PAKISTAN: Contradictions in Musharraf's book pointed out
Various former government officials correct alleged inconsistencies in president's memoir
Saturday, October 7, 2006
Karachi --- Contradictions in General Pervez Musharraf's account of some of the key issues concerning Pakistan in his book In the Line of Fire were pointed out by most of the participants of an interactive discussion that included some of his former colleagues.
Some of them nevertheless found it "deliberately provocative and opening the door to different ideas".
The discussion was organized by a corporate think tank on Saturday. Many of the speakers did not agree with his claims about Kargil.
"Who authorised him (Gen Musharraf) to launch the Kargil campaign," asked former ISPR chief Brig (retd) A.R. Siddiqui adding that merely informing the prime minister was not enough.
He also disputed Gen Musharraf's account of how the 1965 war started, especially in the context of train blast, which he said took place later.
Former Interior Minister Lt-Gen (retd) Moinuddin Haider, who chaired the session, was also not comfortable with Musharraf's stress on "need to know basis" approach with regard to Kargil as Navy and Air Force chiefs were also not informed while the Indians plunged their air force into action in Kargil. He could not appreciate the wisdom of secrecy in this regard.
On nuclear issue and the A.Q. Khan saga, he asked how could a C-130 plane fly in and out without prior permission and route plan and what was the purpose of the flight? He was also concerned about security of senior army officers after the attack on a Corps Commander. He nevertheless felt that economically there had been some improvement besides higher education, devolution and women emancipation.
Mr Nafees Siddiqui, Secretary General of the PPP Sindh chapter, said the book did not represent the collective wisdom and contained Musharraf's agenda beyond 2007 to convince the West that remaining in uniform was best for him to fulfil the agenda of war on terrorism.
There were a number of startling revelations in President Musharraf's memoirs -- for instance, the country did not have an operational nuclear arsenal during the Kargil. He disagreed with Musharraf's thesis on counter coup and maintained that perhaps Kargil was well-planned part of coup plan. He admitted that Kargil episode created the biggest divide between him and Nawaz Sharif, Mr Siddiqui said.
Musharraf tried to sell himself as the best broker and campaigner for the Western ideas and interests, he said.
Former Chief Justice Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui termed the book Gen Musharraf's "professed political agenda" and pointed out that Musharraf had admitted that sending Nawaz Sharif and his family in exile was politically advantageous (for him).
Former Federal Minister Barrister Shahida Jamil found the book's narrative deliberately provocative and opening the door to different ideas.
On the issue of Dr A.Q. Khan, she felt that Musharraf had not revealed any secrets. He had written only what was already known. But she was all pumped up when she referred to Gen Musharraf's remarks about the 1956 constitution and the question of parity, involving her grand father and Pakistan's former prime minister Hossain Shaheed Suhrawardi.
Former ambassador Shahid Amin disagreed with Gen Musharraf's claim that Kargil brought Kashmir into focus internationally. He also found Musharraf's account of 9/11 conflicting. But he acknowledged that Musharraf made a correct strategic decision on 9/11 and on opening composite dialogue with India.
Date Posted: 10/7/2006