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“An Inglorious End To A Glorious Adventure”

This paper analyses the background of the Kargil operation along with highlighting the significant developments in Kargil (mis)adventure, which serves as a most glaring example of inconsistency in Pakistan's Kashmir policy. It played a central role in the derailment of Lahore peace process, it was also indicative of the dominance of hawkish elements over doves with respect to Pakistan's Kashmir policy. Failure of Pakistan’s hawkish policy makers to withstand international pressure is evident from the retreat of Pakistani Mujahideen from Kargil. The subsequent reliance of the hawks on the civilian leadership, comprising pacifist elements virtually sidelined by the military elites during planning and execution of this operation, also alludes to their misplaced expectations. Consequently confusion was compounded. Ironically the military leadership tried to place the onus of withdrawal on "civilian government" which later turned out to be a major cause of difference between the Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and the Chief of the Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf. This sudden shift in Pakistan's Kashmir policy later triggered the blame game as to who was responsible for this "misadventure"; the Prime Minister or the Army Chief. Particularly after the dismissal of Nawaz Sharif’s government on October 12, 1999, Pervez Musharraf and the deposed Prime Minister brought to surface new facts about Kargil, further exposing the inconsistencies in Pakistan's Kashmir policy at the highest level.

Irfan Waheed Usmani
The Historian July-December 2008 (Vol. 6, No. 2)