Musharraf claims Pak Army had India “by the throat” in Kargil

Karachi: Pakistan’s former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf on Sunday, 17 May recalled the Kargil conflict of 1999 with India, and said New Delhi would never be able to forget the three-month-long battle when his army “caught India by the throat”. He was addressing a function of his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) youth-wing in Karachi, where he accused Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz- PML (N) government of converting the Army’s success into a political defeat. “It was the greatest military victory against India, but regrettably Pakistani politicians wasted this opportunity,” Musharraf said, promising that his APML would participate in the upcoming local bodies as well as general elections. 

“India would never be able to forget the three-month-long battle [Kargil war] when our gallant armed forces caught the enemy by the throat,” Musharraf said. He claimed that the Pakistan Army along with the second-line force had entered Kargil district of Kashmir and took over key strategic positions at five locations, four of which were not even known to the Indian forces. Pakistan’s former military dictator who was elected in army uniform as the 10th president of Pakistan in 2001, claimed that he had won the battle in 1999 but the then PML (N) government turned that success into a political defeat. 

Musharraf, who masterminded the 1999 Kargil conflict and ruled over Pakistan for nine years, said India will always “remember the battle of Kargil”. In May 1999, India and Pakistan, in their most serious military engagement since 1971, clashed in Kargil area of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir after terrorists backed by Pakistani troops occupied the mountain peaks of Kargil.

In the spring, as snow melted in the Kargil sector to the northeast of Srinagar, some 1,000 or more infiltrators crossed the Line of Control from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir into Indian Kashmir.  Equipped for high-altitude warfare, with snowmobiles and mortars, and protected by Pakistani artillery fire from the other side of the border, they established positions at heights above 14,000 feet, overlooking the strategically vital road that connects Srinagar with Leh in Ladakh.

The operation, Pakistan hoped, would give new stimulus to the decade-long insurgency within Indian Kashmir, and, in its direct impact, both raise the military costs for India in Kashmir and cut the strategic highway link between Srinagar and Leh. It failed on all counts.

On Sunday, Musharraf bragged that “India had barely reclaimed half of the territory in one area,” adding, “It was the greatest military victory against India, but regrettably Pakistani politicians wasted this opportunity.”

Lashing out at the PML-N government on its performance in the current tenure the APML chief said the country which is full of resources has come to a dead end due to bad governance. Musharraf said his APML party was keen to participate in the elections be held in the administrative territory of Gilgit-Baltistan.

“What democracy has given this country since the time of my departure?” he asked, and went on to say, “The public in general does not care about the system of governance,  democracy or dictatorship, people only want peace and prosperity in Pakistan and accountability of corrupt politicians.”

On September 2007, Nawaz Sharif, admitted that he had ‘let down’ his then Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and maintained that the then Pakistan Army chief Pervez Musharraf was behind the 1999 Pakistani aggression in Kargil without his knowledge. He said Musharraf had ‘subverted’ the process of improving relations with India and regretted not having taken any action against the military strongman who deposed him barely three months later.

Pakistan’s ex-army chief also claimed on Sunday that the Indian spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was directly involved in creating unrest in Balochistan and Karachi. Musharraf who has expressed similar views earlier emphasised that “Indian embassies in Afghanistan are functioning as training headquarters of terrorists, the evidences of which have been provided to the Afghan government.”

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