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July 18, 1999
Retired Pak generals criticise Kargil manoeuvre
Retired Pakistani generals and air marshals have described the Kargil operation as a disaster and said there is no military solution to the Kashmir issue.
Expressing their views at a seminar organised yesterday by a Rawalpindi newspaper, they said that despite an isolated tactical military gain, Pakistan lost on strategic grounds.
Air Marshal Noor Khan, former chief of the air force, Lieutenant General Asad Durrani, former chief of the Inter Services Intelligence, and Lt Gen Matinuddin Ahmad, former vice-chief of army staff, bitterly criticised the Nawaz Sharief government for embarking on the misadventure in Kargil.
They urged the government to learn from its mistakes and develop a mechanism to decide matters of national importance.
Air Marshal Khan said, "We should have known that India will not be bogged down in Kargil and will expand the war to other fronts and that the international community will not support us."
The speakers rejected the government's claim that it was not aware of the possible repercussions of the crisis.
One described the intrusion as a successful military operation squandered by the politicians, but another said it was not a brilliant military move because the planners failed to assess India's reaction.
"The buck stops at the prime minister and the chief of army staff who are responsible for the whole debacle and must accept the responsibility. Sharief is responsible for approving it and Gen Pervez Musharraf is responsible for executing this misconceived action," they said.
Gen Durrani described the intrusion as a tactically brilliant operation, but said, "We had not set our strategic priorities and failed in diplomatic and political preparations to back it up."
Gen Ahmad said Kargil was a "complete fiasco and a failure". Even the strategic planning was missing because the government failed to anticipate India's reaction.
He said it was wrong to expect the international community to support Pakistan. "We reached a situation where even China forced us not to escalate the conflict," he pointed out. "We have been humiliated and our image has been damaged."
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