Kargil War requires closure to identify structural flaws in Pakistan's decision-making

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 06, 2013 11:50 hrs

The 1999 Kargil War requires closure not just because it was a hare-brained plan that claimed the lives of many soldiers on both sides of the subcontinental divide, but also because Pakistan needs to identify the structural flaws in decision-making that now threaten to unravel the nation as a failed state, a well known journalist has said in an analytical article on the issue.

According to Ejaz Haider, who was till recently holding an editorial position at The Friday Times, and is currently Senior Adviser (Outreach) at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, the raking of the Kargil War by people involved directly or indirectly with it makes no sense, as key questions related to it are yet to be answered by the parties in Pakistan who were involved in its planning and execution.

He questions the fact that Lt. Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz's book hardly dwells on the Kargil War persay. Rather, it dwells on the personalities at the centre of it, and who did what and who did not do what was expected of him.

In his article that appears in the Express Tribune, Haider reveals that the first and foremost issue that comes to his mind is whether the civilian government of that time, which was headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gave a nod to the operation.

General Musharraf just claims that Sharif was in the know of it. Perhaps, but the question that arises when was the latter told about it; or, to what extent?

He also says that available evidence points to the fact that Sharif was given a fait accompli, and was placed in a terribly unenviable position, especially at a time when he was committed to a process of rapprochement with New Delhi and had hosted Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in February 1999.

He questions Musharraf's assertion of the need to keep the military operation secret.

He believes that it was a classic example of situating the appreciation rather than appreciating the situation.

He maintains the view that there actually was no plan, whether strategic or tactical.

He also says that no thought was given to whether the environment at the regional and global levels was conducive for such an operation.

"There was no proper assessment of the Indian response and it was assumed, arbitrarily, that India would resign to the occupation instead of mounting a maximum effort to evict our troops," he claims.

He believes that at some point the Indians would have known about the occupation, and that Musharraf and his lieutenants should have worked out all scenarios, including the worst-case scenario, i.e. preparing the nation for a possible broader conflict.

On the politico-strategic level, Musharraf made no serious attempt to understand the impact of diplomacy being conducted between Islamabad and Delhi. Nor does it seem that he realised how effectively India would combine its local military response with its diplomatic offensive. (ANI)

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