Pak commander blows the lid on Islamabad's Kargil plot

Kargil conflict

In the first account by a Pakistani military officer that nails Islamabad's lie on Kargil, a former pilot who was Director of Operations of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during the 1999 conflict has given a blow-by-blow account of the preparations undertaken by his country's Army that led to operations inside the Indian side of the Line of Control.

Published in India in the latest issue of the 'Vayu Aerospace and Defence Review' magazine, PAF Air Commodore (retd) Kaiser Tufail, the man who "interrogated" IAF Flight Lieutenant K Nachiketa after his MiG-27 crashed in PoK during a bombing run in the initial days of the war, has laid bare the detailed Kargil plan by the Pakistan Army. He says that the "Army trio" of General Pervez Musharraf, 10 Corps Commander Lt Gen Mehmud Ahmad and Force Command Northern Areas commander Maj Gen Javed Hasan "took no one into confidence, neither its operational commanders, nor the heads of the other services".

Tufail, a decorated fighter pilot who was in charge of air operations during the war, has revealed that the Pak Army placed Stinger shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles on hill tops, moved artillery guns and ammunitions to posts that India had vacated during winter and drew plans to cut off the strategic Drass-Kargil road to choke supplies to the Siachen glacier.

Now based in Lahore, Tufail says the entire operation was planned by Musharraf but had the tacit approval of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who, after a presentation, said "'General sahib, Bismillah karein'... not withstanding the denials we hear from him every new moon."

Recalling his meeting with top Army officers, including Lt Gen Mehmud Ahmad who was commanding the Rawalpindi Corps, Tufail writes that the Kargil plan was revealed on May 12, two weeks before India retaliated with air strikes, when Ahmad briefed him and others on the operation.

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