The Abandoned Victims of Kargil

(Aliyan Abdul Salam, Islamabad)

Like every other year along the line of control, the Indian army vacated the mountain peaks before winter. So on the Pakistan end of the border as it was a part of understanding due to the unwelcoming weather. Including the world’s most highest army deployment.

The Pakistan military top command planned secretly to intrude the border. A year after the nuclear test high military officers organize a mission to take heights in Kargil on the other side of the border. In a matter of days, this operation turned into a war that no one expected. Pakistan army wanted to cut out the road connected Srinagar to Leh and in that way eliminating Ladakh and Siachen a step that the Indian army never expected.

The three months lasted war cost 500 hundred soldiers lives to India in an operation named Vijay. The number on the Pakistan side is between 400 to 4000 and the name given to the operation was Al-Badr.

The Indian government put down the Pakistan proposal for talks when the situation got out of control on both sides of the border. India asked for an immediate evacuation of Pakistan back intruders from Kargil, a narrow condition for dialogue. Pakistan categorically rejected any involvement in the infiltration adding they were Kashmiri militants fighting Indian rules.

Media on both sides were triggering the war in every possible way. Pakistan state television and conservative politicians were calling the intruders the true liberators of the Kashmir. The Indian newspapers were calling Pakistan a “rogue state”. The former ISI chief General Hamid Gul went to the extent of saying any deal with India would be the last nail in the coffin of the present government.

Pakistan initially refused to acknowledge their involvement in the intrusion, but finally, they had to accept it. The war ended up India successfully pushing back Pakistan into the other side of the line of control.

On tiger hill, Indian army buried 30 Pakistan army personnel. One of them was Captain Karnal Sher Khan. An Indian brigadier was very touched by the bravery of Sher khan. As Captain sher was killed in action, before sending the body to the Delhi brigadier M.P.S Bajwa urge his general commanding officer to write an appreciative letter in the citation of the bravery he showed in the field. He even put a praising note in his pocket which eventually led to get him the highest gallantry award Nishan-e-Haider.

More than a hundred thousand people were displaced from Kargil Leh and Jammu. About 20000 people left their villages and only 30% of them returned. A 33 years old Zainab told BBC that our village Ganokh was caught in the fire we headed to skardu and then Islamabad. Thousands of civilians lost their homes, cattles, and other upkeep on both sides. But the Indian side was able to return to their homes. On Pakistan's side, the war victims are roaming around the country to find shelter. The Zainab’s family managed to find a hut in a slum located in Islamabad.

“This is mainly due to the absenese of any government-led rehabilitation programme, or because their lands have been taken over by the army,” says Wazir Farman a member of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

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