Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan army’

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Ansar Abbasi – An Amoral Third Rate Journalist Propagating Lies & Disinformation

April 5, 2014

Written by Usman Sheikh
Musharraf’s Supporter
05 April 2014


A third rate Pakistani journalist, known for his loving feelings towards the Taliban, so much so that the Pakistani Taliban nominated him as their representative a few months ago, Ansar Abbasi, has successfully unleashed another emotionally charged article laced with disinformation which can be read here.

As is often the case, Abbasi’s piece is an anti-Musharraf hysteria, where facts, commonsense, hell even Islamic teachings, are all conveniently tossed in the bin to have a go at Musharraf.

Having nothing better to do this Saturday afternoon, I thought it would be fun to offer a paragraph by paragraph refutation.
This time around, Abbasi is making a charged plea to Gen Raheel Sharif to “butt off,” maintain a distance, and remain silent regarding the obvious irregularities in the process and unfair/unjust conduct towards Musharraf in the so called “treason” trial. In a nutshell, Abbasi will tell Gen. Raheel Sharif that he is known to be “professional,” much like his predecessor, Kiyani, and that the two of them have finally “redeemed” respect to the institution of the Army. That those who support Musharraf, who insist that the trial is unfair and who have contacted Gen. Raheel Sharif conveying their grave concerns are “devious” and “damaging the system.”

Ansar Abbasi’s comments will be enclosed within “{{}}” followed by my counter reply.

{{According to sources different military commanders including General Raheel Sharif are being told in whispers that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is unfairly proceeding with the high treason case against a retired army chief.}}

The different military commanders, including Gen. Raheel Sharif, are being told in whispers the truth in this regard.

{{They fail to realise that such gossiping would not only result in misunderstanding between the civilian and military leadership, it would also seriously damage the system and the country that has already been badly hurt by repeated military interventions.}}

Aha, so there is misunderstanding between the two? Or does Abbasi feel that the “gossiping” is such that there is a very, very real possibility/chance and a high probability of a misunderstanding developing soon? I ask because later on in his trash pile, Abbasi will be going out of his way to insist that the Military and the Nawaz regime are on the same page, seeing eye to eye, with no differences whatsoever on this matter. Here it seems they’re not quite eye to eye on this subject.

Chief-Justice-Ansar-AbbasiMoving on, if they’re telling the truth about the unfair nature of the trial and they are genuinely convinced that extreme injustice is taking place where the law of the land and the Constitution are being brazenly violated, then they’ve adopted the morally right stance. By remaining silent, you’re violating your much cherished Islamic teachings (what happened to all that, “speak/tell the truth, no matter what?” – hot air?) and are being amoral. If the Army confronts the regime and tells them to remain within the bounds of the law and the regime decides to ignore the law and do all it can to maintain injustice, then they – the regime – are responsible for the confrontation and for damaging the system. If it is true that the regime violates the Constitution and the law of the land, and is engaged in giving instructions to the judges, then the regime is the party guilty of creating fitna, causing confrontation between institutions, and for damaging the system.

Lastly, the country has been hurt badly by repeated corrupt, incompetent, petty, dictatorial and inept behaviour of crooked politicians such as Nawaz Sharif, and not through “repeated intervention” by the Military. The last intervention by the Military, if anything, drastically benefitted Pakistan.

{{There are also some pro-Musharraf frustrated elements within the military establishment who too are playing their devious role to protect the dictator from trial at the cost of rule of law and in friction with the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. However, General Raheel Sharif is considered a true professional instead of being a “loyalist” of the retired chief.}}

Circular reasoning & ‘it does not follow’ (non sequitur):

1. He presumes/supposes that those who believe they are setting the record straight and telling the truth about the unfair nature of the trial are being “devious” and attempting to “protect” Musharraf from a trial “at the cost of rule of law.” How? There is no reasoning here. Why is it “devious” to believe the trial to be unfair? Likewise, throughout, he applies the factually erroneous label of “dictator” as a rhetorical device to generate anti-Musharraf feelings.

2. If it is true that the trial is inherently unfair, it violates the law of the land and the Constitution, and you state this truth with proof, evidence and a worked out argument, then how does it follow that you are being “devious” and “protecting” Musharraf from a trial “at the cost of rule of law?” — it DOES NOT FOLLOW.

Simpler explanation: there are those who believe that the trial is inherently unfair and an attempt at extracting petty revenge. They want this unfair proceeding to stop and they want a fair and balanced trial, by judges with no axe to grind, in accordance with the rule of law and the Constitution. Period.

If Gen Sharif is a professional, then he must professionally look at the evidence and then take the professional step: tell the regime to stop acting like lofars from the 90s.

{{After Musharraf’s ouster, initially it was former Army chief General (R) Kayani who did remarkably well to redeem the respect of the institution by depoliticising the army. And now it is General Raheel Sharif who is generally seen as a true professional soldier.}}

First, the use of the term “ouster” is interesting. It generally means to be dismissed, to be removed (forcefully), and to be expelled (from a position). It commonly refers to the removal of someone from a position. Usually, it carries negative connotations. Why is this term being applied for Musharraf when we know that he honourably retired from the Army after serving/completing his term in office? This itself, besides the above referred points, indicates the extreme biased nature of the Taliban apologist Ansar Abbasi. Sure, there are no unbiased human beings. But here we’re witnessing extreme bias.

Secondly, he presumes (circular logic) that under Musharraf the institution of the Army had no/little respect – hence the supposed “redeeming” of its respect post Musharraf. But this presumption is not an incontrovertible “fact.” It is merely Abbasi’s opinion and there are those who disagree with his opinion. I believe the Army gained additional respect when it removed the despotic and undemocratic Nawaz Sharif from power in 1999 and it gained further respect when it successfully led Pakistan from 1999 till 2008. Hence there is no question of the respect being “redeemed” since it wasn’t “lost” to begin with – my personal stance.

