Confession on Kargil by Lt Gen Shahid Aziz, former GOC 4 Corps, Pak Army
By: Shahid Aziz | January 06, 2013 .
Kargil, like every other meaningless war that we have fought, bringsÂ home lessons we continue to refuse to learn. Instead, we proudly callÂ it our history written in the blood of our children. Indeed, ourÂ children penning down our misdeeds with their blood! Medals for some,
few songs, a cross road renamed, and of course annual remembrance dayÂ and a memorial for those who sacrificed their tomorrow for our today;Â thus preparing more war fodder for our continuing misadventures. SinceÂ nothing went wrong, so there is nothing to learn. We shall do itÂ again. We decide. You die. We sing.
Cut off from the reality of pain and affliction that would be broughtÂ upon the nation, the decision maker takes the course most suited toÂ his whimsical ambitions. Possible hurdles are sidetracked, on theÂ basis of â€˜need to knowâ€™, or merely bulldozed. Never has there been an
institutional decision for the bloodshed. And at the end of eachÂ fiasco, original objectives are redefined to cry, â€œHurrah! We haveÂ wonâ€.
Our leaders seek personal glory, and desire honour in the eyes ofÂ other nations. Sadly, that has become our definition of nationalÂ honour; but how can we be respected when we have little self respect?Â So concerned have we become about how they perceive us that we openly
deride our religion and all the social values that we once stood for.
The whole truth about Kargil is yet to be known. We await the storiesÂ of forgotten starved soldiers hiding behind cold desolate rocks, withÂ empty guns still held in their hands. What stood them there could onlyÂ be a love higher than that of life. Some refused to withdraw even whenÂ ordered, and stayed to fight the proverbial last man last round. Such
precious blood spilled without cause!
Whatever little I know, took a while to emerge, since GeneralÂ Musharraf had put a tight lid on Kargil. Three years later, a studyÂ commenced by GHQ to identify issues of concern at the lowest levels ofÂ command, was forcefully stopped by him. â€œWhat is your intent?â€ he
asked. His cover-up was revealed many years later, on publication ofÂ his book.
An unsound military plan based on invalid assumptions, launched withÂ little preparations and in total disregard to the regional andÂ international environment, was bound to fail. That may well have beenÂ the reason for its secrecy. It was a total disaster. The question then
arises why was it undertaken? Were there motives other than thoseÂ proclaimed, or was it only a blunder, as I had assumed for many years?
It certainly wasnâ€™t a defensive manoeuvre. There were no indicationsÂ of an Indian attack. We didnâ€™t pre-empt anything; nothing was on theÂ cards. I was then heading the Analysis Wing of Inter ServicesÂ Intelligence and it was my job to know. Our clearly expressed intent
was to cut the supply line to Siachen and force the Indians to pullÂ out. This was not a small result we sought and cannot be classified asÂ a tactical manoeuvre, where no one other than the local commanderÂ needed to be aware. General Musharraf himself writes, â€œ800 sq kms of
area was captured…. and it created strategic effectsâ€. To say thatÂ occupying empty spaces along the Line of Control was not a violationÂ of any agreement and came under the purview of the local commander isÂ astounding. This area was with the Indians as a result of Simla
Agreement, and there had been no major violation of the Line ofÂ Control since 1971.
The entire planning and execution was done in a cavalier manner, inÂ total disregard of military convention. In justification, to say thatÂ our assessment was not wrong, but there was, â€œunreasonably escalatedÂ Indian responseâ€ is a sorry excuse for not being able to assess IndianÂ reaction. Assumptions were made that they would not be able toÂ dislodge us and the world would sit back idly.
There were no mujahideen, only taped wireless messages, which fooledÂ no one. Our soldiers were made to occupy barren ridges, with hand heldÂ weapons and ammunition. There was no way to dig in, so they were toldÂ to make parapets with lose stones and sit behind them, with noÂ overhead protection. The boys were comforted by their commanderâ€™sÂ assessment that no serious response would come. But it did â€” waveÂ after wave, supported by massive air bursting artillery and repeatedÂ air attacks. The enemy still couldnâ€™t manage to capture the peaks, andÂ instead filled in the valleys. Cut off and forsaken, our posts startedÂ collapsing one after the other, though the general publicly denied it.
The gung-ho mannerism, when there were no pressures, was cowed whenÂ lines started shrinking and the international setting becameÂ frightening. There was no will to stay the course. Media was hushed toÂ silence, so that pulling out does not become a political issue. We
will sing when our songs donâ€™t tie us down.
The operation, in any case, didnâ€™t have the capacity to choke Siachen.Â When this truth surfaced, the initial aim was quickly modified. NowÂ the book reads, â€œI would like to state emphatically that whateverÂ movement has taken place so far in the direction of finding a solutionÂ to Kashmir is due considerably to the Kargil conflict.â€ Glory be toÂ the victors.
We continue to indulge in bloody enterprises, under the hoax ofÂ safeguarding national interest. How many more medals will we put onÂ coffins? How many more songs are we to sing? And how many more martyrsÂ will our silences hide? If there is purpose to war then yes, we shall
all go to the battle front, but a war where truth has to be hidden,Â makes one wonder whose interest is it serving?
It must be Allahâ€™s country, for who else is holding it afloat?!