resolution. That leaves one to wonder what the purpose of the UN is if it lacks the will to exert pressure to execute the process defined under its own resolution leave alone stopping tyranny anywhere.

This dispute is also viewed as a possible cause of a future ‘nuclear clash’ between India and Pakistan therefore making the conflict a matter of international importance.

One would concur with what Ms.Maria Sultan wrote:

“The liberation movement is often depicted as a ‘terrorist’ militancy instigated primarily by Pakistan.”

It is doubtless that the foreign media, for a long period, has portrayed the freedom struggle of Kashmir wrapped in a dirty glaze of militancy and extremism (which is exactly what the oppressors in the case: India, have shown to be which would be similar to belieiing what Israel has to say about Palestine) showing the people of Kashmir to be terrorists funded by Pakistan which is certainly irrational to say the least.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated at the UN:

“No one any longer can seriously believe … that Pakistan can orchestrate thousands of people…”

This time, the Intifida in Kashmir is not about men only but it involves women and children, armed with stones and sticks, stepping out to defy the curfew or protest.

The Sang-Baaz have taken to the streets and have become a single force mirroring the rise of the third Kashmiri generation in resistance to Indian Occupation.

Tariq Ali wrote a brilliant article ‘Not Crushed, Merely Ignored’ in July over the killings in Kashmir, him being in oblivion about them and the Foreign Media hypocrisy over it :

“….As far as I could see, none of the British daily papers or TV news bulletins had covered the stories in Kashmir; after that I rescued two emails from Kashmir informing me of the horrors from my spam box. I was truly shamed. The next day I scoured the press again. Nothing. The only story in the Guardianfrom the paper’s Delhi correspondent – a full half-page – was headlined: ‘Model’s death brings new claims of dark side to India’s fashion industry’. Accompanying the story was a fetching photograph of the ill-fated woman. The deaths of (at that point) 11 young men between the ages of 15 and 27, shot by Indian security forces in Kashmir, weren’t mentioned.

Later I discovered that a short report had appeared in the New York Times on 28 June and one the day after in the Guardian; there has been no substantial follow-up. When it comes to reporting crimes committed by states considered friendly to the West, atrocity fatigue rapidly kicks in.

An Amnesty International letter to the Indian prime minister in 2008 listed his country’s human rights abuses in Kashmir and called for an independent inquiry, claiming that ‘grave sites are believed to contain the remains of victims of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other abuses which occurred in the context of armed conflict persisting in the state since 1989. The graves of at least 940 persons have reportedly been found in 18 villages in Uri district alone.’

The figures provided by the IPTK are startling. It claims that the Indian military occupation of Kashmir ‘between 1989-2009 has resulted in 70,000+ deaths’. The report disputes claims that these killings are aberrations. On the contrary, they are part of the occupation process, considered as ‘acts of service’, and leading to promotion and financial reward (bounty is paid after claims made by officers are verified). In this dirty and enduring conflict, more than half a million ‘military and paramilitary personnel [more than the number of US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan combined] continue to act with impunity to regulate movement, law and order across Kashmir.”

M Yusuf Buch, a former adviser to the UN and former Pakistani ambassador wrote an excellent and a must-read piece on Kashmir under the heading of ‘India Fesering Wound In Kashmir’, starting from the beginning of the conflict, India’s reneges and failure to honor its pledges by Nehru, the response of the world to it to the recent-day events there :


“The Kashmir dispute has persisted for more than six decades and, to put it simply, the world has become used to it. Second, the United Nations has been marginalised during the last two decades with the consequence that the Charter is beginning to be looked upon as almost an antique. Third, callousness, if not outright cynicism, has become the reserve fund of diplomacy. A blindness to human reality is reflected in the vocabulary employed when situations of international conflict are talked about. Two adjectives used when an indirect reference (a direct reference, mind you, would be frowned upon by India) is made to Kashmir: the adjectives: ‘historical” and ‘long-standing’. Factually, the adjectives are not wrong. But they come handy because by drawing a curtain over reality, they provide a moral justification for studied inaction.

We might interpose a question or two here. What is ‘historical’ about the young woman who has just been widowed and gang-raped? What is ‘long-standing’ about the elderly man whose only son, his sole support, has been killed? Again, what is ‘long-standing’ about the hordes of unarmed teenagers who are resorting to the practice of pelting the Indian occupation troops with stones in Srinagar and other cities

….. India stations more troops in Kashmir than the United States did or does in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Can this situation be dismissed as ‘historical’ and ‘long-standing’?

If it is being so dismissed at present, the dismissal is aided by the language employed. We are being told of an ‘insurgency’ in Kashmir. The term may not be inaccurate but it promotes a misperception. What is going on in Kashmir is not an insurgency against an authority that was once regarded as legitimate; it is a resistance to alien military occupation.

The uprising in Kashmir has been marked more than once by the entire male population of the cities (excepting only the aged, the sick and children) coming out together in the streets to demonstrate peacefully against India’s military presence in their homeland. Could such a pointer have been mistaken, or would it have been allowed to be mistaken, far less ignored, if it had happened in a Western country?”

It is visible that India has emerged as a vibrant and growing economy in Asia, offering much to the Western countries and this ‘E’ Reason is one of th major causes behind the almost non-existent standpoint on Kashmir of the ‘Superpowers’ and those countries that have claimed to be the torch-bearers of human rights previously. India is a much-needed ally of the USA in South Asia as a counterweight against China, which leaves the sensitive issue to be either vaguely or rarely addressed as to not miff them thus acquiescing with their ‘Atoot Ang’ farce.

Written back in 2005, the article titled ‘The Atoot Ang Farce’ points out:

“India has responded to this uncontrollable situation in three ways: it has isolated the occupied state by denying access to international human rights groups and media; it is perpetrating systematic atrocities in the form of collective punishment, mass killing, mass confinement, inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, starvation, molestation and rape – over 31000 women have been either molested or raped- arson, loot and custodial killings; facts are being distorted and the freedom movement is being propagated as terrorism with support from Pakistan. Indian media has helped its government in camouflaging the reality in Kashmir by churning out lies, fabrications, excuses, blames, abuses and myths.”

If not the International Community, one expects the foreign media to stop its selective coverage and come to show Kashmir as a disputed territory.

In today’s era has become a powerful instrument for sparking awareness in minds all over the world and a catalyst for setting the stage for a change. Its role in covering the diverse incidents of cruelties were vital in making the people and Governments watching them, imbued with the feeling of their moral responsibility to adopt a firm stance on such issues.

Also the Pakistani Media needs to outgrow its immature phase of developing , kicking up an unnecessary rumpus out of every political statement, but help divert the concentration of people towards burning subjects such as that of Kashmir which is as greatly related to Pakistan as it could be. The lack of media coverage from Pakistan’s side on the Kashmir Conflict is facilitating India to brand its oppression and gross human rights violations there as an  ’internal matter.

Children as young as 8 are being killed in Kashmir, youthful and innocent Kashmiri girls are raped infront of their brothers and fathers yet there is no protest from the world , while when a woman is ordered to be stoned to death on the charges of adultery in Iran – even the First lady of France speaks up. People are not allowed to give blood to their injured or the dying loved ones in hospitals due to curfews. Where is the world on this? All countries that declare themselves to be champions of human rights, equality and freedom? Where are all the activists? Why this silence and bias?

Even Indian Civil Society Members have protested against the open genocide in Kashmir. Where is the Pakistani Civil Society?And it should be remembered that Kashmiris are against the Indian Government, not the people, who are in a state of amnesia regarding the promises their revered PM Nehru had made over Kashmir which they failed to fulfill. Mere rhetoric will not do, both Governments need to set Kashmir as a top priority as there can be no peace in Asia along with the establishment of its presence between the two nations, without this quagmire being solved in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiris.


– Hafsa Khawaja

About the author

Farhad Jarral


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  • A brilliantly written article by very young but highly motivated girl.
    Kashmir issue is really one of the the most ugly stint on the face of humanity. The atrocities being committed by India for last 60 yrs in occupied Kashmir is most shameful and most condemnable. Great work Hafsa! The great thing I saw in your articl…e is the scientific way of presenting ur thesis. i.e. numerical data, references, figures , bibiliography, narration of the facts etc. Keep it Up.

  • Pakistani Military has himself ruined the Case of Kashmir 🙂 with references:

    The crisis of intelligence came during the 1965 war. Brigadier Riaz was good enough to show me his set-up, an impressive affair judging by the sophisticated equipment and the operators at work. He told me that he had contacts inside the Occupied Kashmir and in other major Indian cities. “I will flood you with news. Don’t worry”. When the war started there was a complete blackout of news from all the intellience agencies. When I got nothing out of the ISI for two days I went to Brigadier Riaz only to learn that all his contacts had gone underground. Ref: Jang Group: Ansar Abbasi, ISI and Peace with India [Aman Ki Asha] http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/01/jang-group-ansar-abbasi-isi-and-peace.html

  • The war in Kashmir is not jihad (May 1948; quoted in M. Sarwar, Maulana Maududi ki Tahrik-I-Islami, Lahore, 1956, pp. 331-332)

    Don’t degrade its importance. I have not said that but Maulana Mawdudi said this. I do not possess such a personality. Maulana Mawdudi has categorically stated that according to ‘Quran’, it is unlawful to wage a war by a country against the country with which diplomatic relations are maintained. He has further said that it one party commits breach of agreement then the opposite party should first severe diplomatic ties with it and then resort to war-tactics instead of maintaining diplomatic relations overtly and resorting to war-tactics covertly. He stressed that Islam taught ‘us’ that if we, want to fight against anyone, ‘we’ should fight openly and if ‘we’ wish to maintain friendly relations with someone, ‘we’ should stick to that relation without any prejudice.

