BEGINNING OF THE END (?)
Inpad & former Jt. Dir.
War Studies Division, Min of Defence.
Winston Churchill, was present at
the battle of El Alamein in
North African desert in Nov.1942 when the British 8th
Army under General Montgomery,
decisively defeated German General Rommel’s Afrika Corps. This was the first British victory of the
Second World War. Displaying his characteristic wit, Churchill had remarked “ This is certainly not the end, not even beginning of the end
but end of the beginning !” But Musharraf’s capers in
the US ( hoopla surrounding his autobiographical ‘In the Line of Fire’) tempts
one to come to the conclusion that it is indeed the beginning of the End for
the Pakistani dictator. The end may take time but it is no longer question of
whether but when.
It is becoming crystal clear that
sole aim of General Mushraff has been to get maximum
publicity and thereby profits. Essentially he seems to be preparing himself for
an inevitable life in exile, most likely in the US.
I am reminded of a chance encounter I had in Washington
DC in 1991. I had to take a taxi cab and
the driver appeared to be distinguished looking Middle Easterner. As we got
talking the gentleman told me that he was an Iranian ex-four star General and
Chief of Police during the Shah’s regime. On the footpaths of Washington one also comes
across small kiosks, run mostly by Vietnamese………Does anyone remember a certain
General Nguyen Khanh, General Nguyen Ky ( Air Force General who made Ray Ban glasses very
popular amongst us the impressionable young officers and got us into trouble as
in conservative Indian Army, wearing dark glasses while in uniform was strict
no- no) and finally Nguyen Van Thieu ( President
South Vietnam 1967-1975) ? Like Musharraf, Thieu also made it to the ‘Time’ cover several times! If Musharraf wishes to avoid the fate of the Thieu’s and Ky’s
of this world it is perfectly understandable. One should not grudge a poor
General Musharraf his attempt to provide for post
retirement period. After all, in exile, he is unlikely to get his service
Comments on Lies in Musharraf’s
Having clearly seen the motive
behind publicity of his book, ideally one would have liked to just ignore the
book. Yet since the Indian media has gone ga ga over it, it is felt that some of the points made by him
need a rebuttal. But one is simply amazed at the cheek of the Indian media in
general and TV channels in particular. Some time ago the media similarly made a
gangster ( Abu Salem) into a virtual cult figure by
saturation coverage. Even earlier, the media coverage of gagster Dawood’s daughter’s wedding with cricketer Jawed Miadad’s son was similarly obscene. Can one imagine
American media similarly covering Osama Bin Laden’s son/daughter’s wedding? The part two of this
article is provoked not so much by Musharraf but
naïve Indian media. One only hopes to set the record straight.
is not Pinocchio or else he would have had a nose that is atleast
a kilometre long! Come to think of it, if that were to happen his book would
have sold even more! Frankly I have not read the book so these comments are
essentially based on the extracts published elsewhere and Musharraf’s
I am not competent to comment on
many issues that he has raised for it falls outside my
domain and I do not have authentic information. My comments are based on some
known historical facts, military logic and my own experience as a Commando
instructor qualified Infantry soldier, unlike Musharraf who is from Artillery and has bookish experience/knowledge of infantry warfare in
One Pakistani equal to ten Indians
has made a statement that during Kargil war, a few
thousand Pakistani soldiers ‘held back ‘ one to one and half lakh Indian soldiers. The implication being that the
Pakistani mythology of one Pakistani being equal to ten Indians was validated
by Kargil skirmish. It is true that India
had indeed mobilised a large force in Kashmir during
that time. My own educated guess is that we were possibly getting ready to
attack and capture Skardu, Muzzafarabad
and Kotli, should Pakistan
decide to escalate the conflict. Musharraf would not
be unaware that even in 1987/88, during the ‘Brass tacks’ crisis India had
toyed with an idea of capturing Skardu. These
objectives are well within our capability and the one and half lakh soldiers were mobilised for that contingency and NOT
for retaking Kargil posts. But why blame Musharraf alone, even our own great CAG
( Controller Auditor General) in his report on Kargil had taken the army to task for importing tank
ammunition under emergency provision when the fighting was in mountains.! The Babu can be forgiven his ignorance about matters military
since he could not understand that we were ready to fight not just in Kargil mountains but in plains of Punjab
as well. Surely Musharraf is expected to know better and
realise that the mobilisation of lakhs of troops was
not for retaking Kargil heights but to deal a death
blow to Pakistan.
