'After 1999 coup, Musharraf claimed Kargil was a victory'
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Gen Pervez Musharraf launched the Kargil operations with the military objective to cut off supplies for Siachen and bargain a settlement, but months later, after his coup to become Pakistan's President, he spun a new story before his corps commanders, telling them Kargil was a "victory" because it had refocused global attention on Kashmir.
This is revealed by Lt Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz in his Urdu book Yeh Khamoshi Kahan Tak. Aziz headed the ISI's analysis wing during Kargil and went on to become the Director General of Military Operations. It was Aziz — Musharraf calls him his "relative" in his autobiography In the Line of Fire — who ordered the Rawalpindi-based 111 Brigade to overthrow the Nawaz Sharif government in 1999 after it announced Musharraf's replacement.
But in his book, Aziz does not spare Musharraf. He recalls that when a corps commander described Kargil as a "debacle" at a conference after the Army had assumed power, Musharraf "exploded in anger" and said: "Debacle! What debacle? You know what the Kashmir cause has gained from it? Due to Kargil, the world focused its attention on it. Now, they know to what extent we can go for Kashmir. It is our victory."
This contradicted the briefing during Kargil by Maj Gen Tauqir Zia, DGMO, who told all senior general officers in early-May 1999 that Pakistani regulars were on the frontline.
"He (Zia) mentioned that the Northern Light Infantry (NLI) and units of the regular army had occupied hilltops which were vacant. On some of them the Indian Army used to deploy in the summer and vacate in the winter," according to a translated version of Aziz's book.
"The rest of the area was vacant and unoccupied. Now our army has reached far ahead and beyond these places and the Drass-Kargil road was in the range of fire of our small weapons. The road has been closed. Now the supply line of Siachen sector has been cut off, and the dumping/storage of provisions for the winter couldn't be completed. They would have to leave Siachen," Aziz has quoted Zia as saying.
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