    Yes, presently the situation is such that Jamaat receives Rs. 60,000/- for every militant killed in Kashmir out this, only 15,000-20,000/- are being given to the families of the martyrs, while as the remaining amount is eaten up by the JEI leaders themselves who have opened a factory of martyrs. JEI leaders have made money by getting others children killed. As far as they themselves are concerned, no son of Qazi Hussain Ahmad was killed either in Afghanistan or Kashmiri, ‘Jihad’ and his children are leading a luxurious life while studying in the United States. REF: Haider Farooq Mawdudi on Mawdudi and Jamat-e-Islami after Mawdudi.

  • Stupidity and Suicidal Policy of Pakistani Establishment

    Nur Khan reminisces ’65 war By Our Special Correspondent
    September 6, 2005 Tuesday Shaban 01, 1426

    ISLAMABAD, Sept 5: Air Marshal (retired) Nur Khan, the man who led the airforce achieve complete superiority over the three times bigger Indian airforce on the very first day of the 1965 war, had all but resigned the post the very day that he took command of Pakistan Air Force on July 23, 1965. “Rumours about an impending operation were rife but the army had not shared the plans with other forces,” Air Marshal Nur Khan said. Sharing his memoirs with Dawn on the 40th anniversary of 1965 war, Air Marshal Khan said that he was the most disturbed man on the day, instead of feeling proud. Air Marshal (retired) Asghar Khan while handing over the command to Nur Khan had not briefed him about any impending war because he was not aware of it himself. So, in order to double check, Nur Khan called on the then Commander-in-Chief, General Musa Khan.

    Under his searching questions Gen Musa wilted and with a sheepish smile admitted that something was afoot. Nur Khan’s immediate reaction was that this would mean war. But, Gen Musa said you need not to worry as according to him Indians would not retaliate. Then he directed a still highly skeptical Nur Khan to Lt-Gen Akhtar Hasan Malik, GOC Kashmir, the man in-charge of “Operation Gibraltar” for further details. The long and short of his discussion with Gen Malik was, “don’t worry, because the plan to send in some 800,000 infiltrators inside the occupied territory to throw out the Indian troops with the help of the local population”, was so designed that the Indians would not be able retaliate and therefore the airforce need not get into war-time mode.

    A still incredulous Nur Khan was shocked when on further inquiry he found that except for a small coterie of top generals, very few in the armed forces knew about “Operation Gibraltar”. He asked himself how good, intelligent and professional people like Musa and Malik could be so naive, so irresponsible.

    For the air marshal, it was unbelievable. Even the then Lahore garrison commander had not been taken into confidence. And Governor of West Pakistan, Malik Amir Mohammad Khan of Kalabagh did not know what was afoot and had gone to Murree for vacations. It was at this point that he felt like resigning and going home. But then he thought such a rash move would further undermine the country’s interests and, therefore, kept his cool and went about counting his chickens — the entire airforce was too young and too inexperienced to be called anything else then — and gearing up his service for the D-day.

    The miracle that the PAF achieved on September 6, to a large extent, is attributed to Nur Khan’s leadership. He led his force from up front and set personal example by going on some highly risky sorties himself. But then no commander, no matter how daring and how professional, can win a battle if his troops are not fully geared to face such challenges and that too within 43 days of change in command. The full credit for turning the PAF into a highly professional and dedicated fighting machine goes to Air Marshal Asghar Khan who was given charge of the service in 1957. Thank God, unlike the other service no darbari or sifarishi was given the job. And by the time he left on July 23, 1965, Asghar Khan had turned the PAF into a well-oiled, highly professional and dedicated fighting machine and had trained them on the then best US made fighters, bombers and transport planes. Those who flew those machines and those who maintained them on ground worked like a team, and each one of the PAF member performed beyond the call of duty to make a miracle.

    The PAF performance had crucially allowed the Army to operate without interference from the Indian airforce.

    “The performance of the Army did not match that of the PAF mainly because the leadership was not as professional. They had planned the ‘Operation Gibraltar’ for self-glory rather than in the national interest. It was a wrong war. And they misled the nation with a big lie that India rather than Pakistan had provoked the war and that we were the victims of Indian aggression”, Air Marshal Khan said.

    When on the second day of war President Gen Ayub wanted to know how we were faring, Musa informed him that the Army had run out of even ammunition. That was the extent of preparation in the Army. And the information had shocked Gen Ayub so much that it could have triggered his heart ailment, which overtook him a couple of years later. This in short is Nur Khan’s version of 1965 war, which he calls an unnecessary war and says that President Ayub for whom he has the greatest regard should have held his senior generals accountable for the debacle and himself resigned. This would have held the hands of the adventurers who followed Gen Ayub. Since the 1965 war was based on a big lie and was presented to the nation a great victory, the Army came to believe its own fiction and has used since, Ayub as its role model and therefore has continued to fight unwanted wars — the 1971 war and the Kargil fiasco in 1999, he said.

    In each of the subsequent wars we have committed the same mistakes that we committed in 1965. Air Marshal Khan demanded that a truth commission formed to find out why we failed in all our military adventures. It is not punishment of the failed leadership that should be the aim of the commission but sifting of facts from fiction and laying bare the follies and foibles of the irresponsible leaders in matters with grave implications for the nation. It should also point out the irregularities committed in training and promotions in the defence forces in the past so that it is not repeated in future.

    Mr Khan believes that our soldiers when called upon have fought with their lives but because of bad leadership their supreme sacrifices went waste. And after every war that we began we ended up taking dictation from the enemy — at Tashkant, at Simla and lastly at Washington. He said at present Pakistan is engaged in another war, this time in Waziristan. This war can also end up in a fiasco and politically disastrous for the federation if it is fought with the same nonchalance and unprofessionally as we did the last three wars. He, therefore, called for an immediate change of command at the GHQ insisting that President Gen Pervez Musharraf should appoint a full-time Chief of Army Staff and restore full democracy in the country. He suggested appointment of an independent chief election commissioner in consultation with all the political parties. “Look at India. There a religious party comes in power and nobody cries foul and it goes out of power and nobody alleges rigging. We can also do this,” he added. And we must make unified efforts to restore the country in the vision of the Quaid-i-Azam. Turn it into a non-theocratic and truly democratic state. And all the three forces should model themselves on the lines set by Asghar Khan when he was commanding the PAF, he suggested.



    Brigadier Gulzar Ahmad explaining the role of celestial powers to lessen his troop casualties in 1965 war stated, “There was a hidden hand deflecting the rounds which would otherwise have taken a heavy toll of the advancing troops”. Martial Mind Pakistan Officer Corps thought-process about Defence
    Columnist Hamid Hussain explores the Pakistan military mind-set. http://www.defencejournal.com/2002/july/martial.htm

    In 1965, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) led by Brigadier Riaz Hussain had a very poor performance. In less than 48 hours after the launching of Operation Gibraltar, ISI lost all its contacts. Instead of any accountability, Brigadier Riaz was promoted to the rank of Major General. Similarly, Director of Military Intelligence, Brigadier Irshad had very little information about the whole exercise let alone a comprehensive strategy. He admitted to then information minister when asked about the nature and purpose of operation so that ministry could project it. He innocently admitted that the beauty of the operation is that ‘even I know very little about the operation’. He rose up the ranks to become Lt. General and lead a Corps. A senior retired Lt. General while commenting about 1965 war is of the view that ‘the reputation of many senior commanders was tarnished and many others would have come to the limelight but intense personal lobbying prevented any meaningful change’. Reference: Martial Mind Pakistan Officer Corps thought-process about Defence
    Columnist Hamid Hussain explores the Pakistan military mind-set. http://www.defencejournal.com/2002/july/martial.htm

  • MORE HARSH TRUTH: “LIES”of General [R] Pervez Musharraf, Sharifs & Talibans. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/03/liesof-general-r-pervez-musharraf.html

    Lieutenant General Jamshed Gulzar Kiani’s forthright revelations on a TV channel about Kargil prove what this scribe stated more than 5 years ago.Lieut General Jamshed Gulzar Kiani called Kargil a debacle:– The Kargil Conspiracy The Nation 29 May 2003 A.H Amin

    There is general consensus on the fact that military juntas are convenient agents of change employed by larger powers to bring desired policy changes in smaller countries.This is more true for Pakistan where the USA has had a record of using the military juntas as agents of change . Ayub was cultivated in the 1950s and proved his worth as USA’s collaborator par excellence in destroying democracy in Pakistan . The Zia coup was US inspired and had complete US blessings since the USA viewed Mr Z.A Bhutto as a dangerously charismatic leader capable of uniting the Islamic/Third World ! Thus Operation Foul Play of 5th July 1977 ! When Liaquat Ali Khan the then prime minister of Pakistan warned the US Ambassador to Pakistan that the Graham Report on Kashmir must be presented in the UN by 15th October 1951 he was assassinated on 16th October 1951 ! Raja Ghazanfar Ali then Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran noted that Liaquat had planned an Islamic conference to discuss Kashmir , Anglo Iranian Oil Company and Palestine !

