Politics on Kargil
These days, all of a sudden the over 13-years-old Kargil operation is in the news not only in Pakistan and India but all over the world. In May 1999, the personnel of Northern Light Infantry (NLI) were sent across the line of control to Kargil to take over the Indian army posts and attack them when they returned in the spring. At first, Pakistan announced that they were Kashmiri Mujahiddeen but soon it dawned upon the world that the intruders were regular army personnel belonging to the NLI of Gilgit-Baltistan. These Jawans of the NLI were sent into the Indian side of the LOC by then chief of army staff Gen Pervez Musharraf and his close circle without even the other top brass of the army taken into confidence. When the situation seemed getting out of the hand of the army, then prime minister Nawaz Sharif reached Washington and pleaded the US president Bill Clinton to help him reach a ceasefire with India. As a result the operation came to an end but without any benefit to Islamabad. On the other hand, hundreds of NLI personnel were killed during the misadventure and bodies of many of them still remain scattered at Kargil as the government of Pakistan refused to accept them as its army men. N Now after over a decade, the debate to investigate the Kargil operation is totally political and has nothing to do with the matter in the first place. It is intriguing that the issue has been brought to the limelight again when elections are approaching fast. When the Kargil operation ended in a fiasco, the then army chief could not tolerate the humiliation and sent the elected prime minister of the day packing in a coup and took over the charge and ruled over the country for about nine years. Nawaz Sharif was first sentenced to death in the plane hijacking case and then under a clandestine deal sent to Saudi Arabia on exile where he lived for many years. It is also debatable how a prime minister who came to power with a heavy mandate and appointed his own handpicked director general of the ISI could not get the wind of the Kargil operation when it was being planned and launched by Pervez Musharraf and his close circle. Today the same Nawaz Sharif says that Musharraf kept him in the dark and put the security of the nation at stake and launched the clandestine operation that ended in failure. The question here is that if Nawaz Sharif comes to power would he investigate the Kargil war, would he also be in the dock because he is also a character in the fiasco. Is it all being done as an election ploy to get votes? Who is the actual culprit of the Kargil war, this can only be determined through non-partisan and neutral experts. Another issue is that Gilgit-Baltitan was used for the misadventure and hundreds of young men from this land were killed. Their families were even not provided the opportunity to have last glimpse of their bodies and perform the last rituals. Though it is another matter that by awarding one Nishane Haider and some other medals an effort was made to silence the people of the area. The families of these martyred personnel and people of the region are justified to know what were the objectives of the Kargil operation and who were behind it. Was it the ambition of a single general who put the security of the whole region at risk or were there some other motives? Pakistan had also launched another such operation called Jibralter in 1965 with the motive to liberate Kasshmir but it led to a full-fledged war with India. However, Pakistani leaders instead of learning a lesson from these blunders continue to repeat them. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took advantage of blunders made by Gen Ayub Khan while Zardari took advantage of the mistakes made by Musharraf. But we are of the view that there would be no possibility of probing the Kargil fiasco by an international body of experts. As such, Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif one after the other will be taking advantage of the fiasco by using it for their political ambitions.