But on that basis to claim that mere thousand Pakistanis ‘held back’ lakhs of Indian soldiers is ingenious.
border skirmish ( NOT war) was essentially a company
commander’s battle. The mountainous terrain with narrow foot paths as the only
way, number of troops used at any given time was very limited and never more
than a battalion of infantry. It is to the credit of the tenacity of Indian
soldiers and extreme personal bravery that we captured these mountain heights. Incidently, in the 1947, 1965 and 1971 Indo Pak wars,
Indian infantry has always had a better of Pakistani infantry. Be it Kargil heights ( captured thrice)
, Haji Pir pass, Gittian, Mohammad Ni Gali, Raja
et al. It is time Musharraf read an account of the
1965 war written by Russel Brine, a Britisher. The minor reverses that we suffered were mostly
in plains where Pakistan,
thanks to the generous American aid, always had better tanks and better guns.
For instance, India
got the 155 mm Bofors guns only in 1986-87, while the
Pakistani artillery had 155 mm heavy guns right since 1964. So was the case
with Patton tanks vs India’s
old Centurion’s and Sherman’s.
The shoe is on the other foot,
during the Bangladesh
war there were many instances when over thousand Pakistani soldiers
surrendered to hundred Indians. In many instances there not even enough
soldiers to guard the prisoners. Seems the General with short memory has
forgotten the humiliation of the much vaunted Pak army when 93,000 soldiers
surrendered en mass.
Insult at Agra.
has mentioned in his book that he ( and Vajpayee) were
insulted in Agra. Actually he has
forgotten the episode in Delhi
where Indian Air Chief had not saluted Musharraf. It
must be clearly understood that the Indian armed forces have a healthy
respect for the fighting prowess of the Pakistani army, we do not think that
one Indian is equal to ten Pakis. But the same is not true of the Pakistani
army’s moral fibre. An army that went on campaign of rape and pillage in Bangladesh
and one that regularly goes back on its solemn oath of loyalty to constitution
deserves no respect. In addition there is an unwritten convention amongst the soldiers world wide to respect seniority and rank,
irrespective of nationality.
commissioned in 1964 has been way junior to the Indian armed forces chiefs, his
senior by several years. By not saluting to his junior, Air Chief was only
following a world wide tradition. Musharraf’s
argument that he was a President or CEO holds no
water as he was ‘self appointed’. It is like comparing cheese with chalk or
self styled Field Marshal Ayub Khan with Field
Marshal Sam Maneckshaw, who had earned his rank. Coming
from a soldier who dangles a cigarette from his mouth, in uniform and handles a
pistol like a cowboy in presence of his Prime Minister, has neither any sense
of honour nor discipline.
Revelations and Allegations.
Much media space has been wasted
over General Musharraf’s admission that Pak army was
directly involved in Kargil operations. If the
readers jog their memory a little, this is true to the pattern of Pakistani
history. In 1947 Pakistan
insisted that it was a tribal invasion, in 1965 it claimed that it was freedom
fighters, in Kargil it again claimed that it was Mujahideens who were fighting ( Mujahideens
who had guns, missiles and helicopters). In any case the Indian army had
captured enough documents to show the army presence in Kargil
in 1999 itself. So this revelation is a damp squib.
But the most hilarious allegation
is regarding nuclear technology. The General claims that it is India
that ‘stole’ the centrifuge technology for Uranium enrichment from Pakistan.
In that unlikely case, we have only stolen from a thief since originally this
technology was stolen by AQ Khan from Holland.
book would have sold even more if he could have enlightened the rest of the
world as to how a county that does not even make a complete bicycle ( the ball
bearings are imported) has managed to make nuclear weapons and even long range
we would have to wait for an autobiography by AQ Khan
to solve that mystery. He may well be inspired to do so now that Musharraf has set a precedent of using his official
position to write best sellers. A helpful suggestion to AQ
Khan, he could title his book ‘How to build a bomb and save the world’ .