    Keeping this background in mind the fact that a deliberate conspiracy with a design to control and manipulate Pakistan’s geopolitical future with Kargil as the key point cannot be ruled out.It is possible that Kargil may have been designed as the catalyst to create a civil-military political conflict in Pakistan and as a future launching pad of a military coup. In 1998 Nawaz Sharif often criticized as a man with limited IQ took one of Pakistan’s most decisive strategic command decisions defying USA , not appeasing it as Musharraf took in September 2001 ! It is on record that Nawaz Sharif did not surrender on one telephone call from US president like General Musharraf did and defied US threats not to go on with the nuclear tests despite four telephone call threats from US president Clinton and resolutely went on with Pakistan’s Nuclear blasts ! Recently Dr Qadeer Khan speaking at a function in Karachi on 3rd April 2003 stated that Nawaz even refused an offer of bribe from Clinton wherein Clinton had offered to deposite 100 Million USD in Nawaz Sharif’s personal bank account ! All evidence proves that Nawaz Sharif’s decision to go on with the Nuclear blast was a political decision and the role of the armed forces was merely that of a technocrat consultant ! It appears that from May 1998 the US policy makers came to the conclusion that Nawaz was an irresponsible man and must be taken to task..

    By September 1998 it appears that the Americans had succeeded in their manipulations . The then Army chief General Karamat at this stage started pressurizing the political leadership to include the army in the political decision making . Nawaz had done his homework well.With the ISI firmly under the prime ministers command under Lieutenant General Ziauddin one senior officer Zulfiqar presently chairman WAPDA had been sent to Ukraine to find details of kick backs given to General Jahangir Karamat in the Ukraianian tank deal with Pakistan.Full evidence was prepared of Jahangirs complicity in taking kick backs.Once Karamat asserted his political ambitions Nawaz threatened him with prosecution for taking kick backs ! Thus Jahangir Karamat’s unceremonial exit from power ! USA’s likely agent of change had been removed !

    Now comes Kargil. With the appointment of Musharraf as army chief the more Machiavellian geopolitical moves were planned ! Major general Javed Hassan Khan previously military attaché to Washington where many military attaches are successfully cultivated by US intelligence was posted as Commander FCNA incharge of the forces in Gilgit ,Northern Areas including Kargil.The readers may note that this officer presently the commandant of the Pakistan Army’s National Defence College , back in early 1990s made Mughal Emperor Humayun fight in Second Battle of Panipat in his book “India- A Study in Profile�? ! The fact is that Humayun was dead while Panipat was fought and Humayun had no connection with Second Battle of Panipat ! The men who planned Kargil military operation using Pakistan’s 80 Brigade to infiltrate Indian positions in Kargil Sector were instruments of a grand conspiracy to destabilize Pakistans political government which had defied the USA and wanted to make peace with India without US involvement !

    Ambition of General Musharraf and his team while planning Kargil had infected the entire military thought process ! The Kargil plan was adventurist,superpower manipulated and its intrinsic violence penetrated and cut open the very arteries of the Pakistani state, spurting out in civil military strife and finally a military coup ! The heroes of those rocky pinnacles are all dead ! Sacrificed in vain ! Diabolically launched into the valleys of death by men who now are dead earnest to make peace with India but propelled by promiscuous and unadulterated ambition wanted to sabotage Nawaz Sharif’s Lahore Peace move in 1999 ! Once Vajpayee came to Lahore on Nawaz’s initiatiave in 1999 he was a vampire but once Musharraf went to Agra later Vajpayee was an angel ! At the super power level Kargil was planned with a view to ridicule Pakistan’s political leadership , embarrass the Pakistani prime minister and to create a civil military divide aimed at a military coup in Pakistan ! Why ! Someone may ask naievely ! Because the USA views the military junta in Third World countries as a more reliable collaborator agent of change than a prime minister who repeatedly defies US threats of retaliation and a 100 Million USD bribery offer !

    Thus Kargil operation was launched with an ulterior motive to divide Pakistan’s political and military leaderships ! It is an unfortunate fact of history that Nawaz Sharif was mot aided by a good defence analyst team ! Those who were with him and supposedly considered defence experts were either in secret league with Nawaz’s handpicked military man or too naieve to understand the military intricacies of Kargil ! Kargil in the final analysis stands out as the meticulously planned conspiracy catalyst employed to trigger a chain of events that led to the primacy of the military junta on 12 October 1999 ! So far the Americans have succeeded ! The Pakistani Nuclear programme is in safe hands ! Pakistan , the beautiful woman in words of General Habibullah has sold herself to , not the highest bidder , but the only bidder at a relatively low price ! The military junta has divided the society ! Bought the pillars of state ! Balkanised the political parties ! Marginalised the society introducing unjust ethnic domination in the army , reduced the Sindhis into a political minority , pitched Punjab against Sindh by Machaievellian agreement to Thal Canal and is all set to strike a deal with India which would ensure that Pakistan’s military junta is given a permanent share in the political hierarchy simply because it is USA’s best and most reliable agent of change ! Life goes on !

    Kargil stands as perhaps the final military effort on Pakistans part to settle the Kashmir dispute by military means. Analysis has mostly centred around political aspects of the operation while the military aspects have been largely left to the imagination of the public.Lately it has been claimed that Kargil was launched to bail out Mujahideen as a last resort ! This is an insult to the memory of the Pakistani armed forces “Volunteers” who died in that Himalayan wasteland without a funeral and in circumstances of unimaginable misery !

    Kargil operation cannot be understood unless the personalities and motives of the principal characters are examined ! Every action in history is the final culmination of a personality’s self perception,ambition and subconscious as well as conscious urges.

    In this context the Kargil operation was born out of two key factors ! One was the personality of general Pervez Musharraf and the second was the unceremonial manner in which Nawaz Sharif ousted General Jahangir Karamat Musharraf’s predecessor army chief of Pakistan Army.

    Musharraf as those who have served with him know which includes this scribe also has always been an intensely ambitious man ! One hallmark of his personality is that he wants to stand out as a great military commander ! Propelled by an enormous ego wherever he served he endeavoured to do something extraordinary ! However fate did not allow him the glory in battle which his other coursemates like shabbir sharif achieved ! In 1965 Musharraf was a subaltern in an artillery unit which saw little action apart from supporting operatiions by indirect fire ! The 16 SP unlike 3 SP which fired on Indian tanks with direct gunsights at Chawinda stayed in conventional artillery role ! In 1971 Musharrafs commando company was not involved in action ! Nevertheless Musharraf compensated for this lack of combat laurels by achieving laurels in army courses and in various command assignments ! His final opportunity came when he ascended to the post of army chief in a situation when the army was in a subservient position vis a vis the civilian head of state , something which was regarded by the military herarchy as worse than blasphemy ! The forced retirement of General Karamat by prime minister Nawaz Sharif was regarded as a personal defeat by the Pakistani military brass and by Musharraf who felt that he would be a far weaker army chief under a strong prime minister who had asserted civilian control over the military machine ! These two factors were the fathers of the Kargil operation ! Ambition accompanied by a perception that the Pakistani public must be convinced that the soldiers were better than politicians.

    Kargil at the military level was the brainchild of three men i.e General Musharraf the army chief ,Aziz the then army Chief of general Staff and Mahmud the then corps commander 10 Corps ! Musharraf and Mahmud were motivated by intense ambition to achieve military glory and Aziz was motivated by his Kashmiri ancestry plus military ambition.The person they selected to execute the operation was again one distinguished by out of proportion ambition i.e Major General Javed Hassan , author of a book in 1990s that claimed that India was on its way to disintegration and in which mughal king Humayun was resurrected from the grave to fight at Second Battle of Panipat ! In November December 1998 just one month after Musharraf’s elevation to the post of army chief volunteers were asked for at the army level for an operation in Kashmir ! Many thousand volunteered including both officers and men from various units ! At no stage did any Mujahideen enter Kargil ! This is a piece of fiction and has no veracity ! These were attached to NLI units in the 80 Brigade sector for training.The principal idea of the plan was to infiltrate four battalions of NLI (Northern light Infantry) stationed in 80 Brigade Sector into Kargil Heights overlooking and dominating the Srinagar Ladakh road the lone Indian link with the Siachen and Leh Sectors ! The idea being to cut the lifeline of Indian supplies to Leh and Siachen Sectors ! Indian held heights in Kargil were to be occupied in February 1999 while Indian infantry had abandoned these heights at the approach of winter snow as an annual routine since 1948.In occupying the heights no fighting was involved ! The real issue was that of supplying Pakistani troops holding these heights which was far more difficult from the Pakistani side than from the Indian side !

    Plans were kept secret and even the Commander 10 Corps Engineers of was not allowed to enter the Operations Room in 10 Corps Pindi. The distance involved in reaching the heights varied from 15 to 35 kilometres from Pakistan side over mountains as high as 13 to 19,000 feet .To do this each battalion was divided into two parts , one acting as porters taking supplies forward and one half occupying the heights . The heights were occupied as per the plan but the four units while doing so were severly exhausted ! In March-April the Indians discovered the Pakistani presence and reacted severely ! Severe fighting continued till July once the Indians finally re-captured the heights after Pakistani troops had been left to the mercy of Indian artillery and overwhelming troop concentrations as a result of the Blair House Accord !

