Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said he has formed a group of “like-minded people” for the resolution of Kashmir issue.
“I’ve started working for the cause by taking a big initiative on the resolution of the Kashmir issue,” he told Arab News in an interview.
“I and other like-minded people have formed a group that consists of popular and prominent people from Pakistan, India and both sides of Kashmir. We’ll go to the UN, and the Indian and Pakistani governments,” the former Army chief living in a self-imposed exile in Dubai said.
“The Kashmir issue can be resolved, and I strongly believe that the present Indian government is capable of doing it because they represent the hard-liners.”
He said Pakistan must not underplay the fact that India has a bigger army “compared to us.”
“But we maintain equality because of our skills and experience in different kinds of wars, which enable us to engage with them conventionally. With a superior strategy, we can change the situation to our favor.”
He said the Indian Army is facing challenges. “They’re weak on leadership. There are so many deaths and suicides in the army. We often hear many internal issues via the media, such as lack of proper food,” he said.
Maintaining such a large army is not easy for India, he said. “They require lots of logistical support for maintenance. Siachen, for example, is a liability because of communications and logistics issues,” he said.
“From our side, approaching Siachen is much easier. It just takes a day to reach our highest post, whereas the Indian Army takes five to seven days to reach its highest position because there’s a glacier and so many weather hazards on its side.”
Musharraf described Kargil — an armed conflict between India and Pakistan between May and July 1999 — as a successful operation militarily even though it failed politically.
“We failed politically because (then-Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif’s government came under US and Indian pressure, because of which we had to withdraw,” Musharraf said.
“Just two days before the withdrawal, I — as army chief — gave a briefing to Sharif. We shared pros and cons, and I satisfied him and his Cabinet. But then things changed.”
During the operation, Pakistani troops “were inside India in five places, and at some points they didn’t even know we were there,” Musharraf said.
“I had to go there to meet my soldiers, who were at 19,000 feet above sea level. How could I leave them alone? I went there to boost their morale.”