Countdown to Crisis
October 19, 1999 The "civilian government" of Pakistan falls. President Sharif is arrested. Shariff had been widely condemned by the army for his failure to support militants fighting in the passes of Kashmir against the Indian army.
October 21, 1999 The army of India is placed on high alert. It is an army of 1.2 million. It has fought and has defeated Pakistan three times. It also possesses 60 nuclear devices.
October 22, 1999 The new strong-man in Pakistan, "Chief Executive" Musharraft places the Pakistani army on high alert. He claims the Indian army plans a sneak attack. The Pakistani army is smaller and composed of .6 million. Traditionally, it has been US armed, but lately the US has been less willing to supply arms due to Pakistanís decision to test a nuclear device (like India a year earlier).
October 23, 1999 the bus service from Karachi to Indian is suspended after a bus explodes killing 25 people. Indian and Pakistan each claim the other is responsible.
October 23, 1999 Afghanistani troops and irregulars begin massing near the border of Kashmir. It is widely suspected that they intend to help the militants in Kashmir to try to free the predominantly Islamic province from Indiaís control.
October 23, 1999 former Premier Shariff dies while "trying to escape" from the Pakistani capital. It is widely suspected he was murdered. Prominent free-minded intellectuals claim that Pakistanís president should be tried for war crimes.
October 23, 1999 Benazir Butto, the loser in the last democratic election in Pakistan, declares herself, in London, to be the new prime minister of Pakistan. She calls upon Pakistanis to resist the armyís control. Instead, the "Chief Executive" makes an inflamatory speech in which he declares Buttho a traitor to Pakistan. He calls upon Islamic clerics in Pakistan and Afghanistan to declare a death sentence ("fatwa") against Bhutto, whom he calls a traitor "to an Islamic nation." His speech is preceded and followed by that of several prominent clerics who call upon Kashmiris to rise up. He calls for a UN mandated plebscite on Kashmirís status (which would likely result in Pakistanís getting Kashmir).
October 23, 1999 Bill Clinton calls upon both sides to urge restraint. His calls to Musharraf and Indian President Vajpayee to hold bi-lateral talks. Vajpayee, trying to prop up his minority government in Indian, instead vows that if Pakistan invades, Indian will "teach it another lesson on good manners."
October 24, 1999 Nervous Indian gunners fire upon Pakistani troops near the orders. Gung-ho Pakistani commanders, surge across the border. News of this also encourages simultaneous, sporadic attacks in Kashmir.October 24, 1999 A quick analysis by Janeís Weekly reveals that Kashmi would be unlikely to last more than a week against the Sikh-led Indian army. Early morning Pakistani attacks are repulsed, and Indian forces advance across a broad front into Pakistan. Attacks into Pakistani Kashmir proceed more slowly. Meanwhile, India (yet again) declares martial law in its portion of Kashmir. Both sides report atrocities in the Kashmiri capital and each blames the other.
October 25, 1999 The Pakistani front is cracking. Even though Pakistanis rush to join "volunteer units," itís clear that Pakistan will fall.... and soon. Meanwhile, the Taliban militia calls upon all Moslems in India "to rise up." There are some anti-Hindu riots in major Indian cities.
October 25, 1999 The President of Pakistan vows that he will use nuclear weapons, if necessary, to defend his country. He vows to "fight to the death-Indiaís death." His tactical and medium-range nuclear weapons are placed on alert. They are not close enough to the front for Indian troops to forestall their use.
October 25, 1999 It is rumored that Afghanstani forces are crossing the border to aid the Pakistanis. If Pakistan falls, itís highly likely they will continue to fight guerilla war style against the "infidels."
October 25, 1999 India places its own tactical nucear weapons units on high alert.
October 25, 1999 China declares its support for Pakistan and its territorial integrity (though without mentioning Islam or Kashmir). Chinese troops on the Indian border are placed on high alert.
October 25, 1999 Russia warns China against "de-stabilizing" moves in Asia. Though it stops short of promising to support India (an old Cold War buddy), it makes it clear it will not tolerate a Chinese invasion to teach "India a lesson" of the type that China launched against Vietnam. It is widely rumored that Russia has signed multiple defense contracts with the Indian government (an old supplier) as Russia has with the new Indian government. Also China has nuclear weapons. More to the point its conventional forces are at least a match for those of Indian in the Himalayan region and could intervene to open a second front against India.