Sharif not totally in dark on Kargil, says retired Pak general

The operation by Pakistani soldiers to capture strategic heights in the Kargil sector in 1999 was a "four-man show" orchestrated by former Army chief General Pervez Musharraf, though then premier Nawaz Sharif was "not" kept totally in the dark, a retired Pakistan general has claimed.

Lt Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz, who recently created ripples by acknowledging in an article that regular troops were involved in the Kargil operation, said the "misadventure" was a "four-man show" and details were initially hidden from the rest of the military commanders. When the operation began in the spring of 1999, it was known only to Musharraf, chief of general staff Lt Gen Mohammad Aziz, Force Command Northern Areas chief Lt Gen Javed Hassan and 10 Corps commander Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmad, Aziz told the Dawn newspaper.

Though Sharif has for long claimed that he had no information about the Kargil operation, Aziz said information he had gathered suggested the former prime minister was not kept "completely in the dark".

Aziz said he was personally not aware of what information had been shared with Sharif but recalled that another general had told him that Sharif had once asked during an informal discussion: "When are you giving us Kashmir?"

Aziz said the operation was a "failure" and the actual figure for Pakistani casualties was still not known. "It was a failure because we had to hide its objectives and results from our own people and the nation. It had no purpose, no planning and nobody knows even today how many soldiers lost their lives," he said.

A majority of corps commanders and principal staff officers were kept in the dark and even then director general of military operations Lt Gen Tauqir Zia learnt about the operation after it had begun, said Aziz, who was the head of the analysis wing of the ISI in 1999. Musharraf worked on a policy of "need to know" throughout his tenure as army chief and later president, Aziz said.

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