The then Pakistani envoy to US, Riaz Khokhar on Sunday, April 27 said, "It was an avoidable venture. I was called by senior (US) Department of State officials and told to get out of the areas that we had occupied."
Khokhar was addressing a Literature Festival at Islamabad where many senior Pakistani government officials including former Pakistani Foreign Secretaries Khokhar and Tariq Osman Hyder, and journalist Nasim Zehra were present.
The officials had an open and frank talk about different aspects of the conflict when Pakistani troops intruded across the Line of Control (LoC).
I think we were seen as an irresponsible country: Ex-Pakistani envoy to US
Khokar said the biggest failure of Pakistan was that it was not able to develop a credible narrative. "I think we were seen as an irresponsible country," he said.
Khokhar said there was unanimity in the army that the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was properly briefed on the war.
He dismissed the notion that the theatre of war would have expanded had Pakistan not withdrawn.
"The US said India is hopping mad. Please get out of the areas you have occupied otherwise the theatre of war might expand. It was a mere threat that US used," he said.
Khokhar said there was no movement of troops on the Indian side to suggest that the theatre of war would spread.
Zehra said, "Kargil is not something that Pakistan Army as an institution is proud of".
She said there was a "Kargil clique" of "four generals who had planned it which was more or less a disaster".
Pakistani soldiers needed better leadership than those who planned the Kargil conflict, she said.
Kargil war was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the LoC. The conflict is also referred to as Operation Vijay (Victory in Hindi) which was the name of the Indian operation to clear the Kargil sector.
The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the LOC which serves as the de facto border between the two states.
(With agency inputs)