Thirdly, he makes an assertion and no more. My own assertions: As a “professional” – Kiyani was probably the worst General in Pakistan Army’s history. Moreover, he did play politics – extreme politics – and this has been related in a number of programmes already.

{{When Musharraf was dashed to AFIC some three months back, Army chief General Raheel Sharif is said to have told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that not the serving officers but some retired officers had contacted him and expressed their concern over the trial.}}

That’s very good indeed. We should all commend these retired officers for standing up for the truth. Now, did the retired officers also dash Musharraf to AFIC?

{{However, General Raheel Sharif is reported to have told these retired army officers that it was a legal matter and should be left for the courts to decide.}}

Indeed, that’s how it should be. But if we’re right that the law is being violated by the regime, that the Constitution is being violated by the regime and the regime is passing instructions to the judges (see this: www.vimeo.com/90372406 ), then all are justified in raising these problems to the attention of the public and important personalities so they may create awareness and do all they can to ensure compliance with the rule of law.

{{Musharraf, his advisers and his sympathisers in the establishment are trying their level best to get the institution of military dragged into the high treason case to save his skin. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said it more than once that there is complete unanimity between the civilian and the military leadership.}}

If there is complete unanimity and given Gen. Raheel Sharif’s view above, why is Abbasi looking so tense and concerned? It is as if he is not sure and we’re already witnessing ‘the lady doth protest too much’ phenomenon.

{{The civilian government firmly believes that there is no institutional support available for Musharraf but there are certain elements within the establishment who behave like personal servants of the accused dictator.}}

More emotional rhetoric. Judging from his tone and wording, it seems that Abbasi is the one who is behaving like a paid personal servant of the known despotic Nawaz Sharif, spiritual son of the worst dictator in Pakistan’s history. Did Nawaz Sharif pay Abbasi to write this nonsense to win over Raheel Sharif? Could be : ) And of course, Abbasi’s behaviour has been such that known dictatorial savage terrorists, the TTP, were more than happy to have nominated Abbasi as their representative a few months ago.  Abbasi’s deplorable conduct, as if he’s a paid personal servant of the TTP, has been such that the TTP have, I am sure, kept open the “representative” slot for Abbasi to date.

If “certain elements” supportive towards Musharraf exist, why label them as “personal servants” of the accused? It is as if in Abbasi’s fantasy world, no one can genuinely and in full honesty adopt a position supportive towards Musharraf.

{{Musharraf’s trial is the consequence of July 31, 2009 decision of the Supreme Court which had declared his November 3, 2007 action as unconstitutional. In the same judgment, the full court had unanimously held Musharraf alone responsible for the abrogation of the Constitution.}}

The constitution was not “abrogated” in 2007 (details below). For now, the judgment mentioned by Abbasi was passed out without hearing the other side of the story and it was passed out under the watchful eye of Musharraf’s enemy, the disgraced Iftikhar Chaudhry, and other judges – who were all an aggrieved party. In no civilised country would a court behave in this ridiculous manner, passing out a quick judgment, without even bothering to hear the other side of the story and those who adopt a different viewpoint. In short, it was a Kangaroo judgment by Kangaroo judges with an axe to grind. And let’s not forget the judges who legitimised the 2007 Emergency – so other experts disagreed with the Kangaroo minions of Iftikhar.

As for the, what I deem to be a lie, that Musharraf “worked alone,” this allegation will also be addressed below.

{{Later in 2012-13, the Supreme Court sought from the previous PPP government and then the caretaker government to initiate proceeding against Musharraf under Article 6 of the constitution. Warnings after warnings were issued by the apex court but it was the present government which after coming to power decided to initiate high treason proceeding against Musharraf.}}

Right here the SC violated the Pakistani Constitution and the law of the land because Pakistani law does not permit the SC to ask, request, let alone demand, the Government to launch/initiate treason trial upon any individual. The SC has absolutely no right and business to compel and push the Government to bring forth treason charges against an individual or a party. It is purely the prerogative of the Government to do so. The SC cannot even issue a punishment. In short:

The High Treason Act States (bold added), “3. Procedure: No Court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under this act except upon a complaint in writing made by a person authorised by the Federal Government in this behalf.”

—– Thus: according to Pakistani Law, only the Federal Government can initiate a case of high treason against individual(s) by submitting a written complaint to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court itself cannot even ask or request, let alone insist, the Federal Government to take such a step.

So thank you Taliban apologist Ansar Abbasi for proving above that the SC violated the law, had an axe to grind, and wanted to extract revenge when it repeatedly demanded and strongly compelled the PPP and caretaker Governments to initiate the treason trial against Musharraf.

{{Musharraf, who had twice abrogated the Constitution to secure his own office, has been trying hard to implicate the institution of Army even now by pleading that besides the civilian leadership he had consulted the then military commanders before taking the November 3, 2007 action.}}

False:

  1. Abbasi presumes as “fact” the allegation that Musharraf “twice abrogated” the Constitution. This is precisely the point in dispute and, particularly, when it comes to the 2007 temporary Emergency –  which the SC is concerned about –  there was no “abrogation” of the Constitution. Simply, the Constitution was held in *abeyance.* Holding the Constitution in abeyance was NOT an act of “treason” in 2007. Further, the Dogar SC validated the temporary Emergency.
  1. In 1999, Musharraf was in a plane on his way to Pakistan from Sri Lanka. Upon landing, Musharraf was informed by the Army commanders that they – the Army – had no choice but to remove the Nawaz Sharif regime. Thus, Musharraf merely inherited that situation. It was the Army as an institution which reacted. Thereafter, the SC of the time validated the move of the Army and, moreover, granted Musharraf the right to hold two offices and to make amends to the Constitution as and when required. The despot and crook Iftikhar Chaudhry made all these decisions.