    A brief military examination of the plan reveals following weaknesses.(1) Failure to assess strategic repercussions of the operation at geopolitic and national strategic level .(2) Logistic failure in incorrect appreciation of supplying the troops . (3) Failure to understand that by occupying the heights the Indians were driven into a corner and had no choice but to retaliate , not for glory as was the Pakistani military’s case but for pure military survival . (4) At a more subtle level the use of the Chora-Batalik Sector as a future spring board for Pakistani operations against India was sealed since Indians heavily fortified this sector for any future war. The Pakistani planners failed to assess that war as an instrument of policy is no longer in vogue at the international level and their temporary military success would only bring greater international censure and a negative war mongering image without any corresponding military gain at the strategic level. This scribe interviewed a former commander of FCNA and 10 Corps about logistics and General Imtiaz Warraich replied as following :–

    ” We initiated this operation but failed to support it with comprehensive operational planning and above all buildup for essential logistic support without which no operation can succeed”……’” the principal reason for our heavy casualties and lack of progress was unimaginative and callous logistic operations to support the units”.

    At one point the sepoys who had volunteered to fight and had come from many other infantry units to the NLI units refused to act as porters carrying supplies over 15 kilometres and were so exasperated that they defied Javed Hassan’s personal orders in unit durbars to carry supplies and when Javed Hassn threw his cap on the ground threatened to march over it unless they were not employed as porters ! One such volunteer told this scribe that we had volunteered to fight ,not to act as porters ! The same fact was also mentioned in ISI chief Ziauddin Butt’s secret report to Nawaz Sharif prepared by an Engineer officer on Zia’s staff in ISI ! The failure to assess the “Enemy” factor was another strategic planning failure at the highest level .I asked General Warraich this question and he stated ” Capture of Kargil Heights would totally stop all Indian movement to Leh and Ladakh Sectors unlike Pakistan in Siachen and Indians had no option but to do and die ” ! Lust for glory and honour in battle are perfectly reasonable aspirations as long as they are accompanied by commensurate military talent in the generals who are at the helm of affairs ! This was sadly lacking in the Musharraf team who planned the operation. Their egos were many times larger than their real military talent ! By promoting an intensely ambitious man to the rank of army chief Nawaz did a favour which could only be repaid by betrayal ! The plan was based not on sound military reasoning but on burning ambition and an unrealistic desire for glory by men far away from the heat of battle ! No one above major level died , yet in a report to the military secretarys branch Javed Hassan recommended retiring 75 % of officers involved in the operation below colonel level !

    The prime minister was not fully briefed because of ulterior motives ! Had the operation succeeded it would have been projected as a proof of Musharraf’s Napoleonic brilliance and if it failed as it did Nawaz Sharif would have been made the scapegoat ! The operations planners were distinguished neither by loftiness of thought,nor audacity in the conduct of battle athe operational or strategic level.Thus boldness at tactiacl level was sacrificed because of operational and tactical timidity at the highest level. No one appreciated that the army men who were employed , and it is a fiction that there was a single Mujahid in Kargil , had flesha nd blood ! These men mourned by a few hundred families were sons husbands fathers and brothers !

    The Kargil operation at the military level is a watershed ! Idealism that propelled many hundred to die in those Himalayan wastes is buried for good ! Now there is a new breed which dominates the army ! The ones who aim at going on lush UN secondments or to KESC,WAPDA or as well paid consulatants ! What can one conclude ! It was the human heart that failed in Kargil and this heart which failed was housed in the ribcage of men sitting in the GHQ and not on the rocky pinnacles of Kargil ! Once the supply lines were closed under Indian threat of a counter attack , these brave men all Pakistan Army regulars were abandoned to die , pounded by artillery fire , bayoneted by overwhelming numbers , weakened by starvation ! Who can hear their cries ! Our ears are covered with heaps of lies ! Truth died at Kargil ! What remains is a body guard of lies! REFERENCES: Kargil-A Military Analysis 15 June 2003 A.H Amin – Debacle-As per Pakistani ex Corps Commander Posted: Jun 2, 2008 Mon 11:04 am

  • As per an “Alleged Saviour of National Interest i.e. Shaheen Sehbai” when he was in Exile 🙂 Shaheen Sehbai’s Anti Pakistan Columns on Kargil ! http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/shaheen-sehbais-anti-pakistan-columns.html

    WASHINGTON, July 22: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not aware of the Kargil Operation when he received Indian PM Vajpayee in Lahore on Feb 20, 1999, a new book written by a senior former police officer from Pakistan, and published by a New York Publishing house, has revealed.
    The book, Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army, and America’s War on Terror, is authored by Mr Hassan Abbas, who is currently 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).

    The book examines the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan, and analyzes its connections to Pakistan Army’s policies and the fluctuating US-Pakistan relations. It includes profiles of leading Pakistani Jihadi groups with details of their origins, development, and capabilities based on interviews with Pakistani intelligence officials, and operators of the militant groups. The book contains new historical materials on Operation Gibraltar (1965 War with India), conspiracy behind General Zia-ul-Haq’s plane crash in 1988, a botched military coup by fundamentalists in army in 1993-4, the story of National Accountability Bureau (from an insider’s perspective) and lastly about how General Musharraf handled the volatile situation after the 9/11 attacks. Besides General Musharraf’s detailed profile, the book evaluates the India-Pakistan relations vis-à-vis the Kashmir conflict, and Dr AQ Khan’s nuclear proliferation crisis. The book offers predictions for Pakistan’s domestic and regional prospects. Author Hassan Abbas gives a graphic description of how the Kargil disaster was planned and managed by the Army led by General Musharraf who led a “Gang of Four” and quotes Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Maleeha Lodhi as saying: “Even corps commanders and other service chiefs were excluded from the decision-making process.”

    “So much so that even the very able DGMO, Lieutenant General 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 says. The chapter on the Kargil Episode asks “Who is to be Blamed” and gives a detailed account of what happened based on author’s interviews with many serving and retired army officers. It says:

    “In May 1999, just three months after the frozen road to Indo-Pak dialogue had thawed enough to get a promise for more going, Pakistan launched its operation against the Kargil Heights in the far north of Indian-held Kashmir, just across the LOC. These heights dominated the main Indian supply route to Leh, where India had a small cantonment to house one brigade. It was the Indian routine at Kargil to descend the heights at the start of the winter snows and reoccupy them the following spring. With these heights in Pakistani hands, it meant that supplies to Leh could not be maintained.

    And though India did have an alternate route, it was not an all-weather, all-season road. India would therefore have no option but to recover the heights and open the road to Leh or allow its garrison to perish. Though, of course, even if India had any number of alternative roads, its pride alone would have sufficed for them to mount an operation for the relief of Kargil. This operation had been discussed at least twice before in earlier years and turned down both times. General Zia-ul-Haq was the first army chief invited by the Military Operations (MO) directorate to see a presentation on this operation. After sitting through it, he resorted in his most chaste Urdu, which he would normally do only when he wanted to take someone to task. His ensuing conversation with the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), as narrated by a senior army officer, went somewhat like this:

    Zia: When we take Kargil, what do you expect the Indians to do? . . . I mean, don’t you think they will try and recapture it?

    DGMO: Yes sir, but we think that the position is impregnable and we can hold it against far superior forces.

    Zia: Now that’s very good, but in that case, don’t you think the Indians will go for a limited offensive elsewhere along the line of control, take some of our territory, and use it as a bargaining chip?

    DGMO: Yes sir, this is possible, but . . .

    Zia: And if they are beaten back there also, don’t you think they will attack across the international frontier, which may lead to a full-scale war?

    DGMO: That’s possible, sir.

    Zia: So in other words, you have prepared a plan to lead us into a full-scale war with India!

    This sardonic observation by Zia ul-Haq caused the demise of the first Kargil proposal. The second time the plan was mooted, it was shot down on the same grounds, that is, it was an easy tactical operation that was untenable in the long run unless Pakistan were prepared to go into a full-scale war with India, in which Kargil would be a secondary objective. The third and final operational plan for Kargil was put forward by its inspirational father, Lieutenant General Mohammad Aziz Khan, chief of the general staff (CGS). Himself a Kashmiri, he was fully committed to the cause of Kashmiri freedom, and not the sort of man who held any commitment lightly. He is very religious and not known to be a hypocrite. The tactical parents of the Kargil plan were two. The first was Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmad, the commander of 10th Corps, in whose area of operations the objective lay. He was a comparatively weaker personality than Aziz, with a romance about history. It is believed that he was convinced by the conviction of Aziz, which, combined with his own historical dream, made him a hostage to the Kargil idea.

