'Kargil was a humiliating moment for Pak army'

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 13, 2008 05:34 hrs

London: The unilateral withdrawal of Pakistani troops fighting Indian Army from Kargil was the most humiliating moment for the country's military since the Bangladesh defeat, slain Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto wrote in her last book.

Pakistan's decision to withdraw troops from Kargil on the advice of the US left Sharif "weakened and embarrassed", Bhutto wrote in Benazir Bhutto: Reconciliation, Islam, Democracy & the West, released both in London and Islamabad on Tuesday.

"Sharif had gotten himself into an intractable position and sought help from (US) President (Bill) Clinton to end the crisis.

"According to Bruce Reidel, a national security official, President Clinton was 'angry' with Nawaz Sharif, 'complaining that Pakistan had promised but failed to bring Osama bin Laden to justice from Afghanistan' and that Sharif had allowed ISI 'to work with the Taliban to foment terrorism'," she wrote.

Full coverage: Benazir Bhutto’s assassination

Sharif was then asked by the US to withdraw troops from Kargil and "defuse the crisis".

"Sharif ordered a unilateral withdrawal of troops. As no plan was worked out with the Indians for a peaceful withdrawal, hundreds lost their lives as they withdrew.

"The Indians shot them down as they regained the peaks. Others died of frost and cold. It was the most humiliating moment for the military since the fall of Dacca," the book said.

According to Bhutto the post-nuclear tests period in Pakistan when the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif froze private foreign accounts in response to the economic sanctions imposed by the international community led the economy into a tailspin.

The economy at that time, according to her, was already under strain from Sharif's profligate ways.

Sharif, she said, went ahead with the tests, despite pleas of Washington and London, to "match India's feat of May 1988 (Pokhran)".

Bhutto said the central message she would like to convey through her book is "of the two critical tensions that must be reconciled to prevent the clash of civilisations that some believe looms before us".

She also praised India's middle-class-led democracy.

"Democracy cannot be sustained in the absence of a stable and growing middle class. The growth of India into a regional and international economic power occurred -- not coincidentally -- as its middle class exploded into a huge economic and political force," the book said.

"Indian democracy stabilised and its caste system contracted as its middle class expanded. The entrepreneurial mindset of the Indian middle class has been at the vanguard of India's technological leap forward.

"As the middle class grew and expanded, the social limitations constraining India in the past, especially its inflexible social class system, softened, and they will eventually disappear. The ended of the caste system will herald a true democratic era for the Indian nation, demonstrating that democracy and development go together," Bhutto wrote.

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