Pakistan media piece slams its military misadventure in Kargil
The Pakistani establishment has come under pressure of late because of public revelations through books. While the Pakistani military has already pulled up a former chief of its intelligence agency ISI for co-authoring a book named 'The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI, and the Illusion of Peace' with a former RAW chief and an Indian journalist and imposed travel restrictions on him on charges of violating military code of conduct and putting the national security at stake, another book titled 'From Kargil to Coup' written by veteran Pakistani journalist Nasim Zehra has thrown light on the country's military misadventure in Kargil in the summer of 1999 which only boomeranged.
Penning a piece for Dawn, Pakistan's renowned daily on Wednesday, May 30, journalist and author Zahid Hussain said "lies and deception" were often used "to cover up blunders, conspiracies and military misadventures" in the 70 years since independence and facts were never given a chance to make a point.
"Failure is celebrated as victory. As a result we could never learn from our mistakes and wrongdoings," Hussain said in his piece titled 'Facts and fiction' (https://www.dawn.com/news/1410891/facts-and-fiction).
Speaking on the 1999 Kargil conflict, Hussain said the "military adventure" was an event which was never investigated with the excuse of safeguarding national security, as it has been with several other cases where Pakistan faced adversity. He said the incursion by the Pakistani forces that saw the country facing a serious military and diplomatic embarrassment and ultimately led to another diplomatic coup has only been seen through a "civil versus military binary".
Citing the well-researched book by Zehra, Hussain said the Kargil episode was a misadventure exposing Pakistan's civil-military gap and also showed how a coterie of army generals brought the country to the brink of a nuclear faceoff and all this was done keeping the senior military leadership in complete darkness.
The author said in the book that the generals who were behind the Kargil plan considered it a brilliant strategic move but failed to achieve the objective because of the failure of the civilian leadership. The book said that Pakistan's civilian leadership was never taken into confidence about the operation, forget procuring its permission. When the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif came to know about it, the incursions had already begun.
"This was near identical replay of the operation Gibraltar with the only difference that in Kargil the civilian and military leadership were not on the same page," Hussain quoted from the book as saying.
He further said the Kargil operation, codenamed Operation Koh-e-Paima, was started a year after both India and Pakistan conducted the nuclear tests. He said Pakistan made the secret plan under the then army chief Pervez Musharraf, who toppled Sharif in a coup later in 1999, was based on the assumptions that by controlling the strategic peaks overlooking the supply line to the Indian forces in Siachen, Pakistan could force India to come to negotiation.
"Contrary to the calculation the operation turned into a fiasco. Pakistan was forced to pull out without any preconditions. In fact, the Kargil misadventure dealt a huge blow to the Kashmir cause, with Pakistan losing support of the international community on the issue," Hussain said in his piece.
He said the debacle intensified the civil-military tension and led to the coup of October 1999 which saw the advent of a fresh new military rule in Pakistan. He said no probe was done into the fiasco that hurt the country big and it was obvious.