    The second parent of the plan was Major General Javed Hassan, commander of the Pakistani troops in the Northern Areas (Force Command Northern Areas, FCNA) who would actually have to carry out the operation. He had one of the best minds in the army and even more ambition. He gave his unstinting support to the operation, less through any sense of conviction and more because of the promise that such a position held of bringing him into General Pervez Musharraf’s charmed inner circle.
    Musharraf was taken in by the enthusiasm of two of his closest generals, and, being eternally levitated by an irrepressible streak of unreal optimism, he became the strongest advocate of the operation. The absolute secrecy that was one of the preconditions of the success of the operation, to secure it against any possibility of leaks, also made it proof against any possibility of a second opinion, and thus against any collusion with a sense of reality. According to Maleeha Lodhi, “Even corps commanders and other service chiefs were excluded” from the decision-making process. So much so that even the very able DGMO, Lieutenant General 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 next task was to bring the prime minister on board. For this, a presentation was organized. The exact date of this presentation is a million-dollar question, as this may consequently decide how history will judge both Musharraf and Nawaz. According to Niaz A. Naik’s narration of the events to Prof. Robert Wirsing, Nawaz Sharif was given a briefing by the army on the Kashmir issue on March 27 or 28, 1999, which probably was the one where the Kargil Plan was discussed. Similarly, according to Owen Bennett Jones, the army contends that a specific briefing on the Kargil Plan was given in the second week of March 1999, where Nawaz granted formal approval of the plan. Most probably, both Naik and Jones are referring to the same meeting, and it certifies that at the time of Nawaz’s meeting with Vajpayee on February 20, 1999, he was not aware of the Kargil operation. Anyhow, Nawaz came to hear the Kargil presentation accompanied by the recently retired CGS of the army, Lieutenant General Iftikhar Ali Khan, who was Nawaz’s secretary of defense. Iftikhar knew Musharraf, Mahmood, and Aziz well and should have used his rank and influence to abort the operation, but he did not, though he certainly showed his reservations. Nawaz’s other adviser was Majid Malik, a minister in the cabinet and a retired lieutenant general who had served as DGMO and CGS during his military career a generation earlier. He had a sharp mind and asked all the right questions of the assembled generals, and pointed out all the weaknesses in their overall plan, and its immediate and larger implications.

    This should have educated Nawaz Sharif adequately to put the operation on hold pending a detailed reexamination of the project, but it did not. Sharif agreed with the plan, though the operation was already in its final stages and Nawaz was not aware of that. Probably in his reverie, he was looking to the glory that would come his way when the fruits promised by operation were harvested. However, close associates of Nawaz contend that the said 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.” Interestingly, in the latest book on the Kargil issue, Shireen Mazari, a Pakistani academic known for her pro-military stance, asserts that the Kargil operation was in fact planned to counter similar moves expected by the Indians in the area, and this military move was in reality a defensive action finalized after credible intelligence reports confirmed Indian designs for incursions across the LOC! This theory is not corroborated by any other source.

    In reality, the Kargil plan was for Pakistan to send in a mixture of Kashmiri fighters and regular/paramilitary troops (the Northern Light Infantry Regiment) to occupy the heights above Kargil before the Indian Army moved in to reoccupy them at the end of the snow season and cut off the supply route to Leh. The operation was to be projected as a solely Kashmiri mujahideen operation, denying absolutely any Pakistani involvement in it or that Pakistan had any control or influence over these elements. It is worth noting that until the occupation of the heights became an accomplished fact, neither any of the other service chiefs nor the rest of the corps commanders or Musharraf’s personal staff officers knew anything about the operation.

    The result was that, when the Indian Air Force joined the action, the Pakistan Air Force was in no position to respond while the army’s quartermaster general and master general of ordnance, both of whose support was vital for any army operation, were also left totally in the dark. Thus if Kargil had led to general war, the army would have learned that its newest fleet of tanks, of which it was so proud, had no APDSFS antitank ammunition! The other effect of the secrecy surrounding Kargil was that no one in the Pakistani diplomatic corps was equipped to deal with the questions arising in the wake of the operation, while it also split the generals into two groups, that is, those who were “in” and those who were left “out.”

    The masterminds of the operation were driven by the belief that their nuclear capability provided a protective shield to Pakistan, and that India would acquiesce to this capture just like Pakistan was compelled to swallow India’s seizure of the Siachen peaks in 1984. All the four generals involved in the Kargil project had remained instructors in different military training institutions during their careers, teaching young officers how vital it is to weigh the pros and cons of a military offensive in terms of understanding the possible ramifications and enemy reactions. It is strange that these generals forgot such a basic military lesson and seriously miscalculated Indian capabilities both in terms of military strength and political influence in the international arena. The Indians reacted in an outburst of justifiable rage, citing Pakistan’s bad faith for having welcomed their prime minister to Lahore while concurrent preparations for the Kargil operation were already under way. In Pakistan there was no widespread feeling of regret, though few knew what had really happened.

    Within the army the general feeling about India was that had made its nuclear tests in the belief that this would force Pakistan to show its hand, and that if this came short, Pakistan would be pushed into the status of an Indian satellite; but when this did not happen, Vajpayee came to Lahore to restart a long suspended dialogue merely to lull a nuclear Pakistan to sleep while cooking up some other perfidious scheme against it, and any measure against such an enemy was entirely justified. Pakistan’s explanation of the events at Kargil, though, had a skeptical reception in international circles to begin with, and later their version was entirely discredited. For India, the exposure of their neighbor’s duplicity must have been satisfying, but surely not enough. After India’s first abortive attacks to reclaim the heights, it started a large military buildup by moving all its 130mm artillery regiments to the target area and picking up a substantial amount of smart munitions around the world. It is an amazing commentary on the coordination between the “mujahideen” occupying Kargil heights and those fighting inside held Kashmir that when the Indian reinforcements were snaking up the winding roads in endless convoys, there was no reported attempt at an ambush by the latter to disrupt this operation.

    When the buildup was complete, India subjected the objective to air strikes and massive artillery barrages day after day, followed by determined and courageous infantry attacks in very difficult conditions. The Pakistan Army top brass had confided to various friends who had their trust that their men on the heights were adequately provisioned and well dug in to withstand the rigors of a long campaign. The truth, as it later transpired, was that the digging in was minimal because the rocky soil just did not allow this. The result was not only that the troops were exposed to harsh weather and the shrapnel of exploding shells, but also to the splinters of rocks that followed the explosions. For most, their only safety was to scramble to the comparative security of the reverse slopes during the bombardment, and then get back to the other side of the hill to meet the infantry attacks that normally followed the artillery barrages.

    Pakistani reserves of supplies and ammunition were woefully inadequate to begin with, and became alarmingly low as the operation progressed, with many having to survive by eating the pitiful vegetation that braved the rocky slopes. Under these circumstances, the resistance they put up was both heroic and magnificent, and the quality of junior leadership again proved admirable. But Pakistani generals again failed miserably—as the plan and preparations were defective. Kargil left an already friendless Pakistan in almost total diplomatic isolation. Even China, whose president had counseled Pakistan as recently as late 1996 to go slow on Kashmir and concentrate instead on the economic viability of the country, felt constrained to distance itself from Islamabad’s latest adventure. Major General Javed Hassan, the commander on the spot, was being threatened by words and gestures of subordinates that could only be described as mutinous. Lieutenant General Mahmood, on whom reality started to dawn fatefully late in the day, saw his adequate jaw falling at an alarming rate. And though the conviction and inner reserves of Lieutenant General Aziz, helped by blissful ignorance, kept him as gung-ho as ever and also helped keep Musharraf’s optimism afloat, the prime minister had become a case stricken by fright. Under these circumstance, Nawaz was left to plead desperately for a meeting with President Clinton, who found that his schedule allowed him a few free hours on July 4, 1999.

    It is widely believed that at this meeting Nawaz swore complete ignorance about the Kargil operation till everything terrible hit the fan. Blaming everything on his generals, he just begged to be bailed out. Clinton told him quite unequivocally that whether the “mujahideen” occupying the Kargil heights listened to Pakistan or not, the immediate step it would have to take was to evacuate Kargil. As a sop he promised the Pakistani prime minister that following this evacuation, he would treat the issue of Kashmir with active interest. In the midst of this crisis in June 1999, General Zinni, then commander in chief of the US Centcom (Central Command), had visited Pakistan accompanied by G. Lanpher, deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia, to impress upon Pakistan’s military commanders the need for de-escalation. This team also visited India during the tour.

    However, according to Shireen Mazari, some senior Pakistani army officers are of the view that the United States prevented India from coming to the negotiating table with Pakistan, and in this context she also mentions the visit of Henry Kissinger to India in early June, who was “apparently carrying a message from the US government not to negotiate with Pakistan.” It is a moot point whether such was the case, but it was obvious that US sympathies were with India in this conflict. To any neutral observer of the international political scene, this was a predictable outcome as US interests were increasingly being linked with those of India in the region, but Pakistan’s military hierarchy was apparently oblivious of what was so clearly written on the wall. The evacuation of Kargil was followed by a hum of resentment all over Pakistan. The loved ones of those who had given their lives on the desolate and remote slopes there wanted to know that if unilateral withdrawal was to be the end of the whole exercise, what the point was of sacrificing the lives of their sons and brothers? The people of Pakistan had been subjected to the largest whispering campaign in history to expect a great victory. 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.”

  • As per another “Self Proclaimed Saviour of Pakistan’s National Interest i.e. Rauf Klasra” in Shaheen Sehbai’s “Exiled” ONLINE MAGAZINE. Kargil Debacle: Musharraf’s Time Bomb, Waiting to Explode By Rauf Klasra WASHINGTON DC, Aug 3, 2004 ISSN: 1684-2057 http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/shaheen-sehbais-anti-pakistan-columns.html

    ISLAMABAD, August 3: Five years have passed since Kargil but it continues to be debated in Pakistan mainly because it led to the fall of Nawaz Sharif and the rise of General Musharraf, changing the fate of both on the same day, one going to jail and the other crowned the king. Kargil, nevertheless, established a bitter fact that Pakistan Army will continue to exercise its domination over the vulnerable civilians, both in political and militarily domains irrespective of the losses in the process to the country and its unfortunate 140 million people.