Question: if the SC determines the 1999 counter coup by the Army to be legitimate, then how is the comparatively very, very minor matter of imposition of temporary Emergency Rule for 18 days akin to “treason?”

  1. Musharraf was not operating in a vacuum, on his own, in 2007. The text of the proclamation of temporary Emergency Rule itself makes mention of the, “prime minister, governors of all four provinces and with the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, chiefs of the armed forces, vice chief of army staff and corps commanders of the Pakistan army.”

Notice also that there was no change in the government in 2007: Prime Minister, Governors, Chief Ministers, all continued to function, all assemblies — Senate, National Assembly, Provincial Assemblies — continued to function. Moreover, they endorsed the Emergency and its imposition was the collective decision of them all, including the Army and the Air and Naval Chiefs.

Hence Musharraf is absolutely right in pointing out the basic commonsense fact that he was not “alone.”

  1. Moreover, Article 6 cannot be applied upon an individual because it considers treason to be a *joint enterprise* – where multiple people are working together. It mentions aiders and abettors in the same breath in clause #2. Hence its application upon one individual is itself a violation of the law.

Lastly, picking, choosing, and being selective – where you isolate an individual, ignore others, where you ignore many alleged violations of the law and focus only upon one alleged violation of the law – is a blatant violation of Article 25 of the Constitution, which calls for equality.

{{The institution of Army, whose respect has been successfully redeemed by General Kayani and General Sharif, is now again being pushed to controversies by Musharraf and his sympathisers yet again for one man – the accused Musharraf.}}

My counter assertion: the respect was never “lost” to begin with. The respect and honour of the institution of the Army was maintained by Musharraf, it was later ruined by Kiyani and we are yet to see if Gen. Sharif will restore it by standing up for the right and by opposing the charlatan deceivers whose boots Ansar Abbasi is all too used to licking – yet again the one man, the despot Nawaz Sharif – and yet again the one group: the savage terrorist TTP.

Ansar-Abbasi-LBW

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Fabricated Case of Lal Masjid / Jamia Hafsa – EXCLUSIVE

October 14, 2013

By Usman Sheikh

In another absurd move, the former President of Pakistan has been arrested again on the basis of the allegation that he “killed” the mother of the terrorist Ghazi brothers (along with the younger Ghazi brother). It is as if the former President rolled up his sleeves, pressed the trigger or ordered the soldiers on the ground to ensure only one of the Ghazi brothers was killed, along with his mother, whilst all the unarmed students, women and kids were successfully rescued.

Below is a very brief and quick summary of the main points:

Q. Thousands of innocent women and children were killed during the Lal Masjid operation and chemical weapons were used

A. 

1. Lie.

* Only one non-combatant was killed: the elderly mother of the terrorist Ghazi brothers. She was killed in the cross fire in the basement of the Lal Masjid

* We know of no other unarmed civilian who was killed in this operation

* Altogether, 103 people were killed in the Lal Masjid operation, of which 11 were security officials

Lal Masjid Commission Report

[Note: The Lal Masjid Commission Report gives a lie to the assertion that “thousands” or “hundreds” of “women and children” were killed in the operation. It also highlights the fact that a) the Lal Masjid / Jamia Hafsa management were preaching and involved in terrorist activities; b) were actively supporting terrorists; c) initiated hostilities d) had a long history of involvement in dodgy activities; e) were not merely demanding the reconstruction of 7 illegally built masajid, but were also demanding the imposition of their weird version of the sharia upon the whole of Pakistan (including demanding the imposition of the Saudi system in Pakistan)]

2. Islamic law does not permit any Tom, Dick, or Harry to take the law into his/her own hands. Neither does it permit any individual to wage (offensive) jihad and to oppose the State, particularly when doing so would cause bloodshed and mayhem.

3. Pakistani authorities negotiated with the terrorists of the Lal Masjid / Jamia Hafsa for many months, trying their best to reach a peaceful resolution. They even agreed to reconstruct the illegally built masajid. Yet the management of Lal Masjid / Jamia Hafsa refused to accept a peaceful settlement and even dismissed the requests of the Wafaqul Madaris

4. These terrorists had threatened to launch suicide attacks, had encouraged members to throw acid upon the female students in the Quaid-e-Azam University, illegally occupied buildings (including a library), burnt the Ministry of Environment building and stored weapons and explosives in the masjid. They destroyed shops, kidnapped and tortured people and kidnapped police officers on multiple occasions. The Ghazi brothers openly threatened suicide bombings and boasted about their close contacts with the TTP and individuals such as Baitullah Mehsud. Ignoring the statements of the

Imam of Kaaba, Taqiuddin Usmani and dismissing the efforts of the Wafaqul Madaris and many others, they began making completely unreasonable and unrealistic demands, including the imposition of the Saudi system in Pakistan. But still the Pakistan authorities continued negotiating with them.

5. Forces on the ground decided to act once the students of the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa killed a Ranger and conducted other destructive activities.

6. As explained by the Lal Masjid Commission Report, no heavy machinery was used by the Pakistani forces. The Commission compared this operation with the operation conducted to liberate the Kaaba in 1979. In the latter, heavy machinery and tanks were used, resulting in hundreds of casualties. In the former, in sharp contrast, all the women, girls and unarmed civilians were rescued by the Pakistani forces and, thereafter, a careful and cautious operation was conducted to eliminate the armed terrorists.

