Can of worms


The revelation made by a former ISI head about the Kargil war was the talking point of Pakistani media this week. The revelation came in an article in The Nation by Lt Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz, who headed the analysis wing of the Pakistan army's spy agency in 1999, when Kargil happened. It asks questions about the decision taken and secrecy maintained by then army chief, General Pervez Musharraf to escalate a local skirmish into a full-scale military operation.

Aziz wrote: "An unsound military plan based on invalid assumptions, launched with little preparation and in total disregard to the regional and international environment, was bound to fail. That may well have been the reason for its secrecy... The question then arises why was it undertaken? Were there motives other than those proclaimed, or was it only a blunder... It certainly wasn't a defensive manoeuvre. There were no indications of an Indian attack... To say that occupying empty spaces along the Line of Control was not a violation of any agreement and came under the purview of the local commander is astounding. This area was with the Indians as a result of [the] Simla Agreement, and there had been no major violation of the LoC since 1971."

Musharraf was interviewed on Express News TV, a sister concern of The Express Tribune, which reported on January 31: "'Telling everyone about it was not necessary at all'... He added that he felt Aziz had an imbalanced personality and has resorted to character assassination by making these accusations."


THE timing of Aziz's revelation is crucial for Musharraf as Pakistan goes to the polls by the middle of this year and Musharraf's fledgling political party, the All Party Muslim League, will also contest. The Express Tribune reported on January 28: "Musharraf had pledged last year to end his self-imposed exile and fly back to Pakistan, but then postponed his return citing security threats... [He] was pressed by journalists to give an exact date of his return... 'I have not set any date as yet because no date has been fixed for the elections...' he said. When told that he could be arrested on his return to Pakistan, Musharraf said that his arrest warrants stemmed from his non-appearance in a Pakistani court to face the charges levelled against him. He said he would go to the court on his return in compliance with its order. 'No risk, no gain,' Musharraf said when asked why he was risking his life by deciding to return to Pakistan." Dawn reported on February 1 that Musharraf and former PM Shaukat Aziz may be summoned to Pakistan to appear before the Lal Masjid Commission probing the military action of 2007 which claimed the lives of scores of students in the mosque's affiliated seminaries.

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