    The five years since Kargil have also established the fact that the truth will not come out until the Army rules the roost. A Kargil Commission will never be set up like the Hamoodur Rehman Commission, unless a genuinely elected political government takes over.

    The controversy, however, rages on. In a fresh interview, exiled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told an Indian magazine a judicial commission was inevitable to determine who was responsible for the disaster.

    Nawaz Sharif sounded quite aggressive and threatening in his latest interview when he made it clear that whenever he regains power, he would not spare those who staged Kargil.

    Earlier, ‘Battle Ready’, a new book by American General Anthony Zinni, who worked closely with former president Bill Clinton during the infamous Pakistan-India stand off, revived the five years old controversy in Pakistan.

    Despite claims and counter claims both from the military and civilians, the situation is still blur as General Musharraf claims that Nawaz had cleared the plan and military could not be held responsible for the debacle.

    In a series of political profiles of leaders of the Nawaz government who were actively involved in all Kargil decisions, this scribe tried to get to the bottom but could only go so far as leaders who know would not talk and those who talk don’t know.

    Ch. Shujaat Hussain, the current Prime Minister who was leading the ruling PML-Q when I interviewed him, was the first political leader who had disclosed many inside stories leading to the Kargil crises.

    His disclosures had unleashed a storm in the political and military circles. However, when this scribe met Ch. Nisar Ali Khan who had accompanied Nawaz Sharif to meet President Clinton on July 4, 1999, a different perspective of the situation emerged.

    Ishaq Dar who was the then finance minister and directly pumping money for defence requirements, gave another account of these events.

    But one potential witness to Kargil, Mushahid Hussain, otherwise considered to be a bold writer, had flatly refused to talk over the issue after becoming a senator on the ruling party ticket.

    Despite my best efforts, I could not interview the then Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz as he had refused to come on record though he confirmed to me that he knew much about Kargil. Likewise, General (Retd) Abdul Majeed Malik, who also knew a lot also shied away from talking on the subject.

    Information Minister Sheikh Rashid, also an important member of the Nawaz cabinet had simply told this scribe, without going into details of Kargil, that he endorsed the views of Ch. Shujaat Hussain.

    Shujaat Hussain was interviewed in April 2003 and he was at best evasive and did neither support Musharraf nor Nawaz Sharif. He rather narrated a tale of one such meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Defence in which Kargil issue was discussed.

    Shujaat said a Brigadier was briefing participants of the meeting including Sartaj Aziz, Shujaat, Nawaz and General Musharraf who was then the COAS.

    Shujaat claimed that at one stage Musharraf observed that Nawaz was not following what the Brigadier was trying to convey on Kargil. So Musharraf himself sprang from his seat, took the stick from the Brigadier and started to explain.

    According to Shujaat, when at one stage of the briefing by General Musharraf, the dismal picture of Kargil and its implications sank home, Nawaz Sharif almost shouted at Musharraf by saying: ‘This means an open war with India’.

    Nawaz genuinely complained to Musharraf as to why was he not told earlier that this kind of military activity on Kargil could lead to a war like situation with India, Shujaat continued.

    “Upon this, Musharraf produced a pocket note book and started to give details of all those meetings in which, he claimed, Nawaz was given briefings about Kargil. But this further annoyed Nawaz. At this stage a cool and diplomatic interior minister (Shujaat himself) proposed that what had happened was past now. He proposed that it was better that a press release should be issued after the meeting saying that both the military and political leadership was on board on Kargil.

    Shujaat said his proposal greatly annoyed Nawaz as he refused to do so. “Nawaz was so annoyed with me for making the proposal that when he left the meeting he did not even bother to look at him or shake hands.”

    When this scribe met Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, he gave a different account of events leading to the fall of Nawaz. Nisar had clearly said during the Kargil crisis that Nawaz had decided to visit the US to protect the honor of the military endangered in face of Indian threats.

    Ch Nisar held important ministerial portfolios in the governments of General Ziaul Haq and Mohammad Khan Junejo and was also a leading figure in both the tenures of Nawaz government from 1991 to 1993 and 1997 to 1999.

    Nisar said, “Kargil was badly conceived, badly planned and badly executed”. He said the timing was so bad that when the political leadership was told about this misadventure, the PM could not reverse or stop it even if he wished to because it would have had serious fallout, both for the army and the government.

    Nisar said Nawaz and his team were told by military leadership only what was needed according to their requirements and perception. The nation, he said, should be told about the reaction of the then Naval Chief Admiral Fasih Bukhari and Air Chief Pervez Mehdi when like civilian leaders they came to know about Kargil for the first time.

    Declining to discuss what these reactions were, Nisar said let the nation ask that question from the former naval and air chiefs and they should tell what their comments were about the possibility of war with India.

    Nisar said if Nawaz had been aware of the Kargil adventure, he was not so foolish to invite the Indian prime minister to Lahore.

    About Nawaz’s mad rush to Washington, Nisar said he received a call from Nawaz who asked him to get ready to go to the US. Nisar opposed his visit saying: “Mian sahib let those people face the music who had planned all these things without taking politicians into confidence.” But, Nawaz replied: “No Nisar, I cannot see my army face humiliation at the hands of India”.

    Nisar said Shahbaz Sharif is a witness to his opposition to Nawaz dash to the US. He recalled: “ZA Bhutto, with his political wisdom, saved 90,000 Pakistani POWs but was later hanged by the military. The same happened with Nawaz after 27 years. Nawaz went to US risking the negative fallout but saved the military honor that was under serious danger because of Indian threats”. Nisar lamented that the same army rescued by Nawaz sent the man to hell.

    Ishaq Dar, who was the then Finance Minister, said he knew too much about the troubling issues between military and the civilian leadership of that time. Dar demanded that a judicial commission should be set up where he would give all the inside information and details that would shock the entire country.

    He said that the most important details pertain to briefing of General Pervez Musharraf to Dar and Sartaj Aziz in the Military Operation Room of the GHQ towards the end of May 1999 and the meetings of the Defence Cabinet Committee (DCC) during May and June 1999 under the chairmanship of PM Nawaz in which Majeed Malik, Raja Zafar ul Haq and Mushahid Hussain also participated in addition to permanent members of DCC.

    But, Dar said before Nawaz dashed to the US for the July 4 meeting with Clinton, two important meetings were held to review the situation. Nawaz had gone to US only to bail out the Pakistan Army. Dar said General Musharraf was very keen to involve US for mediation between India and Pakistan.

    Was Nawaz Sharif on board about Kargil operations from the beginning? Dar categorically denied this by saying “not at all”.

    Most of the Corps Commanders, Air Force and Naval Chiefs were also not aware of the operation on day one. PM Nawaz was in fact informed on May 17, he claimed.

    However Ishaq Dar revealed another interesting fact that supported the point of view of General Musharraf that Nawaz Sharif was informed about Kargil, although he might have not taken it seriously.

    Dar revealed that many months before the Kargil operation, a strategic briefing on different locations including Kargil was held in Skardu. But, Dar hastened to add that this causal briefing could in no way be termed as an approval from Nawaz for the Kargil Operation.

    He said Kargil was launched without meeting the required formalities and a proper approval. The then political leadership was approached for immediate rescue only when operational problems started to surface at Kargil. When Musharraf briefed Nawaz about troubling development, the first abrupt question Nawaz asked from his army chief was: why he was not informed in advance about the operation, Dar claimed.

    Dar said Nawaz had gone to the US not on his own but on the personal request and insistence of Musharraf who saw Nawaz off at the Airport. Dar said Nawaz had sincerely tried to save the dignity and honor of Pakistan Army and to protect the Mujahideen on Kargil front lines for whom inadequate arrangements were made by the Army.

    But, Dar was not ready to speak more on Kargil though he claimed that he knew much more. He said he would tell everything to a judicial commission if formed on the issue because he believes that such revelations would not be in the national interest.

    So, no one, neither the military nor the political leadership, is ready to accept the responsibility of this disaster that not only brought two neighboring countries to the brink of war but also led to the dramatic fall of Nawaz and rise of Musharraf.

    The issue, however, is far from dead and sooner than later, Kargil will blow into a real crisis for the Pakistan Army.

  • Pakistan Army Committed Kargil Like Disaster in 1965 War As Well Special SAT Report WASHINGTON DC, Sept. 6, 2004 ISSN: 1684-2057 http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/shaheen-sehbais-anti-pakistan-columns.html

    New Book Exposes the Failure of Operation Gibraltar

    WASHINGTON, Sept 6: A new book on Pakistan, scheduled to be released worldwide on Sept 11, gives out a detailed account of how the Pakistan Army planned a military operation to capture Akhnur in August 1965 which ultimately led to the India-Pakistan war and how mysterious decisions led to its failure, a la the Kargil fiasco of 1999.

    The book Pakistan’s Drift Into Extremism: Allah, The Army, And America’s War On Terror, written by Hassan Abbas, a former police officer from Pakistan and currently a Research fellow at the Harvard Law School and a PhD. candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, provides a befitting backdrop to the 1965 war, the 39th anniversary of which is being observed in Pakistan today.

