Musharraf and Kargil – the best analysis

Ayaz Amir at his best

This is one of the best comments on Nawaz Sharif’s revelations about Kargil. Unfortunately, the storm they created remains confined to the op-ed columnists’ teacup.

…But even as the media played up ‘mujahideen’ successes, and the daily military briefings began increasingly to sound like war briefings, no one cared to explain to an increasingly befuddled populace as to what this fighting was all about. Were we embarked on another bid to ‘liberate’ Kashmir? If so, had we calculated the risk of all-out war? For it needed no Clausewitz to realize that India would not take losses in Kashmir lying down and that Kargil if continued would mean war.

Adding to the public’s puzzlement was the signing of the Lahore Declaration just two months earlier. If we had resolved to tread the path of war, what was the point of that charade? If it was not a charade and we were serious about peace, what accounted for the change of heart now? It was all very confusing, with Kargil making no sense at all.On June 13, a grim council of war, presided over by the prime minister and attended by the service chiefs and some ministers, was held in the Governor’s House, Lahore…

The real question about Kargil is not whether Nawaz Sharif knew or not. It is something else. What accounts for the army’s institutional capacity to dream up ventures lacking any geostrategic or political context? The 1965 war (which ended up by derailing Pakistan and paving the way for the eventual separation of East Pakistan) was one such venture. The army crackdown on the Awami League in East Pakistan in 1971 was another. Kargil makes up the third of this holy trinity.

Nawaz Sharif was supposed to have a limited attention span. Kargil throws up an intriguing question. Whose intellect span was more limited, Nawaz Sharif’s or the army command’s? [Dawn|Archive]

But oh, listen to this

The constituency for jihad and military aggression remains entrenched.

“I personally believe that the Kargil operation was a right decision whether it was taken by General Pervez Musharraf or former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif.” Qazi (Hussain Ahmed, leader of the religious political alliance) told reporters at Parliament House. He said Pakistan should relinquish its defensive stance on Kashmir and adopt an aggressive policy. He stressed that the Pakistan Army should start another Kargil-like operation to press India to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.[Daily Times]