Operation Topac

Operation Topac

A presentation by General Zia in April 1988 to ISI (Inter Service Intelligence Services, Pakistan's military intelligence agency)

Gentlemen, I have spoken on this subject at length before, therefore, I will knock out the details. As you know due to our pre-occupation in Afghanistan, in the service of Islam, I have not been able to put these plans before you earlier. Let there be no mistake, however, that our aim remains quite clear and firm-the liberation of Kashmir Valley - our Muslim Kashmiri brethren in the valley cannot be allowed to stay on with India for any length of time now. In the past we had opted for ham handed military options and, therefare, failed. So, as I have mentioned before, we now keep our military option for the last moment as a coup de grace, if and when necessary. Our Kashmiri brethren in the valley, though with us in their hearts and minds are simple-minded folk and do not easily take to the type of warfare to which, say a Punjabi or an Afghan takes to naturally, against foreign domination. The Kashmiris however have a few qualities which we can exploit. First, his shrewdness and intelligence; second, his power to persevere under pressure; and the third, if I may say so, he is a master of political intrigue. If we provide him means through which he can best utilize these qualities- he will deliver the goods. Sheer brute force is in any case not needed in every type of warfare, especially so in the situation obtaining in the Kashmir valley, as I have explained earlier.

Here we must adopt those methods of combat which Kashmiri mind can grasp and cope with in other words, a coordinated use of moral and physical means other than military operations, which will destroy the will of the enemy, damage his political capacity and expose him to the world as an oppressor. This aim, Gentlemen, shall be achieved in the initial phases.

In the first phase, which may, if necessary last, a couple of years we will assist our Kashmiri brethren in getting hold of the power apparatus of the State by political subversion and intrigue. I would like to mention here that as no Government can survive in Occupied Kashmir unless it has tacit approval of Delhi, it would be unrealistic to believe that the MUF or any such organization can seize power through democratic or other means. In view of this, power must "apparently" remain with those whom New Delhi favors. We must therefore ensure that certain "favored politicians" from the ruling elite be selected who would collaborate with us in subverting all effective organs of the State. In brief, our plan for Kashmir, which will be code named as "Op Topac" will be as follows:

Phase 1

A low-level insurgency against the regime, so that it is under siege, but does not collapse as we would not yet want central rule imposed by Delhi.

We plant our chosen men in all the key positions, they will subvert the police force, financial institutions, the communication net work and other important organizations.

We whip up anti-India feelings amongst the students and peasants, preferably on some religious issues, so that we can enlist their active support for rioting and anti-Government demonstrations.

Organize and train subversive elements and armed groups with capabilities, initially to deal with paramilitary forces located in the valley.

Adopt and develop means to cut off lines of communications between Jammu and Kashmir and within Kashmir and Ladakh by stealth, without recourse to force. The road over Zojila upto Kargil and the road over Khardungla should receive special attention.

In collaboration with Sikh extremists create chaos and terror in Jammu and divert attention from the valley at a critical juncture and discredit the regime even in the Hindu mind.

Establish virtual control in those parts of Kashmir Valley where the Indian army is not located or deployed. The Southern Kashmir Valley may be one such region.

Phase 2

Exert maximum pressure on Siachen, Kargil and Rajuri-Punch sectors to force the Indian army to deploy reserve formations outside the main Kashmir Valley.

Attack and destroy base depots and HQ located at Srinagar, Pattan, Kupwara, Baramulla and Chowkiwala by covert action at a given time.

Some Afghan Mujahideen by then settled in Azad Kashmir, will then infiltrate in the pockets with a view to extending areas of our influence. This aspect will require detailed and ingenious planning. The fiasco of Op Gibralter (1965) holds many lessons for us here.

Finally a Special Force under selected retired officers belonging to Azad Kashmir, with the hard core consisting of Afghans, will be ready to attack and destroy airfields, radio stations, block Banihal Tunnel and Kargil-Leh Highway.

At a certain stage of the operations Punjab and adjacent areas of Jammu and Kashmir will be put under maximum pressure internally by our offensive posture.

Phase 3

Detailed plans for the liberation of Kashmir Valley and establishment of an independent Islamic State in the third phase will follow.

We do not have much time. Maximum pressure must be exerted before the general elections in India and before the Indian Army reserves which are still bogged down in Sri Lanka become available. By the Grace of God, we have managed to accumulate large stocks of modern arms and ammunition from the US consignments intended for Afghan Mujahideen. This will help our Kashmiri brethren achieve their goals. Even if we create a kind of "Azad Kashmir" in some remote parts of Occupied Kashmir as a beginning, the next step may not be as difficult as it appears today. On the other hand, it should also be noted that a part of Indian Army, particularly the Infantry, will be well trained by now for such a situation due to their experience in North Eastern Region and more recently in Sri Lanka. But the situation in Kashmir will be somewhat different; more like the "Infetada" of Palestinians in towns, and on the pattern of Mujahideen in the countryside to attack hard targets. A period of chaos in the State is essential in the circumstances.

And what about our Chinese friends ? They can do no more than ensure that Indian forces deploys against them are not moved out; but this may be required only at the last or the third stage of our operations. Of course, if we are in a serious trouble, the Chinese and our other powerful friends shall come to our rescue one way or the other. They will ensure that if we do not win - we don't lose.

Finally, I wish to caution you once more that it will be disastrous to believe that we can take on India in a straight contest. We must therefore, be careful and maintain a low military profile so that the Indians do not find an excuse to preempt us, by attacking at a time and at a point of their own choosing at least before Phase I and 2 of the Operation are over. We must pause and assess the course of operations after each phase, as our strategy and plans may require drastic changes in certain circumstances. I need not emphasize any further that a deliberate and objective assessment of the situation must be ensured at each stage, otherwise a stalemate will follow with no good for Pakistan.

Pakistan Paindabad.

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