|Pervez Musharraf's book
New Delhi, September 25. 2006
WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s trust deficit with India might have gotten just a little wider again, going by the fervent defense of terrorism aka 'freedom struggle' by Pakistan’s military ruler Pervez Musharraf, and his unrepentant, thigh-slapping account of the Kargil invasion, in his memoir In the Line of Fire .'
Notwithstanding the universal condemnation of Pakistan as a breeding ground for terrorism, Musharraf argues in his book that ''the West rejects militant struggles for freedom too broadly.'' The United States and Europe, he complains, ''too often equate all militancy with terrorism; in particular, they equate the struggle for freedom in ‘Indian-held Kashmir’ with terrorism.''
The observations are contained in a chapter titled ''Reflections,'' in which Musharraf suggests he is not impressed by the current world sentiment that there is no cause in the world that can justify terrorism. ''Pakistan has always rejected this broad-brush treatment,'' he says.
According to the Musharraf terrorism doctrine outlined in the book, ''it is not just that one man’s terrorist can be another man’s freedom fighter; sometimes a man can be a legitimate freedom fighter in one context and a terrorist when he does something else.''
Pakistan’s military supremo also differentiates between ''killing civilians as collateral damage in an attack on a military target on the one hand and targeting civilians intentionally on the other.''
But it is the chest-thumping account of the Kargil War that will leave India breathless, as Musharraf the master tactician unveils his fertile imagination that challenges the account of military historians.
According to Musharraf, India almost invited a broader war by moving too much of its forces to Kashmir and leaving the rest of the front weaker.
By moving in artillery and infantry formations ''even at the cost of significantly depleting its offensive capability elsewhere along the international border (India) had created a strategic imbalance of in its system of forces,'' writes Musharraf. ''It had bottled up major formations inside Kashmir, leaving itself no capability to attack us elsewhere, and most seriously, had left the field open for a counter-offensive with which we could choke the Kashmir Valley.''
So why didn't Pakistan attack? Because ''we had no offensive designs on the international border, as were reassured that India’s offensive capability was restricted to Kashmir,'' says the architect of the Kargil invasion.
While even Pakistanis have in recent days sneered at their army saying it's only victory in history is killing an 80-year old rebel (referring to the Bugti murder), Musharraf presents Kargil as brilliant military success, ''a tactical marvel of military professionalism.''
Musharraf also obliquely invokes the old turkey about one Pakistani being equal to many Indian soldiers. ''Brigade-size attacks were launched to secure outposts held by as few as eight to ten of our men,'' he boasts. ''These attacks gained little ground until the middle of June. Nonetheless, the Indian media hyped their success.''
A little later, he concedes that ''by July 4 (the day Pakistan virtually surrendered) they achieved some success, which I would call insignificant.'' He however claims ''Our troops were fully prepared to hold our dominating positions,'' and blames ''international pressure'' for demoralizing Nawaz Sharief and forcing him to seek a truce.
''On our side, I am ashamed to say, our political leadership insinuated that the achievements of our troops amounted to a ‘debacle. Some people even called the Pakistan Army a 'rogue army,''' he complains.
''The bravery, steadfastness,
and ultimate sacrifice of our men...against massive Indian forces will
be written in golden letters,'' writes the man who according to the Indian
Army refused to accept the bodies of his dead soldiers leading to a virtual
revolt in the Northern Areas (most of the soldiers were from the Northern
Pakistan President Pervez
Musharraf claims India’s uranium enrichment programme could have its roots
in disgraced metallurgist Abdul Qadeer Khan's nuclear
The Army today said the claims
made by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf that only five battalions (more
than 5,000) of regular Pakistani troops were deployed in Kargil incursions
in 1999 were false and that facts actually belied this.
WASHINGTON: Pervez Musharraf may be a commando by training, but he still might not want to run into former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, a Vietnam vet (three combat tours) who is rumoured to bench press 400 lbs, in a dark alley.
Already in the Washington doghouse for his role in leaking the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame, Armitage is all steamed up about the exaggerated and distorted account of his purported threat to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age if it did not back the US in its war on terror.
Armitage admits he used muscular language, but says Pakistan intelligence chief Mahmoud Ahmed either used "inflammatory" translation while relaying the message to Musharraf or the Pakistani dictator has exaggerated the message to sell his memoir.
"It will be noted that President Musharraf made this comment while he is beginning a book tour," Armitage said on the sidelines of a US-South Korea Security Forum in Seoul. "I think you have ample reason to see why he might want to use this language. I think it probably sells books."
Meanwhile, according to the Pakistani media, Mahmoud Ahmed spoke to Musharraf on phone from the Pakistan Embassy in Washington after his meeting with Armitage the message he broadly conveyed in Urdu was "wo hamari eent se eent baja dey gain". Roughly translated, it means, they will take us apart brick by brick.
Evidently, it was a just a short step back from brick to stone for Musharraf. Critics, including many Pakistanis, have found it ghastly that Pakistani ruler may have resorted to hyperbole and diminished Pakistan in an effort to peddle his memoirs.
"President Musharraf's sojourn in the US is really a publicity tour for his book. Its very strange that a sitting president has written a memoir and is plugging it openly. Most presidents write after they retire. President Musharraf should not use Pakistan to gain wealth," lamented one letter writer in the Pakistani daily Dawn.
Opposition leaders in Pakistan have said Musharraf will get "a pat on the back while they are twisting his arm," while the more colourful bloggers suggest other parts of the anatomy may be involved. On Sunday, Musharraf dismissed as nonsense reports of a coup in Pakistan. Rumours of the coup spread after a nationwide power breakdown in Pakistan.
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