Rawalpindi, Jun 4: Presidential spokesman Rashid Qureshi has termed the charges leveled by Lt Gen (Retd) Gulzar Kiyani against President Pervez Musharraf over the Kargil conflict and the Lal Masjid operation as "childish and unbecoming" of a retired Army officer of the rank of lieutenant general. He said that Kiyani's comments not only amazed him but also upset him.
"He talked like an annoyed child not knowing what he was saying. If we go into the details of his allegations it will sound strange," The News quoted Qureshi as saying while laughing off the charges of the former Rawalpindi corps commander. On June 2, Kiyani had stated that former Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif and the country's intelligence agency ISI were kept in the dark about the Kargil operation in 1999. Holding President Pervez Musharraf, who was then the Army Chief, responsible for the conflict, he said that although Nawaz was briefed on the Kargil issue, it was "fairly late" and the conflict had started by then.
"It was not a comprehensive briefing that the chief executive should have been given," he said.
Squarely blaming Musharraf and his team, including Lt Gen Mehmood, Lt Gen Muhammad Aziz and Maj Gen Javed Hassan, for the Kargil debacle, Gulzar said that besides Sharif, the majority of corps commanders were also kept in the dark about Kargil and that only Musharraf was given a proper briefing.
Reacting to Kiyani's allegations, Qureshi said that recently the retired general tried to be in the limelight, but when failed, he came up with this drama saying that chemical weapons were used in the Lal Masjid operation. He corrected that white phosphorus grenades were used to create smoke to enable the soldiers move inside the premises. He termed the allegation of using chemical weapons as a "white lie".
"What a nonsense that a retired soldier could not differentiate between chemical weapons and phosphorous grenades. The retired general in fact needs a new course to know the difference between the two," Qureshi said.
He said if Kiyani had reservations against the Kargil operation, he should have the courage to speak against the same. "He never uttered a word then. He also came up with double talk on briefing the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the Kargil operation and asked as to why Kiyani did not resign if he was true to his claim," said the Presidential spokesman.
"This gentleman availed every offer during the last eight years by remaining on key posts including corps commander and chairman Federal Public Service Commission but has now chosen the other path for some ulterior motives. He did not talk from his head but it reflected that he was speaking for someone else," he added.