Pak’s monkey business

Keeping in mind how Pakistani Rangers have been repeatedly violating the cease fire agreement of 2003 during this summer not only on LoC but also at several places along IB, it is a clear indication that Pakistan has no intention of respecting the agreement. It leaves India free to wriggle out of it and take unilateral action in the context of security of her border and safety of Indian citizens living along the border. It is now of no use to remind Pakistan time and again that she is violating an agreement which is in contravention of international norms of relationship between two neighbours.

Five persons have been killed, 29 injured –– some seriously— and hospitalized and a number of cattle have perished in the incessant firing and bombing by Pakistani rangers in the IB sector in Arnia. R.S Pora. The attack has been launched with 120 mm mortar, a heavy firing device generally used in a war. The shells recovered from the scene of occurrence show that Pakistan is on warpath. Three thousand civilians have had to be evacuated to safer places from the scene of firing and farmers have been disabled from going to their fields and engaging themselves in routine agricultural activities. What more devastation can be expected for the civilians living on the border?

It is not chance firing; it is not retaliation for there has not been any initiation of hostilities from our side. The fact is that for Pakistan there is a method in madness. A number of impelling factors make Pakistan behave in senseless manner. She is desperate for her domestic as well as international situation. The terrorist organizations making camaraderie with her Army are calling the shots. A deeply distressing and disquieting relationship exists between the elected Prime Minister and the GHQ in which things have to come to a pass where the latter wants to get the PM ousted by whatever means possible short of a military coup. The coup is not the option this time because Pakistan is already registered with international community as the epicentre of all terrorist groups spanning across the globe. Moreover Pakistan’s economy being at its lowest ebb cannot sustain the society if there is commotion in the civil society on account of military taking over and civil society’s resistance leading the situation to a civil war, which almost is in the wings.

Elected government in Islamabad is suspected of revisiting Pakistan’s Kashmir policy. Army suspects that Nawaz Sharif is likely to make concessions to India on Kashmir, though there are absolutely no indications whatsoever nor is India harbouring any hope to that purpose. But what has soured relations between the civilian government and the Army in Pakistan is former’s green signal to the judiciary to frame a case against the former army chief and president who had grabbed power through a coup in 1999. The charge against him is of treason against the country for he is accused of having subverted the constitution of the country and used it to further his self interests. Pakistan army has taken it a challenge to its authority because it is the first instance in the history of that country that a former army chief has been indicted and brought before the court of law.

Having written off the option of a military coup, the ISI devised a so-called democratic ploy to work towards the ouster of the elected Prime Minister. This time they galvanized two public figures into leading massive protest rallies against the elected government and marching on to the capital to encamp before the parliament house indefinitely and paralyse normal life in the capital city. The protesting leadership openly demanded the ouster of the elected government bringing in the ridiculous charge of rigged elections held fifteen months ago. The elected government stood its ground and did not yield as it managed to muster support of many factions inside the parliament. Nevertheless the pressures on the government mounted when the army asked the prime minister to resolve the crisis without delay.

Accelerating its pressure on Islamabad regime, the ISI insisted that the Prime Minister, in his address to the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, rake up the issue of Kashmir to harass India. The purpose of the ISI actually was to weaken and disable the effort of the Nawaz Sharif to continue his dialogue with India. The written text was presented to the Prime Minster who read it out in the session of the General Assembly. His body language showed that his heart was not in the speech and that he was just reading it out for somebody else, i.e. the ISI hawks, who were listening with rapt attention whether a word or a phrase was changed. The speech was not meant for the members of the UN General Assembly taking into account the thin audience in the saloon. Finding that his address had created negative impression on the listeners, Nawaz Sharif left New York that very night sending a message to the ISI and the Army to reflect on their foolhardy Kashmir policy.

Accelerating infiltration bids across the LoC and resorting to indiscriminate and unprovoked firing not only along LoC as in Poonch’s Mendhar or Sawjian sectors but also along IB as in RS Pora, is a clear indication of the frustration of Pakistan army to do something that would call for massive retaliation from Indian side and then the army-ISI combine gets the pretext of raising hue an cry of India opening a frontal attack on Pakistan. They want it desperately because that, according to their thinking, is the only instrument to unite the otherwise dissenting and fragmented Pak society. Indo-US security agreement purporting dismantling of terrorist structure in Pakistan has come as rude shock to Pakistan army and ISI. They are really desperate to pass the buck to India.

Impending assembly elections in J&K mean just rubbing salt into the wounds of Pakistan. The ISI wants to disrupt elections by infiltrating a large number of jihadis across the LoC, something which Indian security forces are denying them stubbornly. They are desperate.

We need to understand their game plan and refuse to get provoked by their perfidy along the border. We are sorry for the Indian civilians who have become victim of Pakistan’s perfidy. But in the larger interests of the country, India should do nothing that will give a handle to Pakistan to manoeuvre unity among fragmented sections of her society. The best course would be to maintain calm and retaliate with the axiom of tooth for tooth and eye for eye. India can also and should press into service 120 mm mortars and even much heavier armament and pound as many Pakistani posts and villages as is possible in limited border skirmish. Heavy casualties should be inflicted, more posts disrupted, more infrastructures damaged and rendered unserviceable, more bridges blown up and culverts flattened. Let this go and go with without relent till the other side is forced to seek cessation of hostilities and resumption of commander level meetings to restore cease fire agreement. Pak’s monkey business has to be made counter productive.

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