By K.N. Pandita
Track record of Indo-Pak relations has crystallized into some few harsh realities which we cannot afford to overlook whenever a serious and shocking incident takes place at the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
Foremost reality is that Pakistan army is a state unto itself, separate from the civilian state, whose power centre is away from Islamabad. Actually Pakistan is run by bipolar authority and has two capitals, Islamabad and GHQ in Rawalpindi. Power is loosely shared by the two power centers but the GHQ retains veto on Kashmir.
The reason is that Kashmir conflict is the life-line of Pakistan army’s strength to be the most privileged segment of Pakistani society. It provides army much needed justification to grab lion’s share of national income. In addition, a large chunk of enormous foreign aid pouring into Pakistani coffers is also pocketed by the army in the name of Kashmir dispute.
Therefore, the compulsion for Pakistani defence establishment is to project India as the entrenched enemy threatening her existence. The civilian government in Islamabad also believes India is a potent threat but not in military terms. To them it is the Indian secular democratic arrangement that is to be dreaded most.
Who formulate civilian administrative super structure in Pakistan? It is the combined nexus of landlords, generals and bureaucrats that rules the roost.
It has to be remembered that Pakistan Army and its ISI wing have raised Theo-fascist militias within the largely deprived and backward segments, and allowed them the freedom and facility of interacting with their counterparts in Islamic world, particularly the rabid among the Arab. This is to tell the ummah that Pakistan is an Islamic country that does not accept the heathenish concept of separation of state from church and that religion serves political interests of the state.
The militia raised in seminaries extensively funded by Arab petro-dollar booty and trained by retired Pakistani Generals by way of their voluntary service to Islam, is designed as the bulwark of Pakistan’s defensive and offensive strategies.
They were given assignment in Kargil war and they have the regular assignment of infiltrating into Indian side of LoC, be it Uri, Keran, Tithwal, Gurez, Krishna Ghati or Mankot in Mendhar sector.
In order to see that no international, national or military law calls them to account for their barbaric acts like slitting the throat of a captured enemy soldier, the State of Pakistan has found the safety valve in calling them “non state actors”.
Now, either under pressure from international community for involvement in the 2008 Mumbai carnage or owing to some domestic compulsions arising from the growing threat of TTP and the seminary chapter, the present civilian regime in Islamabad had found the escape route in opening bilateral talks with India to reduce the intensity of international pressure. For more than two years Track II dialogue had been going on and some areas were covered. Trade communication, easing of visa regimes and opening trade routes across LoC in J&K were symbolic of easing tension between the two countries. India agreed to the visit of Pakistani cricket team as a gesture of goodwill which would help Pakistan regain her battered and bruised sports image on international plane.
Pakistani President made a private visit to Ajmer and Pakistan Home Minster, too, made a jaunt recently to New Delhi. Observers thought it a good beginning towards normalization of bilateral relations.
GHQ maintained eagle’s look at the process of normalization of relations. It exhibited eagerness to find a solution to Siachin Glacier issue but failed to elicit any commitment by India and thus dropped the matter. The move was only to mollify angry mood of Pakistani civil society that had surfaced following the death under massive snow avalanche of about 120 Pakistani soldiers in Siachin. In order not to allow Islamabad regime play all the cards for peace with India, and in the process putting Kashmir issue in cold store for another two or three decades, Pak army continued with its double pronged policy of “hit and run” as well as “wait and watch”. In the hit and run policy, which is the newly inducted jihadi strategy as pontificated by Pakistani army chief in the course of his comments in Sialkot recently, we have found Pakistan troops firing regularly in Krishna Ghati and a few more sites along the LoC. It is to give an impression to the Islamabad regime that it may proceed with its bilateral talks with India but army will not tolerate trespassing of its exclusive domain of Kashmir.
Two weeks ago Pakistani Army Chief Kayani was addressing the naval cadets in Karachi. He said Pakistan was faced with “an amorphous enemy” from inside and her security was in peril from external side. He did not name India but political commentators believe he had India in his mind. By referring to internal “amorphous enemy” it was deduced that he had some serious problem with the regime in Islamabad. It could not be a reference to the TTP or Taliban of Afghanistan or even to Al-Qaeda who have close relations with TTP.
The reason is that the identity and personality of the activists of these organizations are explicit and not amorphous. They are quite visible to naked eye. They have openly appealed to the lower ranks in Pakistan army to initiate sedition against the state of Pakistan. Therefore to call them “amorphous” enemy is totally misplaced.
The amorphous enemy to whom the General referred can be nobody other than the present civilian government in Islamabad that he finds coming closer to India on various counts including Kashmir.
The army, including Theo-fascist children it has godfathered, would not want relations between Islamabad and New Delhi become smooth and normal.
Pakistan army believes that continuous firing along the LoC, attempts of infiltration, bombing of Indian forward posts and now making 600 feet deep intrusion as in Mankot in Mendhar sector that enabled them to kill two Indian soldiers on Monday night, will be called “grave provocation” by Indian side. That precisely happened and grave it is indeed. This is the umpteenth attempt of brazen violation of cease fire that had been agreed upon in 2003.
Indian Amy knows that Pakistani authorities would play the denial card by way of refutation of Indian charge of making unprovoked attack.
Therefore, we find that India has to handle Pakistan with great care and statesmanship. There is logic in Islamabad and GHQ contesting each other’s sphere of influence and authority. It deepening is the only option of redemption of Pakistan’s peril.
India’s interests lie in Islamabad having a democratic civilian government in full authority. But at the same time, India cannot afford to lower guard along LoC and IB. New Delhi perforce has to do some tight rope walking when dealing with Pakistan.
“General, the nation is behind you; please keep your powder dry”. That is the modest recommendation we will make to the Commander of our Northern Command.