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Musharraf Vs. Sharif: Who's Lying?
Monday, 02 October 2006

ImagePakistan President Pervez Musharraf may claim military victory in the Kargil conflict with India. But a less publicized biography of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif exposes Musharraf's claims as a "pack of lies".

ImageWritten in Urdu by senior Pakistani journalist Suhail Warraich, "Ghadaar Kaun? Nawaz Sharif Ki Kahani, Unki Zubani" (Who is the traitor? Nawaz Sharif's story in his own words), has been around in Pakistan for almost three months but has not generated the kind of high-tonnage publicity the general's book has done.

The first official biography of Sharif, "Gaddar Kaun" deflates Musharraf's paean to the Pakistani military prowess and says that the then Pakistani prime minister got to know about the "Kargil misadventure" from then Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when the latter telephoned him.

Sharif is quoted as saying in this book that Musharraf "literally begged" him to involve America after 2,700 soldiers of the Pakistani Northern Light Infantry were killed during the Kargil operation.

It was only after Musharraf came to him to seek his help to save the army that he contacted then US President Bill Clinton, the book quotes Sharif as saying.  In another explosive revelation, Sharif contends that Musharraf moved nuclear warheads for use against India without his approval and he, despite being the prime minister of Pakistan, came to know about this only from Clinton.

Sharif's version of the 1999 Kargil military standoff between India and Pakistan starkly contrasts with what Musharraf has to say in his memoirs "In the Line of Fire: A Memoir" (Simon and Schuster), which was launched with much fanfare in Washington Monday night.

In his 368-page book, Musharraf admits in a chapter on Kargil that Pakistani soldiers, and not mujahideen or freedom fighters, were involved in the military operation.

Musharraf also admits for the first time, seven years after he ousted Sharif in a coup, that the Pakistan Army set up "outposts" to conduct "raids and ambushes" into the Indian side of Kashmir.

"We established outposts to act as eyes and ears, and made raids and ambushes. The bravery, steadfastness, and ultimate sacrifice of our men in that inhospitable, high altitude battlefield, against massive Indian forces will be written in golden letters," he writes.

He also admits to awarding soldiers of the Northern Light Infantry by converting them into a regular group of the Pakistani military. "They now exist as a proud segment of the army's 'queen of battle': the infantry," says Musharraf.

Musharraf's assertions about the Kargil war, reeking of bravado and self-congratulation, has been rebutted and derided by the Bharatiya Janata Party which headed the then ruling coalition and former army chief V.P. Malik.

Also, K. Subrahmanyam, Indian strategic expert who headed Kargil Review Committee appointed by the then government, is aghast at the "lies" propagated by Musharraf. "He has unwittingly admitted that Pakistani forces were fighting in the Kargil conflict," Subrahmanyam was quoted as saying.

In his official biography, Sharif, on the other hand, delineates the humiliating situation the Pakistani Army found itself after 2,700 soldiers were killed - the incidence of casualty was higher than "those who sacrificed their lives during the wars of 1965 and 1971" with India.

"It was the Pakistani military leadership which begged me to involve Washington in the dispute and to stop the Indian Army from advancing further, which had already forced the Pakistan Army to vacate about half of the bunkers," Sharif says.


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