Home Explainer Nawaz Sharif’s Admission Of Pakistan’s Role In Kargil Neither Late Nor New

Nawaz Sharif’s Admission Of Pakistan’s Role In Kargil Neither Late Nor New

On May 28, 1998 Pakistan carried out five nuclear tests. After that Vajpayee came here and made an agreement with us. But we violated that agreement … it was our fault.”

Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s admission, was in the context of the Lahore Declaration he and the late prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee signed in Feb 1999.

Is this Nawaz Sharif’s first admission of Pakistani wrongdoing in Kargil?  That would not be accurate. He has said as much before and in public as well as privately.

As Sharat Sabharwal, India’s former high commissioner to Islamabad told StratNews Global, Sharif had recognized that it was the “India bogey” which enabled the Pakistan army to dominate politics in that country.

He recalled Sharif telling him privately that the Kargil war was done by his army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf “behind his back.  But I feel he knew something more although the details may not have been known.”

Sharif had campaigned for better relations with India during the 2013 elections despite his senior party colleagues advising him otherwise.

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“They said don’t talk about India because we may lose some votes but he believed that he had won some extra votes by doing so,” Sabharwal recalled, “Sharif was not reacting like a businessman, rather as a politician with a keen understanding of the ground.”

Sharif again talked about better relations with India during the 2018 and 2024 election campaigns.

Sharif’s views are probably shared by his daughter Mariam, Sabharwal says. He recalled a meeting with her in 2013 when she told him that relations needed to be taken forward.

Mariam has stepped up her political role and is presently chief minister of Punjab.  She is seen as Sharif’s successor.

Those views may not be shared by Sharif’s younger brother Shehbaz, who is known for his close ties to the army.  But the brothers have always stood together even in the years when the elder Sharif was in exile.