During the Kargil war, the Pakistan military had prepared their nuclear-tipped missile to fight back a possible Indian attack, and former US president Bill Clinton had informed about the military's move to the then Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif, Bruce Riedel, a close aide of Clinton, has been quoted as saying this in a forthcoming book "Pakistan Between Mosque And Military" written by a Pakistani writer Husain Haqqani.
On learning about the military's plans, Sharif was taken aback and said that India was probably doing the same, writes Haqqani, a former Pakistani diplomat, journalist and senior adviser to Pakistan's government. Presently, he is a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
According to the Dawn, Riedel further says: "Clinton asked Sharif if he knew how advanced the threat of nuclear war really was? Did Sharif know his military was preparing their nuclear-tipped missiles? Was that what Sharif wanted, Clinton asked? Did Sharif order Pakistani nuclear missile force to prepare for action? Did he realize how crazy that was? You have put me in the middle today, set the US to fail and I won't let it happen. Pakistan is messing with nuclear war."
Riedel, a special assistant to Clinton and a senior director of Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council in the Clinton era, says that he was present in the July 4, 1999, meeting between Clinton and Nawaz.
During the meeting, Clinton also raised the issue of Pakistan's reluctance to help the US catch Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. "The president was getting angry. He told Sharif that he had asked repeatedly for Pakistani help to bring Osama bin Laden to justice from Afghanistan. Sharif had promised often to do so but had done nothing. Instead the ISI worked with bin Laden and the Taliban to foment terrorism," Riedel adds.
The former US official recalls that Clinton's draft statement on the Kargil crisis also mentioned Pakistan's role in supporting terrorists in Afghanistan and India.
Apparently hinting that Sharif had withdrawn troops under US' pressure, Riedel says that at the end of that meeting, Sharif agreed to announce a Pakistani withdrawal from Kargil and restoration of the sanctity of the Line of Control in return for Clinton taking a personal interest in resumption of the India-Pakistan dialogue.