Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf

THIS is apropos the report ‘Nawaz Sharif refuses to forgive Musharraf’ (May 2). But General Musharraf forgave him and let him proceed to Saudi Arabia, although Nawaz Sharif had committed an ‘act of treason’.

It all began with Kargil. The 11th Gorkha Rifles had occupied the Kargil Heights in December 1971. At Simla, the Indians refused to withdraw. What had been the ‘Ceasefire Line’ since 1949 was blatantly shifted and christened as the ‘Line of Control’.

Gen Musharraf took back the Heights when opportunity knocked.

The Indians used all their might but could not dislodge the Pakistanis from their well dug in high ground. Hundreds of bodies were shown arriving at Indian homes. There was an uproar in the country. Morale was flagging. As a last resort, Mr. Bajpai sent an SOS to President Clinton who, of course, obliged immediately.

Mr Sharif was summoned.

At the Blair House in Washington Nawaz Sharif was no match against the president’s relentless brow-beating. He conceded to a withdrawal followed by a ceasefire, entirely against the brief by his generals. The cart had been put before the horse. An elated president Clinton telephoned the Indian prime minister from Blair House. (A word-for-word recorded account appears in Bruce Reidal’s report.)

Bajpai could now claim that he had driven out the Pakistanis from Kargil and accepted a ceasefire. Nawaz Sharif had bailed out the Indians, thinking that he was saving Pakistan.

Alas! Most of our casualties comprised retreating soldiers with bullets in their backs, while carrying out the orders of their prime minister.

The Indians were also on the verge of defeat in a proxy war, where they were supporting the Tamils and Pakistan supported Sri Lanka and was their main arms supplier. Gen Musharraf was returning on the fateful PK 805 from Colombo after probably placing the last few nails in the coffin of the Indian-backed insurgency.

The Indians knew that the general had not led a military delegation to check out the Sri Lankan weather. They watched PK 805 like the cat stares forlornly at the juicy little birdie in the cage. Had its captain followed instructions, the hated general would have been dropped plump in their lap at Ahmadabad.

The question is, why did Nawaz Sharif not stop the aircraft on the ground at Colombo. If the order: “Musharraf’s aeroplane must not land at any airport in Pakistan — ” were given immediately after takeoff; or even up to an hour or so after takeoff, the aircraft could proceed to one of the many friendly airports in the vicinity.

Why did he wait until PK 805 was just about to land at Karachi and had used up most of its fuel. The one and only airport, outside Pakistan, that it could then reach was Ahmadabad.

Was a serving COAS of the Pakistan Army being handed over to India? He could very well be carrying details of our defence secrets or nuclear assets, right there in his laptop,

This mindless order of the prime minister was in fact the first ‘act of high treason’ in this Musharraf/Nawaz saga.



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