Pervez Musharraf’s tantrum

By K.N. Pandita

In recent months Pakistan’s former President, who had grabbed power in a coup in which the duly elected government of Nawaz Sharief was overthrown, has been vociferously accusing India of trying to assume a harm Pak interests in Afghan situation. Earlier, he stated that he had convincing proof of India covertly supporting Baluch insurgency.

Musharraf has a court case pending in Pakistan. He was summoned to make physical presence but failed to do so. Hence an arrest warrant stands issued against him. He has declined to come to Pakistan, and lives in UK. He also tried to float a political party but it did not work. These circumstances are strong enough to cause him a deep sense of isolation. India bashing is the time tested formula for Pakistan’s politicians, especially the failed ones, to stir public hysteria and use the gambit for carving political constituency.  

General Musharraf behaved precisely like any other military man who successfully usurps political power and sends his legitimate political opponent into exile. Coming to the question of interfering with the neighbouring country, an accusation which he has leveled against India more than once, the entire world knows that it was he who had masterminded the Kargil war. He claimed that the armed men who had illegally occupied temporarily vacated Indian forward posts in Kargil mountainous region were mujahideen. But foreign intelligence sources and those well versed in the tactics of Pakistan defence establishment along the warfront in J&K had categorically stated that the regulars of Pakistan’s Northern Areas Light Infantry were asked to disguise as mujahideen and carry forward the Kargil assault strategy. This has bee corroborated by the fact that all the route from Kargil peaks to Askardu to Gilgit-Baltistan, is littered with innumerable and unspecified graves which stand deprived of even a tombstone. Locals say that these are the graves of the soldiers of Northern Areas LI who were killed in Kargil war. Imagine one who contrived the disaster and death for his soldiers and banished the elected Prime Minister has the cheek to say that India is trying to damage Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan.

It was Pakistan that created the Taliban with the tacit purpose of installing a government in Kabul that would dance to the tune of Islamabad. In doing so Pakistan’s policy planners wanted also to crush the Pukhtunkhwa movement, which the ethnic Pukhtuns on both sides of the Durand Line have been opposing ever since Pakistan came into existence. Pakistan has been assiduously carrying forward subversion in Afghanistan by clandestinely creating and supporting fanatical fighting groups and warlords like Hekmatyar or Haqqani or Baitullah Mahsud, and others, funding them and providing them with technical assistance to wage war against their own compatriots. This policy was advertently pursued by Pervez Musharraf when he had grabbed power. He may not like to disclose those secrets but inquisitive historians and commentators will dig out the facts and put the record straight for use by future generations. Nothing can be more shameful for a President of a country who, on the intentional killing of the popular Baluch public leader Nawwab Bughti, said that he had no regrets.

And as far as Afghanistan is concerned, it is the most important and crucial country for India. It is not just because the American will pull out in 2014 and then Afghanistan will need India’s support to maintain its sovereignty. This is only a peripheral issue. India has millennia old relations with Afghanistan, political, commercial, cultural and historic and also sentimental. Today, as well, in terms of regional strategy, a scenario replete with terrorist activities anchored in Pakistan but spread out to a vast contiguous area and even afar, is threatening peace loving societies and endangering regional stability. It is not just in post-Afghan war period that Afghan military officers, engineers, professionals and others are being trained in India. For long years, soon after her independence, India opened the doors of her professional and other institutions on aspiring Afghan youth. India trains them not as a result of any anti-Pakistan conspiracy but for maintaining cordial friendship with the Afghans. It will be reminded that most of Afghan leaders like late Dr. Najibullah, Ahmad Shah Masud, Prof. Rabbani, President Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah and others have had their schooling in Indian professional institutions. Musharraf is very poor in his knowledge of history. When he talks of India providing support to Afghanistan he needs to juxtapose it to what Pakistan has been doing to Afghans for last six decades.

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