    The book, already among the top 100 bestsellers at Barnes and Nobles, also examines the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan and analyzes its connections to Pakistan Army’s policies and the fluctuating US-Pakistan relations. It includes profiles of leading Pakistani Jihadi groups and gives details of the conspiracy behind General Zia-ul-Haq’s plane crash in 1988, a botched military coup by fundamentalists in army in 1993-94 and lastly about how General Musharraf handled the volatile situation after the 9/11 attacks.

    Leading writers and intellectuals including Stephen P Cohen of the Brookings Institution, Harvard University Professor Jessica Stern, Peter Bergen, Terrorism Analyst, CNN and author of The Holy War Inc and Arnaud de Borchgrave, Editor-at-Large of The Washington Times and UPI, have praised the book in glowing terms.

    It raises an oft repeated but a pertinent question about the conduct of the top Pakistan Army brass in 1965 when Pakistani troops were just three miles from Akhnur and its capture was imminent, the military commander was changed and so much time was deliberately wasted that a successful war was turned into a defeat.

    Following excerpt of the book throws more light on how, on this day, the Pakistan Army wrote an inglorious epitaph to a glorious plan which it failed to execute:

    “When the Pakistan Army inflicted a short, sharp reverse on the Indians in the Rann of Kutch in mid-1965, Ayub’s spirits got a boost. More important, the international arbitration that followed the Kutch dispute (resulting in favor of Pakistan) put Pakistan under the assumption that if the Kashmir problem was to be solved, the Rann of Kutch route would have to be replicated – a limited clash in Kashmir leading to a threat of all-out war, and then an intervention and arbitration by the great powers.

    Hence at this point there was considerable confidence among the Pakistanis about the strength of their own arms, which was bolstered by their newfound friendship with China. Utter frustration over Indian intransigence on Kashmir coupled with sympathy for the gathering hopelessness of the Kashmiris and concern over the rapid rearmament of the Indian armed forces on account of Western military aid, were factors that played a crucial role in Pakistan’s drift toward considering a military solution of the Kashmir issue.

    Bhutto, in his letter to Ayub of May 12, 1965, drew his attention to increasing Western military aid to India and how fast the balance of power in the region was shifting in India’s favor as a result. He expanded on this theme and recommended that “a bold and courageous stand” would “open up greater possibility for a negotiated settlement.”

    Ayub Khan was won over by the force of this logic, and he tasked the Kashmir Cell under Foreign Secretary, Aziz Ahmed, to draw up plans to stir up some trouble in Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir, which could then be exploited in Pakistan’s favor by limited military involvement.

    The Kashmir Cell was a nondescript body working without direction and producing no results. It laid the broad concept of Operation Gibraltar, but did not get very far beyond this in terms of coming up with anything concrete. When Ayub saw that the Kashmir Cell was making painfully little headway in translating his directions into a plan of action, he personally handed responsibility for the operation over to Major General Akhtar Hussain Malik, commander of the 12th Division of the Pakistan Army. This division was responsible for the defense of the entire length of the Cease-fire Line (CFL) in the Kashmir region.

    General Akhtar Malik was a man of towering presence and was known for his acuteness of mind and boldness of spirit. He was loved and admired by his subordinates, but was far too outspoken to be of any comfort to most of his superiors. His professional excellence, however, was acknowledged both in military and civilian circles.

    The plan of this operation (Gibraltar) as finalized by General Malik and approved by Ayub Khan was to infiltrate a sizable armed force across the CFL into Indian Kashmir to carry out acts of sabotage in order to destabilize the government of the state and encourage the local population to rise up against Indian occupation.

    In order to be able to retrieve the situation in case this operation got into trouble, to give it a new lease on life, or to fully exploit the advantage gained in the event of its success, Operation Grand Slam was planned.

    This was to be a quick strike by armored and infantry forces from the southern tip of the CFL to Akhnur, a town astride the Jammu-Srinagar Road. This would cut the main Indian artery into the Kashmir valley, bottle up the Indian forces there, and so open up a number of options that could then be exploited as the situation demanded. According to some Pakistani Army officers, it was foreseen then that the value of Operation Gibraltar would be fully enchased after Grand Slam succeeded in wresting control of Akhnur.

    There was not enough time to fully prepare and train the men who were to infiltrate, and the three-month deadline given was considered to be not nearly enough for this, but the 12th Division was told that, because of certain considerations, no further time could be given.

    Most of the men to be trained belonged to the Azad Kashmir Regular Forces, which meant that they would have to be withdrawn from the defensive positions along the CFL. The denuded front lines therefore had to be beefed up by other elements. Having no reserves for this purpose, General Malik decided that the only option for him was to simultaneously train a force of Azad Kashmiri irregulars (mujahids) for this purpose.

    But when he called the C-in-C, General Musa, to ask for weapons to equip this force, the latter refused. General Malik then made a call to Ayub, apprised him of the difficulty he was having with the C-in-C, and concluded that if the Kashmiris were not to be trusted, they were not worth fighting for. Ayub then called Musa, told him why the new Mujahid Companies needed to be armed and equipped, and ended with the same note, that is, people who cannot be trusted were not worth fighting for. Soon General Malik got a call from Musa: “Malik, people who cannot be trusted are not worth fighting for – go ahead, arm them.”

    Operation Gibraltar was launched in the first week of August 1965, and all the infiltrators made it across the CFL without a single case of detection by the Indians. This was possible only because of the high standards of Pakistan’s security measures, as acknowledged by a senior Indian Army general. The pro-Pakistan elements in Kashmir had not been taken into confidence prior to this operation, and there was no help forthcoming for the infiltrators in most areas.

    Overall, despite lack of support from the local population, the operation managed to cause anxiety to the Indians, at times verging on panic. On August 8 the Kashmir government recommended that martial law be imposed in Kashmir. It seemed that the right time to launch operation Grand Slam was when such anxiety was at its height. But it was General Malik’s opinion that this be delayed till the Indians had committed their reserves to seal off the infiltration routes, which he felt was certain to happen eventually.

    On August 24, India concentrated its forces to launch its operations in order to seal off Haji Pir Pass, through which lay the main infiltration routes. That same day General Malik asked General Headquarters (GHQ) permission to launch Operation Grand Slam. The director of military operations, Brigadier Gul Hassan, passed on the request to General Musa, and when he failed to respond, reminded him again the following day.

    But Musa could not manage to gather the confidence to give the decision himself and sent ZA Bhutto to obtain the approval from Ayub Khan, who was relaxing in Swat, 200 miles away – strange way to fight a war with the C-in-C unwilling to give decisions and the supreme commander unable to do so.

    The decision finally arrived on August 29, by which time the Indians had bolstered their defenses in the sector where the operation was to be launched with the induction of three infantry units and an artillery regiment. Still a few more precious hours were wasted by the GHQ, and the operation went to the early morning of September 1, more than a week after the commander in the field had first asked for the go-ahead.

    By early afternoon of the first day all the objectives were taken, the Indian forces were on the run, and Akhnur lay tantalizingly close and inadequately defended. “At this point, someone’s prayers worked” says Indian journalist, MJ Akbar: “An inexplicable change of command took place.”

    What happened was that, in a surprising turn of events, General Musa landed in the theater of operations and handed the command of the 12th Division over to General Yahya Khan, whom he had brought along. General Malik was asked to get into the helicopter and was flown away by Musa.

    For nearly 39 years now the Pakistan Army has been trying to cover up this untimely and fateful change of command by suppression and falsification of history.

    Loss of time is inherent in any such change, but for reasons that cannot be explained but by citing the intrusion of ego, Yahya insisted on changing Malik’s plan and therefore lost even more time. Whereas Malik had basically planned to invest and bypass the strongly defended localities, subordinating everything to reaching and capturing Akhnur with the least delay, Yahya took a different route – he crossed river Tawi and went straight into Troti, in which crucial time was lost. And this was enough for the Indians to bolster the defenses of Akhnur and launch their strike against Lahore across the international frontier between the two countries.

    This came on September 6 while the Pakistani forces were still three miles short of Akhnur. This was the contrived end of an operation, which had been meticulously planned and had promised a lot.

    On September 6, after the Indian attack across the international border, Ayub and Bhutto tried to invoke the 1959 US-Pakistan bilateral agreement, to ask for American help against Indian aggression, but to no avail.

    Instead, President Johnson suspended military aid to both India and Pakistan. Pakistan immediately turned to China for help. These efforts brought about a strong Chinese condemnation of India’s aggression against Pakistan, and this was followed by a Chinese warning against Indian intrusions into Chinese territory.

    And then on September 16 they sent a note to India to say that as long as Indian aggression against Pakistan continued, it would not stop supporting Pakistan in its just struggle. On September 19, Ayub and Bhutto flew to Beijing for a top secret meeting with the Chinese leadership. China promised Pakistan all the help, but told Ayub that he should be quite prepared to withdraw his army to the hills and fight a long guerrilla war against India.

    For this neither the Sandhurst-trained Ayub nor the Berkeley-educated Bhutto was quite prepared. On the international scene there was already considerable concern that any direct Chinese involvement in the conflict may escalate and broaden the war involving other countries. Pakistan was pressed by the Western ambassadors to not encourage the Chinese to step up their engagement any further.

    Pakistan knew it did not have the wherewithal to break through the stalemate on the battlefront. Thus it knew this was the end. Now Pakistan was prepared to accept a cease-fire. The guns fell silent on the afternoon of September 23. As to the final outcome of the war, Dennis Kux aptly says that India “won simply by not losing.”