Lal Masjid terrorists

White Phosphorous Grenade allegation

A. No chemical weapon was used in the lal masjid operation

B. The army uses a grenade called SMOKE DISCHARGE/GRENADE WP P3 MK1, locally produced in POF and is used for smoke screening purposes in battles. It is an ordinary grenade and not a chemical weapon.

C. White phosphorus grenades were used to create smoke to enable the soldiers move inside the premises.

D. No lethal application of White phosphorous was made in the operation.

Lal Masjid - Suicide BombersClick here for some forgotten facts about the Lal masjid. (Must Watch)

Click here to read the exclusive article written by President Musharraf, “Lal Masjid- Shifting Truth from Lies” and “Behind the walls of the Laal Masjid” by Naeem Tahir.

“Lal Masjid has 10,000 suicide bombers” – A blunt confession by Molana Abdul Aziz.

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An Analysis of the Kargil Conflict 1999

February 5, 2013

(Written by Shaukat Qadir – A retired soldier from the Pakistan army, the founder and Vice President of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, and now works as an independent analyst.)

“The purpose of deterrence is to deter”

VajpayeeIn May 1998 India tested its nuclear weapons, and Pakistan, despite the halfhearted attempts of the international community to prevent it, soon followed suit. Many analysts viewed this development as dangerous. Almost an equally large number felt that it was for the best, however, since this brought deterrence fully into place. It was not long before the latter were rudely shocked out of their assessment.

In February 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Indian Prime Minister, visited Pakistan as part of the much touted ‘bus diplomacy’, on the invitation of his counterpart, Mr Nawaz Sharif. Vajpayee was greeted with great pomp and show, unaware that Kargil had been (or was being) occupied. In early May 1999, the Indian army learnt that intruders had occupied the heights close to the Dras region in Kashmir. A patrol of ten soldiers sent to investigate was wiped out. Over the next few days the Indian army, without yet reporting to their political leadership (as any other army would do), proceeded to first attempt the eviction of the intruders and, on failing to do so, assess the extent of their intrusion. At some point they went to the political leadership to inform them of the intrusion. The event led to a military takeover in Pakistan and sent shock waves round the world. And according to some analysts, it almost led to a nuclear war. It is still too early to assess the final outcome of the event. For Vajpayee, this was a particularly un-propitious moment in time  he was heading an interim government, coming up for re-election in a few months, and, following a courageous trip to Lahore, in the teeth of opposition from all his colleagues.

Let me state at the outset that, while I have considerable knowledge of the course of events (pieced together from private discussions with friends and colleagues in positions of authority, who played a role), I have neither the official Pakistani version nor, quite obviously, any input from the Indian side. There is, therefore, some conjecture in what follows. Only the actual actors will be able to judge the accuracy of this conjecture. That said, this analysis is based on my (not inconsiderable) personal knowledge of: the terrain around Kargil; the character of the principal actors in the Pakistan army; the decision making process in the Pakistan army (in which I served in numerous command and staff assignments); and the collective character of the Pakistan army (on which basis I also judge the Indian army, being essentially no different).

Background

When the British finally decided to leave India in 1947, the ‘Princely States’ were given the freedom to decide their own fate. They could join either of the two new states created by partition, India and Pakistan, or opt for independence. Junagarh, a predominantly Hindu state, with a Muslim ruler, opted for Pakistan, but was forcibly occupied by India on the principle that the population was predominantly Hindu. Hyderabad chose independence, but was again forced into the Indian Union. The territories that formed the state of Jammu and Kashmir were governed by a Sikh ruler, who kept delaying his decision until 1948, when finally some tribal lashkars (a loosely grouped force) decided to intervene on behalf of their Muslim brethren. He then announced his accession to India over the radio, and Indian troops were air lifted into Kashmir (reinforcing those already there), ostensibly to defend the Maharaja (Prince). Interestingly, India claims that the Maharajah also signed the document of accession, although no one has ever seen the document.

Indian troops moved into the valley of Srinagar and managed to evict the lashkars, where they established what was later to be called the Line of Control (LOC). Despite lobbying by India, the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution in favor of self determination for the people of Kashmir. Jawaharal Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, accepted the resolution and promised to abide by it, but later reneged. Kashmir became ‘disputed territory’, divided into Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) and Azad (free) Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K, or AK), as the Pakistanis came to refer to them. Pakistan and India have fought three wars. Of these, two were fought over Kashmir, in 1948 and 1965, when Pakistan attempted to liberate the people of Kashmir. The 1971 war was imposed by India, to liberate East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. Kashmir has been the site of numerous mini-wars between the two countries, which have constantly sought to take advantage of the other’s perceived vulnerabilities. Since India occupied the vacant heights at Siachin glacier in 1984, there has been an annual exchange at what is the highest battleground in the world. Pakistan too, has seized every opportunity to gain an advantage. Kargil was, in fact, on the Pakistani side of the LOC until 1971, when the Indians evicted Pakistani troops in a surprise attack.

The Terrain

The terrain around Kargil is amongst the most beautiful in the world. It is also amongst the most difficult to conduct military operations in. The Kargil mini war was fought over an area extending from Dras to Kargil and Batalik, an area spanning about a hundred kilometers in length. Craggy peaks abound the region range in height from 13000 feet t 18000 feet, with the floor of the valleys at around 7000 feet. Each crest line is followed by another, with ravines in between, and there are frequent depressions (even along the crest line of one continuous feature), which could range from a few hundred feet in depth to a few thousand. Therefore, infantry attacks, unless backed by surprise, are an exceedingly costly venture. What is more, they are almost certainly doomed to failure [1]. The extremely harsh and inhospitable nature of the terrain was the reason for the Indian troops taking a ‘calculated risk’, leaving it unoccupied during winters, and returning at the advent of spring.

