Countering the Pakistan government’s ‘blame Kashmiris’ propaganda after the failure of its Operation Gibraltar, Mir Abdul Aziz wrote:
“When Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah visited Pakistan in 1964, he discussed the possibility of guerrilla war in Kashmir, and Pakistan’s support for it. He was disappointed with the response of the Pakistani authorities. When he returned from Hajj, he was arrested by India and once again put behind bars. When Pakistan started Operation Gibraltar in 1965, he was still in jail and must have been astonished to hear about ‘guerrilla war,’ if it can be called that.”
“Poor Kashmiris were made the scapegoats. They were never consulted, not even informed that a war of liberation for Kashmir was being started. Those who were sent to the Kashmir Valley did not even know the Kashmiri language. …..The whole affair was a wild goose chase.”
Mir also said that some mujahideen went to shops and asked for duo seir atta (two seers of flour), in terminology for weights and measures abolished long ago. Also, the request for atta was enough to expose their non-Kashmiri identity,
The ‘Operation’ created a number of difficulties for the government of Pakistan, and at that time its planners were criticized for their hasty and badly-planned action.
Noted writer and thinker Altaf Gohar has reported that in a Cabinet meeting after the war Bhutto and his team were severely criticized for bad planning and misleading the President.
At that time, according to the writer, Bhutto had tried to put forward his case but, realizing that he was not cutting any ice, he started crying and said that his political future was ruined.
It was after the failure of the venture that the planners of the ‘Operation’ turned their propaganda guns on poor Kashmiris, and claimed that but for their non-cooperation, ‘Gibraltar’ would have been a success.
Misinformation was spread systematically, with the government using its resources to run this propaganda campaign.
The planners of Operation Gibraltar were unsuccessful in liberating Kashmir, but succeeded in shifting the blame failure on the Kashmiri people who, as Mir maintained, were made the scapegoat.
Mir Abdul Aziz died in February 2002, and is buried in Rawalpindi.