‘Surgically’ Striking the Peace!

(FZ Khan, )

F Z Khan & Khurram Shahzad

Applying the general perception, regarding the arena of international relations, that if countries with tensed relations pursue useful trade and confidence building measures between them, it could help reduce tensions. Some countries have improvised this formula but not much has been achieved and tensions resurface.

India attempts the approach of mending way to become friend for only a short span, but often turns hostile given its domestic consumption. Modi’s Hindu extremist government however has heightened real tensions by directly and indirectly, covertly and overtly fueling or funding acts of terror inside Pakistan. India is brewing tensions of its own making, which are directly linked to its occupation of Jammu & Kashmir, and now aimed at sabotaging CPEC project. The second consecutive INR 2.74 trillion-hike of over 10% in its defence budget, which excludes pensions compared to previous years, is an indicator of India’s aggressive designs.

New Delhi accuses, falsely, Islamabad of having a hand in audacious attacks in its territory without evidence. India has engaged in heavy firing along LoC and working boundary that incurred heavy losses on its military establishments and resulting in scores of deaths and injuries to its forces, on retaliation from Pakistan side. In IHK, people began protesting after the killing of young Burhan Wani. Tensions escalated into attacks on Indian army facilities by the freedom fighters, which India unconscionably blamed on Pakistan.

India, time and again, intimidates Pakistan of so called Surgical Strikes what it says it already conducted some months back, which Pakistan later proved to the world that it was a drama stage managed and the international community as well as eminent defence analysts acknowledged by saying that, given Pakistan’s robust missile and defence system, India was not capable of conducting surgical strikes against or inside Pakistan. India has also been maneuvering from Pakistan’s western borders using the Afghan soil to conduct subversive acts against the country.

In a recent development, Director-General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor, while referring to Indian Army chief’s statement on the much trumpeted Cold Start Doctrine and India's continuous violations of the Line of Control and Working Boundary, reiterated that the armed forces and the people of Pakistan are ready and fully capable of giving a befitting response to any misadventure by the adversary. He said Pakistan wants a peaceful settlement of all the outstanding issues but would not compromise on its respect and dignity.

In his inaugural media briefing, the newly appointed military spokesman said Pakistan would take all possible measures to strengthen the country’s defence. He mentioned the successful test-firing of indigenously-developed Babar-III and Ababeel missiles which, he observed, reflects Pakistan’s strong defence capabilities. He said the armed forces were fully capable of giving a strong response to Indian aggression whether it is the Cold Start or otherwise. He also reaffirmed commitment of the armed forces to internal stability and strengthening of the constitutional and democratic institutions and unity among state organs of the country. He pointed out that in the past, India had been denying its Cold Start Doctrine but recent statement of the Indian army chief had proved Pakistan’s apprehensions as correct. “We reckon that India was getting this capability and its intentions can change any time”, Gen Asif Ghafoor maintained that “Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be misconstrued as its weakness.” India is our neighbouring country, he said, and added “we do not want war with any country as war is no solution of problems.”

Referring to frequent Indian ceasefire violations of LoC and Working Boundary, he said it was an Indian tactic under a planned strategy to divert attention of the Pakistani forces from war against terror. Pakistan Army is the only force in the world which is fighting successfully from multiple fronts, adding that the drama of surgical strikes was also part of this strategy.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor asserted that during the last four months, as many as 40 Indian soldiers had been killed as Pakistan gave a befitting response to India’s firing on the civilian population while 46 Pakistan citizens were martyred. He said security of the country depends on bravery, professionalism and patriotism of the armed forces and strength of the constitutional and democratic institutions. He pointed out that due to coordination between FC, provincial law enforcement agencies and Army, the activities of terrorists enjoying backing of Indian RAW and Afghan NDS in Balochistan were being checked in a much effective and better way.

The DG ISPR said a total of 21,839 Pakistanis sacrificed their lives and 49,081 were injured for success of operations against terror since the year 2008 in Swat, North Waziristan and other agencies. He maintained that IBOs and combing operations would continue across the country till elimination of remaining terrorists and their facilitators. Action against Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadev would be taken as per law of the land, adding that dossier against him had also been provided to the appropriate international forums, he affirmed.

India, for its part, had already unleashed its so-called ‘defensive offense’ policy against Pakis¬tan. Under the auspices of the Afghan intelligence directorate, headed by a member of the Northern Alliance, with which India had developed close relations during the civil war against Mullah Omar’s Taliban, India set up bases (in the guise of consulates) close to the Pakistan-Afghan border to sponsor and support the Balochistan Liberation Army. Not much has appeared about India’s longer and wider role in clandestine warfare against its neighbours particularly Pakistan.

A quick viewing of a Facebook video of a recent lecture delivered by Ajit Doval, India’s ex-spymaster and now National Security Adviser, should set all doubts about India’s clandestine wars at rest. Doval calls Pakistan the “enemy”; extols Indian intelligence’s ability to compromise and infiltrate the Kashmir insurgency; crows about the beheading of Pakistani soldiers by the TTP and advocates a policy of “defensive offense” against Pakistan. In this context, India’s several secret training camps are also present in Afghanistan from where highly trained militants, equipped with sophisticated weapons including motivated suicide bombers are being sent to Pakistan’s various places so as to commit subversive acts regularly.

Some sources suggest that modern weapons of Indian origin are available in the markets of Afghanistan. Smuggling of latest arms from west to Afghanistan is also being supported by the drug mafia of Afghanistan with the support of RAW. Additionally, Indian Army might be making the groups for launching another operation of fake surgical strikes as the latest statement enunciates by its Chief.

Nonetheless, the Modi government and its new army chief who are acting upon a war mongering agenda by considering surgical strikes in Azad Kashmir or limited war in Kashmir in wake of intermittent firing across the LoC by targeting the villages of Azad Kashmir are badly mistaken, if they overestimate India’s power and underestimates Pakistan’s power. Pakistan’s Armed Forces are fully prepared to give a matching response to any such an attack by Indian forces. Pakistan forces maybe ready to conduct a real strike on an opportune moment. (ENDS)

(1180 words)

(The writers are freelance columnists based in Islamabad)

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