What are referred to as ‘roads’ in this mountainous terrain are usually tracks, which nevertheless can accommodate heavy traffic, including military vehicles. The tracks invariably run along valleys, in this case from Dras to Kargil fairly close to the heights. At Dras, the road curves right under the predominant heights, making the entire Main Supply Route (MSR) feeding the surrounding area (including Siachin) vulnerable to interdiction, even with small arms. Most valleys in the region range in span from a few hundred metres to a couple of thousand. At Dras the valley is at its widest, ranging between five to seven thousand metres, which enables it to house a small cantonment. It is from this cantonment that, at the advent of spring, troops return to occupy the heights they have vacated in winters.

Preliminaries

MusharrafSometime around mid-November 1998, Lt Gen Mahmud, then commanding 10 Corps, sought an appointment with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen Pervez Musharaf, through the Chief of General Staff (CGS), Lt Gen Aziz. When he went to see him, he was accompanied by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Frontier Constabulary of the Northern Areas (FCNA), Major General (now Lt Gen) Javed Hassan. They sought permission to execute a plan, which had previously been shelved, to occupy terrain in the Dras-Kargil sector, vacated by the Indians every winter. The rationale was that it would provide a fillip to the Kashmiri freedom movement. The plan was approved in principle, with instructions to commence preparations. Knowledge of this plan was to be confined to the four people present, for the time being.

It is useful to interrupt the sequence of events here, in order to draw a brief pen-picture of each of these four characters, as I know them. Doing so will provide a better understanding of the Pakistani adventure in Kargil, in which these characters played a prime role. Obviously, these will be incomplete, focusing essentially on the traits relevant to the events at Kargil. Equally obvious is the fact that the assessment of their characters is mine and, only as accurate as my knowledge of them, and my ability to assess another human being.

Gen. Pervez Musharaf: A sharp and intelligent artillery officer, he commanded infantry formations from brigade upwards, and held a large variety of staff and instructional appointments. A bold commander, who takes pride in being decisive, quick to take decisions and, therefore, a good commander of troops and keen to assume responsibility.

Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed: Again an artillery officer, with a wide variety of experience. He is sharp, intelligent and arrogant. So arrogant, in fact, that towards the end of his career it became overwhelming. A strong, forceful, decisive and highly ambitious individual, he was secular until he ‘discovered’ the force of Islam late in life. As a consequence, perhaps, he became dangerous in the way that anyone will become if they believe they are ‘incapable of doing wrong’.

Lt. Gen. Muhammed Aziz: More than anyone else, he has been painted the villain, and the ‘fundo’ (someone prepared to misinterpret religion in its puritanical form so as to justify acts of violence), which he is not. Deeply religious, but very balanced, he was born Kashmiri, and has served in some of the most rugged reaches of it at various stages of his career. He is strongly patriotic and deeply committed to the cause of Kashmir, but not to the extent that it might jeopardize Pakistan. He is intelligent, sharp, very balanced, progressive and dynamic.

Major General Javed Hassan: A highly intelligent and well-read officer, he is more of an academic than a commander, and bears that reputation. He, therefore, was the only one with a point to prove.

While preparations for executing the plan began in November/December 1999, the subject was casually broached with Prime Minister Sharif at some point in December. He was presented with the same argument that the freedom struggle in Kashmir needed a fillip, which could be provided by an incursion into these (temporarily unoccupied) territories. Sharif, being the type of person he is, accepted the statement at face value. The military leadership had not presented a complete analysis of the scale of the operation or its possible outcome, nor had they set out its political aim and how it would be achieved.

Colonel Sher KhanAt this stage the rest of the army was unaware of plans for the operation (as indeed were the Chief of Air Staff [CAS] and the Chief of Naval Staff [CNS] too), and preparations proceeded in secret. The operation was, in my view, not intended to reach the scale that it finally did. In all likelihood, it grew in scale as the troops crept forward to find more unoccupied heights, until finally they were overlooking the valley. In the process, they had ended up occupying an area of about 130 square kilometers over a front of over 100 kilometers, and a depth ranging between seven to fifteen kilometers. They were occupying 132 posts of various sizes. Whereas the total number of troops occupying these posts never exceeded 1000 (from all ranks), four times this number provided the logistical backup to undertake the operation. While the occupants were essentially soldiers of the Northern Light Infantry (NLI), there were some local Mujahideen assisting as labor to carry logistical requirements.

It was at this stage, in March 1999, that the leadership of the army was apprised of the operation and the Military Operations (MO) Directorate in GHQ was tasked to evolve a strategic operational plan, which would have a military aim to fulfill a political objective. Given the fact that they were developing a plan to justify an operation already underway, the response was no less than brilliant. Given the total ratio of forces of India and Pakistan, which was about 2.25:1, [2] the MO concluded that the initial Indian reaction would be to rush in more troops to IHK, further eroding their offensive capabilities against Pakistan. As a consequence, they concluded that India would not undertake an all-out offensive against Pakistan, since by doing so it would run the risk of ending in a stalemate, which would be viewed as a victory for Pakistan [3]. It is for this reason that I maintain the view, which is held by no other analyst (to my knowledge) of this episode, that war, let alone nuclear war, was never a possibility.

