While the Indian estimates of Pakistani casualties were 45 officers and 704 other ranks, Sharif has stated that Pakistan "Had to suffer heavy loss of human lives which was more than even the 1965 war."Withdrawing across the Line of Control with unseemly haste, the Pakistan Army even disowned Its dead soldiers and refused to accept their bodies, Over 200 dead NLI soldiers were buried on the icy mountains of Kargil by the Indian Army - unwept, unhonoured and unsung by their own nation, Pakistan's Army had used NLI soldiers as Cannon fodder for its nefarious designs as they belonged to-the Gilgit and Baltistan areas in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The problem between India and Pakistan is the Pakistan Army and its abnormal influence in Pakistan's affairs, and not the Kashmir issue or any other issue.
One year after Pakistan’s stunning military feat at the hands of the Indian Army in Kargil, skeletons are now tumbling out of the cupboard. Deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has made stunning accusations that have vindicated the Indian position on Kargil intrusions.
Calling the Kargil fiasco the “biggest debacle after the 1971 war with India”, Sharif bemoaned the fact that he was not taken into confidence by Pakistan’s Army about its Kargil plans and, though the preparation for the intrusions began in January 1999, he was informed only in May 1999 when the “weak and deficient” operation was already underway. He has confirmed that the Naval and Air Force chiefs were also not informed.
Even within the Army, only the Chief of General Staff (CGS), the Director General of Military Operation (DGMO), the General Officers Commanding, 10 Corps (Rawalpindi) and 11 Corps (Peshawar) and the Force Commander Northern Areas (FCNA) — all of them directly concerned with the planning and conduct of operations — were informed; the other Corps commanders who form part of Pakistan’s real power elite, on were kept out of the decision-making loop.
Sharif, who himself is a wily and scheming politician and is known to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds, has-admitted that regular battalions of the Northern Light Infantry were employed fo launch the ill-conceived and ill-planned military misadventure and that “whole units of the NLI were wiped out.” The curtain has been conclusively rung down on Pakistan’s carefully orchestrated charade of the foot soldiers of Islam waging a jehad against Indian Security forces to liberate Kashmir. While the Indian estimates of Pakistani casualties were 45 officers and 704 other ranks, Sharif has stated that Pakistan “had to suffer heavy loss of human lives which was more than even the 1965 war.”
Withdrawing across the Line of Control (LoC) with unseemly haste, the Pakistan Army even disowned Its dead soldiers and refused to accept their bodies, Over 200 dead NLI soldiers were buried on the icy mountains of Kargil by the Indian Army — unwept, unhonoured and unsung by their own nation, Pakistan’s Army had used NLI soldiers as Cannon fodder for its nefarious designs as they belonged to-the Gilgit and Baltistan areas in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK).and their casualties would not create a furore in Pakistan. It comes as no surprise, therefore, when Sharif stated that General Pervez Musharraf, the Chief of the Army Staff, had himself.requested the Prime Minister to “bring the United States into the picture fo sort out the mess.” It emerges quite clearly that the intruders’ hastily prepared positions had become militarily unsound by end-June 1999 and that they were faced by the prospect of total annihilation by the: Indian infantry-artillery combine, supported ably by the Air Force, if they were not quickly bailed out.
In fact, as reported by the Indian Army’s official spokesman during the conflict, the troops of a complete NLI battalion had abandoned their positions and scampered back across the LoC in the Battalik sector under sustained Indian assaults well before the Pakistani pullout agreed between the two DGMOs at Wagah in July 1999 could be implemented.
The Pakistan Army has, naturally, been stung by Nawaz Sharif’s revelations. An official spokesman called the statement shameful and said that it was designed to compromise national dignity. The fact that the Pakistani Army has threatened to try Nawaz Sharif for treason for his disclosures only serves to confirm their authenticity.
As is to be expected in a polity run by a military dictator, several opinion piece writers in the Pakistani press have questioned Sharif’s judgement, motives, and timing. However, large sections of the Pakistan media have demanded a national level inquiry commission to establish the truth. Such demands will grow more strident as the people of Pakistan come to term with the ineptitude demonstrated so far by the Musharraf regime and its inability to solve any of Pakistan’s problems.
Indian commentators who fad berated the national failure in not being able to detect an intrusion that had been under way over “two to three years” and had disparagingly of triple storey bunkers being constructed where there were only sangars made by piling up local stones, would surely have been discomfited by Nawaz Sharif’s home truths. Hopefully, it will now be realized that any army can achieve Initial tactical surprise by intruding across a clearly demarcated LoC and occupying upheld ground in inhospitable terrain in an area without any prior history of conflict.
The difficult part is to be able to sustain such intrusion tactically and logistically over a period of time against a determined adversary. It is here that the Pakistan Army failed to measure up in planning and execution and the Indian Army showed its famed mettle — an abundance of guts and firepower.
Pakistan’s “Operation Badr” was quite obviously intended to be Musharraf’s crowning glory. Instead, it has now metamorphosed into an albatross around his neck. However, the real issue Is — how will the increasing instability in Pakistan impact on India and can India do business with the deceitful-and untrustworthy Musharraf regime?
As the world’s foremost sponsor of transnational Islamist fundamentalist terrorism that is bound to eventually boomerang, more than ever before, Pakistan appears to be inexorably headed towards becoming a failed state: Though the fears of a Taliban backlash are gradually gaining ground in Pakistan, the military rulers can be expected to persist with their policy of active intervention in Afghanistan in aid of the Taliban militia and continued sponsorship of a low-cost, high-payoff proxy war against India. Under the circumstances, India’s stand that there can be no diplomatic discussions with Pakistan till it stops sponsoring terrorism in India, is entirely justified.
That Pakistan’s Army could plan and execute a clandestine military operation, even as the Nation’s Prime Minister was making overtures to India at Lahore, has served to once again confirm that the real seat of power in Pakistan Is the Army’s GHQ at Rawalpindi and that even a powerful Prime Minister like Sharif can hope to exercise only nominal power from Islamabad.
The clearest lesson to emerge from the present civil-military imbroglio in Pakistan is that, as long as the Pakistani armed forces remain far more powerful than the country’s legitimate security considerations warrant, the spectre of repeated military coups will continue to hang over Pakistan’s fledging democracy like the proverbial sword of Damocles. The well-wishers of Pakistan in the West, who have consistently and rather naively, been supporting the Pakistan Army, ostensibly in order strengthen democracy in Pakistan, need to reassess the warped calculus of their analyses.
The problem between India and Pakistan is the Pakistan Army and its abnormal influence in Pakistan’s affairs, and not the Kashmir issue or any other issue. Till the Pakistan Army is tamed and genuine democracy takes root in Pakistan. Indo-Pak problems will remain irreconcilable.