‘Musharraf knew about Kargil pullout’
Washington: A US source with knowledge of what passed on between the United States and Pakistan over Kargil has expressed surprise at General Pervez Mushaaraf’s flat denial of the then CENTCOM commander General Anthony Zinni’s assertion that Gen Musharraf was party and privy to the decision to pull out of Kargil.
When asked last week in an interview on Geo to comment on Gen Zinni’s assertion in his book ‘Battle Ready’ that he convinced both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and him that Pakistan’s failure to withdraw from Kargil would “bring war and nuclear annihilation” down their country, Gen Musharraf replied in Urdu, “Yeh ghalat hai.” (This is wrong). The source who did not wish to be named said that every word Gen Zinni had written was true.
According to Gen Zinni, “I was directed by the Administration to head a presidential mission to Pakistan to convince Prime Minister Sharif and General Musharraf to withdraw their forces from Kargil. I met the Pakistani leadership in Islamabad on June 24 and 25 and put forth a simple rationale for withdrawing: If you don’t pull back, you’re going to bring war and nuclear annihilation down on your country. That’s going to be very bad news for everybody. Nobody actually quarrelled with this rationale. The problem for the Pakistani leadership was the apparent loss of face. Backing down and pulling back to the Line of Control looked like political suicide. We needed to come up with a face-saving way out of this mess. What we were able to offer was a meeting with President Clinton, which would end the isolation that had long been the state of affairs between our two countries, but we would announce the meeting only after a withdrawal of forces. That got Musharraf’s attention; and he encouraged Prime Minister Sharif to hear me out. Sharif was reluctant to withdraw before the meeting with Clinton was announced (again, his problem was maintaining face).” khalid hasan