The political aim underpinning the operation was ‘to seek a just and permanent solution to the Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir’. However, the military aim that preceded the political aim was ‘to create a military threat that could be viewed as capable of leading to a military solution, so as to force India to the negotiating table from a position of weakness’ [4]. The operational plan envisaged India amassing troops at the LOC to deal with the threat at Kargil, resulting in a vacuum in their rear areas. By July, the Mujahideen would step up their activities in the rear areas, threatening the Indian lines of communication at pre-designated targets, which would help isolate pockets, forcing the Indian troops to react to them. This would create an opportunity for the forces at Kargil to push forward and pose an additional threat. India would, as a consequence, be forced to the negotiating table. While it is useless to speculate on whether it could in fact have succeeded, theoretically the plan was faultless, and the initial execution, tactically brilliant. The only flaw was that it had not catered for the ‘environment’ [5]. Quite clearly, it was an aberration to the environment, and the international reaction soon left little doubt of that.

Soon thereafter, the first formal briefing of the entire operation was made for the benefit of the prime minister in April, in the presence of the other services. Since the CNS was on a visit abroad, the navy’s reaction was voiced cautiously, but the CAS was openly critical and skeptical of the conclusion that India would not opt for an all-out war. He also voiced the view that in the event of war, the air force would not be able to provide the support that the army might seek.

The Battle

Havaldar Lalik Jan ShaheedBy the third week of May, the Indian leadership began to have some idea of the extent of the penetration. They tempered their initial boastful claims of ousting the intruders in a matter of days, to weeks, then to months, and finally they expressed a hope that they might be able to evict them before the onset of winter, but were not sure of achieving even that. Meantime, in Pakistan, the decision had been taken to deny that the intrusion had been perpetrated by military troops, and instead put the lame on the Mujahideen. In the period up to the third week of May, the Indian army made numerous unsuccessful forays into the region and suffered heavy losses. At about this time, the Indians decided to escalate the war vertically, by using airpower. They also decided to bring in their 400 odd ‘Bofors guns’ [6]. In fact only about 170 were introduced, but these were destined to play a decisive role.

The inclusion of air power was not very successful. Within a few days, on 28 May, two MIGs were shot down by Pakistan. The following day Pakistan shot down two helicopters. The Indians’ lack of success had nothing to do with effort, but rather the nature of terrain, which ensured that bombing, had little chance of working unless it was laser-guided – the only kind that could be accurate in this terrain. Since this terrain also made it impossible for the Indians to put Troops on the ground, they tried using helicopters, which forced them to expose themselves.

Early in June the Bofors guns began to arrive. Since Dras was the locality where Indians were most vulnerable, they decided to start there. Deployment was possible because the great depth of the valley provided the necessary space. While only forty or so guns could be deployed here, they were sufficient. Under cover of fire, elements of 2 Rajputana Rifles captured what the Indians called ‘Tololing top’, (Point 4590) [7], the most dominating height directly overlooking Dras, on 12 June. An adjacent post was captured on 13 June, and Tiger Hills (Point 5140), another dominating height, fell on 20 June. Without in any way undermining the courage and determination of the Indian soldier, the deployment of the Bofors could not but result in the capture of these peaks (see Figure 1). But they could not effect the same military outcome in other places, merely due to the nature of the terrain, and the lack of space and depth to deploy the Bofors.

The Aftermath

nawaz_sharifNawaz Sharif, who had been gloating over the drubbing that the Indians were getting, began to feel uncomfortable. In all fairness to him, the military leadership had failed to apprise him of the politico-diplomatic fallout and he characteristically made no effort to analyze this aspect. The international pressure was becoming unbearable and,when the posts at Dras fell, he began looking for an escape route, not appreciating the military causes of battle, which the army made no effort to explain. Sharif was very worried about the reaction of the military leadership, realizing that a withdrawal might result in his untimely ouster. He responded by dispatching his brother, Shahbaz Sharif to Washington, where he succeeded in getting the US administration to issue a warning that it would regard a military coup in Pakistan as unacceptable. Not only did this serve to warn the military leadership of the prime minister’s fears, it also shed some light on the possible course he might pursue later. The Indian leadership had been offering Sharif an ‘out’ – a statement by him that the Pakistani army had undertaken the operation without political sanction. Had Sharif accepted this offer in time, he might have survived (even though it would have made him look foolish). He lacked the political acumen, however. When he finally accepted the offer – after being forced from power – he found few believers.

During the last briefing in late June, the COAS, General Musharaf, told Sharif that, while the military did not believe that India would succeed in ousting Pakistani troops from the posts they were holding [8], the army would pull back if the government so desired. After some frantic telephone calls by Sharif to US President Clinton, in which he conveyed his desperation at the course of events, he went to Washington. He met Clinton on 4 July, and armed with guarantees of his support, returned to announce the withdrawal of the ‘freedom fighters’ occupying Kargil.

Sharif was still apprehensive, however, and also uncertain of his ability to survive his decision to pull back. Had he been otherwise, things might have continued more or less as normal, and the Pakistani people may still be saddled with him. Instead, he began to call upon the COAS to proceed against the principal actors in this episode and get rid of them. He also convinced Mr Niaz Naik [9] to give an interview to the BBC stating that India and Pakistan had been working towards a peaceful solution of Kashmir, which was hijacked by Kargil. Musharaf resisted, believing that if heads were to roll, his would be the first. Sharif’s plot to get rid of him was unsuccessful, and the rest is history. Sharif was deposed and Musharaf assumed the mantle of leadership.

As indicated above, Pakistan’s first error of judgment was to undertake the operation at a juncture when the entire international community was bound to condemn it. Not only was the ‘Lahore process’ being viewed with hope, India had returned to the limelight in the US’s eyes and Vajpayee was just establishing himself in power. Kargil had the capacity for creating political chaos in India, which was the last thing the world wanted. If it had succeeded, the Advanis and George Fernandes’ would have been India’s future. This, in my judgment, would have meant disaster for everyone, including Pakistan. If Kargil had taken place a year earlier, the reaction might have been less adverse.