    Immediately after the war, on the Pakistan side the major controversy that occupied the minds of many was the change in command of Operation Grand Slam. The “view both in India and even amongst ‘sensible army officers’ in Pakistan was that Malik’s sudden replacement led to the failure of Grand Slam.”

    But the “sensible” Pakistani Army officers were restrained from discussing this subject. It was taboo to do so in the army messes and officers’ gatherings, though in private this was most passionately debated. It was only after General Malik’s death in 1969 that GHQ gingerly started putting together a theory to justify this change and to propagate it.

    It was now claimed that the change was preplanned and that this plan laid down that General Malik would command the first phase of the operation up to the river Tawi, and thereafter the command would be assumed by General Yahya Khan. However, there is not a shred of evidence to support this. The operation itself was a set-piece attack for which the operation orders are a part of the historical record, and there is no such mention in these.

    And any doubts there might have been on the issue were laid to rest by General Gul Hassan, who was Director of Military Operations during the war and the one person who would have known of such a change. He has specifically denied having any knowledge of the same.

    Indeed, not a single army officer except Musa and General Yahya seem to have known about this change, which shifted the initiative from Pakistan to the Indian Army. It now seems fair to speculate that the change in command was preplanned only in the sense that it was a conspiracy between Ayub, Musa, and Yahya; that if the operation got into trouble, Malik could keep the command and also the blame that would accrue as a result, but that if it held promise of success, Yahya would be moved in to harvest it.

    Lieutenant General Harbaksh Singh, one of the very respected senior Indian military commanders, was one of the few to have appreciated the full military value of Operation Gibraltar as a part of Grand Slam rather than seeing the two in isolation. According to him, “The plan of infiltration was brilliant in conception,” and as for Grand Slam, he thought it was “aptly named Grand Slam for had it succeeded, a trail of dazzling results would have followed in its wake, and the infiltration campaign would have had a fresh lease of life,” and that “it was only the last minute frantic rush of reinforcements into the sector . . . that prevented this debacle from deteriorating into major catastrophe.”

    It seems therefore that but for the change of command at a critical time during Operation Grand Slam, the aim of Gibraltar was well within realization, that is, to “de freeze the Kashmir problem, weaken Indian resolve, and bring India to the conference table without provoking general war.”

    It would be highly educative to read General Akhtar Malik’s views on the subject. This unpublished letter from General Malik to his younger brother, Lieutenant General Abdul Ali Malik, is a new source of information on the subject, and for this purpose is quoted here in full:

    Pakistan’s Permanent Military Deputy
    Embassy of Pakistan

    My Dear brother,

    I hope you and the family are very well. Thank you for your letter of 14 Oct. 67. The answers to your questions are as follows:

    a. The de facto command changed the very first day of the ops [operations] after the fall of Chamb when Azmat Hayat broke off wireless communications with me. I personally tried to find his HQ [headquarters] by chopper and failed. In late afternoon I sent Gulzar and Vahid, my MP [military police] officers, to try and locate him, but they too failed. The next day I tore into him and he sheepishly and nervously informed me that he was ‘Yahya’s brigadier’. I had no doubt left that Yahya had reached him the previous day and instructed him not to take further orders from me, while the formal change in command had yet to take place. This was a betrayal of many dimensions.

    b. I reasoned and then pleaded with Yahya that if it was credit he was looking for, he should take the overall command but let me go up to Akhnur as his subordinate, but he refused. He went a step further and even changed the plan. He kept banging his head against Troti, letting the Indian fall back to Akhnur. We lost the initiative on the very first day of the war and never recovered it. Eventually it was the desperate stand at Chawinda that prevented the Indians from cutting through.

    c. At no time was I assigned any reason for being removed from command by Ayub, Musa or Yahya. They were all sheepish at best. I think the reasons will be given when I am no more.

    d. Not informing pro-Pak Kashmiri elements before launching Gibraltar was a command decision and it was mine. The aim of the op was to de freeze the Kashmir issue, raise it from its moribund state, and bring it to the notice of the world. To achieve this aim the first phase of the op was vital, that is, to effect undetected infiltration of thousands across the CFL [cease-fire line]. I was not willing to compromise this in any event. And the whole op could be made stillborn by just one double agent.

    e. Haji Pir [Pass] did not cause me much anxiety. Because [the] impending Grand Slam Indian concentration in Haji Pir could only help us after Akhnur, and they would have to pull out troops from there to counter the new threats and surrender their gains, and maybe more, in the process. Actually it was only after the fall of Akhnur that we would have encashed the full value of Gibraltar, but that was not to be!

    f. Bhutto kept insisting that his sources had assured him that India would not attack if we did not violate the international border. I however was certain that Gibraltar would lead to war and told GHQ so. I needed no op intelligence to come to this conclusion. It was simple common sense. If I got you by the throat, it would be silly for me to expect that you will kiss me for it. Because I was certain that war would follow, my first choice as objective for Grand Slam was Jammu. From there we could have exploited our success either toward Samba or Kashmir proper as the situation demanded. In any case whether it was Jammu or Akhnur, if we had taken the objective, I do not see how the Indians could have attacked Sialkot before clearing out either of these towns.

    g. I have given serious consideration to writing a book, but given up the idea. The book would be the truth. And truth and the popular reaction to it would be good for my ego. But in the long run it would be an unpatriotic act. It will destroy the morale of the army, lower its prestige among the people, be banned in Pakistan, and become a textbook for the Indians. I have little doubt that the Indians will never forgive us the slight of 65 and will avenge it at the first opportunity. I am certain they will hit us in E. Pak [East Pakistan] and we will need all we have to save the situation. The first day of Grand Slam will be fateful in many ways. The worst has still to come and we have to prepare for it. The book is therefore out.

    I hope this gives you the gist of what you needed to know. And yes, Ayub was fully involved in the enterprise. As a matter of fact it was his idea. And it was he who ordered me to by-pass Musa while Gibraltar etc. was being planned. I was dealing more with him and Sher Bahadur than with the C-in-C. It is tragic that despite having a good military mind, the FM’s [Foreign Minister Z.A. Bhutto’s] heart was prone to give way. The biggest tragedy is that in this instance it gave way before the eruption of a crisis. Or were they already celebrating a final victory!!

    In case you need a more exact description of events, I will need war diaries and maps, which you could send me through the diplomatic bag.

    Please remember me to all the family.

    Akhtar Hussain Malik

    It is quite obvious what had happened. In the words of Justice Muhammad Saraf: “Had Akhtar been continued in his duty… he would have been the only General in Pakistan with a spectacular victory to his credit and it would then have been very difficult for President Ayub to ignore his claim to the office of the Commander-in-Chief, after the retirement of Musa, which was quite near.”

    Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, one of the main players of this game, also later argued that, “Had General Akhtar Malik not been stopped in the Chamb-Jaurian Sector, the Indian forces in Kashmir would have suffered serious reverses, but Ayub Khan wanted to make his favorite, General Yahya Khan, a hero.”

    However, the very idea of Operation Gibraltar was controversial in itself. The military initiative robbed Pakistan of its moral high ground vis-à-vis the Kashmir conflict. In retrospect, it would have been better if Pakistan had focused more on continuing its efforts toward the resolution of the dispute through UN or third-party mediation. Ayub and his top generals also misread how far Kashmiris (in India) were willing to cooperate with Pakistan in this kind of adventure.

    (After the war) the army also underwent major though subtle changes in personnel. Musa retired soon after the war, to be replaced by General Yahya Khan as C-in-C of the army. This was not a popular choice, but as Yahya settled in, he subtly started to gather power by promoting and placing his own loyalists in critical spots. A sick and disheartened Ayub was too careworn to notice this. And besides, he had implicit faith in Yahya’s loyalty.

    He may also have been quite certain that his new choice of army chief came with the kind of baggage that would foreclose the possibility of his gaining the sort of following that could eventually threaten Ayub’s position. Ayub was wrong. He could not see that Yahya could collect any number of equally discredited officers around him. Among the first to be swept off the stage was General Akhtar Malik. He was posted out to CENTO in Ankara, Turkey.

    Yahya told him that Pakistan needed a sensible and mature officer there, and Malik had replied: “Being a sensible and mature officer, I quite realize why I am needed there.” Concurrently with this, all officers considered to be Malik loyalists were sidelined. This was a major step along the road inaugurated by Ayub himself, of promoting the interests of personal loyalty over those of competence and professionalism. Professional pride progressively gave way to servile behavior.

    Already the army had embarked on a crash program of making up shortages in the ranks of the officer class. To meet the target, standards were consciously and conspicuously lowered, thus making it a self-defeating exercise.

    Also, in the aftermath of the war, one would have expected the army to analyze its performance. Not only was such an appraisal not carried out beyond the merest whitewash, the attempt deliberately falsified the record to save reputations, because after the war many of those were promoted whose reputations needed to be saved.

    But the formality of a war analysis had to be fulfilled, and most ironically the task was entrusted to General Akhtar Malik. He did this in two parts; one dealt with the performance of junior leadership, and the other with that of the higher command.

    Brigadier Mohammad Afzal Khan, who read the latter in manuscript form, and Major Qayyum, under whose supervision it was typed, both commented upon the scathing criticism to which this document subjected the prosecution of the war at higher levels. After the death of the general, no one has seen the record of this document in the army GHQ.”


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