Kashmiris had already lost about a hundred thousand people during the last two decades in order to separate from India. So Pakistan was perfectly justified in launching Kargil expedition in 1999 in order to free J&K, which it legitimately believes to be a Pakistani territory in occupation of India. But precisely at this point onwards, Pakistan indulged in a policy of obfuscation, denial and suicidal reversals of its principled position under pressure from the US. This policy reversal happened because Musharraf was a fine and patriotic soldier but an incompetent leader. There was absolutely no rationale for Sharif (or Musharraf) government to be apologetic about the Kargil war. Nor was there any need for Musharraf to ditch Kashmiris after 9/11 because an independence struggle cannot be equated with terrorism. In a nutshell, Pakistan could have easily remained the principal ally of US in war against terrorism without backtracking on the Kashmir issue. History has created another opportunity for Pakistan in Kashmir now. The current turmoil in J&K has aroused deep secessionist sentiments among Kashmiris. Musharraf's exit in the backdrop of the ongoing agitation in J&K needs to be taken much more seriously by India, Pakistan and the world community. -HEM RAJ JAIN, Gaziabad (UP), India, via e-mail, August 19.