Kargil conflictAs if this were not enough, Pakistan decided, for some inexplicable reason, to disclaim responsibility for the incursion. Not only did this cause considerable politico-diplomatic embarrassment to Pakistan, it also made other truthful assertions suspect. American intelligence had already confirmed a military presence there. Tapes obtained in Pakistan of a conversation between the COAS and the CGS during a trip to China added further confirmation. To top it off, Pakistan was giving away gallantry awards (including the highest military award in Pakistan) to soldiers who, we averred, were not fighting a war!

Nonetheless, having suffered the condemnation and the embarrassment of being caught in a blatant falsehood, if the planning of the complete operation was as meticulous as I understand it to have been, the leadership might have been better to allow it to run its course. The operation was, beyond any doubt, brilliantly planned. If the military leadership was convinced (and some of them managed to convince me) of the possibilities of its success, it might have been better to see it to its logical conclusion.

The military takeover was ‘written on the walls of Kargil’. Even if Sharif had succeeded in his endeavors to oust Musharaf, he could not have lasted. No political government could survive the sacking of two army chiefs [10] in one term in Pakistan – an unfortunate reality. It now appears that Pakistan will return to some sort of ‘controlled democracy’ (whatever that means), with Musharaf as the ultimate, untrammeled ‘check and balance’ to a puppet government, for a minimum of five years. His steps so far are appreciably in the right direction, but whether absolute power will corrupt absolutely, only time will tell. Even if it turns out for the best, the idea of democratic dictatorship is unpleasant. Yes, Kargil is an ongoing process, with the ultimate outcome still awaited.

FOOTNOTES

1. The size of the feature dictates the number of soldiers it can accommodate: usually between four to twelve per post. The size of the approach to the top dictates the number of soldiers that can approach it abreast, typically between eight to twenty. Consequently, the battle is heavily weighted in favor of the defender.

2. It is generally accepted that the required ratio for a force launching an offensive to have chances of success is 3:1. However, in mountainous terrain the required ratio may be many times more. If the present total military capabilities (including quality, quantity, numbers, etc .) – were measured, I would support the estimate that MO came up with in

1999. However, this relationship is not permanent, and, given their proposed military spending, will undergo a drastic change in favor of India in a year or two.

3. While the general view was that nuclear deterrence was the cause of Indian restraint, I tend to agree with the conclusions of MO. It is my view that India toyed with the idea of an all out war in late May/early June, but the military leadership could not guarantee the defeat of Pakistan. Consequently, it was decided to confine the battle to this small chunk of territory.

4. My input on the subject is from a number of highly placed sources, on the condition of anonymity, during and immediately after the episode. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the words, but can vouch for the essence of the two statements.

5. At the National Defense College, while teaching operational planning, the first factor to be considered is ‘environment’. The word refers to the national and international dimensions, on the basis of which one can decide whether the political aim could be acceptably achieved, and if so, to develop a military plan that could succeed within the given environment.

6. Swedish made field howitzers, light and portable enough to be inducted into area.

7. Point heights indicate the height of the feature in meters.

8. The army had continued to assert that no posts had fallen to the Indians, which reaffirms the contention that no effort was made to explain such a loss, or why it could not recur. However, in this case, it appears that Sharif found the Indian claims more credible than the Pakistan army’s denials.

9. An ex-foreign secretary of Pakistan involved in ‘track two’ diplomacy with India.

10. In October 1998, Sharif sought and obtained the resignation of Gen Jehangir Karamat,then COAS, over a disagreement, when he publicly recommended the formation of a National Security Council.

Source: http://shaukatqadir.info/pdfs/Kargil.pdf

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Horrible voices coming from taliban commander’s grave

February 5, 2013

Horrible voices coming from taliban commander grave

Source: http://bit.ly/Y7ry2k

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Lt. General Shahid Aziz – a hypocrite and a liar

February 5, 2013

(Written by Zahid Hussain)

The recently-published memoirs of Lt. General (Retd) Shahid Aziz is more of an apology than an honest documentation of his life and time in the Army. At best, he comes across as a self-righteous retired general.  The voluminous and somewhat elegiac memoirs, titled  ‘Yeh Khamoshi Kaha Tak, Ek Spy Ki Dastan-e-Ishaq-o-Janoon,’ gives some insight into a twisted mindset of a man who was until recently a part of the highest echelon of the country’s national security establishment.

Shahid AzizHis narrative brings out a deeply conflicted and hypocritical worldview, though not uncommon among many of our retired senior military officers. It is all about self-aggrandizement of his religiosity and   uprightness that sounds a bit hollow, given the general’s past. His sympathy for the militants fighting the Army and who are found beheading Pakistani soldiers raises questions about his allegiance.

The general opposes the military campaign against insurgents in the tribal areas. Yet there is no criticism of militants who orchestrate the violence and suicide bombings that have killed thousands of innocent Pakistanis. He attributes terrorist violence entirely to the US and Western conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan.

The apologists of the Taliban often present such conspiracy theories, but this coming from a man who held important national security responsibilities is quite chilling.  The paranoia and the weird discourse that he puts across should give little confidence to Pakistanis about their national security apparatus.

He presents his own vision of an Islamic system devoid of democracy where pious and religious men will run the country. He brags a lot about his love for Islam and his piety. But he was not known to be as pious as he pretends to be in the Army. I recall seeing him in early 1999, soon after he joined the ISI, at a top businessman’s party in Islamabad whose salon was frequented by top military officials. He was obviously intoxicated—and believe me not by a soft drink. He was a regular guest at such parties.

The General sees most of Pakistan’s problems caused by its alliance with the US. But it was intriguing that many Western diplomats who I met in 2004 were anxious to see him promoted to the position of Vice Chief of the Army Staff. Coming from a military-family background, General Shahid Aziz held some pivotal positions during his career in the army spanning over 37 years. His rise to the top came after the 1999 military coup in which he played a critical role as Director General Military Operations (DGMO). He shows no remorse for the part he played in ousting an elected government. He considers democracy “a corrupt and un-Islamic system.”

The general’s contempt for the civilian rule was so strong that he considered resigning from the Army in mid-1990s because he felt humiliated that he saluted to the country’s elected Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. That says a lot about the mindset of a born-again Islamist general.  Such attitude towards the civilian leaders is not uncommon among other senior military officers. That also explains his role in the plot to overthrow an elected government a few years later. Shahid Aziz was appointed to the powerful position of the Chief of General Staff (CGS) soon after 9/11. It was the time when Pakistan was forced to abandon its longstanding support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and align with the US in the war on terror.

Several senior army commanders who opposed the turnaround in Pakistan’s policy were purged out by General Musharraf and the Army high- command was overhauled. Shahid Aziz benefitted from the reshuffle and was elevated as the CGS. This made him a critical cog in Pakistan military’s support to the US war in Afghanistan. It is obvious that he had the full confidence of General Musharraf who, by the way, is related to him. The pious general now wails over what he describes as Pakistan’s “betrayal of Taliban and support for infidels in spilling the blood of Muslims.”  He spends “restless nights and prays for forgiveness of Allah for his sins.” Obviously, he could not have stayed as the CGS for long if he had been critical of Pakistan’s cooperation with US.

The question is: why did he accept to become the CGS in the first place if he did not agree with the policy? Why was he not purged out as many did because they showed dissent to the policy? It sounds ludicrous that as the CGS he did not know about the bases that Pakistan had given to the US forces for logistical support. It seems bizarre when he narrates, quite dramatically, how he felt when a junior army officer told him about the US troops landing near Gwadar. If he was so piqued by it why did not he resign, one may ask. Not only did the ‘upright’ general stay on, but he also got the prized posting of the Corps Commander, Lahore. He remained part of the military hierarchy when the Pakistani troops were sent to the tribal areas. The operation was launched after Al Qaeda and other militant groups made the tribal areas as their base for attacks in Afghanistan. But the general now believes that the operation against the insurgents was part of the US conspiracy to pit “Muslims against Muslims.”

He fails to show any remorse for the terrorist attacks on innocent citizens and his former colleagues in uniform. The General reserves the most scathing attack for his former patron, General Musharraf. He accuses him of taking away Pakistan from the path of Islam and encouraging an “immoral Western culture.” He sees Musharraf’s enlightened moderation as part of a US conspiracy to subjugate Muslims culturally.  The paranoid general believes the media freedom in Pakistan serves US interests. Of course, it does not prevent him from frequently appearing on TV channels to air his twisted worldview. The writer is a senior journalist and author of two books on security and terrorism.

The author is a senior journalist and author and writes regularly for DAWN.

Source: http://bit.ly/TE18bG

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Indian Ex. Army Chief V.K. Singh praises Musharraf’s courage

February 1, 2013

Kargil

Former Pakistan military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf on Friday received praise for coming deep into Indian territory in Kargil in 1999 from former Army chief Gen V K Singh, who said it showed the “courage” of a military commander.

Singh, who headed the Indian Army from 2010 to 2012, said there were “mistakes” on the Indian side that allowed Pakistani troops to cross over into Indian territory and let Musharraf go back safely.

“As far as General Musharraf is concerned, I would like to put it in two ways. One, as a military commander, I would commend Gen Musharraf for coming 11 km (inside Indian territory) to stay with his troops for a night. It is the courage of a military commander that he came so far knowing that there was danger,” Singh told reporters here.

“Second, what was happening on our side you all know and facts are before you. Why did we allow him to go? Why did we allow them to enter? I would only say that there were some mistakes, which need to be rectified,” he said.

Source: The Times of India

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Kargil War controversy: Musharraf hits back at ‘imbalanced’ Shahid Aziz

January 31, 2013

Describing former Pakistan chief of army staff Lt. Gen. (retired) Shahid Aziz as an imbalanced personality who has indulged in uncalled for character assassination, former president and army chief General (retired) Pervez Musharraf, justifying the 1999 Kargil War, said there was absolutely no need to inform everyone about the operation.

File photo of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf speaking during a news conference in RawalpindiRejecting the suggestion that he had willfully put a “tight lid” on details regarding the Kargil War operation when he he was Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, Musharraf told the Express News show Kal Tak that former prime minister Nwaz Sharif was solely to blame for the defeat, though militarily it was a success in the sense that it completely exposed the Indian security establishment’s unpreparedness.

“If he (Sharif) had not visited the U.S., we would have conquered 300 square miles of India,” claimed Musharraf.

He described the Kargil operation as a localized one, where the exchange of fire was routine.

“Nawaz lost a political front which we had won militarily,” he added.

During the Kargil conflict of 1999, Aziz ran the Inter-Services Intelligence analysis wing.

“The prime consideration of such actions is security and secrecy, so the army leadership decides who is to be informed and when. As the operation progressed and the proper time arrived, a briefing of the corps commanders was also held,” Musharraf said.

The former president said that he was astonished by Lt. Gen. (retired) Aziz’s claim ten years later.

He said blaming the nation at this juncture of time, as Lt Gen (retd) Shahid has done, seems to be part of a conspiracy.

Source: http://bit.ly/UFz4UA

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